September 17, 2013
Total War: Rome 2 Review (Part 2)
Be sure to read Part 1.
When we last talked about Rome 2, it was on the province goal of attaining each province in a settlement. By doing so, special upgrades and expansion bonuses are awarded to the player, depending on which area of the world they have conquered.
This mechanic is brilliant for expansion, but it can get very messy if an ally of yours also has their eyes on the province. If they lay siege to the city, you can’t conquer it. The only choice that you have in that situation is to either betray your ally (which will bring about a significant public order penalty) or wait it out and watch them struggle against an enemy nation until they’ve lost it. Conquering all provinces nets you some pretty nice benefits because of an area wide dominance and will catch the eye of the campaign’s strongest competitors for diplomacy. But managing these provinces involves far more than marching an army a certain distance to press a few auto resolve buttons. Once you’ve conquered a province, a plan must be set in stone so that you don’t piss off the lovely town folk.
For starters, you need to understand the regional value of settlements. They almost always allow for a military and economic expansion to your empire. Many of these regional values come down to proximity to allies and enemies, as well as the number of resources from a region. To us, resources are a very broad term to describe the advantages of the economy. In Rome 2, they are material resources that a nation either imports or produces naturally.
These resources are the reason that other factions keep a political eye on the nation with the most of these resources. If we all had them, than the AI wouldn’t feel much incentive to expand their territory. The golden rule of Rome 2 is expand or die, and this is true for the AI as well. As you progress and get wealthier, you’ll see those old rivals from 50 turns ago struggling to provide its borders with food and security.
They might have been put in that position because of a rival nation, too many natural disasters, or just a lack of luck on the open seas. Regardless, if you you’re not quick and precise in your decisions, your nation will surely suffer. You’ll see how desperate other nations are when they’ve offered themselves a client state for an exchange of a currency for trade.
Managing provinces is a matter of balancing out building upgrades, which can only be attained when you open more building slots, which can only be attained if your city has a high enough surplus in population. The reason that this mechanic is reactionary instead of open and free is because there’s no incentive to building a city that no one will come to. To build your population in each province, you’ll need to balance out the main economic factors of populace happiness.
These factors come in the form of minor rates and restrictions imposed to add role-playing to the game. Instead of having to spend 2,000 denarii on a senseless and meaningless event in the game, you’ll be prompted with natural disasters and public events that will add life to your province. Sometimes these public events are typical and uninteresting, and other times they’re a swift reminder that there are other things to appreciate about the game apart from its incredibly large combat. While I don’t really appreciate having to spend my entire turn’s previous annual earnings on senseless political riff raff, I can understand why the mechanic is there.
More on this review in the future!
Image Credit: Sega