Rome wasn't built in a day, but now it can be built in a turn. A new mod for Civilization V, called CivRome, lets you play from 323 B.C., the death of Alexander the Great, to 500 A.D., the fall of the Roman Empire. You can play as one of 22 possible civilizations including the Romans (Caesar), the Egyptians (Cleopatra), the Macedonians, the Goths, the Gauls, and even the Huns (led by one Mr. Attila T. Hun). There are new technologies to research, specific attributes for some of the civs, and a beautiful, historically accurate new map to conquer. In other words, it's a toga party, Civilization-style.
I'm a little hesitant to cover this mod, as it's still in development and there are tons of planned features that aren't implemented yet, but I figure getting players involved early to show interest and provide feedback and suggestions can't be a bad thing. Besides, I tried it out for a while this week, and it's highly playable with plenty to keep you occupied even in its unfinished state.
So much to conquer!
There's the map, and it's lovely and accurate, not to mention massive (not my picture, that's from the mod's Steam page). Obviously, you can play the mod on a random map, too, but I think the custom map will let you really get into the frame of mind to mess around in ancient Rome. One important note: the mod requires all of Civ V's DLC and expansions to run.
This! Is! An! Area! Outside! The! Border! Of! Sparta!
Along with the 22 playable civs, you'll be able to interact with a massive slew of familiar city-states. Early in my game, I ran into Jerusalem, Cyrene, Rhodes, Nazareth, and of course, Sparta, though deviating from completely realistic movie history, the Spartans wore more than tiny underpants and capes, and there didn't appear to be exactly 300 of them. Oh well, you can't have everything. On the other hand, I'm playing as Caesar, so I'm still going to try.
Yay. We are so happy! Well. Some of us! The rich ones!
What makes citizens happy in CivRome? Well, researching Happiness technology demonstrated that everybody loves slave labor. In fact, the CivRome mod makes slavery a big part of day-to-day life. The system isn't complete yet, but when it is, slaves will function as a resource, able to be imported and exported, used as labor to boost production, functioning as private tutors to buff science and culture, and increasing the happiness of the citizens who aren't slaves themselves. (The slaves, one presumes, will be pretty damn miserable.)
Okay, Rome is founded. Let's get to work on the vomitorium.
There are some interesting and unique facets to some of the new civs. The Huns, for example, were a nomadic people, so if you play as Attila you won't be able to build settlers to found new cities, though you'll be able to capture settlers from other civs. Their cavalry, naturally, will be top notch. Carthage, meanwhile, begins the game with a whopping five cities, owing to the fact that they were a territorial powerhouse at the time, though their military units will be unable to cross the sea as other civs can.
I'll be remembered through history as... a salad? A friggin' salad? Sigh.
The Romans have their own issues. As they grow an advance, a curious problem will arise among their military: soldiers will become more and more unhappy. It makes sense. If Rome was a remarkable paradise filled with wonders and luxury, who the hell would want to go tromping off to die in some distant war? To boost morale, Rome will need to ratchet up the distractions, devoting a lot of effort into keeping its citizens happy, like holding chariot races in the Circus Maximus and by building the Colosseum. Nothing to take your mind off faraway bloodshed than by watching some local bloodshed.
Darn Vandals. They keep tagging my storefronts.
I'm no ancient history buff, but I can appreciate the efforts being made to reflect this era as accurately as possible, and with such a wide range of civs to choose from, I think this could grow into a really spectacular mod. Again, while playable, this is still largely a work in progress and there's a lot more planned. You can check out the discussion page on the 2K forums here, and there's tons of talk on the mod's Steam Workshop page.
Don't forget, you need all of the Civ V DLC and expansions to run this mod!
Installation: You can subscribe to the mod on the Steam Workshop page I just linked. When you fire up Civ 5, just activate it on the Mods menu, and make sure you choose the CivRome map if you want to use that one specifically (trust me, you do).