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July 24th, 2007, 17:26
I totally neglected to mention the historical strategy games from Slitherine. They've done a whole bunch - Legion (Gold), Legion: Arena (and the Cult Of Mithras expansion), Chariots Of War, Spartan and Gates Of Troy.
Legion is a grand strategy turn-based game set in the ancient Roman period, Chariots Of War is the ancient Middle East and Spartan and it's sequel/expansion Gates Of Troy are pretty self explanatory. Legion: Arena takes the combat model from Legion and beefs it up to include more customization and personalization of your legions, but it's more a war game, there's no diplomacy or empire management element. You essentially take your armies from one battle scenario to the next.

Out of the larger strategy games, Spartan and Gates Of Troy are the best, with the most features and are the most fully realised of the series.
In these games, you do the usual empire management things, make sure your resources are kept up, people are happy, that sort of thing. Cities have limited building areas so you have to decide which ones will specialise in what areas, and some cities have resources you need, so you'll need to expand and conquer.
Battles are real-time, but you lay out your unit positions, assign formations and marching orders before starting the battle. Once the battle has started, you have very limited control (you can rally, retreat or a charge), which I really like, it's more realistic than the Total War model where you can control nearly every footstep of your army if you want, which is kind of silly.
Diplomacy is a bit on the passive side. You can send diplomats to other empires and try to achieve various things, and the longer they stay the more experienced they get and can carry out greater acts of diplomacy. So you don't spend any time personally managing discussions, but the effects are there nonetheless.

The games aren't that impressive in the graphics department but they are perfectly adequate. Music is on the bland side though, and there isn't a lot of fiddly in-depth stuff that can really pull you into the game, but it still has that one more turn feeling.
You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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