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Civilization Guide: Rome (G&K)

Civilization Guide: Rome

  1. Lordleoz

    Augustus Caesar​


    The Roman Empire was one of the most remarkable and long-lived political entity in the history of Western Civilization. Founded in Apennine Peninsula in 753 BC, the city of Rome quickly expanded and came to govern most of Italy. In 509 BC the king of Rome was overthrown and the age of Roman Republic began. It was ruled by a combination of the senate and the people. Amid the political crisis of Late Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, who later became the dictator of Rome, began a civil war that practically overturned the Roman Republic. In 27 BC Augustus Caesar, the in-game leader, stood out of the chaos and Roman Empire began with his long and successful reign.

    Augustus Caesar (63 BC - 14 AD), born Gaius Octavius, became the first emperor of Rome. Being a wise and industrious Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar brought a golden age for Rome, known as Pax Romana. During his long rule of 41 years, Rome regained peace and prosperity and also succeeded in several campaigns in Egypt, Spain and part of Germany.

    The Romans proved themselves as ferocious warriors, great builders and shrewd politicians. They were great innovators and also adopted good ideas they found in other cultures. Through years of glorious conquest, Rome came to dominate all the lands of the Mediterranean, from Spain in the west to Syria in the east, also much of England and Northern Germany. During their long rule, the Romans greatly shaped the Western culture, law, art, architecture, religion, language and warfare.

    Key Concepts

    Bee Line: The act of prioritizing a tech in the course of your research, often to the detriment of other technologies.
    Wide empire: An empire of numerous cities that are under-developed in comparison to a Tall Empire.
    Tall empire: An empire of a small number of cities (usually 4 or under 4) that tend to be well developed.
    REX: Rapid Early eXpansion.

    The Glory of Rome - Unique Ability
    I found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble. - Augustus Caesar

    +25% :c5production: towards any buildings that already exist in the :c5capital: capital

    The Roman unique ability improves the building construction speed in non-capital cities. As you will be constructing buildings throughout the game, your non-capital cities can ramp up quicker than other civilizations cities, allowing you to gain an edge in other areas of the game earlier. Larger cities will complete buildings sooner which lets you start constructing wonders much earlier, making your empire much more developed. With the help of 'the Glory of Rome', Rome can be both tall and wide and become a great economic power.

    "The Glory of Rome" is a long-term unique ability and saves a considerable amount of investment of time for construction in your cities over the length of the game. As an example, let's assume you are in the ancient era and you have a city with 5 :c5production: per turn. As well, let's assume that you need to build a monument(40), a shrine(40), a granary(60), and a library(75) - 43 turns worth of construction (a bit less assuming :c5food: growth of the city). With 'the Glory of Rome', and the appropriate buildings in your capital, you can save 9 turns (34 turns for the same buildings, less with growth). With the turns saved, you can build one more unit or building than other civilizations. As well, you will enjoy the benefit provided by each building earlier (faster granary = earlier start for :c5food: growth = earlier increase in :c5production: to be utilized for the next building).

    If Rome is captured and another city, for instance, Antium, becomes your capital, the production bonus will still exist and you will have a +25% :c5production: bonus if relevant buildings are present in Antium. However, never let that happen.

    Leveraging "the Glory of Rome"

    Strategy wise, Rome's UA leads you towards founding a wide empire. The more cities you have, the more benefits you can enjoy from the UA. You can REX through either peaceful expansion or military conquest, but the latter is recommended given Romes early UU combo. As puppets will also utilize the UA bonus, they will be able to build defensive buildings and gold, production buildings earlier than non-Roman puppets. Building a large puppet empire is especially beneficial because: normally, puppet cities only construct buildings; it's not allowed to purchase buildings in puppet cities and; the building queue in puppet cities is always slower than that of your capital so you'll always be sure that you are using the UA.

    An important limiter of the unique ability is the requirement to have your capital constantly ahead of the curve with respect to new buildings. You will want to either ensure that Rome is in a high :c5food:/:c5production: area (for fast :c5production: based construction) or ensure that you have plenty of gold ready to rush buy buildings in Rome. Buildings that increase production, like Workshops, Windmills, should be especially prioritized in Rome. Generally speaking, rush buying buildings in Rome is the better plan as that leaves your high production capital free to build wonders or units while ensuring that you are always using your UA (but the rush buy cost on some later buildings is high, so you should consider just :c5production: produce them instead). This also means that you should consider moving your initial settler for a turn or two so that you can find a nice capital location - if the start location isn't optimal for :c5food:/:c5production: .

    One way to get gold that would be invested in capital is through military conquests. In early stages, you can use Legions to pillage in order to sum up enough money for your investment in cities.

    "The Glory of Rome" is a nice long-term unique ability and saves a considerable amount of time in building construction in your cities.

    Legion - Unique Unit
    Veni, vidi, vici. - Julius Caesar

    Cost: 75 :c5production: or 390 :c5gold:

    Combat: 17 :c5strength:

    Movement: 2 :c5moves:

    Requirement: Iron Working, Iron

    Replacement: Swordsman

    Specialty: Capable of building roads and forts

    Legions are versatile melee units, meaning that they can fight well in open or rough terrain, defend cities and attack enemy cities. With a much higher combat strength than the Swordsman they replace, as well as Pikemen, Legions can dominate the battlefield for a long time, until Longswordsmen come into play. With their ability to build roads and forts, you can prepare a battlefield outside of a puppet without pulling workers away from improving tiles around your own cities. This will allow you to bring in reinforcements faster as well as being able to start a :c5trade: trade route with that city once you take it.

    In order to utilize Legions quickly, you should consider a beeline to Iron Working or prioritizing Writing and build the Great Library right away to bulb Iron Working fast. As well, remember to build or purchase a settler before you get to Iron Working. This will allow you to go settle near some iron if you do not have any near Rome. Getting to Iron Working fast but not having iron in the immediate area is the worst case scenario for Rome. So having that settler (or two if you use Liberty) ready to plant next to some iron is the most important step before using Legions.

    However, Legions, like Swordsmen, are pretty expensive to buy as a new unit (see the table below).

    Name :c5strength: Combat :c5moves: Movement :c5production: Cost :c5gold: Cost Ratio of :c5gold:/:c5production:
    Warrior 8 2 40 200 5
    Spearman 11 2 56 260 4.64
    Swordsman 14 2 75 390 5.2
    Legion 17 2 75 390 5.2
    Pikeman 16 2 90 370 4.11

    When you calculate the ratio of gold cost/production cost, you will find that Legions have the highest ratio for units near their combat strength. So it is not a good idea to rush buy Legions unless you are currently under attack and need them right away. What you can do though, unlike with other unit types, is build or buy Warriors and then upgrade them to Legions (80 :c5gold:). As Warriors do not obsolete until Metal Casting, as well as only costing 200 :c5gold: to buy, you will save 110 :c5gold: per rush bought Warrior/upgrade vs. rush buying a Legion. Given that Warriors are fairly cheap to produce in any city, you can have all of your cities building Warriors and then spend only the upgrade cost to make your Legions. This is a great way to ensure that you have a constant supply of units ready to become Legions as you expand your empire and gain more iron.

    Examples and Screenshots of Legions
    Spoiler :

    Roman Legions bullying a city-state

    Spoiler :

    Roman Legions attacking an English Spearman

    Spoiler :

    Legion building roads.

    Ballista - Unique Unit

    Cost: 75 :c5production: or 390 :c5gold:

    Combat: 8 :c5strength:

    Ranged Strength: 10 :c5rangedstrength:

    Range: 2

    Movement: 2 :c5moves:

    Requirement: Mathematics

    Replacement: Catapult


    This first promotion is the only choice: accuracy I or barrage I, depending on the terrain. Next, since Ballista is almost as strong as Composite Bowmen, so it could also be used to attack units, which means they can be promoted with accuracy II or barrage II and then accuracy III or barrage III. With these three upgrades, Ballista can do good job in any circumstances. Moreover, these three promotions lead to the strong Logistics or Range promotion. However, most Ballistas should still be promoted with Volley, which provides +50% ranged strength against fortified units and cities. They become more specified in attacking cities, which is also their primary job, and will be even more effective than siege I Legions.

    Examples and Screenshots of Ballista
    Spoiler :

    Ballista firing at Spearman.

    Synergy between Legion and Ballista

    Rome's best bet to conquering their way into an empire, is by utilizing both of their unique units at the same time. Away from cities, Legions are adequate to crush your enemy with minor ranged support from the Ballistas. A good strategy is to choose your own battleground, setting Ballistas on hills and putting the Legions in front of them. Use the range of the Ballistas to soften up the enemy units, then finish them off with the Legions (flanking support is best). You can also utilize 'the Zone of Control' to use Legions to protect the Ballista, like this:
    Spoiler :

    Looks like the 2 Roman Ballista are vulnerable to the attack from the English Warrior, but its way is blocked by the selected Roman Legion, while the Ballista can still fire freely at the Warrior.

    Sieging Cities

    When you could finally move into the area of an enemy city, the roles of the Legion and the Ballistas flip. You will want to use the Legions to push away (or kill) enemy units away from the enemy city. Once that job is complete, position your Ballistas near the city to maximize the number of ranged attacks you can perform on the next turn. At this point, fortify wounded Legions to have the AI attack them instead of your Ballistas.

    Don't forget that you could pillage tiles to add 25 HP to your units, so if your Ballistas do get attacked, they could still pillage the tile that they are on and then attack on the same turn. As long as you have 2-3 Ballistas prepared for the first round of attacks, you shouldn't need more than 2 rounds (include the Legions to finish off the city) to take a city. Given the high combat strength of the Legions, 2-3 of them should be able to take down a walled city (even if on a hill) after a few Ballista shots.

    Rome Specific Strategies

    Rome's tendency towards warmongering in the early stages of the game will require you to emphasize maintaining your empire’s happiness if you go that route. The unhappiness penalties for too many cities, or population, will slow the development of your empire. Fortunately, there are enough policies and beliefs that will help you deal with the happiness problem. Although you can last in a protracted war state, do not choose too many policies and beliefs which favour war, as Legions and Ballistas will be able to carry you through by themselves. More generally though, due to the UA, Rome does not require being played as a total warmongering civilization like the Huns or Mongolia. Economy, production and happiness should not be neglected and they are relatively easy for Rome to get.

    In order to continue leveraging the Glory of Rome throughout the game, you should choose policies, beliefs and city locations to increase the base :c5production: in every city because they could be added up with the +25% bonus. As later game buildings tend to favour production over rush buying (due to cost ratio), you should focus on the production buildings (Windmill, Factory, Hydro Plant, etc) earlier than you would for another civilization. These buildings will be built faster and therefore provide more production earlier.

    About Social Policies

    Rome can benefit from any social policy tree, but the three most useful policy trees for Rome are Liberty, Commerce and Order.

    • Liberty: The best social policy tree opening for building a wide empire. The combination with ‘the Glory of Rome’ allows for both major expansion and development of your empire. Given that you want to emphasize production early in your cities, taking the free worker at Citizenship (before Republic) allows you to focus on early buildings (Monument, Shrine, Granary) in Rome, which means that future cities will gain the UA benefit right away. Similarly, Collective Rule provides a quick start and eliminates the need of building/buying a Settler. Once you start rapidly expanding, Meritocracy (happiness) and Representation (free golden age) will allow you to grow your cities as well as gain another production boost right as you are constructing all of the basic buildings in your new empire. Combined with Republic and the Glory of Rome, your cities will be gaining a +50% :c5production: boost during the golden age. Finally, the free Great Person is a nice early boost. Typically you should choose a Great Engineer and use it for a Manufactory near Rome. This will allow Rome to finish buildings earlier as well as gain a nice boost to Wonder construction. Sometimes, you can also assign the Manufactory tile to another city, increasing its value by 25% from the Glory of Rome.

    • Commerce: A strong economy is the basis for continued success, especially for a wide empire like Rome. While Commerce has a number of beneficial policies in it to boost your empire (depending on the map type) Trade Unions, Mercantilism and Protectionism are especially good for a wide Roman empire. Having less :c5gold: cost (and therefore raising your GPT income) as well as gaining more :c5happy: from the luxuries you posses allows you to continue growing and maintaining a large empire. Moreover, the finisher of the Commerce branch is excellent because it provides +1 :c5gold: for every trading post. This could be a huge financial boost as a warmongering Rome tends to gain a number of puppet cities - which will work the trading posts instead of farms.

    • Order: Similar to Liberty, it is great for a wide empire. Prioritized policies are in the route Planned Economy -> Socialism -> Communism. Boosts to :c5happy:, reduced :c5gold: costs for buildings in all cities will help cement that large empire you created. Quickly building Factories triggers the Glory of Rome earlier, while extra :c5science: helps you with any victory conditions, especially Science Victory. Socialism suits Rome extremely well as fast expansion, and more buildings per city, means that Rome is likely to get a very high building maintenance cost. Furthermore, the finisher is always worthwhile for a wide empire. You get +2 food, production, gold, culture and science in every city. However, the bonus comes near the end of the game, so do not neglect culture in your cities if you wish to use it.
    These three policies trees suit Rome's play style the best. That said, other policy trees can be of use to you depending on your situation. Rationalism drives a Science Victory and has nice policies for a wide tech civ. Tradition contains a number of capital based policies that will boost Rome and therefore help you use your UA more efficiently (a Roman culture game allows for faster culture building in non-capital cities if you can't buy them). Finally Honor allows your puppets to add extra happiness from the defensive buildings, which your UA will help them build a little faster.

    About Religion

    Similar to the majority of civilizations, Rome does not have a direct special faith ability to found a religion. What Rome does have though is the Glory of Rome and a penchant for a wide empire. The Roman UA will help to build shrines and temples earlier, which leads to more faith produced sooner. As faith is not adjusted or limited by number of cities, the more shrines and temples you have, the sooner you can gain a religion. So Rome can indirectly get to a religion a little faster than other civs who do not have a faith boosting UB or UA.

    Generally speaking, it's better to choose beliefs that enhance happiness. This will allow you to continue increasing both your number of cities as well as your population (or conquer new cities). In certain situation, beliefs that provide gold or production are also helpful. For example, when your capital is located near grasslands or jungle tiles and is especially poor at production, you can target beliefs that enhance production, like 'God of Craftsman' and 'God of the Sea'.

    I. Pantheon Belief

    • Messenger of Gods: +2 :c5science: in every city that is connected with :c5trade: trade network. Roman Legions are capable of building roads and Rome tends to REX, so it's not difficult to connect many cities into your trade network. Since it's a Pantheon Belief that comes very early, the science bonus it provides can be significant. If you are not struggling with unhappiness or slow population growth, it is definitely a good choice.

    • Fertility Rites: +10% :c5food: growth in every city. A nice bonus with no prerequisites but it's best when your cities have few food resources. If your cities already have abundant food, Fertility Rites is unnecessary as you will not be growing 'tall' in all of your cities.

    • Goddess of Love: +1 :c5happy: from cities with 6+ population. It's never bad to have extra happiness and a per city happiness boost early in the game can help offset (when combined with Meritocracy) most of the unhappiness/city expansion costs. Although only your capital is likely to benefit from it immediately, through the process of the game the benefit from this belief will become more significant (Order opener equivalent).
    II. Founder Belief
    • Ceremonial Burial: +1 :c5happy: for each city following this religion. Combined with Meritocracy and another +1 happiness/city bonus, you negate the 3 unhappiness/city penalty for founding a city. At this point, your only happiness limit per city is for population.

    • Church Property: +2 :c5gold: for each city following this religion. If you have already chosen Goddess of Love as a Pantheon Belief, then Church Property could help you maintain and build an army in the early game. Also, with early gold, you could rush buy buildings in Rome so that other cities could enjoy the UA earlier. Church Property is a good choice when you have neighbours that will be assimilated into your empire.

    • Tithe: +1 :c5gold: per four followers of your religion. If you could manage to spread your religion to the world, then this founder belief will provide you with more gold than Church Property. You don't need to have the majority religion in all cities, so you can always gain gold from followers in other cities.

    • Initiation Rites: +100 :c5gold: when each city first converts to this religion. By getting gold early, you could rush buy buildings in Rome, thus utilize the UA better.
    III. Follower Belief (2 Choices)
    • Building Beliefs: It enables you to use :c5faith: to buy either a Cathedral, a Pagoda, a Mosque, or a Monastery. Pagodas are best among the four faith purchased building types as they provide the most happiness, which is usually needed by Rome. Large puppet empires usually gather a lot of faith so the ability to convert it to :c5happy: and :c5culture: per city is great for an ever expanding Rome. However, if Pagoda is already picked by another civilization, buying Cathedrals or Mosques could still be good. Remember to faith buy these buildings early as the costs will rise per era.

    • Religious Centers: +2 :c5happy: from temples in cities with at least 5 followers. If you are spending a lot of faith purchasing missionaries to spread your religion quickly, then taking Religious Centers allows you to gain the happiness without slowing your religious spread.

    • Asceticism: +1 :c5happy: from shrines in cities with at least 3 followers. It is generally better if most of your cities are puppets because they will automatically build shrines, not temples.
    IV. Enhancer Belief
    • Religious Texts: Religion spreads 34% faster (68% with Printing Press). This is the best option for the natural spread of religion, and has synergy with most Founder Beliefs. If you have chosen a faith purchased building as a belief, then this Enhancer belief will remove some of the need to buy Missionaries and Inquisitors.

    • Holy Order: Reduce the cost of Missionaries and Inquisitors by 30%. By reducing the cost of Missionaries, you can boost your Founder belief output quickly. If you are constantly conquering a lot of cities the 30% reduction in cost for Inquisitors allows you to convert those cities sooner.
    About Wonders
    • The Great Library: While not on the tech path towards Iron Working, the Great Library can be utilized (usually Emperor and below) to get the high cost of Iron Working technology fast. Earlier Legions and earlier knowledge of where the iron is on the map will help you know where to expand. Also, Science Victory is one of the best victory condition for Rome.

    • The Pyramids: Rome is likely to expand fast so increasing the number and efficiency of workers (and even Legions!) is always nice. Combined with Liberty, Rome can have tile improvements completed very quickly which allows them to utilize a higher hammer base for their UA earlier.

    • Machu Picchu: This is a medieval era wonder that focuses on :c5gold: from :c5trade: trade routes. Wider empires have more trade routes, and Roman Legions can build roads to their new cities instead of waiting for the workers to catch up. Given the higher costs of maintaining an army as well as building costs, more gold from the trade routes you're creating helps you a lot. If you want to know more about trade routes, check this article How do Trade Routes work?.

    • Notre Dame: The fast expansion of Rome can be hard limited by Global Happiness, so Notre Dame's 10 :c5happy: boost is great for Rome.

    • The Forbidden Palace: The reduced :c5angry: from :c5citizen: population in non-occupied cities is a huge bonus for Rome because Wide empires have more population than Tall empires, therefore you gain more from the wonder when going wide.


    You can just play like the real Romans: conquer and build. Legion and Ballista, two powerful contemporary UUs will help you gain much land early on. A strong early game will provide you with preponderance over your opponents. Combined with ‘the Glory of Rome’, a strong long-term economic UA, Rome means to conquer, develop conquered cities, and conquer more.

    Happy Civing!