Aggressors: Ancient Rome

Aggressors: Ancient Rome is part of the Steam Sale. 40% off!

Don’t hesitate!

Yes, it was good getting Athens federated early. And it’s nice that Rome and Carthage are engaged with each other, hopefully that’ll help keep both in check a bit while I continue to work in scaling up so I can take them on directly.

I’ve been checking out the comments on the Steam forum and this game is pretty universally loved and praised there. Everyone says the AI is especially good which is a rarity in a 4X. Slitherine is not my most favorite company but apparently this was developed by a very small dev and Slitherine is just the publisher.

I like to support small devs doing excellent work like this so I’m going to be buying it. It seems they haven’t had much in the way of marketing and not a lot of people know about the game. That has to have hurt their sales (along with the Slitherine pricing policy). I wouldn’t have known about it myself if this thread hadn’t caught my eye recently. Thanks to @easytarget for the great AARs to get me interested in this.

Glad my AARs caught your eye. I know they’re nothing spectacular, just wanted to give a flavor of what a typical campaign is like with an eye towards conveying that the AI and dynamic campaign map make this one rather special and worth checking out.

I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

Update from the Spartans:

Such are the fortunes of minor powers in the vicinity of aggressive larger ones, the Ardiaei are no more:

We’ve been at war with the Dacian Tribes to the north for some time, but nothing came of it other than the occasional naval engagement because we didn’t share a border, that however has now changed. The next victim to come under the sandal of the Spartans will be the Dacians (green border):

At the same time both Rome and the Spartans are completing mop up operations of the Odrysian Kingdom who can hopefully find some pride in becoming part of the growing Spartan Empire as the bulk of our expansion has been at their expense, assimilate or die. Here’s a larger map shot of the area showing Rome (orange), Dacian Empire (green), and the remainder of the Odrysian’s (blue):

Next is a shot of the political map as things currently stand. We’re at peace with the Ptolemaic Empire and Rome, which is eroding our diplomatic relations with Carthage, so we’re walking a fine line there. But it’s a necessary strategy because both Rome and the Ptolemaic Empire are at war with Carthage and helping to contain their expansion. If they ultimately declare on as a result it was worth it to get the other two to help keep them in check:

Last shot, you may have to click into and see if you can follow the link to get a bigger picture to see it properly, but I’ll describe it as well, it show our current status for all nations on military superiority, Carthage leads the way at 72%, Rome has recently jumped about 10 pts and are now w/in 1 point of Carthage which is a little concerning, and 3rd is Sparta at 51%.

Strategy for the next installment: continue to absorb the eastern part of the map, keep a watchful eye on Rome, and work to improve relations with Massilia who recently broke away from a confederation with Carthage as Sparta desperately needs to avoid having them sucked into the sphere of influence of Rome.

News from the front:

The Odryrisian Kingdom and Dacian Tribes are brought w/in the loving embrace of Sparta:

I suspect as a result of this expansion and feeling pressure on all sides from the likes of the Seleucid Empire, Pergamon and Bosporan Kingdom simultaneously Pontus (yellow on the diplomacy map below) offered Confederation and Sparta accepted:

As a result Sparta is now w/in a point of Carthage on military superiority and the neighbors once attacking Pontus offered peace which Sparta accepted in order to consolidate and improve existing infrastructure leading up to the next engagement which I suspect will be Rome, we’ll just see what develops diplomatically and perhaps play it opportunistically as events unfold:

So is this more of a beefed up Civ style 4x or more like a Paradox GSG? I am hoping it is more like Civ 4 so I can skip it as I just started to play Vicky 2 and having fun with it.

My take would be it’s more Civ 4 if Civ 4 focused primarily on war. I mean there’s diplomacy and city improvements to make use of but it’s in the service of conquering and not just to build a civilization and sit back. Because if you just sit back the other nations will expand and scale their ability to come after you and each other, and they will most assuredly come after you as the AI here is quite good. ;)

Spartan march towards hegemony continues…

Although not w/o the occasional set backs, our old Egyptian buddies the Ptolemaic Empire are back with their menacing navy, only this time they put troops on them and conducted an invasion of our home island as well (which is just rude):

I didn’t include a screenshot, but I brought forces down to rebuff at least the land invasion portion of this attack and it took only a couple years to take them out, the navy is still cruising around sinking my ships though.

On the eastern expansion front we’ve just about finished off the Bosporan Kingdom as the next shot shows, this will be finished up in a couple more years at which point we’ll likely turn Sparta’s eyes towards the Seculid Empire because otherwise they’ll simply threaten our newly federated lands we took by joining Pontus into our empire:

This next shot shows current areas in dark red of the current Spartan Empire, notice in the east the recently federated Pontus section!

Here is what will soon be the front lines with Rome, we’re at peace now, but that won’t last, Sparta is massing units on the line getting ready for the assault:

And finally, here’s the current diplomatic map showing Sparta in dark red:

Minor update from a bit more play time tonight: confederation formed with Massilia, started engagement with Rome who are now getting hit from all sides by Sparta, Carthage and Massilia. Finished off Bosporans so they’re no more, probably turn to Seculids next to complete east and leave Ptolemaics alone in the hopes they’ll attack Carthage.

How is your victory conditions’ percentages look like?
It seems like Ptolemaic empire is understanding the power of your federations and confederations and going after your capital. If you lose it, your reputation goes down quite considerably and your partners might revoke the partnership.
What is the game difficulty actually?

Hey, how goes it, been having a blast in my campaign.

I’ll take a look at victory percentages, I’m pretty sure I"m in like 2nd place behind Carthage on military superiority, havne’t looked at the others recently. Carthage at this point is who I’m mainly concerned about.

It hadn’t occurred to me the AI would be clever enough to go after my capital and hadn’t really given it much thought the ding it would put on me if it happened. Glad I got troops down there to repel their attack, in the future might consider leaving an army in the capital.

Believe I’m on normal still, that’s where I put it when I started these Sparta campaigns.

Thanks for posting these AARs @easytarget, they are a lot of fun and a nice motivator for me to load up the game and get rolling on my own campaign.

Good to hear they’ve been entertaining, I’ve certainly enjoyed the campaign. It was quite the challenge playing a smaller nation at the beginning among the giants of Carthage, Rome and the Ptolemaic Empire.

I think at this point barring some unforeseen circumstance I’ve got a handle on things, we shall see.

So, news update from the front:

The seculids assimilated the pargamon empire making for a decently large empire emerging in the east (pink):

This proved short lived though as almost immediately permagmon rebelled:

The war with Rome goes well (thanks in no small part to the fact Carthage and Massilia are attacking them at the same time), as you can see from the picture we’re pushing hard to roll them back up to the northern part of the starting boot of modern day Italy (encountering a tribe in the process):

Last, here’s a current diplomatic map show in dark red the Spartan expansion, we’re neck and neck on most categories for victory conditions with Carthage:

News from the front:

Massilia feeling the constant pressure from Rome began diplomatic discussions with Sparta which ultimately led to confederation which quickly led to federation.

Here’s a shot of the new territory Sparta picked up as a result, the green nation to the west is Gaelic Tribes which fortunately we were at peace with at the time:

From the Roman front in the east we continue to roll thru them, they put up stiff resistance though so regular infusions of armies front the interior of the empire are needed, this requires some planning because if it’s be done properly it requires a fair amount of time to recruit and especially to properly train them:

Here’s a shot showing the work of invading Italy effectively at an end until we make what is of course the inevitable decision to take on Carthage, as you can see they’ve been rolling up Rome from the other end as we’ve now met each other:

Last but not least here once again is the diplomatic map showing where things stand relative to the other nations in the known world. The deep purple of Carthage is menacingly large, but in pretty much every victory condition we’re neck and neck and in fact in military superiority Sparta is ahead.

Carthage could attempt a fast one diplomatically and attempt to confederate with seculids, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if they tried that. Sparta’s short term goals are not to take them on directly yet, we’ll work to finish off Rome and consider preemptively taking the Seculids out to preclude that possibility and by doing so help the Potelemiacs who we could then make diplomatic overtures to with an eye towards pulling them into the Spartan Empire as they’re no friends of Carthage.

+1 Thanks @easytarget

I know how much time these take to put up and I’ve enjoyed following them as well. I picked up the game in the Steam sale because of the conversation here and your chronicles. :)

looks very good, I am really curious if there will be a deaper alliance between Carthage and Seleucid:)
Btw. I noticed from the screenshots that you have “supply overlay” turned on. Is it the way you play all the time or it was just in the moment of taking screenshots?

Great to hear they’ve been useful and hopefully a little entertaining! Look forward to hearing how you get on with your first campaign.

Yeah, even though it’s not terribly attractive for screenshots I tend to play with supply overlay on because when you’re in an expansion mode trying to grab territory it really matters what the supply lines are looking like, as you well know the troops really take a hit if you leave them out of supply or even partially out of supply.

As for Carthage and Seculid getting together, I’m amassing armies in the east in the area I federated from Pontus that borders with them, probably only a few years away from starting an invasion, so if the two are going to get together they better get on with it or I plan to interfere with that plan!

My guess is if I left them to their own devices Carthage would seek them out because there simply aren’t that many open avenues to expansion and they’re at war with the other two choices: Rome and Ptolemaics.

Update from the front lines:

The race to conquer the remaining unaligned nations between Carthage and Sparta continues in earnest. Rome is being gobbled up (delayed by an interior rebellion by Romans in recently conquered cities that had to be quelled) from all sides and not much remains.

Carthage looms as the main threat still, they’ve continued expansion up thru Gaul and are slowly swallowing up the Iberia and Gallaeci Tribes. Both tribes made diplomatic overtures to Sparta, but it was seen as too little too late and were declined. If accepted it would have brought direct conflict with Carthage accelerating a confrontation Sparta is not quite ready to begin.

Current diplomatic map showing where everyone stands (deep purple Carthrage, deep reg Sparta, bright orange Rome:

Victory conditions are looking favorable for Sparta. We’ve pulled well ahead of them on military superiority (75% vs 55%), so it feels like we’ll have the armies needed to take it to them once consolidation of the Romans and Seculids (still plan to take them out) is concluded.

Economically Sparta is at 73% and Carthage 58%, so this empire is being built on guns and butter:

Further recent developments from the front:

At least one victory condition has been achieved between guns and butter, butter won first. Economic victory!

And in the same year the collapse of the Roman Empire was complete:

While a brief alliance was formed with the Ptolemaic Empire, ultimately as this screenshot of all that’s left of their empire reveals, there was simply not enough in it for Sparta and soon after agreeing to Brothers in Arms Sparta cancelled all treaties:

The idea behind the change in heart was to make one last effort towards the Seculids who had been slowly taking over the Ptolemiac Empire anyway, so why not break off all relations with the Ptolemaic Empire and see if diplomacy could win the Seculids over before resorting to a tip of the spear. Alas, it was not to be, and in the next shot we see the front lines form around their capital as the war between the Secluid and Spartan Empires commences in earnest:

Current status of the campaign: Carthage has become so expansive they’re now threatening a Victory Point decision, so very shortly the time will come for our two empires to meet on the battlefield and put to rest the question of who has what it takes to stamp their dominance on the map.

Well, assuming anyone in the audience is left standing, we’re in the final stretch with some fairly big developments in the campaign and a question at the end, so read on.

News from the front:

The expansion in the east at the Seculid empire expense continues at break neck speed, but there was a hiccup along the way, a civil war broke out and a decent size chunk of Sparta’s recently conquered territory reverted to its previous state as Pergamon.

Sparta not one to sit idly by and allow such insubordination quickly reconquered the area and brought it back under the sandal of Sparta:

Shortly thereafter the Germanic tribes Carthage had conquered got a similar idea and rebelled against them, opening up new territory for Sparta to race in and capture a portion of:

Over the next couple of years some portion of the tribes was captured by Sparta and the rest recaptured by Carthage. Sparta in the east completed the absorption of the Seculid empire (which gave them a Victory Point victory) w/o too much trouble and Carthage dealt a similar fate to the Ptolemaic empire. Which leaves us staring at the following diplomatic map (the purple monster vs the red monster):

Which brings us to the question I mentioned at the top, do you want to see Sparta and Carthage go at it?

Do we complete the painting of the map in blood red? Our armies await the order as can be seen in the last two screenshots. You decide.

Each one of these ships contains 1-2 armies and there are multiple ships on most of those squares

The border in modern day Europe with Sparta military units awaiting orders for the invasion:

Let me know, have you seen enough of this campaign or do we finish this and wipe Carthage off the map?