Imperator: Rome

I’m a total novice at I:R and I’ve been playing it obsessively since 2.0 came out. I have trouble with Paradox games and usually my ADD brain meanders while I try to learn their mechanics.

There is something about the new UI and art style that has dragged me in. I purchased the game right after it came out, but it simply didn’t capture my attention then. I’m about 10 hours into a Rome campaign and I used a youtube series and played along with the guy to learn the game. After the 3rd episode I felt like I understood the game enough and have pressed on.

This is a helluva fun game, and the best thing is, I feel like I might be able to finally pick up how to play EU4.

There is actually no reason to think you are alone with this. Paradox games tend to be weird number simulation spread sheet baskets, but Imperator Rome is a particularly hefty one on this (my first impression as a long-standing EUIV player). It does take grind to get into this sort of games when Paradox prides itself on the multiple mechanics it layers on (or better said alongside) one another. This may create a sort of complexity that on the one hand might let stories emerge but on the other hand is difficult to get into (which is why I much prefer Hegemony III for it’s relatively simple, but deep gameplay).

At this point I think the basic mechanics of EU4 are all simpler than Imperator. Sure, EU4 has accumulated more mechanics over the years, but a lot of them aren’t really critical and can be learned as you go.

Thanks so much for your write up. I’m now re-inspired.

Much like @MrGrumpy, I watched the what’s new videos and fired up IR last week. I went with Thrace, and despite 100+ hours in previous IR. I bounced completely, after spending a 20 minutes trying to figure out how to add a commander to a legion.

One thing did surprise me, I didnt see tutorial option. I’m pretty sure they use to have one. Now maybe it was because I selected hard. I’ll probably go back to Macedonia at regular. This weekend because I’m impatient and burned out on existing games.

Thanks! That’s really encouraging. Paradox games have been tough for me to get into. Thankfully I:R finally broke down that barrier.

Those things that give your capital modifiers really add a flavor to the world. My concern is that this system is somewhat too similar to Missions. In general the game suffers from mechanics bloat. Like you have national ideas, and at some point those were the only things that differentiated nations apart from government system. But now you have patron dieties, missions, research, military traditions (that have immideate effects too) and all of those have depth and variety while national ideas are just tame bonuses.

Yep. They remade the UI completely and made a lot of stuff inconsistent. Province fort limit is one of the biggest money drains now, and where do you find it? Not in anything regarding province, but in tactical view of a territory inside said province. Tooltips are supposed to be locked a la CK3 but they often don’t stay on the screen when you hover over them (like decision descriptions). Your clicks inside tooltips often hit map under the UI. It’s not clear what you can click inside of the tooltip. A lot of buttons are in random places, like government interactions or ruler popularity boost.

Very encouraging to hear! I kinda bounced off of EU4 because of the density, but I:R has a much more compelling theme for me so very encouraging to hear that it can be enjoyed without already being a Paradox expert. I’m the type that would rather convert EU4 to something like Middle Earth/GoT. I really only enjoy early history otherwise, which is why I:R showing up in a Humble monthly was pretty handy…

Which Let’s Play did you end up following?

A youtuber named Praetorian HiJynx. ModredViking also has a good series going. I got to a point where I felt like I had a good grasp of the game and stopped following along, but I have watched a few other videos and youtubers becuase I want to try another nation like The Antigonids in my next play through.

While I don’t sleep much normally, I’m getting even less currently so that is a likely contributor (there’s a limit to the brain fog that caffeine can eliminate it turns out.)

This is a good point. There are lots of decisions to make before even unpausing. :)

National Ideas have been lame since release. You literally just set them at game start for some okay bonuses(seems like there is one clear winner per idea category at game start) and then maybe remember once or twice per game to go back and swap them out once you’ve unlocked the later ideas. Of course, there is no notification or anything when you do unlock them so this is very much a thing you have to remember to do.

At this point I hope they either throw them away or find a way to tie them into their other systems. Have inventions unlock a powerful idea or have powerful ideas unlock from the end of a mission tree. It would still just be more modifiers, but modifiers are kind of one of the big things Paradox games boil down to and I’d hate for them to streamline away too many of the places those can come from, but I do at least want them to be somewhat interesting.

I have such a hard time analyzing Paradox games. They don’t really have a design as much as a framework. The actual design changes as they patch the game, and can even be extremely different based on the nation you’re playing. The notion of letting time pass quickly until something interesting happens also makes them really hard to judge. Which decisions are you making? What are your choices? Are there many viable choices? It almost doesn’t matter – it’s all very experiential.

The point is, on release you didn’t have dozens of other bonuses from heritages, dieties, wonders, missions etc. So countries differed by a very few things like those national ideas. It was fine on release cause it was supposed to be a wargame with characters and pops, not an inderect control world simulation. Nowadays countries are defined by a lots of stuff, and most of it is complex and ties into other things, like dieties depend on the state of their temples and population religion and you get new ones from missions and so on.

Now ideas are one of the few reminders that this was a completely different game some time ago.

Edit: never mind on integration, figured it out. Doh.
Click on citizen or noble to integrate them and then over time they become accepted (so in the Scythian example below, they’re currently at freeman. Selecting Noble or Citizen offers more info on the ramifications of integrating a culture.)

So I decided to actually start a game as Bosporan Kingdom (imo a good starter country, plus access to horse archers or at least it use to. ) But I’m struggling to figure out some things and the UI isn’t’ helping.

Levies: I understand these are raised by province based on integrated populations but problem is I don’t know how to accomplish that (integration I assume <> assimilation).

When I go to see available levies it only shows one province (BK starts with 2 and the king is the governor of both. The second province is recently conquered former tribal lands, which may well be the reason but I even if that’s the case I can’t find any kind of in-game info to remedy the situation.)

Here’s the culture screen with Scythian decisions and the change rights options selected.

And the military screen.

The other issue is office holder effectiveness is based on statesmanship. Is there some way of seeing that stat? Or does it just rise naturally over time (or through event I suppose)?


It’s still unclear to me if they truly need to be integrated pops, or just a culture that allows freemen or above. You would start proper integration by giving them civic rights of either Citizen or Noble and then that causes issues until fully integrated. This is obviously pretty opaque for both of us, and I find that even with all the UX emphasis in 2.0, the new features are rather lacking in good UX. I hope they address this.

As for only being able to raise one levy, levies are at the territory unit above province, whatever the area is for a single governorship(region?). Since both of your provinces have the same governor, that would tell me they are both in the same region and therefore you’ll only get one levy army.

Statesmanship is now found in the divider between the top and bottom of the character view. It will rise based on actually holding offices.

Let us know how your Bosporan Kingdom game goes! I haven’t gotten around to giving them a proper try yet, but they might be my next campaign whenever the next hotfix patch lands.

Thanks for pointing out where the stateman stat is, dunno how I missed that. :/ (Everyone starts low turns out.)

You’re right on integrated culture as well as to why there’s only one province showing. I gained a territory through a mission which didn’t have any integrated cultures but gained an additional levy.

Just started the BK campaign - finally unpaused lol. ( I decided to take the oratory census tech which added enough freeman to increase my levies, including a mule, yay. Pondered if I should beeline to legions, but figured getting them before I could pay the upkeep seemed unwise).

Typical opening strategy for me w/ BK is to ally one of the tribes to the north and then annex the nearby Greek republics (same culture/religion). I decided to ally the Samaritans. I also mistakenly delayed by about a month on fabricating a claim. In that one month my Samaritan allies declared war on every tribe bordering them in succession, leaving me no time to pursue my own claim. On the one hand, I acquired slaves, cash (enough to get some decent buildings up in my capitol) and two territories for my capitol province. OTOH, after using me to help them in their conquests, I get a warning that the Samaritans are going to attack me or an ally (lol, acting like most humans do.) Thanks Sarmatia. 👍

Seems like the Samaritans are not really living up to their reputation, are they?


Yeah, I deserved that. =)

It’s the one big criticism I have of the EU-style gameplay that is the Paradox hallmark; they can very easily devolve into being games where you’re waiting for something interesting to happen, rather than games about taking interesting decisions. It’s why a rich event tree is so crucial to making these games interesting.

Levies sure are weird - after taking a province from Scythia I got archers and horse arches (yay). I then took one Greek territory - and the levy reverted to mostly light infantry, a few light and one heavy cav. :/ I also thought I had to go all the way down the military tech tree for legions, but the Royal Guard law allows you to raise a standing army too. At least now I have a small HA army. (I decided on taking the Persian military trad. tree for the horse archer buffs, it’s cool that’s an option now)

I really like the military tradition changes. One thing to note is that the royal guard penalty to levy size means you’re best bet now is to build up the capital province as much as possible to maximize the size of your lone legion.