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Subject: Imperium Romanum II or Pax Romana? rss

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rod humble

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Pax Romana or Imperium Romanum II?

I am in the mood to solo something heavy and long set in the Ancient World. I own both of the above but am having a hard time deciding.

Anybody who has played both have any advice? This is going to be a game setup for a long time.

When soloing I like games which provide many choices (analyses paralysis is preferred here) and have enough military factors that it feels like a wargame.

As the time investment will be large I wanted to get second opinions before I dove in. Any advice appreciated.
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Steve Arthur
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I've played and enjoyed Pax Romana with a couple of pals via Vassal...can't speak to soloability but certainly found it a lot of fun...and it's definitely a wargame
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Enrico Viglino
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Own both, but haven't gotten to Pax yet (very excited).

IR II looks more like a wargame though - operational scale,
without a lot of abstraction. Play-wise, it can be kinda dull,
but none of the scenarios are monsters - most can be done in an
evening of solid play. There is no campaign game - it's just snapshots
of situations (usually civil wars - plus). Probably not too many hard
choices - you either want to advance along a route or not.

Pax Romanum looks to cover
the whole period of the conflicts between the major
Med powers, at a level not much more detailed than
say Sword of Rome.
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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I found IR II to be extremely dull (hey anybody wanna buy my copy?). I haven't really played Pax much (yet, I want to...) but what little I have, has been more interesting.
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rod humble

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Thanks all. Good advice. Pax it is for now. I am excited to dive in to a nice long campaign.
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Enrico Viglino
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wifwendell wrote:
I found IR II to be extremely dull (hey anybody wanna buy my copy?).


What's sad (to me) is that it doesn't LOOK like it will be from the rules.
But, the reality of campaigning only along the coast, along with
a design which doesn't really highlight the uncertainty of battles
ends up with the entire thing playing out as almost a forgone conclusion.

Still, it's been on my mind recently. Plus, the big multi-player scenarios
can turn interesting.
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Runs with scissors
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Couple thoughts about Pax Romana.

1) It is not designed to be a historical simulation. If you're looking for that you'll find that it is too abstracted.

2) In my opinion it is a civ building game, not a wargame. Battles are high risk, and having superiority doesn't guarantee a win. Generally fighting will take away resources used for empire building. I've seen people disappointed by the combat aspects.

3) It is card driven. Each player will hold cards, and that will dictate some of their strategy. Not knowing what cards other players are holding adds to the suspense.

Personally I find negotiation between the players to be an important part of the strategy. It plays well with 4 and to me it's a great game. It's just not what a lot of purchasers expect it to be. I'm not certain that I'd recommend it solo, but it's a lot of fun with multi-player.

There should be a reprint in the next year or so. New counters, and updated rules.

Personally, If I were going to solo one, it would be Imperium Romanum II.

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Tom Stearns
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I agree that part of the fun of PAX is the diplomacy. However it is not "card driven." There are cards that are drawn each players turn that either must be played immediately (event) or can be held in hand (combat card). My experience has been that the cards have only a minor effect on the game. The events are inconvenient. All sides are usually holding combat cards. I can see the comparison to a Civ game I guess, but for me I classify it as a wargame. Ive played solo and enjoyed it. Also playing with Steve (above) on Vassal. It tried to play IR II long ago when I had it and found it too cumbersome to play solo; and I play monster games like HttR and BfN solo.
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Edward Pundyk
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I have to counter some of the negativity directed at IR II. In my opinion, it is a great solitaire game. It covers operational level campaigns through a vast swath of Roman history from Marius to the fall of the West and beyond. It's true that some of those scenarios are unbalanced, but that increases its suitability as a solo exercise. I had a three year stretch in the early 90's where I played nothing but IR II solitaire. I played all 33 (or was it 35?) scenarios multiple times.

I can't compare it to Pax, because I've never played it, but I wouldn't dismiss IR II as a valid option.
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Eric Lai
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I've only played IR II, its only exciting IF you really know your Roman history, but if you do it is very entertaining because you'll have narrative.
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Lawrence Hung
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Yes, Imperium Romanum II reads like Gibbon's works with great narratives but dry. Pax Romana reads more interesting like Plutarch's works. The former is more grounded, earthly. The latter more strategic-looking, more calculating.
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rod humble

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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Yes, Imperium Romanum II reads like Gibbon's works with great narratives but dry. Pax Romana reads more interesting like Plutarch's works. The former is more grounded, earthly. The latter more strategic-looking, more calculating.


Both games could put that on the box

Thanks all, I am halfway through reading the Pax rules now so I think I will do that one first. IR2 will get some love later for sure though. I appreciate the feedback!
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Bruce Jurin
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I really like IR II but it is a refined taste, that is for sure. Of the games that I have played, it probably is the most 'master game' oriented; that is, you maneuver and maneuver and maneuver, and the game is often decided in a few big battles, indeed usually one big one just like RL. Problem is that it can be long with a long set-up.

Some scenarios that force the action (like Caesar's Civil War) are good because you have a great leader with fewer resources, so action is forced to be fast. For example, the Belisarius vs. Justinian scenario is neat. The most balanced scenario may be Constantine vs. Licinius.

By the nature of the maneuver game, for solitaire play, you should stick to the faster action scenarios, the maneuver forever stuff will be hard solitaire.

Having said that, it is ALWAYS recommended as an amazing way to learn Roman history! The detail is almost beyond belief.
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J

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Don't know anything about PR.
IR2... it has been so long I could not really make a worthwhile comment.

So I will make a post in reply that completely fails to answer the question you asked.

I might suggest looking at The Rise of the Roman Republic or Carthage: The First Punic War which are operational-strategic with a naval game and a detailed historical political background. A lot of analysis paralysis going on.

Personally interested in Epic of the Peloponnesian War but never quite enough to buy it yet.

I might also suggest the old game Barbarians which has a large scenario on the conquest of Dacia by Trajan. The BGG page has a blurb with the essentials, and maybe it will lead you to some other possibilities. A large but not rules-heavy game.

YMMV
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rod humble

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Thanks for the extra thoughts and suggestions. I have been eyeballing Carthage: The First Punic War for a while. I may get that at some point.

For this session you guys have helped me articulate better what it is I am looking for. When I was younger we played Imperial Governor & Strategos which was great but a little light, however it was very cool to see these big armies march around the med as each player commanded a separate power. At the same time I enjoyed Rise and Decline of the Third Reich.

I think what i am looking for is an Ancient Third Reich like game. Clearly a wargame but with diplomacy plus economic factors as well. I dont think that is actually Pax, but it looks fun anyway so I am giving it a go.

Anyways useful feedback thank you all.
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M St
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Quote:

I think what i am looking for is an Ancient Third Reich like game.

That sounds like IR II to me.

I'll add to those who think IR II is the way to go if you don't mind "heavy". If you know the basics of Roman history, there's no other way to explore a comparable amount of history in a single box.

I'd say the only real competition is what also used to be known as the "Ancient Wars" series (but really only covers the late republic and early empire): Trajan (or Trajan: Ancient Wars Series), Roman Civil War, Caesar in Gallia, Germania. These are extraordinarily evocative (some people hate the Ptolemaic maps, I loved them) and offer some very nice chrome in the combat systems - even if you use the abstract versions, you get a very nice feeling for the different types of troops and the tactics they support. But the scope is more limited: various Roman factions, Mithridates, Parthians, Gauls, Britons, Germans, Numidians. The 2004 edition, though titled "Trajan", offered all of the other four in a box plus additional counters (cover the Year of the Four Emperors, and Marcus Aurelius).

I was a playtester for Rise of the Roman Republic. At the time the system was not really able to capture the pace of warfare - Hannibal never managed to get to the southern part of Italy. The chitpulling looked nice but in the end muddled strategy up too much. Don't know if it has been improved for Carthage.
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Enrico Viglino
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[q="M St"]
Quote:



I'll add to those who think IR II is the way to go if you don't mind "heavy". If you know the basics of Roman history, there's no other way to explore a comparable amount of history in a single box.

.


For all the rules in IR II, I don't think I'd call it all that heavy.

I brought this to my non-wargaming group, and they were quite able to
play it (though some disliked it).
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Darrell Pavitt
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M St wrote:
Quote:

I think what i am looking for is an Ancient Third Reich like game.

That sounds like IR II to me.

I'll add to those who think IR II is the way to go if you don't mind "heavy". If you know the basics of Roman history, there's no other way to explore a comparable amount of history in a single box.

I'd say the only real competition is what also used to be known as the "Ancient Wars" series (but really only covers the late republic and early empire): Trajan (or Trajan: Ancient Wars Series), Roman Civil War, Caesar in Gallia, Germania. These are extraordinarily evocative (some people hate the Ptolemaic maps, I loved them) and offer some very nice chrome in the combat systems - even if you use the abstract versions, you get a very nice feeling for the different types of troops and the tactics they support. But the scope is more limited: various Roman factions, Mithridates, Parthians, Gauls, Britons, Germans, Numidians. The 2004 edition, though titled "Trajan", offered all of the other four in a box plus additional counters (cover the Year of the Four Emperors, and Marcus Aurelius).

I was a playtester for Rise of the Roman Republic. At the time the system was not really able to capture the pace of warfare - Hannibal never managed to get to the southern part of Italy. The chitpulling looked nice but in the end muddled strategy up too much. Don't know if it has been improved for Carthage.


I agree that Ancient wars is a good alternative, but I was disappointed by the so-called deluxe version, which was just a small counter sheet, some updated rules, one of the four original parts and a box.
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michael connor
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[q="M St"]
Quote:

(some people hate the Ptolemaic maps, I loved them)


Markus, why do you like those dreadful things?? It seems like fantasy gaming to me (not that there's anything wrong with that). I find that with a little modification, the Ancient Wars series can be played on the IRII map, thankfully saving is from the constant mental shocks from having to look at weird geographical distortions.
 
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