GWJ Strategy Club Game 4: Imperator Rome

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Hail Caesar! The fourth GWJ Strategy Club is Imperator: Rome which we'll be playing from March 1 - May 31, 2021.

Description: Imperator: Rome is the newest grand strategy title from Paradox Development Studio. Set in the tumultuous centuries from Alexander’s Successor Empires in the East to the foundation of the Roman Empire.

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This being a deep strategy game, I'm sure there will be a lot to learn. Looking forward to hearing everyone's tips, tricks and strategies.

If you're new to the club, please check out the main link here.

Oh. Having failed to play the previous Strategy Club games, I will try harder to play this, as I had already considered to play it due to the new patch.

Welcome back Shadout! I just bought this today and am looking forward into diving in.

I’m in for this one. I played a single game of it at launch (~20 hrs) and it seemed fine. Didn’t grab me like CK2 though. Looking forward to giving it a second chance, maybe with some different expectations this time.

I'm in for this. I've been interested in this game for a while, and this seems like a good opportunity to check it out.

I am 100 years in to an EU4 game - I will start on this when I am done with that in a couple of week.

Glad this one made the cut. I've had the Marius update and the Daidochi DLC staged in Steam for a couple of weeks and was almost counting on the group to pick this one

Now to decide which story I actually want to play out....

I'll be playing the base game to see if it gels with me. The setting is definitely one that intrigues me, so hopefully, I'll find enough time to properly learn and play.

So which factions besides Rome are good for beginners? I’ve just played Rome to death in other games and want to try either the British or Carthage, but not sure if those are newbie friendly.

I'm not sure the game *is* beginner friendly without the tutorial, which is set in Rome. But if I had to pick, I'd probably go with the tutorial first, then Egypt or Carthage. Either that or a really tiny kingdom that I could play with until it got gobbled up.

But do the tutorial. Lots of systems to learn about.

And I think that answers my question that it's a reasonable way to approach it to start with the Rome tutorial and just keep trucking with that once the tutorial phase ends.

Christ on a bike. 10 minutes in I remember why Paradox games are a big ask. The tutorial is a series of vague oblique hints about which buttons in the massively complicated UI to press.

And you can't have the instructions on what to press open at the same time as the window that has the button you need to press. :eyeroll:

EDIT: Yeah, I'm out. After an hour, I'm still none the wiser how the game works. Like I've learned how to do a handful of things, but no idea why I want to do those things, or how any of them affect all the other things. Life's too short for this.

Example: tutorial tells me to go kick a neighbors ass and leads me through the fabrication of a causus belli, BUT crucially, doesn't give me a clue about how to actually fight. I move my dudes there, but I genuinely have no idea if they're even fighting, or whom, let alone who's winning. Several years pass, as I watch units move around the map, still unsure who's actually fighting whom, if anyone.

Jonman wrote:

Christ on a bike. 10 minutes in I remember why Paradox games are a big ask. The tutorial is a series of vague oblique hints about which buttons in the massively complicated UI to press.

And you can't have the instructions on what to press open at the same time as the window that has the button you need to press. :eyeroll:

Came in here to post this. The tutorial is a joke
Tells you to press some buttons but never really why you should do such a thing. Kinda feels like it is made for people who played thousands of hours of other Paradox games, who just need a refresher on where things are in the new layout.

I guess watching guide videos on this is mandatory. Not unlike Stellaris.

These games really makes me appreciate the UI in Civ games.
So, early on in the tutorial I get more food for my province, or increase a population cap. Great. Absolutely no idea on how or when it affects the population.

Jonman, combat occurs when one stack occupies the same province as an enemy stack. Sieges happen when a stack stops in a province containing an enemy city or fortress. They proceed automatically and you will see a pop-up in the province that shows the two sides numbers changing. If you click on your force, you'll get a window that shows the battle in more detail. So you have to either move to an enemy city, or chase down an opposing army and land in the same province to fight.

Your allies and the enemy armies will move around on their own, so you use the flags to distinguish them from each other. If you flip through the map modes, you'll find that the Political and Diplomatic modes are useful to show occupied territories on both sides. They have stripes to indicate who is occupying the captured territories, and you can free or occupy them by moving on to them and waiting until the (short, nominal) process is complete. To win a war, you have to occupy most of the country's territory and capture their cities. You get some credit for defeating armies in the field, but it's capturing territory and cities that really wins wars, by cutting off logistical support for the enemy.

Shadout, the province screens show you tons of detail about the provinces, including whether or not they are short on food. Provinces consume food at a given rate based on population and other factors, and then beyond that they stockpile surpluses for emergencies (usually a few years worth). First you want to make sure they have a surplus, but if they don't, then starvation may set in if the food supply drops. In this instance, the tutorial is trying to show you what to do when that happens, because you'll get a warning.

Definitely take a look at some videos if you are bouncing. This is not a "build a building and slide units around" strategy game like Civ. This is a "manage the economy, politics, diplomacy, armies, navies, population, tech" and more game, and it certainly will take tens of hours to get familiar if you have never played a Paradox game. No one should go into this thinking that an hour or 10 hours of play will get you from a cold start to expertise. What you should do is work to understand the menus, the displays and the way things interact, and then you can start thinking in terms of "Okay, I need to expand, so who is weakest near me? Who are their allies? How hard can they fight back? Who are my allies? Which leaders should be in charge of my armies (initially in Rome it will be the governors of the regions from which they are raised). Do I have enough money to withstand the tax hit from a short war, or a long one? Can I call an Augury to assist with bonuses?" and other considerations. This is not strategy-lite (Civ, looking at you, you pretty thing...). This is strategy for people who are into the big picture AND the details.

It is not simple, so don't go into it with that mindset. Ask questions, use the videos, put the building blocks together until you see the actual building you want emerging from the pieces. Those of us who are further along will be happy to mentor. The journey is worth it (and will buy you much easier entry into other Paradox games).

Maybe we should have a weekend Discord session with a multi-player game to allow folks to ask questions and work things out in realtime, with voice and all? I'm up for it, home situation permitting, and we could probably talk TBoon and some others into it... Or I could a sort of walkthrough of the systems like I used to do for other games, back in the day...

Appreciate the attempted help, Ro, but I'm SO done, I've got zero interest in wading through the wall of text to try to get the nugget of enjoyment. I've confirmed my virulent allergy to Paradox's design aesthetic.

No, I get it, it's not for everyone. Just here if anyone wants to dive in and feels like they could use help from a person rather than a video.

FYI all I’ve changed the deadline to May 31 as we may need that extra time. I won’t have much time to dig in this week but hopefully can check it out over the weekend.

Jonman wrote:

Christ on a bike. 10 minutes in I remember why Paradox games are a big ask. The tutorial is a series of vague oblique hints about which buttons in the massively complicated UI to press.

Japp... I almost jumped on this game when it was for sale on a humble bumble. Checked the game, saw it was for Paradox and I realized paradox and me just don't click. I tried EU2, I tried CK II, but just no...

Robear wrote:

No, I get it, it's not for everyone. Just here if anyone wants to dive in and feels like they could use help from a person rather than a video.

it's a game I want to love, but the price of admission is way too high. I'm not willing to be frustrated and pissed off for 10+ hours to get to that point, particularly as gaming time is a resource in short supply for me right now.

It feels like an incredible novel written in a language I don't speak. Like, sure, it sounds great, but I ain't learning Tibetan just to read it.

Stellaris is the only Paradox game that hasn't felt precisely like this. That felt like it had a much smoother onramp/tutorial. Perhaps because it follows more of a Civ method of drip-feeding complexity as the tech tree expands, rather than the CK/EU model of giving you the entire world and toolbox from the get-go.

I've only ever played Rome in Imperator so I knew I wanted to start off as 'not Rome'. Decided to go with Egypt as an opportunity to try out 2.0 and the Daidochi DLC for flavor

Actually... And you won't like this, Jonman... The Rome tutorial *does* set you up with less complex stuff first. It gets more complicated as the families, laws, technologies, resources, pops and diplomacy start churning...

I think Paradox have stopped doing click by click tutorials because they change the UI and systems so often they spend too much time updating the tutorials. The CK2 tutorial was completely broken by the time I tried to do it and had to use YouTube instead.

Instead they have tooltips on the tutorial action that tells you broadly how to do whatever but it still requires external knowledge or trial and error to get there. Their Clausewitz games have a lot of common UI and design tropes so if you've learned one you find the others easier since it's more of a case of finding the thing you know exists.

I'm in, although I probably won't be able to get to it until this weekend at the earliest.

How does the complexity or learning curve of Imperator compare to, say, EU4? I put about 70 hours into EU4, mostly just playing and replaying as the Ottomans as I got more familiar with the systems, so I have a general idea of how to deal with all of Paradox's menus. I'm still probably going to watch a let's play just to make sure I sort of get what's going on before I fire it up. And it looks like there's already some let's plays out there with of the 2.0 update, so that's nice.

Robear wrote:

Shadout, the province screens show you tons of detail about the provinces, including whether or not they are short on food. Provinces consume food at a given rate based on population and other factors, and then beyond that they stockpile surpluses for emergencies (usually a few years worth). First you want to make sure they have a surplus, but if they don't, then starvation may set in if the food supply drops. In this instance, the tutorial is trying to show you what to do when that happens, because you'll get a warning.

If you do what the tutorial asks you to do, I dont think you get a food warning. So I'd still say it does not really explain much about what affects what.

But, food does not influence population growth then?

"Guide for total beginners". I guess it fits. Sadly not for 2.0.

Food does increase pop growth, at least some types of food. Take a look at the trade goods and their effects in the trading window. Technologies and governor focus also affect it, and there are random events that can knock it up and down.

I was trying to go by memory of what the tutorial had, and remembered someone asking what to do about a lack of food in a territory grabbed from Etrusca (iirc). That produced some kind of warning. Forgive me if that was not in the tutorial.

Oh, and make sure your tutorial videos reference “Marius” or “2.0”.

Robear wrote:

Maybe we should have a weekend Discord session with a multi-player game to allow folks to ask questions and work things out in realtime, with voice and all? I'm up for it, home situation permitting, and we could probably talk TBoon and some others into it... Or I could a sort of walkthrough of the systems like I used to do for other games, back in the day...

If there's interest from others and you are able, I'd certainly enjoy a weekend Discord session for newbie tips. I'm UK-based so I'd be able to join a daytime session.

Okay... We'll see who else is interested.

BTW, don't bother rushing Legion tech until you have several hundred monies, at least, to drop on it. Don't ask how I know.

I unlocked Legion a little while ago in my "tutorial" game. Heh, that is a gold sink. Bought one for fun, spent hundreds of money on it, and disbanded it after the war was over. On top of the cost, it also didn't seem particularly strong in combat vs levies :S

You are not supposed to disband it! lol You just pay a bit per month to keep it going.

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