second chance games

Search This Website of delight

 Against The Odds: A Journal of History and Simulation Rome, Inc. Issue #53  Against The Odds magazine has had a great history so far as the...

Against The Odds: A Journal of History and Simulation, Rome, Inc. Issue 53 Against The Odds: A Journal of History and Simulation, Rome, Inc. Issue 53

Against The Odds: A Journal of History and Simulation, Rome, Inc. Issue 53

Against The Odds: A Journal of History and Simulation, Rome, Inc. Issue 53

 Against The Odds: A Journal of History and Simulation

Rome, Inc. Issue #53

 Against The Odds magazine has had a great history so far as the games that have come with the magazine, despite the fact that many wargamers slightly hold their noses up at 'magazine wargames'. Basically, if it didn't come in a three inch box it wasn't really a wargame.  Some of my greatest memories have come from playing magazine wargames, a few of them from games that came from ATO. Unfortunately, a lot of gamers look at wargaming magazines as teens look at Playboy magazine. They rip open the plastic just to find the game inside. A little like emptying the box of Cracker Jacks to find the prize. The articles that come with the magazines are just as important, if not more so, than the game inside. Yes, we are wargamers, but we were history nuts long before we found our first wargame (unless you were lucky enough to have a wargamer in the family). Here is a list of the written pieces that come in this issue:

The Whiff  of Grapeshot: This touches on the sweeping history of the issue's contents. This one also has a touching farewell to David W. Tschanz, a long time wargamer and contributing author. He also was a former editor of 'Cry Havoc'. Even while battling cancer he made sure to contribute an article on Marius's Mules.

Order of Appearance - Information on upcoming issues

Rome, Inc: The Roman Empire from Augustus to Diocletian, 27BCE - 286CE

 The Republic

 Julian Emperors

 Claudian Emperors

 Flavian Emperors

 Adoptive Emperors

 Antonine Emperors

 Severan Emperors

 Barracks Emperors

 Illyrian Emperors

 Appendix 1: Incorporating Rome

 Appendix 2: Bread & Circuses


The above are all from the pen of Philip Jelley

On Guards : Who Guards the Praetorian Guards? - Philip Jelley

Gaius Marius and the Reform of the Roman Legion - David W, Tschanz

And the Data Shows:

  Good Pop, Bad Pop - This is Mostly About Some of the  Egyptian Pharaohs and Then Goes Into Louis XI, and Louis XIV of France - Ed Heinsman

Simulation Corner:

 War on the Installment Plan - This is About Resources/Money in Games - John Prados

The Fifth Columnist:

 In-Depth Book Reviews From Behind the Lines - John D, Burtt

So, you can see that there is a ton of history to read about between the covers of Issue #53. It is amazing at times the amount of nuggets that one finds in articles like these.

 The game that comes in this issue is Rome, Inc. This is a solitaire game that places the player as the CEO of the Roman Empire. Your job is to see the Empire through all of the tumults that can possibly happen during those years. Many times the threat to your plans will come from inside the Empire, and not from barbarians without. A good number of the Roman Emperors did not die in bed. You are sometimes stuck with an Emperor that you would probably like to get assassinated ASAP. This is what comes with the game:

Map - One full color 22" x 34" mapsheet

Counters - 280 full color 1/2" die-cut pieces

Rules length - 12 pages

Charts and tables - 2 pages

Complexity - Medium

Playing time - From 3 to 4 hours per scenario

How challenging is it solitaire? - Excellent

Design - Philip Jelley

Development - Dave Boe

Graphic Design - Mark Mahaffey

 This is one of ATO's blurbs about the game:

"You decide where to allocate resources (capital spending), raise new forces (hiring), undertake prestige projects (public relations), pleasing the mob (shareholders), or even setting aside a reserve for a rainy decade or two. You’ll need to blend military expansion with careful administration, as well as intrigue, making the most of what you have each turn, just like any modern-day business.

ROME, INC. will give you a new perception of how war is a cost, business is a benefit, and empire is somewhere in between. It’s up to you to find a balance."

 So, a solitaire game on a period of history that I am all too familiar with. Not by my own choosing, probably eighty percent of the books written about Rome are in the Empire period. I much prefer the Republican Era, but it is not like I am adrift here. I have a liking for a few of the Emperors. One of my favorites was a Thracian named Maximinus Thrax. He was a giant of a man that was the first Emperor to not be of the ruling classes. In fact, he was a lowly soldier that worked his way to the top. I also know that having an Emperor with a 'C' starting your name was not a good thing. Hence, Caracalla, Commodus, and Caligula (I know it is not his real name, in fact it means 'little boots', but everyone knows him by it). You also get to deal with some 'baddies' (from the Roman point of view). Queen Zenobia, who was a much greater threat to Rome than Cleopatra was. She actually conquered a good amount of Roman territory. She is hardly known about at all, compared to Cleo. 

 As the game states, "The player, a CEO of this vast corporate empire, appoints consuls and governors, raises taxes, deploys legions, fleets, and auxiliaries to garrison provinces, and fights wars to expand the prestige and power of Rome." I would add, to also try and keep the Empire alive. However bad the 3rd century was for Rome, the 4th was much worse. So, the player gets a break in only having to last until Diocletian. The game goes from the first Emperor Octavian (the other name will not be mentioned), to the emperor Diocletian.  With murder, and mayhem galore for roughly 300 years. My favorite Emperor story is Octavian wandering about the palace beating his head on the walls shouting "Quintili Vare, legiones redde ( Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions).

 One thing about the game that you need to know is that it is a 'big' game. 'Big' in the fact that there is a lot to do, not in space. Myself, and others, have been amazed when we opened the rulebook, and saw what we had bought into. I had really assumed that it would be close to a beer and pretzel game than the simulation it turned out to be. If you are not looking for an in depth simulation of the period, then look somewhere else. I would liken it to any other deep empire building game, which instead of building an empire, you try and keep this one off life support. I would say remember what Kenny Rogers said "know when to hold them, know when to fold them",  keep an eye out for the next great Emperor, and then try and keep him alive as long as possible.

 The game/simulation shows exactly how tough it was to keep the Empire in statis, let alone to try and conquer more territory. You do not want to roam about your house like Octavian. 

  The game is very deep, and dare I say, excellent. It shows you in an extremely small footprint the history of Rome in the first three centuries. Naturally, after the beginning setups in each scenario it becomes the history of your Rome. You will, however, feel all of the pressures that were put on the empire at different times. The scenarios are:

27 BCE Scenario

70 CE Scenario

138 CE Scenario

222 CE Scenario

Any of these may be combined into campaign games.

 The magazine articles are top notch, and they only lend to the player's feeling that "he has chosen well". Thank you, Against The Odds Magazine, for allowing me to take this issue's game for a spin. Thank you also for all of the deep history of the Roman Empire that you have crammed into your magazine.


Against The Odds Magazine

Against the Odds (

Against The Odds Magazine Issue #53

Against the Odds (