Monday, October 09, 2006


I was the Grand sovereign Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. My holdings stretched along the southern coast of the sea, past the pyramids and the shores of Tripoli.

The Straight of Gibraltar was sealed in the West by my fleet of Dhows and Galleys. The Bosphorus was blocked by my occupation of Constantinople in the East.

My wicked Janissaries had overrun the sad Spanish defenses of Queen Isabella's ancestors. I was perched upon the high Pyranese at one end of the known world, and stood astride the Danube at the other.

I had been here before, in other lands, on other continents. I was surveying my opposition, taking stock of my forces, and tweaking the production output of my hinterlands. The politics and supply-lines were secure. The rebels were under foot. It was time to muster and attack. All that stood between me and world domination were the English, the Germans and the Pope.

Allah was with me. It was time.

I right-clicked the mouse...

Medieval: Total War, released in 2002 was perhaps the greatest comprehensive computerized strategy game ever created. Second in a series of three, it followed 2000's Shogun: Total war, and preceded 2004's less-enthralling Rome: Total War.

The series blends strategy with tactical command, and intertwines them with politics, religion and economy. Entire nights and weekends have been lost to these all-consuming conquests. That is, until the release of Rome.

Following in the footsteps of Medieval, Rome rode a wave of frenzied anticipation in the geekosphere. Once released, though, it was found to be too linear, and have more style than substance. It was still fun though, and better than most of the crap that's out there.

Blogging has put a damper on all things game-related, and fatherhood hasn't helped either. In the past week or so, though, I have begun to watch the HBO series, "Rome," with it's flashy fighting and fleshy debauchery, the old soundtrack of Rome: Total War has been rattling around in my head.

Then, tonight, I caught the spectacular series on Roman engineering on the History Channel. Whoa boy, that put me over the top. Rome is now now out of the closet and sitting on my desk. I bet it would look awfully pretty running on my new PC... Ooh... Look at the horsies..


  1. Oh, by the way, it says: "That's nothing, in a previous life I was a Roman Emperor."

  2. I enjoyed Ages of Empires II.

    We would play networked with my brothers and kids.

    It was a blast.

    AoE III had better graphics, but was not as much fun.

  3. Brother John was a master AoE II. He could desimate Inog and I in short order. But we were also very drunk most of the time and concentrated more on annoying our brother John than actually trying to conquer. I remember one episode when John had hundreds of Teutonic Knights slowly death marching over the landscape. He had killed Inog and desimated my entire civilization except for one Cavalry Archer. I would not surrender. I remember him cursing because he couldn't catch my last archer. I am an ass.

  4. I like AoE, but I particularly enjoyed Age of Mythology.

    I am a big fan of the Blizzard strategy games. Many a long long night were spent playing Starcraft. In fact, when I went back to Illinois to visit my best friend, we reverted immediately back to our "up until 5am finishing up a long slog of a campaign" tradition. And then there was Diablo II. Don't even get me started on Diablo II. I never quite got into Warcraft III though.

    I will have to check out this game you mention.

    Wait a minute. On second thought, given my overwhelming class load, my overfilled social schedule, and my kids who have the nerve to want their mother to actually play with them once in awhile... I'll stay far far away from this one. lol

  5. I have to admit to hours of starcraft and heros while I was melingering from a serious car accident. Just kidding state farm, but thanks for the money.

  6. And might I add, I really really like the Rome series. It was executive-produced by John Milius who directed Conan the Barbarian, co-wrote Apocalypse Now and is a gun-carrying looney. My dad naturally loves him.

  7. My new favorite video game is my kids' Lego Star Wars II. Its all juvenile comedy. Just one step above fart jokes. Wait . . . there is a stormtrooper fart joke in the game.

    As for more TV, I can not keep up with my DVR on all the saved Daily Show with John Stewart and Cobert Report. No room for Rome.

  8. Make room in the TiVo for Rome - Its BSG for the History-Channel Geek Set. Its historically accurate, well acted and as Brian points out in the main blog, synchronizes nicely with other shows out there.

    That Engineering of Rome thing was awesome - Its pretty amazing that the Romans were doing things that were lost through the Dark Ages, that society didn't pick back up for another 300 - 400 years!

  9. like, running water for example

  10. The Romans failed to beat the Welsh. Thats what Wales means in Roman - unbeatable.

    The English of course were easily overtaken - pussies

  11. Anonymous3:02 PM

    And yet the Romans built fortresses in what is now modern Wales.

    And, I'm not sure you can rightly call the English pussies for lacking the tactical advantage of fleeing into the mountains when invaders arrived.

  12. Well, we did let them in eventually.
    The Celts were unable to prevent inter tribal warfare.Our seeming lack of political unity, despite our fierceness in battle, ultimately led to our defeat and subjugation by the much better disciplined, and certainly much-better armed legions of Rome.

    It was either that or the Romans looked hot in skirts...

  13. That, and the Welsh are confounded by shiiiiiiiiiny things. ;-)

  14. Oy!
    Stop Welsh bashing, Cali boy..


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