One more such victory…

So, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve gone back to basics with the Imperium design, in order to see the game through to completion within a more reasonable timeframe. One of the consequences of this decision has been that I’ve needed to go back to the base classes of the game engine and trim out some unnecessarily complicating features – which again has led to the graphical user interface needing rework. This is one reason why I haven’t yet managed to get up any screenshots of the game yet. Another is that I have to figure out what to do with the graphics; the current programmer art is really ugly – even compared to the old stuff I used.

One of the things which is taking a little time is to rebuild the scenario content; which I basically have to redo from scratch. For example, compared to the old version map (here south Italy), the new map of Italy consists of just seven regions: Etruria, Picenum, Latium, Samnium, Campania, Lucania and Apulia.

My test scenario is still the invasion of Pyrrhus of Epirus; a “historic” play sequence for that campaign on a two turns per year basis (I’m still debating one or two turns per year) might be something along the lines of (liberties taken with history to allow the game mechanics to work):

  • Pyrrhus starts with his army in Tarentum (Apulia) – 3 cavalry units, 5 infantry, and 1 of elephants.
  • Spring 280: Pyrrhus moves to besiege Rhegium (Lucania), Romans move from Campania to Rhegium with 7 Legions and get soundly beaten by Pyrrhus (Battle of Heraclea). Lucania is captured.
  • Autumn 280: Pyrrhus recruits troops..
  • Spring 279: Pyrrhus moves into Samnium. Romans rebuild their army. In Sicily, the Syracusean army is defeated by Carthage. Syracuse is placed under siege.
  • Autumn 279: Pyrrhus makes overtures to the Samnites. Romans advance into Samnium and are defeated again (Battle of Asculum). Samnites revolt against Rome as a result of Pyrrhic diplomacy.
  • Spring 278: Syracuse approaches Pyrrhus to submit rather than surrender to Carthage. Pyrrhus accepts and transfers his army to Tarentum.
  • Autumn 278: Using the fleet in Tarentum (used to transport his troops from Epirus), Pyrrhus sails to Syracuse (East Sicily). The Carthaginians besieging the city lift the siege and retreat.
  • Spring 277: Pyrrhus picks up the Sicilian garrison and moves against Lilybaeum (West Sicily). Carthaginian army is defeated. Lilybaeum is placed under siege.
  • Autumn 277: Pyrrhus captures West Sicilia (historically, Lilybaeum didn’t fall though).
  • Spring 276: Pyrrhus leaves a garrison and returns to East Sicily. Negotiations are opened with Carthage to end war. Pyrrhus wants West Sicily.
  • Autumn 276: Carthage refuses. Pyrrhus levies money from East Sicily to fund his army. Helenus is made governor of the Epirote province of Sicily.
  • Spring 275: In Italy, the Romans have recovered the situation – retaking Samnium and Lucania. Pyrrhus transfers his army to Tarentum. Carthaginians return to West Sicily with a major invasion force from Carthage.
  • Autumn 275: Pyrrhus moves against Campania and clashes with the Roman army in the Battle of Beneventum. Both sides suffer heavy losses. Lilybaeum falls back into Carthaginian control.
  • Spring 274: Pyrrhus’s army is decimated, and he controls only Syracuse (East Sicily) and Tarentum (Apulia); neither a source of good troops. In order to be able to recruit some more troops, Pyrrhus returns to Epirus.

Historically, that would be the end of the scenario… Pyrrhus got distracted in trying to conquor Macedonia, and eventually met his end two years later in a “siege” at Argos (he was a busy man). A few years after his death, his western Empire was lost – in game terms, Sicily revolted, and the Romans besieged and conquored Tarentum. The Epirote kingdom chooses to make peace with Rome and Sicily in order to boost its stability (severely damaged by reverses in Macedonia and the death of Pyrrhus).
Despite the compressed turns, it seems to me that the game would actually succeed fairly well in reflecting history at this scale – assuming, of course, player’s (and AI) choose to take historical actions. Obviously, the game can easily deviate into “realistic” what-ifs… perhaps the Syracuseans are successful in defeating Carthage, and thus do not need Pyrrhus’s help; or Pyrrhus may choose to pursue a campaign of conquest in Italy leaving Sicily to fend for itself. History is your sandbox… well, at least if development progresses in the directions I hope to make it go. 🙂