Breydel’s Roman Guide


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Breydel’s Roman Guide

By Breydel

 

Introduction

Rome has a very strong tool age thanks to their cheaper buildings and half-prized towers. In addition both camels and respectable archers are not available in bronze so it isn’t hard to understand why most players prefer to use Rome offensively in tool.
If you decide to toolrush your opponent that’s probably the best thing to do and I won’t argue about it, but that’s not what this guide is about. My guide shows you how to hit the enemy really hard in early bronze with lots of swordsmen. So hard that you can even make a Hittite opponent shiver in his own precious bronze age. But first let me tell you why Rome is my favorite civ and why I like using this strategy the most.

Why Rome?

Ever since I played my first game back in December 1997, the fully upgraded range 12 helepolis is my favorite unit. A group of these powerhorses simply mows down everything within range. Add half a dozen of range 15 hcats in front of them and you’ve got yourselves the most damaging combination possible. Since only Greek and Minoa had that combo in AoE the choice was quickly made, Minoa was my favorite civ for almost a year.
With the release of RoR two more hele civs came onto the battlefield, Carthage and Rome. While Carthage is quite an unorthodox one (no cats at all but 750 HP eles and 200 HP cents instead), Rome definitely takes pole position in hele civ rankings. They have the same siege units and siege tech tree as Minoa and Greece (except for alchemy which in this case is more a loss of fancy graphics than power IMO), plus they get the fully upgraded scythe chariot, a fast hand-to-hand unit that doesn’t cost any gold. The scythe chariot is the perfect accompanying unit for our already powerful siege combo. If it wasn’t for the Hittite or Sumerian hcat bonus then Rome would definitely dominate post-iron warfare.

Why this strategy?

There was only one thing blocking my path to all that Roman glory: bronze age. While Minoa had it’s powerful horde of composite bowmen, Rome didn’t have anything to offer in bronze. No CA’s, no compies, no camels, no… no nothing.
I first tried massed chariot armies in Bronze, which seemed to be the obvious choice, but they die so fast to camel/archer combinations that it isn’t a pretty sight. Next I tried to wall in, tower up and iron boom but that’s quite lame towards your allies since they play 2vs3 for a while. Then I tried various tool rush combinations. I must say I was among the worse tool rushers in the early RoR days and it either was a win or loose strategy for me. Most of the time I failed and my economy was so far behind that I possibly couldn’t recover fast enough from my own tool rush :).
So I went back to Minoa for a while until I retried Rome with broad swordsmen. I’m glad I did because I finally found a Roman strategy that worked for me, that wasn’t so risky as the toolrush and where I still could Iron at a respectable time. Besides all that, a massed broad swordsmen army is incredibly fun to play with, especially when it’s of Roman origin :). Now lately I became a lot better in tool rushing and I’m able to take out my enemy in tool, but I like those Roman broadies so much that I’m usually hanging on to them, leaving Roman tool rushes to other players.

The strategy

What follows now is a long description on how I play the Roman swordsmen rush and what follows after that. I usually play 3vs3 default resources on a cont map but I’m sure this strategy works under different conditions too (except for island maps). Comments or suggestions are always welcome and if they’re good I’ll add them to a possible future update.
Having all that said, I think it’s time to get down to the real thing :).

Stone Age

Opening move

There are a few different opening moves that you can start with. The most popular one is probably the fish pit near a forest but these are quite scarce. A more reliable one is the granary start followed by a wood/gold pit. I’m not going any further into detail here since opening moves are map dependant, not civ dependant.
But what I do like to stress out is that you always should try to have a steady food & wood income with only one building and thereby keep walking distances to a minimum. For example, don’t start with a granary if your TC is in the middle of a desert (no stagglers or forest).

The second building champion

This is quite an important advantage for Rome that some people may overlook. In a default resource start you have 48W left in your stockpile instead of the usual 20W after building 2 houses and a pit/granary. In addition, the amount of wood required for the second building is less than normal due to the 15% discount on buildings. These 2 facts combined make Rome the first one to put down it’s second building, leaving Shang, Phoenician and all other civs behind. At first look this may seem insignificant but the faster you have a dock, the sooner you can start building peons from multiple places and the sooner your economy gets a boost. On med or high resources, nomad starts or DM games the wood savings from your initial stockpile are bigger and thus give Rome an even greater advantage.

Scouting

Early scouting is a very important aspect of my strategy. As soon as you have a steady food/wood supply and a dock, start scouting for sweetspots. Since you’re going to use both gold and stone in bronze you better locate those mines ASAP. After you’ve found your resources start scouting for the enemy’s base. Very often I also use my scouting villager to build all the additional houses I need. My main reasons for doing so are the following:

  • my gathering villagers can non-stop continue gathering;
  • spread-out houses are excellent radar stations;
  • the enemy will have a hard time finding all my houses if he wants to attack my population growth;
  • gold/stone mines can be easily watched;
  • tiny chokepoints can be walled or watched.

When you’ve finally found your enemy’s base, build a barracks nearby. Don’t build too close since getting detected while building certainly isn’t a pleasant experience :). When the barracks is completed, continue scouting and try to figure out where the center of his base is located and where he gathers his resources. Don’t overscout though. If you think you’ve collected enough information then use your villager to build more houses or hide him somewhere.
If the enemy finds your villager and kills it, bring in a new one, especially if you didn’t have the chance to finish your barracks. If he finds the barracks after it’s completed, don’t worry at all. He will most likely expect a tool rush (you’re playing Rome remember?) and might start preparations for defending from it. If he decides to bone the barracks that’s fine too because it will slow down his economy for a while. Just build another one at a different place if that’s the case.
Most often I also use a second villager or an artifact to do some additional scouting on my own continent. I reveal the shores, shallows, forests and chokepoints and try to predict from where the enemy may attack. This information is important for my defensive towering and walling later in bronze.

Achievements screen

Don’t forget to check the achievements screen and see what your opponent is doing. If he did little exploration but has a high vill count he’s probably booming. Those guys are the easiest to deal with later. But if his vill count stopped nearby 20 and he has a military score you better prepare yourself to defend from a tool rush. Don’t hesitate to switch from my strategy to another one if you expect a tool rush! Cheap towers, slingers and axers are great defensive units and walling in your villagers protects your economy. I’m not going any further in detail on how to defend from a toolrush. There are lots of good articles on the web about tool age warfare and I just assume from here on that the enemy doesn’t tool rush you.

Villager population

Villager pops and bronze times have always been a hot discussion topic in the game. My strategy requires a small villager/boat boom. I usually try to dock ASAP and stop building real villagers at a total pop of 24 but I still continue building fish boats of course. A good rule of thumb is to try to hit the tool button below the 10:00 mark. In my better games I start tooling at 9:30 with a total population of 28 and 2 or 3 docks for fish boats. Bronzing then usually starts somewhere near 12:30 with a pop of 35. But of course a lot depends on the map type and the resources surrounding my TC. When you have a rather crappy starting spot it’s advisable to cut down a bit on villagers/boats and concentrate more on the 10:00 time to tool.
If you’re not playing on a wet map or you somehow have only a few fish boats then don’t forget to shift villagers from wood to food in order to get the 500F needed to tool.

During Tooling

By now you should have a barracks nearby the enemy. If not, things are starting to become crappy and you better get a villager ASAP over there to build the barracks because your opponent might start walling soon. If you didn’t find the enemy yet then build the barracks in your home base and continue scouting for the enemy. Make sure you have it built before you reach tool :). Also keep on checking your resources during tooling and remember that you need 254W and 800F to bronze. All extra wood can be spent on one of the following, but a little of all is probably the best:

  • gold/stone pit : Very important. As soon as you will hit the bronze upgrade later on you will need to start mining these resources. Since you should have revealed a big part of your continent already, it’s now a good time to build extra pits. Your first priority should go to a gold/wood pit or a gold/stone pit.
  • extra barracks & houses : In order to have a successful bronze rush you’ll need lots of swordsmen and you need them fast. Have your extra barracks and houses built by your villager nearby the enemy. He probably is standing idle by now. Quite often I also build a barracks nearby my own base. It helps me defending if I’m toolrushed and I always use it to research the broad swordsman upgrade in bronze, which takes quite long. That way my forward barracks can non-stop produce short swordsmen while I’m getting the broad upgrade.
  • fish boats : If you have little food in your stockpile or there’s a huge amount of fish in the sea, build additional fish boats. A good rule of thumb is also to continue producing fish boats during tooling. It costs precious wood but it’s worth the effort. Besides, you will need A LOT of food once you’re in bronze.
  • granary : On semi-dry maps like inland, highland and sometimes coastal it’s advisable to build 1 or 2 more granaries since you’re not gathering so much fish. On hill country I suggest you forget about my strategy and go for the Roman tool rush.

 

Tool Age

Just tooled

You’ve reached tool age. Try to go to bronze ASAP and don’t build any more villagers if it will slow down your bronze time (meaning you have less than 800-850 food). Build both the stable and the market at your home base and make sure that you also have a pit near gold, which is of vital importance at this moment. When the market and the stable are finished and you have the 800 food, click the bronze upgrade.

During bronzing part 1 – optimizing your economy and preparing bronze war

This is the most important time frame of the whole strategy. You must now prepare your early swordsman attack and optimize your economy. In order of priority I will enumerate all the basic requirements for a good swordsmen rush.

  • 3 forward barracks : 3 barracks nearby the enemy is the bare minimum but usually it’ll be enough as well. I once built 4 of them and the results were better but I’m usually quite crappy on wood in this stage or I prefer to spend it on other things. Two barracks are not enough though, keep that in mind. They can produce enough swordsmen to slow down and annoy the enemy for a few minutes but not enough to weaken him or force him to abandon his base.
  • gold mining : Have about 3 villagers mining gold. When you reach bronze you immediately need 50G for the short swordsman upgrade and even more from then on.
  • wall the shallows and chokepoints : Walling in between your opponent and you is very important. Many counter attacks can be stopped by a simple wall. Usually when I loose a game using this strategy it’s because I didn’t wall enough :).
  • housing your units : There is nothing more annoying than running out of houses when you’re building a second or third series of swordsmen. Have at least a household surplus for about 15 units.
  • build a scout : Scout your continent if you haven’t done it yet and reveal all the shallows and passages. Also re-scout some parts of your continent to check for new enemy buildings.
  • forward villager : Have at least 1 villager nearby your forward barracks. In bronze you are going to expand your camp and you want to keep the enemy under pressure. Let this villager build those extra houses I just mentioned.
  • save resources for early bronze upgrades : You need a lot of wood and food the minute you bronze so make sure you don’t spent too much of your resources on upgrading.
  • fish boats & scout ships : You still have some wood left? Good :). Build a few scout ships to harass your opponent or expand your fishing fleet.
  • stone mining & towering : After walling the shallows, towering up your own base may seem quite useless. Nevertheless I would always advise to have a few villagers mining stone and towering up your base. You never know if the enemy would use transports or finds his way through your walls with stone throwers. Or maybe he is building on your continent already. Besides, Roman towers are at 50% discount today :).

 

During bronzing part 2 – researching upgrades

I always grab a few market technologies on my way to bronze, not particular for this strategy but on every game I play. For this strategy I usually get my technologies during bronzing in this order:

  • woodworking : No matter which civ I play or on what kind of map, woodworking is always my first priority during bronzing, even with Phoeni.
  • small wall : I explained the importance of walling earlier. Research the small wall as soon as you have the food ready and start walling.
  • axeman upgrade : I once forgot to research the axeman upgrade. Can be very annoying if you hit CTRL-B in bronze in order to research the short swordsman :).
  • gold mining : It’s either researching gold mining now or shifting more villagers to gold in bronze. I most often get this technology during bronzing too.
  • leather armor for infantry : If you don’t want enemy villagers being able to club down your first series of short swordsmen, you better research leather armor.
  • stone mining : Since you’re going to build a few slingers soon and you’re already mining stone this will be a valuable upgrade.
  • toolworking : Hmm, +2 damage attack for the short swordsmen. Due to the 33% faster attacking rate it actually comes down to +2.66 damage. Roman swordsmen really take the max out of the hand-to-hand attack upgrades. But don’t worry if you can’t get the upgrade now. It happens quite a lot that I research this technology in bronze while I’m getting the short swordsman upgrade. Remember what I said in part 1: save resources for early bronze upgrades.
  • watch tower : You don’t have to start towering up your base in tool but if you can do it, don’t hesitate. 1 or 2 towers near your woodies can help to protect them from tool rushes.

 

Axers

Some people must think I’m crazy for not building axers in this stage of the game. I know I already researched the axeman and almost all of it’s upgrades but I find the extra food on upgrades or on booming in early bronze more useful than harassing the enemy now. The surprise attack is meant for the short swordsmen army, not a bunch of suicidal axers. Only when I accidentally overboom or I have heaps of food I get some axers. Then I don’t send them to the enemy immediately but I add them to my swordsmen army later on. That is if he doesn’t attack me first of course or if I’m running way behind schedule :).

Slingers

Slingers are a completely different story! Always try to build some slingers during the bronze transition because they are the best accompanying units for your short swordsmen. Slingers with stone mining (and bronze shield later on) do a great job against all tool & bronze age archers. They also have an attack bonus against walls and towers and they can prevent your opponent from repairing walls on the other side. For only 120F and 30S you already have 3 slingers.

Villager assignments before bronzing (wet non-island map)

Just before I bronze I usually have 3 villagers mining stone, 3 on gold and about 5 on natural food resources. All other villies are gathering wood. When I get new villagers in bronze I usually put them on berries or farms because early Roman bronze requires a lot of food and I want to keep on booming. Besides, my fleet might run out of fish soon or enemy galleys may find it. Then later on I get more vills on gold and stone.

Bronze Age

Postulate

It’s very hard – if not impossible – to keep a straight line in someone’s bronze actions. Usually I’m booming and getting upgrades at the same time I’m attacking my enemy. Priorities can differ due to the opponent’s actions or map types. So what you can read sequentially in this paragraph doesn’t happen in the same order in the game. But I’ve tried to maintain a chronological order while keeping the document easy to read.

First priority

As soon as you enter bronze age you should hit CTRL-B and get the short swordsman upgrade. While you are waiting for it to finish, you should boom a few villagers, get more slingers and spend resources on market techs and pit upgrades. Expanding your city, reinforcing your outer base and naval warfare are a little less important at this stage and therefore are described later. But building military units should always be your first priority unless you have hurt your opponent enough already and you really want to get something else first.

Market technologies & pit upgrades
  • market technologies : First get artisanship and later wheel unless your villagers are doing huge walking distances. If you didn’t got stone mining in tool then get it right after artisanship or wheel (depends on the walking distances again, the amount of slingers you have and the amount of stone in your stockpile). Plow can wait until late bronze or even iron. While many of you may think the farm bug is legalized and therefore use it, I myself refuse to exploit any kind of bug. And people who state that farm upgrades are useless are wrong IMO. The main strength of the farm technologies is the fact that you don’t have to check your farmers so frequently anymore. On top of that the wood savings are a nice feature too.
  • pit upgrades : Usually I only got leather armor in tool so I get toolworking first, followed by metalworking. The next techs I research are either bronze shield or scale armor. It depends if you’re facing an enemy who mainly uses archers (e.g. Minoa, Hittite, Assyria, Egypt) or hand to hand units (e.g. Greek, Carthage, Choson, Yamato). When your opponent has a lot of archers or towers then the bronze shield is your first priority in the pit. Both your swordsmen and slingers will benefit from it.

 

Preparing your army

Ones your short swordsman upgrade is completed start building swordsmen from your forward barracks until further notice. Also start researching the broad swordsman from the barracks in your base. If necessary, delay all other expenses except for the short swordsmen you’re building because it’s a very important upgrade. If you didn’t get a barracks in your base then build one now and get the broad upgrade there. Never research it in one of your forward barracks unless you’re already winning the battle with short swordsmen and slingers.

Let’s rock!

When you have 6 short swordsmen (from 3 barracks), mix them with your slingers and start attacking your opponent. First go after his villagers, especially his woodies. If they run away – which they probably will do – you won’t be able to follow them because they probably have wheel by now. Just concentrate on his houses, farms and other buildings then. Order every series of 3 new swordsmen to join your army. And when you have both the broad swordsmen upgrade and metalworking the fun really starts. His whole town will be gone in no time. I usually put 1 broadie on each house, 2 on each economic building, 3 on military buildings and 4 on his TC. But you don’t have to try to micromanage it like that. Usually the broadies destroy buildings faster than you can assign new tasks to each of them :). Roughly 50 seconds later his whole town is laid to ashes. If he is (was) Hittite then you don’t have to fear the CA/stoner combo anymore because he would need tons of wood. First he has to rebuild a complete base and then he has to build all these wood-consuming units. If played well, Rome dominates Hittite in bronze.

If it goes wrong

It rarely goes wrong at this stage of the game but I remembered a game where a second enemy came helping the one I was attacking. So I found my broadies facing a tough double teamed CA army but I eventually won that game. Mainly because I boomed pretty good and my units were a lot cheaper than theirs were so I could non-stop produce broadies. I also built a few more barracks and started using offensive towers.
So it might look tough when it goes wrong but economically you should be able to win because swordsmen are the cheapest unit from bronze age on. CA’s cost a lot more and usually your opponent won’t be able to hold of your charges for long (unless he is tributed by his allies). Just make sure you always attack in groups and get the bronze shield ASAP if you face missile units. Also keep on building slingers if so.

Keep up the pressure

If all goes well you will find your broad swordsmen army (about 20-30 units by now) in a completely demolished city in the early 20 minutes. A nice victory, no doubt, but you have to keep up the pressure. Since your army is slow and has a poor LOS your have to build scout horses to find your opponent’s new settlement and go after him. Usually he rebuilds behind an ally and I charge that ally with all that’s left of my army. Also start towering the land you’ve just conquered and start gathering resources there. At this stage I usually stop building swordsmen and use other units (see “Late bronze armies” further on).

Expanding your civilization

While you’re in the middle of your first charges you should also expand your civilization if possible. Stronger enemies require more broadies and thus more barracks and more resources. The first extra building you should get is the gov’t center because it will give you access to multiple TC’s and new technologies. After it’s built, put down a TC for additional vills nearby your forward barracks. Also build a stable there and produce some scout horses.
It’s also important to spread out more TC’s for gathering resources. I never build additional granaries or pits once I’ve got the gov’t cent because a TC costs only 68W more than a pit or granary. Besides, you can bring all resources to a TC but more important, you can easily circle through all your gathering points by sequentially pressing “H”. This is an easy method to keep your amount of idle villagers to a minimum.

Reinforcing your outer base

The other buildings are less important and I usually build them in mid bronze, after I’ve completed my main charge. I’ve made it a habit to build every building at least one time and for my Roman strategy I do it like this: A temple and a range at my base and a workshop and an academy at my forward base.

Keep the food coming in

Your fleet will start running out of fish soon and there are three possibilities to prevent food extinction. The first one is assigning lots of new villagers to farms. The second possibility is micro managing and expanding your fishing fleet, which also requires additional war galleys to protect it. A third possibility is to continue gathering berries or hunting animals. Because micro managing isn’t my favorite entertainment and I hate fish boats from bronze age on, I usually go for a combination of the first and third option. So I assign my first new villagers to berries or eles but also a few to farming. When the natural resources are exhausted, I go heavy on farms. Of course on mediterranean maps I understand the importance of the sea and I expand and protect my fleet.

Walls & towers

I have stressed this more than enough already. Wall the shallows if you haven’t already and start building lots of defensive towers all over your base. When you conquer new land start building towers there too. Sometimes I also start towering up resource piles all over the map to prevent enemy villagers from mining it without an effort.

Useful gov’t upgrades

Well for Rome all government upgrades are useful. Writing is always very important. Logistics can be a real help if you have a large swordsmen army. Architecture is a must have if you’ve got a lot of towers. And finally nobility should be researched from the moment your start thinking about building chariots.

Defense

If you followed everything correct then you should have a stable, a range, a temple and a barracks at your home base. When you’re in trouble they can quickly provide you with a diversity of units while the opponent is breaking through your walls. However, the best defense Rome offers are towers and chariots I learned. The towers can deal with almost everything while the chariots take care of stone throwers. But for Macedonian hoppers you will probably need some hoppers as well.

Late bronze armies

While Rome is strong in early bronze it weakens more towards middle and late bronze. Minoan compies tear everything Rome has apart and most CA/stoner combinations are unstoppable. Your opponent should not be able to get these armies since you pretty much messed up his whole civilization, but other opponents might have cut through your allies and pose a threat to you soon. You should mainly focus on going iron but if you have to fight in this stage it won’t be easy. What are Rome’s possibilities in late bronze?

  • broad swordsmen : They can still be worth something but their value is decreased mainly because of the slow speed and poor LOS. I usually stop building broadies in mid bronze.
  • improved bowmen : The only Roman archer unit isn’t very good either. It’s cheap but can’t be upgraded. Sometimes I build them from my defensive range at my base but that rarely happens.
  • cavalry : Roman cavs are good units but they cost gold, they are not upgradable in iron to hcavs and they die easy to camels. A big no IMO.
  • chariots : This is Rome’s best option in late bronze. They are fast, don’t cost gold, can be upgraded in iron. Besides, you already researched metalworking for them. Therefore I usually start building chariots armies in late bronze and I upgrade them to scythes in iron.
  • hoplites : Although it may look weird I find myself using academy units in this strategy more and more, and not only in late bronze. Instead of building additional barracks in early bronze I might build an academy next to them. Even with the faster attack rate, Roman broadies still suffer from cavalry charges. Hoplites have more HP’s, more armor and more attack points so they basically chew through cavs. And most important, all the pit upgrades for infantry have already been researched so your hoppers are completely prepared for combat.
  • stone throwers : I never use stone throwers in early or mid bronze simply because I don’t need them. My broadsword army demolishes buildings and towers a lot faster and is not as vulnerable as a pack of throwers. I only start building these in late bronze in preparation for my iron siege army.
  • priests : Although Rome only lacks 2 temple techs, it lacks the 2 most important ones: astrology in bronze and afterlife in iron. However, they are still among the first tier priests when it comes down to speed, HP’s, healing and Jihad. They also have monotheism but I rarely use that with heavy siege civs. So in bronze I don’t build priests unless my home base is charged with cavs or camels.
  • war galleys : Also a big yes. Since Roman land units aren’t the best at all in late bronze you have even more reasons to group a decent amount of galleys together and try to dominate the waters. Galleys don’t cost food or gold so they don’t stop you from going straight to iron.

 

During ironing

OK, you’ve got 1000F and 800G and you’ve decided to go iron. During ironing you should mainly focus on the following units: scythe chariots, catapults and ballistas. With all these heavy wood consuming units and the additional stables and workshops you require it isn’t hard to understand that you will need tons of wood in iron. And if you want scythe chariots right away then you better make sure you have 800G and 1200W when you reach iron.

Iron Age

Upgrading your existing units

Once in iron you should have lots of chariots and some stone throwers. Upgrade these units to scythe chariots and catapults. If you still have a large amount of broad swordsmen left then you can upgrade them to long swordsmen. Also promote your war galleys to triremes and your walls to fortifications.

Building new units
  • long swordsmen : I usually say “thanks, but no thanks” to Roman infantry in Iron. The broadies have done an excellent job in bronze and from now on Rome’s heavy siege and scythe chariots will take over the job.
  • phalanxes : The same goes for phalanxes. They are excellent units and Rome has all the pit upgrades available for them, but let’s face it: When you have 15+ heles firing at everything that has a different color, you don’t need phalanxes anymore. But when you’re in trouble and you can’t mass a decent amount of heles together then phalanxes are great units to protect your cats from scythe charges. They also work excellent in small groups if you’re not facing a priest civ. Then you could use a few phalanxes to sneak into unexplored enemy territory.
  • scythe chariots : Most definitely! Have about 6 stables continuously producing scythes. Hotkey them and pump out scythes like a madman. Attack in waves of 12 scythes, individually or in combination with your siege units.
  • catapults & ballistas : This is a very powerful combination and I always try to get it ASAP. In fact it is the most powerful combination in the whole game when it comes down to mass destruction (except for their upgraded big brothers of course).
  • priests : A few priests should always be built in iron. Not for converting units but for healing you siege.
  • triremes : If you need to fight sea battles then triremes are the units. But since Rome doesn’t get alchemy your enemy’s triremes will have a slight advantage over yours. If you have a Greek, Phoeni, Yammy or Carthaginian ally then it’s best that you let him take care of the seas while you focus on the land.
  • catapult triremes : I rarely build these units with any civ. They cost gold, they are very fragile (120 HP’s instead of 200 for triremes) and they usually mess up each other more than enemy ships if you leave them alone.

 

Super units

Even though the scythe chariot is a superunit I have added it to the previous section because of its importance in this strategy. It makes Rome gold-independent in Iron so get it before you’re running out of gold. If I research other superunits in the game then it’s either the helepolis or the heavy cat. The hele upgrade is needed if you’re facing an ele opponent à la Persia, Phoeni or Carth but also for civs like Choson and Yamato. You will need the hcat upgrade if your opponent has cats with engineering like Hittite, Summy, Minoa, Greek or Babs.
Other superunits like legions, cents and juggs are useless for this strategy and therefore a waste of resources.

Upgrades

There is probably no need for saying this but you have to upgrade your siege at the gov’t center ASAP. First get engineering and then ballistics. Also the market has a few must-have upgrades: coinage and craftsmanship. If you’re still mining gold and towering up the map then you should get siegecraft too. Of course for the scythe chariots, you should also get metallurgy and chain mail for horses. In the temple you might find polytheism and medicine useful, maybe mysticism too.

Alternative iron strategy: Choson stylin’

Most of the time I play Rome in Iron as described above. But there is an alternative for all that heavy siege playing, you can play Rome like you play Choson. Keep on building swordsmen from bronze age on and get legions ASAP in iron. The legion upgrade is very useful since it doubles your swordmen HP’s from 80 to 160 and it adds 2 attack points. Get all the pit upgrades (metallurgy, chain mail and tower shield) and mass together huge armies of legions. Make sure you have enough barracks to keep on producing them.
While Choson’s academy units are limited to hoppers, you can add phalanxes or even cents to your army with Rome. A must-have if you’re facing ele civs because you don’t have good & cheap priests like Choson. Just don’t forget to give them aristocracy to increase their speed. Also include a few cats to take out enemy units and structures far beyond the frontline. And mix some scouts with your legions for a wider vision or pre-scouting. Finally don’t forget to tower up all the parts of the map that you’ve conquered or your opponent will play with you like a cat with a mouse.

The almighty wheeled siegecrafted jihaded villagers

Rome is one of only five civs that has these fearsome villagers in their tech tree. These units have an awesome speed, cut through towers and fortifications like a warm knife through butter and they are the terror of every group of cats. Whether these humorous creatures deserve some respect or not, I don’t know, but I can say that they’re effective and extremely fun to play with. And if you have to face them yourself, they can be a real pain.

Conclusions

Well that was it :). While I originally became interested in Rome for their heles I find myself enjoying those broad swordsmen a lot more lately. If only siege weren’t so powerful in the game then Rome would really be an awesome civ to play with. You could continue producing swordsmen in bronze and build legions in every game that lasted until iron. But even under the recent conditions Rome is a very strong civ. I think nobody will argue with me if I say that they belong to the first tier civs in stone, tool and iron. And I just showed you how they can be powerful in early bronze too.
If you’re going to try this strategy in the Zone or on a LAN party then I hope you will enjoy it. It certainly gives a nice alternative to all these boring CA games.
CU on the battlefield!
– Breydel – 
email : ivan.daems@village.uunet.be
ICQ # : 23091968
Zone ID’s : Breydel, Stooge_Breydel