Europa Universalis Rome Gold combines the epic strategy title Europa Universalis Rome with the expansion pack Vae Victis. Here we have a lot of surprises waiting for us as we will get to feel what happens when you change some of the crucial moments in history that wrote the books and stayed written and known to the nowadays. For the ones who haven’t played Europa Universalis if you are expecting classical combat scenes where your troops are marching on each other, this isn’t it. I will write about Rome a bit and then about Vae Victis. It's a sort of geo-political simulator that divides the world up into provinces, each ruled by a religion, a culture and, most significantly, a national power. These provinces provide tax revenue and manpower that you can use to fund technological research, build infrastructure or raise armies. The game offers you a selection in which you can select from which year you will start playing the game. You can pick put any date between 280 B.C. and 27 B.C. Each date renders the political, economic and military situations as they existed at the time, so if you start early you'll find the Macedonians in alliance with their neighbors. If you progress a bit, you'll see them warring with the Aetolians. Progressing even further means that their every territory will be taken over by the Rome. Selecting the date from which you will play leads in selecting the force you will control through the game. You’ll pick a nation to lead from among all the players, from Numidia to the Bosporan Kingdoms, from Egypt to Massilia. Of course, Rome and Carthage are the big players here and selecting them will lead in probably greater conquests but also in greater responsibility and managing. Your job is to do what every good ruler of the land would do: raise armies, set trade routes, colonize barbarous provinces, appoint generals and governors, declare war, forge peace, manage alliances, blockade enemy ports, invoke omens, put down insurrections and pretty much anything else… There were a couple of laws in the game’s first part mostly with the pop-up part which annoyed every player that played the game, but the developers found a nice solution to that leaving only the very important pop-us in place and for those who want to dig a bit deeper there is that option in the game interface. When it comes to battles in the game, even if they aren’t seen, you track the armies that are going to battle through statistics. When sending out an army to a battle you could add additional troops to the battlefield but most likely, depending on the place from which they are sent from, they would arrive later or sooner, resulting in their annihilation if sooner, or again very possible annihilation if later. You need to calculate when sending your armies from different places on the map to ensure they will arrive in the same time. Another thing that is bugging me is the lack of recall with the army. Sure you can recall all the troops you have sent to a specific place anytime you want to, but when you need only a part of an army left somewhere nearby by coincidence, or necessity you can’t do it. Of course the population of the land which you control must be taken care of, as it could end in a very bad scenario for you if they get unhappy. You know what was happening through history when a civil war starts?! There are a couple of weaknesses with the games interface as the army management can get pretty hectic besides the case mentioned above. Diplomacy seems a bit hampered as well. To begin with, there really aren't enough options for increasing your standing with another nation, and it's entirely unclear why there should be so much animosity growing between you and nations that are on the other side of the world from you. The graphics of the game is pretty much the same, with the standard board game perspective, but it is much more polished and given almost a 3D look, and as for the sound of the game it a solid standard, but nothing that will have you thrilled. As for the Expansion pack of the game, Europa Universalis Vae Victis expands on this already gigantic premise with a few new ideas. Some slight interface improvements and AI tweaks have also been included to make the core experience more dynamic, more exciting, and, yes, much more challenging than before. When it comes to the gameplay you will be given more control over the game through different missions and decisions you will make in those missions. You will be hired by the senate or another small but with lot of influence group to perform different tasks. Tasks vary from conquering a small province to defending the entire empire from invasion. You might get a small bit of cash, or a boost in morale or some other area depending on the mission difficulty. With accomplishment comes fame; with fame comes power and might. Those two things give you the right to influence some critical decisions in the course of history with you denial or accepting a mission given to you by the power at hand. With a lot of power change on the empire’s political peak, you will be striving to control that power and harness it in your direction. As there will be laws passing on, that part of the game will cost you dearly and destabilize your control of the Senate in our case. To maintain that control you will have to build more and more respect and influence through different achievements in the game. That will provide you more on more people in the Senate that will agree with you without questioning. The summary panel for the characters is one of the more pleasant improvements to the game's visual presentation. Instead of the status which was all messed up, we now have a clean and sorted list of characters with their statuses. As for the diplomacy in the game the addition of handy diplomacy options right in the province window certainly speeds a thing up when you're trying to negotiate military access or grab quick alliances in some nearby territories, but there aren’t any improvements in a case when you are already in a war with a country. The expansion pack has done a lot in improving the game in many ways which it did, but some tiles of the game have remained untouched, which is kind a shame, as we were hoping in perfecting all things that could have made our life easier in playing the game, but we got what we got, and still it is plenty enough. The gold edition is going to satisfy any Strategy fan and make sure to experience what would it feel like to change the course of history.