Legion from Strategy First is a semi turn-based game of conquest, diplomacy and economics set during the times of the Roman era. Any similarities to those times are completely coincidental. The game does not come close to simulating the complex combat and economics of the Roman era. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, Legion isn’t deep, but it is an enjoyable game regardless.Here’s the deal, you get to control one of the many city-states on the map, including the Romans, Greeks, Celtics and Brits. There are also scores of smaller tribes and groups you can play as. The game is played in two stages, managing your cities and fighting your enemies. You’ll play the game from the campaign map. Here you’ll get the big picture on what your empire looks like and what your enemies and allies are doing. You’ll manage your cities directly from the city screen. From here you’ll build your infrastructure, manage your economy and recruit your armies. You’ll also have to manage your workforce. The trick here is to balance your finite population between your workforce and your armies. The more peasants you recruit for your armies, the less you’ll have to man your buildings and produce your resources, which consists of the universal wood, food and ore. You’ll need all three to field your armies. The trick to resources is that all of your cities may not produce any one of the three available resources.You get to build structures that will occupy your cities. You’ll have a couple of choices when doing this, you’ll either construct buildings that will increase your production of resources, such as mines, lumber mills or farms, or you’ll construct buildings that will increase your armies combat effectiveness, such as barracks, stables or fletchers (archeries). You won’t be able to do both because of the limits of space. Each city has a limited number of tiles on which to build things on. This forces you to expand your borders by conquest, since you won’t be able to acquire resources through diplomacy. In other words, you won’t be able to ask your allies for a loan, though you will be able to give resources away to stave off war temporarily. Make no mistake going to war in this game is inevitable.Fighting wars is incredibly simple, you move your armies across the strategic map to an enemy city, click on it and that’s it. No declaration of war, no posturing, no help from your allies, just plain old fighting. Before battle you set up your forces in whatever formation is available for the units you have under your command. There are plenty of units to choose, from Legion-naires, Javelin Throwers, Archers, Celtic Fanatics and so much more! You just have to have the right combination of resources, facilities and peasants to create them. Anyway, you set up your formations BEFORE the battle, hit the “start” button and let your troops go to work. You have no tactical control over your troops once the battle starts. Your only option is to hope you have the right amount of troops matched up properly with enemy forces. At least that’s what it says in the manual. Personally, I don’t know what type of formula is used for combat. I’ve seen instances where peasants have been able to fight off cavalry and Roman Legion-naires. I would like to have seen some type of input from the user in combat, such as a Rally button or the ability to choose the enemy formation you wish to attack. As it stands right now, your troops run away from battle so much, it’s a wonder how you can accomplish any type of successful campaign.Legion does have some weaknesses. Such as troops and buildings being constructed once every four turns. In other words, turns take the form of seasons with units and buildings being built every spring. I would’ve liked to have seen some variety in construction times. Like large buildings taking longer to build, etc. I think the game is need of unit waypoints. You have to manually move your units around the map, which can sometimes take years of game time to move. I would’ve liked to have the ability to select a destination on the map and have my units move automatically, while only pausing to ask permission to attack. Diplomacy is not that involved, you can’t even ask your allies for help, and there are no consequences for breaking treaties in the current version of the game. There are also no options for changing the games graphics, the game is stuck at 640×480 or 800×600, I can’t tell which. The game’s looks kind of remind me of a cross between Imperialism and Europa Universalis. Except for the sounds of battle, the sounds are almost non-existent, aside from the occasional clucking of chickens in the city screen. And there is no multi-player to speak of.These things aren’t bad though, Legion has a charm all of it’s own, it’s very addictive and it’s not very deep, for those that enjoy playing a strategy game in a sitting. But for those seeking a hard-core strategy game, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.