Member Profile | FocusFeatures.com
Fight Like Channing Tatum (Online): A Short, Bloody History of Roman War Games
Posted January 21, 2011 to photo album "Fight Like Channing Tatum (Online): A Short, Bloody History of Roman War Games"
As The Eagle’s battle scenes demonstrate, the Roman Army was one of history’s most effective war machines. Legions of gamers, both in board games and online, have tried to emulate them.
Slide 12: To Roma Victor Goes the Spoils
Many of the Roman wargames stress the ability of players to manage their economies. One of the most historically accurate Roman games, Roma Victor, also deals with economy — both within the game and outside of it. The game was developed by U.K.’s RedBedlam, a company created not as a game publisher but as a developer of “virtual economies,” in which real people use real money to buy virtual things, much like purchases can function in Second Life. “The game came after [the company],” said President and Managing Director Kerry Fraser-Robinson in an interview by Shannon Drake with The Escapist. Drake explains the gameplay, in which the agrarian barter economy of ancient Rome is given a credit-fueled 21st century spin: “Players purchase an account key, which comes with a small amount of game currency, to access the game itself. Rather than a monthly fee, players can use their credit cards to purchase "sesterces," RV's in-game currency, if they need or want more money.” The fact that players can improve their characters and increase their Roman social status by maxing out their real credit cards makes Roma Victor, as well as other games in the “virtual economy” genre, controversial. But for Fraser-Robinson, the game simply mirrors human behavior. “We've got one guy who is much wealthier, personally, in real life, and who's spent quite a lot of money in game. [He] controls what you might call a 'legion' — well, they're auxiliaries — of soldiers. And these two major houses try to vie for the attention and power of the 'legion.' It's like real life. They love it. They're having a great time. It makes the politics and intrigue that much more interesting.”