I picked this up in early access due to my enjoyment of the Hegemony Gold game. It wasn't optimized then so I let it sit for a while. It is now decently polished, and optimized.
The Hegemony series is in antithesis of the dominant form of RTS (Starcraft Style). It is a slow playing ballet that builds over hours where a handful of units can have a large impact and a single raid can cause problems for an unwary empire. The way supply and manpower are handled in this series is brilliant, creating a very thoughtful style of gameplay that I would love to see more often.
The bigger your empire, the more difficult it is to protect it, and manage getting the needed food and manpower to the right place.
The four story campaigns follow the career of Caesar in Gaul in exacting detail. You will invade Britain, you will cross the Rhine, and you will see your province torn apart by rebellion. By the end of it you will feel like you have conquered the place yourself, and maybe feel a little shell shocked at having to deal with pesky raiders constantly picking at your flanks.
The game is by no means perfect. If you are not a patient gamer, or a thoughtful exploiter of gaming systems you may not enjoy it. The scope of the game might have been a little too ambitious for such a small studio, and it occasionally falls apart. It is slow to start, but that humble beginning only lets you appreciate the epic scope once you get there.
-Supply lines and manpower mechanics define how the game is played. Raids can be devastating, and concentrating an entire army in one place will often cause you to lose as you run out of food or your empire is picked apart by raiders.
-New Experience System lets you specialize Legions, and even promote officers from veteran legions to lead others.
-Flanking and positioning make an enormous difference.
-You can built forts and bridges, and customize cities.
Take it or Leave it
-Siege warfare is brutal. Better plan it out.
-Naval Warfare can be finicky
-Not a lot of different varities of unit, however the differences become very meaningful as you learn how to use them,
-Slow to start
-The supply mechanic is not for every gamer
-Not as flashy as a AAA title
I will let it sit for a while longer then I'll try the sandbox campaign and some mods I think, then update my review. Good on you Longbow, I always hoped for another after Hegemony Gold and I am glad to see it.