Caesar IV

Friday 13 October 2006
Julius Caesar had really great hair. No, really. The onomastic root of 'caesar' is 'hairy', implying that the Caesars were well-know for having a finely styled head of hair - or, of course, that they were entirely bald, and all the other Romans were just having a laugh.

Luckily, the Caesar series has always focused more on the later 'Emperor' meaning of the word, shirking any potential hair-raising connotations in favour of an historical city-building game. After the series' eight-year hiatus, it returns.

Your fledging cities will be inhabited by three tiers of social standing: the lower, middle and upper classes. Your lower class plebs are responsible for most of the heavy lifting in your society; manning the farms, cutting down trees, mining for iron, and so on. The higher the class, however, the more taxes you're able to wring from them.

Creating an affluent urban centre, then, involves providing for all walks of life. Fields must be created to grow food, marketplaces must be built as venues for buying and selling both basic and luxury items, and building religious monuments is a good idea unless you want to face the wrath of Jupiter.

The challenge is in building a society both functionally and aesthetically pleasing, as with over 100 building types it's easy to quickly depress your people with urban blight.