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Rome Didn’t Dominate You in a Day

For one hundred space pennies, name that ancient city! No, really, I have no clue where it is.

What do Julius Caesar, Hannibal Barca, Hammurabi, Cleopatra, and Pericles all have in common? If you guessed “they were contemporaries,” um, no, that’s really very incorrect. Caesar and Cleopatra knew each other (double meaning!), but other than that, these people had about as much chance of rubbing shoulders at the corner pita shop as Ronald Reagan and Charlemagne.

So Mare Nostrum: Empires, which pits these pivotal ancient statesmen against one another in a sort of fantasy grudge match, isn’t too keen on getting its dates straight. No problem. When you’re a game about bullying trade in the Mediterranean — and when “bullying” means you spend a lot of your time being an honest-to-goodness bully — you can bend history into as many pretzels as you like.

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