Revolutions and conflicts which are inspired by a desire for freedom from tyranny, spiced up with a bit of revenge hold a special place in my heart thus, I knew I had to pick this game up.
The second and really painful aspect of this AP game is the rule book. Having perused this sixteen page mess of cross references and special conditions every night for a week prior to actually laying out the pieces, I was still forced to reference the book almost continuously during play. It is not written well and is is no way linear in presentation. I had hoped that by getting the game set up some of the odd rules would make a bit more sense to me. No such luck in that department. I walked away from the table after 3.5 hours feeling like I had not done anything right, the best way to sum up the rules and book is to call it "counter intuitive". For a game that is supposed to be 1.5 stars (easy) on the difficulty rating one would think the literature would be easier to read.
As most battles of the time were fought on open flat terrain, the maps have very little in the way of variation. For example: the battle of Medway scenario used a map that had a river running across the northern portion, and a few swamps in the southern corners. the river, was barely an obstacle for the Roman legions, in that to attack them while crossing offered no bonus to the Celts. Thus negating the advantages of river defenses. The swamps were never entered by either army so no use of terrain to advantage, which for me is anathema. The "Ground" and the choice of ground is extremely important in armed conflict. The Generals of the time understood this as well, and I find it difficult to believe that they were unable to thwart a river crossing where the enemy had no bridges or engineers to build them.
A fundamental concept of this game is what is described as "Command". Leaders command various units within their sphere (movement allotment) and only units "in Command" can be moved or attack. Of course units can be Out of command by being outside their leaders control or the leader failing a morale check which essentially means he has lost control of his troops. This system is supposed to represent a sort of "fog of war" situation and though it is hard to wrap ones head around at first actually makes sense. Essentially a player could find him/herself with half their army out of command and immobile, thus creating a tense situation indeed.
As it stands today Rome at War III will remain in my game closet till that time or someone asks to play it. I've far too many titles to pick from that make me happy to spend too much time on those that don't.