Romans vs Barbarians Gold

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I doubt the apparently touchscreen-friendly Romans and Barbarians Gold was either.

But while there has certainly been at least some work put into the game to justify this Gold re-release on touchscreen Java phones, it does feel a little as if the builders stopped a little too early.


If you’ve played the non-Gold edition, then unless you’re absolutely dead-set on playing through the same game again on your new touchscreen there’s not much to warrant another purchase.

Romans and Barbarians Gold is still the same real-time city-building strategy game set in the early days of Anno Domini, with you as the emperor of a fledgling Roman Empire beset with both domestic and foreign threats.

Your task is to build up your cities by planting Succus fields (wine, essentially) and gather Aureus (money) from taxation to purchase more buildings like coliseums and housing, and more troops to help repel any attacks from smelly barbarians.

It’s not quite the same level of detailed economic micromanagement as the Townsmen series, despite the occasional pressures from unhappy tax-payers or natural disasters, but the slow expansion and growth of a city is still strangely absorbing in its own way.


However, everything about Romans and Barbarians Gold is seemingly designed to make enjoying your city that bit harder.

Take the controls. Swapping through buildings is fairly painless - swipe left or right over the icon - as is placing them, but tapping the tiny, tiny icons that would have been the softkeys on a keypad is often nigh on impossible. It’s almost as if the game hasn’t really been designed with touchscreens in mind, despite HandyGames’s claim to the contrary.

The 'help' screens that pop up from your advisor do little to quell this suspicion, with the game recommending I ‘press the # key’ on your (non-existent) keypad to perform an action more than once during the game.


On top of these new issues are some old ones that dogged the game on its original release back in 2008, including some baffling rule-changes (such as only being able to build important buildings during, not before, a crisis occurs in the city) and overly-long waves of attackers.

Romans and Barbarians Gold is still quite an amusing game, with some occasional flashes of good writing, and there's a solid city-building game hidden under the rubble of the controls, especially if you're on a keypad.

However, touchscreen owners will find it hard to shake the feeling that it’s less ‘gold’ and more ‘good enough’.

Romans vs Barbarians Gold

Romans and Barbarians Gold is still a solid strategy game, and keypad Java users who didn’t experience it first time around will enjoy this new edition. However touchscreen users are advised to give it a miss
Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).