Rise of Nations:  Thrones and Patriots

Review

posted 5/21/2004 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PC
Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots, expansion to the excellent “play the entire sweep of human history in about an hour” RTS, is every bit as good as the original. Like all good expansions, Thrones and Patriots adds oodles of extra crunchy bits while (mostly) maintaining the same balance and fun of the first Rise of Nations. Several new nations have been added, most with some very impressive abilities. Thrones and Patriots also adds several new units and wonders, new scenarios, and best of all, four new Conquer the World campaigns. Throw in a new government system, and Thrones and Patriots is just about everything I could have wanted in an expansion.

Each of the new nations is quite a bit of fun, but some may be just a bit overpowered. The Americans, at least from the time I’ve put in with them, seem to be the most impressive nation of the new lot. In addition to some university bonuses, the Americans get the amazing ability to instantly build their first wonder, provided no one else is working on the same thing. Their marine infantry unit is quite an impressive one, with the ability to perform some of the General-required actions on their own. Another impressive new nation, the Indians, can employ infrastructure with impunity, thanks to their ability to avoid the additional costs levied for building multiple copies of the same building. That sixth temple costs just as much as the first one. The Lakota play quite a bit different than the rest of the nations. They have no borders, so they can build wherever they please. Need to drop a few barracks next to the enemy for quick reinforcements? No problem. The Lakota also have a unique food gathering technique—their units automatically forage, meaning there’s no need for farms. In addition, the Lakota gain some resources from attacking enemy resource buildings. The Dutch are pretty cool, getting some commerce bonuses and armed caravan units. While they’re still no match for a determined raider, the Dutch caravans are also not the sitting-ducks that the other nations put forth. I found the Persians to be extremely annoying opponents, if not too exciting as a playable nation. Their ability to build a second capitol keeps them alive much longer than they should be. Finally, the Iroquois were the least impressive of the new nations, at least in my time through. They gain some impressive scout units, and their military units are hidden when sitting in their own territory, and…well, that’s about it.

Thrones and Patriots also introduces a government system, which brings another dimension into play. By building a Senate building, nations can choose between a military- or production-focused government in each of the later ages. Once a government is researched, a Patriot is produced. This unit has all the abilities of a General, plus added benefits depending on which government(s) have been researched. Military-focused Patriots are great on the battlefield, adding of extra bonuses to the fighting units. Production-focused Patriots can give bonuses both to military units and also to buildings and production facilities, making it difficult to choose whether to send them into battle or keep them back at the cities.
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