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Video Game / 0 A.D.

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"This isn’t your daddy’s Age of Empires."

"We're building 0 A.D. – Empires Ascendant because we love strategy gaming and we think the current state of the strategy genre is abysmal. While there have been some great strategy games released recently, we feel like the essence of old-school Real-Time Strategy has been lost. We'd like to recapture that."

0 A.D. is a historical Open Source Real-Time Strategy game in the vein of Age of Empires that is currently being developed for Windows, Linux, and Mac by Wildfire Games, "an independent game developer, made up of a community of volunteers from all over the world". The game strives for a balance of historical accuracy and interesting gameplay.

The first installment, called Empires Ascendant, features civilizations between 500 B.C. and 1 B.C., and includes Athens, Sparta, Macedonia, Britannia, Gaul, Iberia, Carthage, Persia, Republican Rome, Mauryan India, Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucids, and the Kushites as playable factions. The planned second installment, Empires Besieged, will focus on the following five hundred years of history.

The official site can be found here. The current release is Alpha 25b: 𐎹𐎢𐎴 Yaunā (Ionia). Downloading and playing is, and always will be, completely free.


0 A.D. provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew:
    • A mild (and intentional) example in that each empire in the game is from somewhere in a 500-year period of time and is featured at the height of its power for the sake of fun gameplay.
    • The Iberian civilization's gameplay music is far too modern, dominated by guitars and trumpets. Of course no actual Ancient Iberian melodies have survived, and the few musical scenes represented in Iberian art show instruments common in the Ancient Mediterranean like lires and flutes. The Iberian units and buildings also used to have Spanish names in the first versions of the game before the programmers switched to Basque, which is at least a non-Latin derived language (the actual relationship between Basque and the poorly understood Ancient Iberian language(s) is debated; on the other hand, the game's Iberians are a stand-in for all peoples in the ancient Iberian Peninsula, including the Iberians but also Celts, Celtiberians, proto-Basque/Aquitanians, Lusitanians, Tartessians and Balearics).
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  • Arrows on Fire: The Iberians have access to mounted javelineers that throw flaming projectiles. Their extra anti-building damage compensate for the Iberians' lack of siege weapons.
  • Attack Animal: The Britons train war dogs.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The Celtic civilizations (Britons and Gauls) decorate their military buildings with the heads of their enemies.
  • Elite Mooks: Each civilization has its unique elite soldiers that can't be put to work like the others but are better at fighting.
  • Gender Is No Object: Averted. Women gather resources faster and cannot build military buildings, only civilian ones. Male "Citizen Soldiers" can gather resources, build all structures and be called to arms. The professional soldiers that don't gather resources are nearly all male as well, with the Mauryan Maiden Guards being the only exception.
  • Hero Unit: Each empire has three specific historical heroes to send into battle.
  • Historical Domain Character: all of the hero units, which includes the likes of Alexander the Great, Cyrus the Great, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, Viriato, and Vercingetorix.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each alpha release is named after an appropriate subject, with the first letters following an alphabetical order (Argonaut, Bellerophon, Cerberus...)
  • Molotov Truck: The only "warship" available to the Iberians is the Fireship, a fishing ship that is on fire.
  • Perpetual Beta: The game development is still ongoing after many years.
  • Tech Tree: Certain requirements must be met before you can upgrade you town and build more advanced structures.
  • Veteran Unit: A unit's stats improve through combat experience, and they also gain graphical upgrades such as better armor, shield and weapons.
  • War Elephants: Available to Carthage, Egypt, Persia and India.
  • Worker Unit: Female citizens and Citizen Soldiers. The latter can build structures, gather resources and has decent fighting skills. However, the more they fight, the less effective they become with their domestic tasks.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: Rather than having generalized units (Archer, Swordsman, Spearman...) they have skins unique to each civilization with names in the local language.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You need to gather food, lumber, metal and stone to sustain your economy. You can also trade them with non-hostile factions.


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