Imperium Romanum Lite.

The simplified version of West End Games' Imperium Romanum II.

game map

The map represents the Mediterranean basin and immediate areas during the Roman empire (100 BC to 600AD). The land and the sea are divided into provinces, each with its own name. Fertility of a province ranges from white (fertile) through green (woodland) to yellow (wilderness).

Players move units around the map in an attempt to fulfill a game scenario's objectives. There are six types of unit: Heavy infantry, light infantry, heavy cavalry, light cavalry, boats and leaders. Each unit has its own unique abilities and/or strengths.


Each province may only be controlled by one player. However, cities within a province may be controlled by any player. Provinces are captured in battles, cities are captured in sieges.

There are two types of cities in a province: coastal cities and interior cities. Boats may not enter interior cities, otherwise the two types are identical in all respects.

Units in a province are placed in the province, or in cities in the province


There are four turns in a year: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, in that order. Players take in turns to move units and resolve battles in the order specified in the scenario, once each per turn. New units are constructed in the Spring turn.

Unit Construction

Units are constructed from income points at the begining of the turn before any power moves.

Civilised and Barbarian powers gain income in different ways. Income is only gained at the begining of the spring turn, although it may be saved for use in later turns.

1. Civilised powers.

Each fertile province gives one income point. Each city, even if besieged, gives one income point.

2. Barbarian powers.

The home province gives D3 income points. Each province gives one income point.

Income can be used to construct units at the begining of spring:

Income Point Cost per Unit
Unit: Cost
Heavy Infantry 2
Light Infantry 1
Heavy Cavalry 3
Light Cavalry 2
Boat 3

Three units may be raised in a fertile province, two in a woodland province, and one in a wilderness province per turn. Only one unit (Light infantry or boat) may be raised in a besieged city. Units constructed in Summer, Autumn or Winter cost double the normal unit cost, with the exception of boats.

The first unit raised in a province must be the one printed on the map. Further units raised in a province may be of any type. Boats are excepted from this rule.


Each player may move units as follows:

Movement Points per Unit
Unit: Movement Points
Heavy Infantry 1
Light Infantry 2
Heavy Cavalry 2
Light Cavalry 3
Leader 4

A unit uses one movement point to move from a province to another province. However, a unit must stop movement if it enters an enemy or neutral province. To cross between Belgium and Britain, Spain and Mauretania, or Asia and Thrace costs all of a units movement points (i.e. the unit must start in one of the provinces adjacent to the other) and may only be done if there are no hostile boats in the province being moved to. If there are hostile units in the province being moved to, they must be fought as in an assault (normally a siege option).

Movements points of all units apart from heavy infantry are reduced by one in the Winter turn, and no assaults on besieged cities or movement into enemy provinces is permitted in winter. Roman Roads may affect movement. Boat movement is also special

Battle system

A Battle is triggered when an army enters an enemy or neutral province. Units may move to friendly cities in the province to avoid a battle if able. Any besieged units may enter the battle. Besieging units must fight in the battle, unless they can move to a friendly city in the province to avoid battle.

There are three combat phases in a battle: Skirmish, charge and slog.

Strengths of Units in each Combat Phase
Unit: Skirmish Strength Charge Strength Slog Strength
Heavy infantry 1 2 3
Light Infantry 2 1 2
Heavy Cavalry 1 3 2
Light Cavalry 3 2 1

Basic Battle.

In a basic battle, each player assigns three units of their army for the first phase of combat (skirmish). Each player rolls a six-sided dice for each of their units. If they roll equal to or below the unit's skirmish strength, then they register a hit on the enemy army. When both players have finished rolling, each player removes a number of their own units (of the ones allocated for skirmishing) equal to the number of hits rolled by the opposing player.

If one player has lost fewer units than the other, then they are designated the phase victor. Either or both players may voluntarily retreat at this point.

If one player has not retreated, the battle now progresses to the charge phase. The units used in the previous phase are returned to the army, and each player assigns three units of their army (even a unit which was involved in the previous phase) for the charge phase.

However, if one player was the phase victor of the previous phase, they may increase the number of units they may allocate to the charge phase by one (i.e. four units) or they may decrease the number of units allocated by the enemy player by one (i.e. to two units).

Dice are rolled and losses incurred as in the skirmish phase, except that charge strength is used instead of skirmish strength.

If the phase victor has lost two or more fewer units than the other player, then the other player's army must retreat. No voluntary retreat is allowed during this or any other subsequent combat phase.

If one player has not retreated, the battle finally progresses to the slog phase. This is identical to the charge phase except that the number of units an army is reduced to by a phase victor cannot be less than two; and that slog strength is used rather than charge strength.

Again, if the phase victor has lost two or more fewer units than the other player, then the other player's army must retreat.

The slog phase is repeated until either one player is forced to retreat or a player has lost all of their units.

After combat is over, the combat victor (the player with units remaining, the player who did not retreat, or the defending player if both are eliminated) regains half of their units (round up). For each pair of the same type of unit lost, one of that pair must be eliminated. All of the other player's losses are eliminated.


For each unit that the non-retreating player owns in their army, roll a dice. If a 1 is rolled for an infantry unit or a 1 or 2 for a cavalry unit, a retreat-loss is incurred by the retreating player.

For each two retreat losses, or part of, the retreating player must eliminate one unit from their army (retreating player's choice).

More Complex Battle.

Leaders may affect a battle, depending upon their bonus. The leader bonus may be +1, +2, or +3. A leader with a bonus of 0 does not affect the battle. Only one leader per side may be used to affect the battle

In each combat phase, the leader may increase the strength of individual units by an ammount up to the leader's bonus. For example, a +2 leader may increase the strength of two units by 1, or the strength of one unit by 2. However, no unit may have it's strength increased to more than 5.

In a retreat, leaders also increase the chance of units inflicting a retreat loss in the same way.

After each combat phase a dice is rolled for each leader, whether affecting the battle or not. On a roll of 6, the leader is affected and a further dice is rolled. On a roll of 1 to 4, that leader may no longer be used to affect this battle, although another leader may now be used, if present. On a roll of 5 or 6, the leader is eliminated, a loss which counts towards an automatic retreat, but not to determining a phase victor.

If a battle ends with one side having no units left and only leaders, then the remaining leaders must retreat. If both sides only have leaders left, the attacker must retreat.


Units in a province may siege any number of cities in the province, by allocating units to each city in the province to be besieged. The number of units besieging a city must be equal to or greater then half of the number of units in the city (not including leaders or boats on either side). Units may only besiege or assault one city per turn.

The besieging army may either Assault the city or remain besieging it. A city which is besieged gains one light infantry as a city militia. This unit may not leave the city and is removed from play if the siege is broken. A city may only have one city militia, and the city militia is always the last unit eliminated.

An Assault is fought using the slog strength of units, with the attackers slog strength decreased by 1 and a maximum of two units allowed on each side per phase. If the attacker loses two units more than the defender, the assault is broken off, although the siege remains. If the defender loses two units more than the attacker, the defending units are all eliminated and the attacker is victorious. Leader bonuses and loss rolls occur during each assault phase, and leader losses do count when assessing whether one side has lost two units more than the other.

The attacker may cease the assault at any point and resume besieging as normal. If the attacker breaks of the assault, each side regains half of their lost units, rounding down. Exception: If the attacker is forced to break off the assault by losing two units more than the defender, then all the attackers lost units are eliminated, the defender regains half of theirs, as normal. If all of the defender's units have been lost, then the attacker is victorious, unless the attacker has also lost all of their units.

If the attacker is victorious, then they regain half of their losses in the same way as the end of a battle. All defending units are eliminated.

If the defender only has leaders left, then they are eliminated and the attacker is victorious; unless the attacker also only has leaders left, in which case the siege is broken. If the defender has units left, but the attacker only has leaders left, then the siege is broken and the attacking leaders must return to the province.

Besieging Process

A siege may be broken in the following ways:

1) The attacker loses all their units (not including leaders) during an assault.

2) The number of units besieging is reduced to less than half of the number being besieged due to their removal to face a battle or losses from asasult.

If the siege is not broken, the besieged player rolls a dice at the end of their turn, with the following modifiers:

+1 if besieged in winter or spring turn

-1 for the first turn of siege only.

-2 if besieged player has a boat in the city

On a roll of 6 or more, the besieged player has three units eliminated. On a roll of 5, the besieged player has two units eliminated. On a roll of 3 or 4, the besieged player has one unit eliminated. On a roll of 2 or less, there is no effect.

Units must be eliminated in the following priority order: Heavy cavalry, light cavalry, heavy infantry, light infantry, boats, city militia. If the besieged player has no units or only leaders left after rolling for the siege result, then any besieged leaders are eliminated and the city passes to the control of the besieging player.

If a power gains control of a city, they may destroy it to gain 1 income point.


Boats are used to transport units accross sea provinces. Boats are always located in a city in a province or the shore of the province. Boat movement is completed before land movement. Any battles occur after both are completed.

A boat may transport 2 income cost of units, so it will require two boats to transport a heavy cavalry plus one light infantry. Boats may be replaced at any time with a light infantry by the owning player. This light infantry may not, however, be converted back to a boat. The light infantry may be used in an ongoing battle in the province, or siege in the city where the boat is based.

Boats have a movement of two. That is, they may move two provinces along the coast, or to a sea province, then a land province. Units may be picked up and/or dropped off by boats at any point along the way. However, a unit may not be transported by boat more than once per turn.

If a boat moves into a sea province in winter, on a dice roll of 6, the boat and it's occupants are eliminated

If a unit is to be dropped off in a hostile province, boats in cities or the shore of that province may attack the boats in a naval battle, before the units are dropped off.

Boats may be moved to attack boats in cities where an assault is due to take place: the boats fight a naval battle first and regardless of the result, at least one round of the assault must be fought afterwards.

Naval Battle

Boats have a combat strength of two. If a boat is carrying one or more infantry units, its strength is three.

A naval combat phase is the same as a land battle phase: each player nominates three boats, and dice are rolled, with a nominated leader, who must be present on one of the boats nominated, affecting the strengths of boats with his leader bonus.

After each phase, a side must retreat if it has lost two units more than the opposition, and either or both sides may retreat voluntarily. If one side retreats and the other does not, then the side that remains rolls a dice for each of their boats, inflicting a loss each time they roll a 2 or less. Leaders may modify this roll.

Each loss in a naval battle is permanently eliminated, along with any units on board (including leaders).

Naval battles always precede land battles, and no boats may be converted to light infantry during a naval battle

Retreating Boats and other boat complexities

Boats must retreat to the nearest friendly city (even if besieged) or province. If boats retreat to a basieged city, enemy boats in that province may attack them, but friendy boats in any besieged city in the province may also join the combat. If they cross a sea province in winter to do this, then they are eliminated along with any occupants on a roll of 6.

If a province is attacked and boats belonging to the defending player are present, then these boats may retreat immediately, unless the attacking player is also attacking with boats, in which case they must either retreat to a city in the province where the attacker may attack them, or fight the attacker in a naval battle. Leaders and other units in the province may fight in the naval battle before the land battle. Remaining boats may be converted to light infantry

If a player attacks a province with both boats and land units s/he must state beforehand which units and leaders are on the boats. Defending boats may either retreat to cities or attack the attacking boats in a naval battle. After the naval battle, if the defender has boats left, they may be converted to light infantry or moved to any cities in the province. If the attacker has any boats left, they may move to attack defending boats in cities (this attack is a naval battle and is resolved before any land battle) or any number may be converted into light infantry and/or their occupiers may be landed in the province for the land battle.

If, at the end of their turn, a player has boats in a province belonging to an enemy player, then those boats must immediately retreat.

If a player moves units into a besieged city, the siege may be broken if the enemy does not have enough besieging units.

Attacking neutral provinces

Any player may attack any neutral province. The army of a neutral province depends on whether it is barbarian or civilised. A civilised neutral province will contain cities, a barbarian will not. When attacked, roll one dice and consult the appropriate table:

Cost of Units Raised by Civilised Neutrals
Dice roll Fertile Woodland Wasteland
1 3 2 1
2 4 3 1
3 5 4 2
4 6 5 2
5 7 6 3
6 8 7 4

Cost of Units Raised by Barbarian Neutrals
Dice roll Fertile Woodland Wasteland
1 5 5 2
2 5 5 2
3 6 6 2
4 6 6 3
5 7 7 4
6 8 8 5

The cost of the units should be spent immediately to place a any mix of units (including boats, if wished), although the first unit must be the one printed on the map.


Octavian versus Antony and Cleopatra BC 32 to BC 30.

Justinian and the reconquest of the Western Roman Empire: AD 533 to AD 540.

Heraclius vs Chosrou and the Avars AD 622 to AD 628.

In scenarios, tables of forces are presented. The order in which they appear is the order in which they move, with the exception of allied units, which move at the same time, in the turn of the power that moves first. HI = Heavy Infantry, LI = Light Infantry, HC = Heavy Cavalry, LC = Light Cavalry.

A nation is civilised if it owns cities, barbarian otherwise. If a barbarian power owns more than one province, the home province is underlined.

Some nations have national modifiers, which act as an automatic leader bonus (on top of any existing leader bonus). The modifiers may be negative, in which case the enemy gains the modifier as an extra national bonus. (e.g. if the Romans, with a national bonus of +1 fight the Suevi with a national bonus of -1, then the Romans are considered to have a national bonus against the Suevi of +2). If a nation loses a named leader, then one is subtracted from the national modifier of the nation (even to a negative number).

Some powers may have client states. These states are neutral, except that the power they are clients of may move freely through and stay in them.

Designed By David Kershaw, Belfast 1999: