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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

FinnegansFather

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With the new game coming out, I decided to go back and play Rome: Gold Edition.

One thing is really puzzling me, though. In the strategy guide put out by Paradox, they spend time advising paying attention to friends and rivals of the ruler, particularly favoring the ruler's friends.

I feel like I am missing something here. I can see why the ruler would do that. And I guess it makes role-playing sense. But why would I, the human gray eminence behind the throne so to speak? I do not see how it benefits Rome for the consul to appoint less qualified friends to important positions.

Positions to please characters, to pull them away from the Populists, sure. But not particularly the friends of the consul.

Those of you who have more experience with the game, am I missing something here?
 

Nyrael

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Friends are more loyal, aka they are less likely to become a nuisance to your Consul. And while the Consul will eventually change, having a big, strong group of friends means that many of your Consuls will be a part of it, and thus be more efficient.
The system is more useful for Monarchies though.
 

Will Steel

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Friends are useful as the (almost) permanently loyal people you can put up anywhere. Put them in a rich province and they'll rarely hurt you. Put them in charge of a huge army and they won't rebel. And they also help

A character with friends also gets some good events in my personal experience with the game. I don't know if it was vanilla or modded, but my Consul got a big chunk of money from his friend when he went bankrupt, and a few feast events as well. I've also seen AI reward friends with high offices more often.

When you take action against someone (for example imprison them or take away their governorship or commands), not just they and their family lose loyalty, but all of their friends as well. Remove a person with too many friends, and you'll have a civil war very fast.

It is generally more noticeable and better-used in monarchies, true.

Now, rivals are what you have to watch out for, because:

- They can and will try to assassinate your characters sometimes. This can result in death of your best generals and rulers.
- Their job performance is affected. If you appoint your rival to a tech position, he
- Their loyalty drops like a rock as long as their rival remains the ruler.
- If you give them armies, they might try to rebel and launch a civil war.
- If you make them governors, they may try to break away from your nation.
- As mentioned, they may have friends. And those friends will also lose loyalty and switch over in civil wars.
- I've personally seen that rivals often indulge in corruption against you, not sure if it was a coincidence.

In republics, the friend/rival system heavily affects politics (even if elections render them irrelevant a few years later). If a party leader is a friend of your consul, that party will gladly support most of your actions in diplomacy and elsewhere...and the usual loyalty bonus. It is opposite when your rival leads a party - they'll oppose your stuff and might lose loyalty.

In monarchies, you have not much to fear. It is easier to keep track of rivals since rulers rarely change. You may get rid of them without too much tyrant penalty.