Some houses don't seem to be able to access specific resources, even when they are well within their area of effect and nicely hooked up with roads. Sometimes you have to blitz an area with certain types of buildings, going so far as to build a temple on somebody's front doorstep before the residents clue into the fact that they really do have access to the facilities they need to upgrade their hovels. Buildings ignoring resources is a problem that has plagued city-building games off and on for a long time now, so it is still disappointing to see that Firefly didn't completely get rid of this issue here.
Resources are collected and processed in different ways, too, with varying numbers of workers needed to man farms and stores, although the game never clues you in to this fact or even bothers to note how many employees it takes to fully stock each facility. While the advisor drones on about the declining amount of food in granaries or happiness declining, he never gives tips on key game issues relating to scenario objectives and you're left to discover the differences between goods production on your own. This can be troublesome, as it's a matter of trial and error to determine how many wineries can be supported by each vineyard, how many butcher shops can be supported by each goat farm, and so forth. You tend to swing through economic booms and busts in every scenario, going from bursting your granaries at the seams with too many farms and shops cranking out food, to not having enough and experiencing a depression in which food stocks dwindle and people start leaving town for greener pastures.
A couple of aspects of CivCity: Rome elevate the game somewhat. The historical flavor is very nicely handled; Ancient Rome is well represented by figures from history, gods, archetypes like baths and coliseums, esoteric frills like chariot races and multiple types of gladiatorial schools, and even a representation of the class system of the time with separate types of homes and goods for the rich and poor (the well-off need geese to eat and recliners for their villas; the poor make do with goat meat and simple beds).
Architecture is pretty much dead on, and citizens provide cute, semihistorical one-liners when you click on them, like "Pizza--now there's one idea that will never catch on" (although it would be better if citizens would ditch the jokes and more frequently tell you what is actually going on in the city). There are a lot of liberties taken with the timeline, though, as you constantly get served a mish-mash of messages and events from around a thousand years of history. Getting a video message from Hadrian 600 years before his birth doesn't enhance the game's historical feel. But overall, the game still evokes ancient Rome in an acceptably "gamey" way.
Aspects of Civilization grafted onto the old-fashioned, stereotypical city building also liven things up. There is a tech tree of advancements to research, although it is tiny in comparison to what is on offer in Civ IV. Specific techs don't provide much in the way of wide-ranging bonuses, either. Each tech basically gives a bump to a single attribute. Mysticism, for instance, provides a temporary 10 percent boost to city happiness. Coinage cranks up tax collecting by 20 percent. Books enlarge libraries and schools. Many techs can also be researched quickly, so you can tear through a pile of them in the course of a scenario.
Citizens don't seem to have a problem living next door to farms, so cities generally develop as mish-mashes of urban planning, with everything crammed in together.
The version of the Civlopedia included here is similarly half-baked. Entries are explained with short, bullet-point blurbs that wouldn't have been out of place in a kid's game. Wonders are similarly trimmed down. It's good to have them in the game, and it's even better that they include historical Roman accomplishments like the Colosseum, the Pharos Lighthouse, the Pantheon, and the Library of Alexandria, but all they do is boost prestige and citizen happiness. There are just seven of them in the game, too, which seems skimpy considering how much Rome built over the centuries.
CivCity: Rome could have been so much more. Civ-styled tech trees, units, diplomacy, and great people could have provided a shot in the arm to the city-building genre, which hasn't evolved in any significant way since Impressions set the standard almost a decade ago. Classical history buffs should find it interesting for a short time because of the historical flavor, but dÃ©jÃ© vu quickly overwhelms any sense of enjoyment from trying to match Augustus and turn Rome from brick into marble.