I'm not what would be called an intensive gamer. I buy maybe 2 games a year. This is the most addictive game I've played since the original Pirates came out for the Commodore 64 home computer. I would play that game for literally 6 hours or more at one sitting. This is just as bad. I'm 37 now and not 14 like I was then too, but I'm having flashbacks LOL! It helps that I'm absolutely fascinated with the late republic/early imperial period of the Roman empire. I've played the historical campaign of the original through twice. Haven't even touched Barbarian Invasion yet, except to watch the intro. Has the "4X" feel of a Civilization style game, but without all the micromanagement. New buildings provide benefits to population control, revenue, and combat units. Pretty basic. Where the game shines is in the tactical battles. You can literally zoom in on an individual soldier.
My only criticisms are that there aren't enough historical battles in my opinion, and that when creating a custom battle you can't choose the "rebel" faction. Also in the custom battles, the various Roman factions don't have access to all Roman units. I wanted to create a "Spartacus" style battle. I couldn't use "rebels", so I choose two Roman factions. Each Roman faction has access to one style of Gladiator, not all three. I wanted to make an army of the gladiator types, but I couldn't.