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Imperator: Rome is free to play until Sunday

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Imperator: Rome, released earlier this year, is an outstanding grand strategy game: It's "huge, inventive, and the reason I'm sleep deprived," Fraser said in his 92% review. Despite that acclaim, it's also the sort of game that some players might be uncertain about. That's less to do with Imperator: Rome specifically and more to do with the grand strategy genre as a whole, which can be intimidating for newcomers—the mainstream success of the Civilization series serving as the exception.

If you'd rather not commit to a full-price purchase without having a good grasp on what it's all about (and speaking as someone who sprung for Europa Universalis: Rome on a whim, I can tell you that doesn't always work out), you can get a feel for Imperator: Rome this weekend on Steam. Until 1 pm ET on December 8, just pop 'round to the Steam page, and click the "Play Game" button. Download it and you're off to build your empire for a few days on the house.

If you enjoy the experience, you can pick up Imperator: Rome on sale for $27/£23/€27, 33 percent off the regular price, also until December 8. And if you don't, nothing's lost but a bit of time.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.