The Rise & Rule of Ancient Empires is based on a classic strategic game: Sid Meier's Civilization. However, in this game, the period is shorter, and only hard cavalry can be discovered. As ever, the goal is the conquest of all the known world and impose your law upon it.
Post by an Impressions employee ("Ironrod") to Impressions' Lords of the Realm III forum on 1/22/2002:
"Rise & Rule was Impressions' answer to Civilization. It was meant to be a beer-and-pretzels version. It had some design flaws arising from conflicting objectives between the Designer and the Director of Design, so it didn't achieve that "Civ Lite" goal, but it wasn't a bad game. Using philosophers to spread knowledge from city to city was a unique and clever touch, for one thing."
"R&R had the bad fortune to ship at about the same time as Civ2. It didn't sell well and the team who worked on it (excepting yours truly) are gone now. I won't say that Impressions would never consider a sequel, but we'd more likely create a new project for a Civ-like game rather than do a sequel to a "failed" brand."