Reverend Keith's comment particularly this line.
What I'd love are historical RPG books that don't focus on historical minutiae, but rather just provide a brief (but accurate) overview for flavor, coupled with a wealth of game mechanics for simulating the era.While I like mechanics what I think what needs to be covered as well is how to roleplay in historical settings. I think this is a critical aspect and key to making campaign work. The best historical (or genre emulation) games I been in are those where the rulebook and GM handouts gives me a clear sense of what being X was like.
The importance this was hammered into me when I ran my first NERO LARP events (D&D in the woods). The main focus was about a highlander cultures. Thanks to Rob Roy, which came out that year, I did the research and managed to distilled it into it's essence. The folks doing the NPCs roles and later player really responded to this especially after Braveheart came out that same year. It wasn't the accuracy of the historical details that nailed it but select the right mix that allowed a roleplayer to feel like they were playing a Scottish Highlander.
Unfortunately my Roman analogues didn't do so well so I will refer you to Graham Bottley's Rolemaster: Rome for that.
Next Tim of Gothridge Manor asks about what about Magic and Society which I will cover in tomorrow's post.
P.S. Before you ask the reason the Romans I made didn't do so well is because I made too much the bad guy and did not add enough sympathetic elements. In short they came across like jerks.