Jay's Wargaming Blog

January 10, 2018

More Free Stuff!

Filed under: Computer Gaming — Jay @ 11:26 am

My favourite computer game, Field of Glory II, has consistently – like its sister games Pike & Shot and Sengoku Jidai – delivered wonderful free content in addition to the base game and ‘official’ expansions.

Latest in the list of freebies is Paul Adaway’s TT Mod. This addresses the tendency of the base game to re-use standard unit graphics – e.g. for Hellenic pikemen – in a number of different armies. Consequently, to expand this example, Alexander’s pikemen would look the same as those used in a Ptolemaic or Pyrrhic army. The result was a certain ‘sameness’ in the look of some of the armies.This wasn’t a huge problem as it was basically a cosmetic issue, but it was certainly one of the few underwhelming aspects of the game as originally published.

Paul has addressed this by replacing the ‘ubiquitous vanilla versions’ (as he puts it) of Pikemen and Cavalry units – among others – to ensure greater diversity and a more accurate reflection of historical differences.

In addition, Paul has created greater diversity in the army lists by splitting them to reflect the detailed granularity of the table top version of the game (hence ‘TT’ or ‘Table Top’ mod). So the Pyrrhic list has been split into a ‘Pyrrhus in Italy’ and a ‘Pyrrhus in Greece’ list; and the Gallic lists have been split into ‘Lowland’ and ‘Hill Tribe’ variants for each period. These are just a couple of examples from what is in actuality a huge list – click here to access the full list.

There are some excellent new unit types in the latest mod as well, such as the Tarantine Light Cavalry and the various new flavours of Phalanx and Hoplite units – Iphikratean Hoplites, Seleucid Argyraspides and Chalkaspides etc. etc.

I love the fact that FoG II and its sister games have such a fantastic community of gamers and modders. Finding this latest upgrade today is rather like waking up to find that the Wargames Fairy had delivered a hundred new miniatures armies to my doorstep overnight…

Big thanks to Paul for his sterling work!

Pyrrhic Army with Tarantine Light Cavalry

Pyrrhic Army with Tarantine Light Cavalry

 

 

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December 6, 2017

Oh Those Persians!

Filed under: Computer Gaming,Reviews — Jay @ 2:58 pm

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Field of Glory II has been running almost constantly on my computer since its release a few months ago. It’s an excellent implementation of tabletop ancients wargaming, combining nice graphics with a tough AI, sandbox skirmish mode, and a built-in campaign system.

The base module released with the original game – Rise Of Rome – covered the period from 280 BC to 25 BC, featuring 75 army lists spread across 48 nations.

Now the first of what I expect will be many expansions has arrived.

Immortal Fire covers the armies of the Persian Empire, the Greek city states, Alexander the Great, the Diadochi, and a few neat extras like the Lydians, the Latins and the Etruscans. Not bad for the princely sum of just £11.99!

The Achaemenid Persians are my favourites so far. They come in five different period flavours, reflecting the changes in their army composition as their empire expanded and then eventually contracted in the face of Macedonian aggression. The Persian Immortals and Sparabara – both new units in the game – give the player the opportunity to pit ‘medium’ infantry armed with bow, spear and shield against the redoubtable Greeks and Macedonians. They’re a lot of fun to use. Here they are defending a hill against a determined assault by Greek hoplites:

 

Persians03 Infantry

 

The Iranian Armoured Cavalry provides the Persians with another powerful option, giving them more mobility than the Greeks can muster. These bow-armed heavy cavalry, supported by light horse archers, can run the Greeks ragged while the Immortals and the Sparabara provide a solid infantry line for them to fall back on as needed. Here my Iranians surround a couple of isolated hoplite units, and prepare to pick them off:

 

Persians02 Cavalry

 

In addition to the new nations and armies, Immortal Fire also adds some ready-made campaigns to the existing roster.  There are four historical campaigns: Xenophon, Philip of Macedon, Seleukos I Nikator, and Seven Hills of Rome. Xenophon and Seven Hills of Rome (which covers the rise of the young Roman Republic) are particularly intriguing. So too is the additional ‘What If’ campaign that’s included in the package – this allows us to explore what might have happened if Alexander had not died at the tender age of 32, but had instead gone on to continue his conquests.

Along with the ready-made campaigns, the new army lists can also be used in sandbox mode to create new campaigns on the fly. Doubtless more community-produced campaigns built using these lists will also emerge in due course.

But for now I’m going to stick with my sandbox campaign, pitting my beautiful Persians against the brutish Greek barbarians.

Thanks to Richard Bodley Scott and his team for providing us with another excellent, immersive computer game!

November 13, 2017

Elephants in the FoG

Filed under: Computer Gaming,Reviews — Jay @ 8:23 pm

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One of the many good things about the recently released computer game Field of Glory II – Rise Of Rome is that it covers so much more than just the Romans and their enemies. Right now I’m fighting an Indian civil war campaign against the game’s challenging AI, which boasts a total of six difficulty levels.

I’m fielding a classical Indian army against Mountain Indian opponents. Think lots and lots of elephants, heavy and light chariots, field artillery, and swarms of massed bowmen. The army is bulked out with massed javelin infantry, light archers and horse archers, and some horribly ineffective cavalry (at least, they’re ineffective the way I use them).

For this game, designer Richard Bodley Scott has gone for a completely different approach to campaigns from the one used in his earlier releases Pike & Shot and Sengoku Jidai. Instead of map movement, the player faces a series of linked challenges which can throw up different types of engagement. Although most battles are standard head-on confrontations, from time to time you may find yourself protecting a baggage train in a forested region, or facing an enemy rearguard with your reserve troops.

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The game keeps track of casualties and reinforcements, while you have to regularly detach troops for garrison duty, thereby depleting your field army as the war progresses. You can choose to stick to one difficulty level throughout the campaign, or you can opt instead for a gradual increase in difficulty, which will allocate more troops to your computer opponent. As your army gains battlefield experience your troops gain in elan, so that by the final cataclysmic confrontation – if you get that far – you may be fielding an army of tough veterans, but face a much larger enemy force.

There are a number of very good pre-loaded campaigns that come with FoG II, enabling you to relive the careers of Julius Caesar, Hannibal, Pyrrhus of Epiros, and Mithridates of Pontus. But the ‘sandbox’ option gives you the ability to play out a campaign with any of the armies included in the current release. And the first of what will doubtless be many user-generated custom campaigns have already been produced, in the shape of Paul59’s Antiochus the Great campaign and DasTactic’s Euteubor Campaign (Graeco-Bactrians vs all of their neighbours).

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The scope for such campaigns is immense. There are a total of 48 nations and factions in the base game under the following broad headings – Romans, Hellenistic Kingdoms, Carthaginians, Syracuse, Spanish, Numidians and Moors, Celts, Illyrians, Thracians, Spartacus, Jewish Kingdoms, Skythians/Saka, Sarmatians, Parthia, Armenia and (of course) Indians. Within these categories there are further choices to be made. For instance, the Hellenistic Kingdoms allow you to play Macedonians, Indo-Parthians, Western Greeks, Seleucids (in four different flavours) and so on. There’s no shortage of options to maintain interest, which makes for great replayability value.

The AI is a huge step forward compared to the original Field of Glory computer game, providing a viable (and at times quite unforgiving) opponent. Gone too are the quirky OTT combat results and the frequent sight of your (or your opponent’s) units breaking formation to randomly charge an approaching enemy. The graphics have improved too, whilst retaining something of the ‘toy soldier’ feel of the original game.

Anyhow, must dash. My howdah has been re-upholstered, Nellie is getting restless, and the next battlefield awaits my tattered but proud Indian army…

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