As you might know if you interested in strategy PC games, Total War: Warhammer is just around the corner – due for release next Tuesday! I’ve already pre-ordered and can’t why to play. Here’s my top 5 reasons to be excited about the new game.
Firstly it’s because I’m an old git (relatively speaking) and remember playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles when it first came back in the early eighties. Spent many a happy hour with school friends playing McDeath and The Ziggurat of Doom, not to mention the epic Bloodbath at Orc’s Drift – which I’m sure included a badge saying “I bathed in blood at Orc’s Drift.”
I stopped playing though when I left school at started University – a couple of games while at Uni, but that was it – I finished with Warhammer on it’s 3rd edition. So it’s fascinating to go back to the game and see how it’s developed.
I also love Total War games – again getting into them right at the start with the first Shogun game. Somehow I still think that was the best – battlefield tactics somehow just worked better – a bit less real time rushing around perhaps? I’ve been looking for a Total War Warhammer game for ages. There’s some mods but an official game is where it’s at.
There’s some great new features for the game that will make it unique for Total War games – flying stuff and magic. I can’t wait to play with those things. Also the idea of Orc and Dwarf nations that don’t follow the standard nation building rout of these games will also be fascinating to play. I think I might start with the Orcs!
Perhaps if Creative Assembly pull off this game, they’ll get the change to do Lord of the Rings Total War – or Game of Thrones. A strategy game for either of those licenses would be awesome!
Here’s a trailer that hope will get you excited as well!
One of my favourite PC games is the venerable Field of Glory – I love it! It’s based on a tabletop miniatures game for Ancient and Medieval. I thought it would be fun to make an introductory video to introduce it to new players. So here it is.
Recently my 8 year old son and I visited our local Games Workshop – he was really excited to see that they had Hobbit and Lord of the Rings miniatures – being an avid collector of Lego for both these films. So we’re mulling over getting into the game! I used to play Warhammer when I was a teenager, so know a bit about gaming with miniatures and painting them up. Before we take the plunge and get a whole set of figures – we’re thinking about the Hobbit Escape from Goblin Town starter set – I ordered 3 dwarfs just to practice painting. I did the undercoat and then my son did the dry-brushing beards, armour effects and the blue tunic bits and the boots – I worked on the more detailed bits like flesh tones and helped tidy things up a bit. They’re not the best painted miniatures ever, but I think they turned out all right!
Onto the game itself, Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game is a bit like Warhammer but more skirmish orientated – I managed to find a copy of the rules at my local library and we’ve had a couple of games using my son’s Lego figures – we found the rules simple to pick up but also with enough nuances to make it interesting – I think we might be getting that starter set soon!
I just wanted to mention a great game that I recently started playing – it depicts trench fighting in the First World War with great accuracy and is good fun to play. It’s a first person shooter, but unlike silly FPS where you blast everyone away, you have realistic weapons and like WW1 you can die easily – often getting sniped with no idea where your killer is. Gas attacks are truly scary – if you don’t get your gas mask on you’re dead. I think one of the best bits though is that you need to work as a team to be successful. Each player is part of a four man team with a designated role. The NCO of the team can issue special commands such as calling in artillery or gas. The game seems to work best if you follow your NCO’s directions on where to attack and make a concerted effort to work together to clear enemy trenches.
Here’s the video trailer. If you want to pick it up you can get it on Steam.
If you don’t play this rather niche PC conversion of a tabletop wargame, then please look away now! I do and I love it. Always have liked wargaming since I was a kid and Field of Glory Digital hits all the right buttons for me. I was a bit doubtful at first because of the hex layout, but I have fallen in love with it now.
I took part in one of the Field of Glory leagues recently, and have just been invited to take part in another one. Last time I had a late Roman army – lots of cataphracts and horse archers alongside doughty legions. I got whipped pretty much – only winning 1 or 2 games out of 10!
Undeterred, this time round I’m thinking of trying my hand at the High Medieval league. I’m thinking of going for a Spanish army – such as the Castilians or Aragonese. What attracts me is the mix of unusual troop types – such as light cavalry jinetes, alongside more traditional knights, spearmen and crossbows. I have been doing some test battles recently – trying to fend off Swiss and Low Country pike armies to see how the proposed Castilian army matches up. With these Field of Glory leagues it seems that you really have to know how to use your army effectively – the AI is quite good, but can usually be beaten, so I’m doing some test runs at the moment to see how well I can do with my medieval horde plus jinetes before committing my choice of armies to the league.
I am also tempted though to play the masochist and try out a French army – you know the ones who kept on getting beaten up by the English. More on this soon!
After the disastrous (but if you’re a Total War freak completely predictable) release of Rome 2 Total War, you might be wondering how to get your fix of Roman action? Well there’s lots of great Rome based fiction around, and you might even consider going back to the first incarnation of Rome Total War – you might even like to try my short story The Honour of Rome – it’s short, only a 1,000 words – but you also get another short story, Chivalry, included. So about 6,000 words in total.
Rome 2 Total War looks great, but unfortunately I and a lot of other fans can’t play it yet because it just doesn’t run on a lot of PCs. I am confident it will get fixed at some point, but not that soon.
I think I might have to check out Shogun 2 instead – or at least the demo, and Napoleon Total War, while I wait – just on the Egypt campaign at the moment, and haven’t done any of the historical battles of the Europe campaign, so lots of fun to be had yet!
While they game is installing and loading, why not also take a read of the start of my short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure – featuring some medieval warfare of its own! The first fifth or so will be free to read if you click through and download a sample from your favourite ebook retailer.
In October Paradox Interactive (the makers of Mount and Blade, Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron) launch War of the Roses, a medieval combat game set during the Wars of the Roses. Essentially this looks like a historically set version of Mount and Blade, but with better graphics. Mount and Blade features simple but fun combat, which is actually quite hard to master – all seems to be about timing, especially when you’re mounted.
From the look of the videos War of the Roses promises more of the same:
The list of features promises options to choose different fighting styles – so maybe there will be some more sophistication than currently allowed in Mount and Blade – it will be something to watch this autumn, and hopefully there will be a demo to try out when the game is launched.
What also intrigues me about the game is whether there will be any story-line or campaign? Most Paradox games tend to be pretty open-ended, which is great sometimes, but I think a game like War of the Roses would benefit from a story-driven campaign that would take you through part of the historical reality of the Wars of the Roses. No mention of that though in the game features at the moment. Nor is there mention of an open-ended campaign like Mount and Blade. At present it seems that its more about outfitting a single character and fighting with it.
I have been experimenting with some video capture software recently and recorded this brief video of the Battle of Agincourt from Medieval 2 Total War. The game version of the battle is actually pretty accurate.
This is the moment when the French cavalry wings charge the English and are defeated quite easily by the English longbowmen fire! By the way there is not supposed to be any sound!
I am thinking about paying for the full version of the software so I can record longer clips!