Sunday, November 29, 2009

Slitherine Computer Games Review

Field of Glory Digital

The Field of Glory computer game is turn based with a hex grid so it feels like an old fashioned board game.  You can play v. the computer or v. people on the net.  Many historical ancient battles are provided as scenarios & there's an editor so you can set up our own.  I believe more scenarios will become availbale by download from the website.

I'm no fan of Field or Glory as a tabletop game, but the computer version I quite like.  The computer does all the calcs & remembers all the arcane rules for you, which helps, but also the game has been changed to a degree to suit the computer environment.   The changes seem to be for the better - for example there are much greater differences in move rates between infantry & cavalry than in the table top game.  I found I am able to use maneouvre to gain advantage to a much greater degree than with the tabletop version.  You can zap thru a game in about half an hour, so it's a nice little time filler.

Commander - War in Europe

This is a much larger scale game covering the Atlantic to the Urals from 1939 to 1945.  Again it's a turn & hex based computerised boardgame.   You have some control over production so you can built up your forces with a different mix to the historical.  It covers land, sea & air.  The game can be started in any year so you can start off in Poland, France, Russia or D-day.  You can fight the computer AI as either side, or play on the net v. people. 

The full game from 1939 on would take dedication and a far bit of time, but I think the game's exciting enough to maintain the interest (at least as long as you were winning, or are a maschocist) & you can save & take a rest anytime.  

The game seems to hit the spot between enough & too much detail & rocks along pretty well.  It's hard for Bad Guys to win (as it should be).  The Germans just can't afford to make mistakes - it can all go very wrong very quickly.   It also makes one realise how small the western front was compared with the Russian front.

The game is easy to pick up and play - the printed manual is only about 20 pages, but there are a lot of subtleties you need to master to do beat the AI.  I recommend playing some short scenarios to learn the game well before launching into the whole event.  The game doesn't have separate scenarios but you make a shorter game in a number of ways, eg:
- Start with D-day & see if you can get to Berlin faster than par (or hang on for longer).
- Start with Barabrossa & see if you can get to Moskow before winter stops you (or stop them sooner).
- Start in 1940 & see if you can get to Paris faster than par (or hang on for longer).

Slitherine Games

You can download the games from  They cost about 20 pounds (A$37) for the download.  On my not so fast broadband it takes about 15 minutes to download.  They run fine on my 2.2gH/4gB system with Win 7.   They also have Commander - Napoleon, a Napoleonic version of War in Europe.  I haven't got that one - I have enough to learn with the others right now.

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