Part of the origin of the Field of Glory miniatures game is all the documentation and research emanating from the Wargames Research Group (WRG), which has released sums on ways to adapt ancient warfare with solid rules and regulations. figurines, and on the other handbooks edited by Osprey Publishing focused on armies at all times, from a historical, social, economic point of view, well-sourced and with beautiful illustrations.
Richard Bodley Scott is also the originator of the Field of Glory miniatures game in 2008. He did not limit himself to this period, as he also worked in the Renaissance period. Part of the Byzantine Games team, he helped design Pike & Shot: Campaigns (2014) and Sengoku Jidai (2016).
Using the same engine, the team also worked on adapting modes of warfare by combining units with a certain number of characteristics making them vulnerable or strong in the face of situations or units, with terrains ranging from open to difficult and which can disrupt the heaviest formations, morale that drops as damage taken in combat, a rout and pursuit system, and a command system introduced in Sengoku Jidai.
On October 12, 2017, the Renaissance and the Japanese period exit for this vast playground of Antiquity. The first Field of Glory without Bodley Scott was released in 2009. 9 years later, it's an opportunity to take a look back at a game that combines a strong history, an easy to learn but difficult to master wargame and attractive skin.
1200 YEARS OF MILITARY HISTORY
The original game adapts the period -280 to -25, the moment when the Senatus Populusque Romanum (SPQR) extends in the Mediterranean basin in front of the peoples of the Italic boot, the invader Epirote, the Punics, the diadochs between Antigonides , Lagids, and Seleucids, to the people of Pont-Euxin, to the Parthians in the far east.
The game already had 75 army lists for roughly 51 peoples, five campaigns, and a dozen historic battles, already solid software. Each army list allowed you to take a period, a people, and discover the multiplicity of the armed forces, drawn from true sums of history, and returned to the screen with the uniforms à la Osprey, verified by the sources of any kind.
As if that weren't enough, three new expansions were released afterward, to adapt other historical pieces, including some from the miniatures game army books.
Immortal Fire (December 2017) sends us particularly to the east of the Mediterranean basin, to re-enact the struggles for influence between Athens and Sparta, to remake the Median Wars against the Achaemenids, and to reconstruct the battles of the diadochs after the death of Alexander the Grand (-323) and the division of his Empire between his generals. Eight peoples, 10 units, and 30 army lists are added to the rest of the game, matched with ten battles and five campaigns, and sending you down to -550.
Legions Triumphant (March 2018), on the other hand, sends you to the Roman Empire, to resume the Roman conquests as far as Great Britain, keep the limes, and discover the so-called "barbarian" peoples, from the Goths to the Huns. Similarly, there are 10 peoples, 17 units, 22 army lists, 10 battles, and four campaigns to go up to 476.
Finally, the Age of Belisarius sends you after the "fall" of the Western Roman Empire right in the East, where the Romans of the Byzantine Empire continued to maintain their hold over their region at the cost of terrible fighting to restore a semblance of authority against the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Visigoths to the west, and Sassanids to the east. Likewise, the "barbarian" kingdoms are yours, extending your playing field until the 7th century AD. 11 peoples, 17 units, 29 army lists, 6 battles and 4 campaigns, one allowing to play the Franks.
THE REGULATED TACTICS OF ANTIQUITY
Everything sweats the miniatures game in Field of Glory II. The rules of the game are numerous, diverse, and require knowing the manual inside out for each unit? Never mind, everything fits in the video game with one click on a unit, and the chances of victory, defeat, or a draw with enemy formations are clearly indicated with clear and understandable numbers. This is the great strength of this adaptation. So let's go into detail.
On large maps, you will find several types of terrain, which can be classified as open, difficult, very difficult, and impassable. If the wrong type of unit enters unsuitable terrain, it will suffer from a cohesion problem that will impact its morale: well yes, you didn't think that this big, tightly-ranked hoplite unit was going to fight in the forest or on the hills? On the other hand, it will be the privileged place for skirmishers, slingers, archers, and other light troops, who will move there without great difficulty to harass the adversary.
In a battle, two camps are deployed face to face. The first step is also to place the troops in the right place. If there are hills, run up there to take advantage of the slope bonus if your enemies come attacking you. A large plain on the right? No worries, you can place your heavy infantry contingents there, or your cavalry.
Each unit is represented with the uniforms inspired by the sums of military history that are the works of Osprey Publishing, move, are active, and quite well represent the units they represent, to the detriment, I must say, of readability when two formations are nested one in the other, trying to find the loophole in the opposing device, in full combat. Despite everything, it remains pretty.
Each unit has a set of characteristics, which will determine bonuses and penalties depending on the terrain or the enemy encountered: type of unit (light, heavy, elephant, cavalry, artillery, impossible to maneuver), quality (recruits, professionals, etc.), armor (no armor, light, heavy ...), type of weapon and skill (impact, lancer, swordsman), the number of action points determining the movement, rotation of the unit (very important!), and fight.
Finally, two other data: the strength of the unit, that is to say, its total strength, knowing that the unit automatically retreats past a certain stage; and above all morale. It is morale that will determine all your battles. It goes through four phases as the shocks of the battle, flank captures, rear captures, the death of a general, the difference in slope, or the frantic flight of formations. close: fresh, not fresh, fragmented, and retreating.
It will be necessary to play on it: concentrate the enemy fire to lower this cohesion, use all the tactical paraphernalia to further lower it, and see with a grimace of satisfaction a fractured but tidy order of battle collapse suddenly. following the retreat of a unit.
Another mechanic is that some units continue with the defeated formation: it can sometimes be dangerous to rely on this pursuit which can lead your units to the heart of the enemy system. But the pursuit is part of the DNA of the fight.
Finally, generals can be attached to units, providing a command area allowing free rotation to units in the area as well as a combat bonus, at the risk of melee losing them in the crowd.
A COMPLETE ANCIENT EXPERIENCE
The historical or ahistoric campaigns which, you will understand, are about fifteen if you have all the DLC, will take you into a series of battles, where you will have small decisions to make. For example, you can manage the garrison between battles. You also have the possibility for your units to gain ground. These campaigns will take you to the most famous wars of the Classical, Hellenistic or Imperial era. Likewise, you will be able to create your own campaigns using an army roster and a particular assailant in a series of linked battles.
The historical battles, they will put you more in the bath of the most famous battles, reconstituted as faithfully as possible, as long as this remains possible with the rules and the few approximations inherent in a game of miniatures or a video game. It should come as no surprise, for example, that the Goths, Visigoths or even the Franks have more or less similar Warband in their skills, that is to say, a high strength impact infantry.
Finally, you have the custom battles and multiplayer games with your neighbors, if you can overcome a reputedly tricky artificial intelligence, especially in the highest difficulty modes, and who will not hesitate to bypass you, to take advantage of your weaknesses and your wanderings to turn the situation to its advantage.
It will thus be necessary to count with a hundred lists of armies, centered on a people and a particular time, with its particular roster, its generic units, and its own units, each one scooping a certain value in points, which you spend in the campaigns or custom battles. A miniatures play experience for sure.
TO STORM !
But then, once all these elements are put together, what to think about them? Well, this is quite simply one of the most successful, complete, and interesting games in the way it takes combat to date. It’s a little gem, yet it appears crude: one is quickly lost between all these skills, this huge choice of unit for certain factions, and these vast battlefields.
However, it is enough to look a little longer on the game, to understand the specificities of the main types of units (heavy, light, impact, cavalry), to deploy them the old-fashioned way on the battlefield, than this. either in Roman style or obliquely in Epaminondas. And this is when your settled plan allows you to take a wing, to capitalize on it with the help of a cavalry charge while holding the center with your pikemen while gradually pushing back the adversary that you discover. the raw beauty of the game. The whole is supported by rather correct and discreet music, as well as graphics more than correct for a game of ancient tactics.
The additional content does not change the face of the game but adds units, army rosters, and campaigns to make 1200 years of military history. So certainly, some army lists are poorer than others, such as the poor Franks (where are the Franciscan launchers?) Compared to the Byzantines of the last DLC who have a considerable mass of units, in particular from a distance with mixed infantry units and mounted archers. But what a pleasure to face the Roman remains in the open with the Franks to pierce their line with the greatest violence once morale has lowered, or to find yourself in the desert facing the Sassanids with your Byzantines who must ensure the success of their revival of the Roman Empire. And that's just two out of four campaigns in the latest DLC.
Field Of Glory II Medieval Review, the conclusion
There would still be things to say about the peoples, the faithful representation of many ancient units, the varied campaigns even proposing an alternative history where Alexander III said "the Great" did not die in -323, or even the areas of control of the formations which fix the front line, but what does it matter: Field of Glory II is essential like an exceptional reference in the ancient war. The interface is clear, all the information is displayed on the screen if you need it, and the content is substantial. Fans of antiquity, go for it!
For more information regarding this video game, please make sure you visit the Field Of Glory II MEdieval on Steam for more details.