Field of Glory
By Slitherine, and Matrix Games
Occasionally, a computer game comes along that successfully crosses the boundaries of the gaming industry and if designed correctly, will no doubt become an instant classic and win all the awards that it deserves. Well, in this reviewers humble opinion, one such game which arrived recently is “Field of Glory” by Slitherine (Osprey and Matrix Games) and it doesn’t just cross the boundaries, but smashes through them with resounding success. I want to state right from the start that this is a computer game (historical simulation) for the PC that should entice Boardgamers, Miniature Gamers, Computer Gamers, and those with an interest in History. As I said, it successfully crosses the Gaming Industry boundaries and is an immediate classic.
The first thing that we need to do is to glance at the System Requirements so that players can determine whether the game can run on their computer. The System Requirements for Field of Glory are:
- 1.6 GHz CPU
- 512Mb RAM
- Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
- 256 MB available hard disk space
- Integrated Graphics Card supporting OpenGL 1.1.
- Screen Resolution 1024 x 600
- 1.8 GHz CPU or better
- 1GB RAM or more
- Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
- 256 MB or more available hard disk space
- Discrete graphics card with at least 128MB video RAM supporting OpenGL 1.1.
- Screen Resolution 1280 x 800 or higher
As you can see, the requirements to run this game are very modest so it shouldn’t be a problem for a majority of gamers to run this game.
When you execute the FOG Icon from your desktop, the very first screen you see is a small help dialog box which provides a quick background into the games design. Here you are told that while FOG is based on the popular miniatures game of the same name, this particular version of the game has been first and foremost designed as a computer game. Once you close this screen, you are next presented with the new game screen from which you can choose from 35 different scenarios. At this point, I want to caution purchasers of the game that it is important that you download the latest updates to the game from the Matrix Games Website. The reason you want the latest version is that they have consistently added scenarios to the game as well as new features and the only way to get all these features is to download the latest version. To get the latest version, you can visit http://www.matrixgames.com/products/378/details/Field.of.Glory. The 35 Scenarios that are included with version 1.1 of the game are:
|Clastium 222BC||Ticinus River 218BC||Scirthaea 103BC|
|Clusium 225BC||Dertosa 215BC||Lyginus River 335BC|
|Corinth 146BC||Caesars Landing 55BC||Caesar at Bay 55BC|
|Verulamium 60AD||Great Plains 203BC||Starter Army Battle 1|
|Starter Army Battle 2||Starter Army Battle 3||Ticinus 218BC|
|Invasion of Macedon 279BC||Magnesia 190BC||Tunis 255BC|
|Cynoscephalae 197BC||Mons Graupius 84AD||Lake Trasimene 217BC|
|Carrhae 53BC||Cisapline Gaul 105BC||Agricola moves North 79AD|
|Trebia 218BC||Heraclea 280BC||Baecula 208BC|
|Indistavio 16AD||Metayrys 207BC||Sambre 57BC|
|Sentinum 295BC||Pharsalus 488BC||Silarus River 71BC|
|Cannae 216BC||Lyibaeum 276BC|
As you can see from the Scenario list, there are a wide range of challenges to be overcome within the basic game.
Playing the Game
While the game mechanics are quite similar to the tabletop (miniatures) game, the selection and movement/combat of units in FOG the computer game is very simple. It is a straight “point and click” interface which frees up players to consider their strategy and not worry about how to play the game or painting their miniatures. The simplicity of the computer game mechanics are incredible and the subtleties of the game are in mastering the strategy and tactics of your units.
At the top of the screen you have your menus and the bottom of the screen is your unit status area. The menu icon on the left is to end your turn and advance to the next turn. Following this, there are a few status items. The six items on the right are Undo Move, Show Command Radius, Help Files, Victory Points and the self explanatory Menu which is where you save the in-game progress. These menus are very intuitive and are constantly used throughout the game.
Here you see the initial setup for the Clastium 222BC Scenario which is one of the easier scenarios to be played and is an excellent introduction to the mechanics of the game. This scenario pits the Romans against the Gauls. As you are selecting the scenario, you see a small description of the battle. For this particular battle, the background information is as follows:
For the sample game, I decided to play as the Romans and on Turn 1 not to move any of my units and make the Gauls come to me. I decided on an initial defensive strategy to see what move the Gauls would make.
Game Turn 1
You can see in the next screen shot, that the Gauls moved their Javelin units up to skirmish. Here I had a choice of units with which to attack. I decided that instead of moving my archers up to charge the Gauls, I would only move them one hex and take advantage of ranged fire to decimate their ranks as you see in the next screen shot. On this shot, you can see that I had closed to firing range because of the target symbol that has now appeared on the unit.
Once I have selected the target unit and fired, the combat is resolved and you see the immediate result. This particular combat resulted in 2% causalities for the Gauls Javelin unit.
Next, I am going to have the Roman Cavalry charge the Gallic Javelin unit which will automatically retreat as it is a unit in skirmish formation. This means that this Javelin unit has been driven from the combat situation and is not currently a threat to any other unit.
Turn 2 Cavalry Charge
Turn 2 Javalin Fire
Turn 2 Javalin Fire Result
After I have conducted all of my movement and combats, the game situation at the end of turn 2 appeared as follows:
The next screen shot shows the battle at the end of Turn 3. You can see here, that things are getting a bit more chaotic as they did during an ancient battle by all recorded accounts.
Turn 3 End
The End of Turn 4 shows that most units have closed to battle and Fragmented units are marked with an F and Routed units are marked with an R.
Turn 4 End
At the end of Turn 5, my units are Victorious and here was the battle.
You can see from the Victory Conditions screen that while the Romans were outnumbered, but because of their better training, they had a higher breaking point. In this battle I Routed or Destroyed 3 Gallic units and Fragmented 2 which is how I met the Scenario Victory Conditions.
As you can see from the sample game I just presented, the game mechanics themselves are not difficult, it was the strategy that I had to choose to defeat the Gauls that caused me to stop and ponder the situation.
While I think that the Field of Glory game is a tremendous simulation, it is the included Scenario Editor that is a powerful delight. With this Scenario Editor you can create all types of historical or “What If” battles all situated in antiquity. Again, the varied options that you have available to you are incredible, and all of it is controlled through a “point n’ click” interface.
Create Scenario Menu
Well, after you have done your research, the first thing you need to do is click on the “Create a Scenario” menu item from the main screen of the game. The very first screen presented is for laying down the terrain that your battle will be fought on.
Here you can see that you can create a map from 10 x 10 up to 50 x 50 hexes. Once you select your map size, the next step is to “Point n’ Click” your terrain. The types of terrain that you can choose from are: Water, Scrub, Marsh, Blocked, Road, Stream, or Ford.
From here we now choose the elevation of the terrain and we can set them from Level 0 through Level 5.
Terrain Types and Elevation
Now that we have completed creating our battle terrain, its time to select and position on the map the units that will fight in the battle.
Unit Selection (Partial List)
It is here that the greatest flexibility of the Scenario Editor can really be seen. You can select from 19 different civilizations which can be selected from the following list:
|Macedonian||Mid-Republican Roman||Misc Mob|
Now finally, we will look at the type of units that are included with each civilization. Some of the typical units are: Generals, Elephants, Chariots, Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, Light Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Slingers, Javelin, and skirmishers to name a few. Please not that these are only some of the units that are available that you can choose for your army. In total, there are 189 different units represented in the game which means that there are a lot of battles that you can create with the basic game of Field of Glory.
If you want to see how the game plays, you can visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41t0ZM2rpxM which is video illustrating the multiplayer version of FOG and should answer any unanswered questions. There is also a video showing the Scenario Editor at work and you can view this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPKmgzQtLvM.
Having just returned from Cold Wars 2010 and watching the different Field of Glory miniature games that were played at this event, all I can say is that Field of Glory the computer game can assist these players in their strategy and tactics of playing the miniatures version of this game.
Help File 1
Help File 2
Field Of Glory is a definite winner in my humble opinion. It is one of the few games that I have ever come across that successfully bridges the gap between computer simulation, boardgame and miniatures/tabletop game. It is a winner across the board and with all of the expansion books that have already been written for this series, I can’t wait to see how these features are used to expand the game to cover other historical periods thereby extending its playability and enjoyment for all players.