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Last year saw the release of Field of Glory Empires  from AGEOD and Slitherine. It represented a new chapter for AGEOD, best known for their...

Field of Glory: Empires - Persia 550-330 BCE Field of Glory: Empires - Persia 550-330 BCE

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Last year saw the release of Field of Glory Empires from AGEOD and Slitherine. It represented a new chapter for AGEOD, best known for their deep, yet infamously difficult to get into, series of historical grand strategy games. Empires took most of their best ideas, added a few new ones, and combined it all with a much more user friendly interface. Another interesting twist was linking traditional grand strategy gameplay with the tactical battles of Field of Glory II. This allowed the player to assume direct command of any battle if they so chose, by launching FOG II, an entirely separate game, playing out the battle, then sending the results back to Empires. This was a bold decision that worked quite well, though you certainly wouldn't want to play out the majority of your battles this way, as it would take ages. All in all, I really enjoyed the game and how it encouraged the idea of civilizations rising and falling over time, allowing the player to "win" even after their glorious empire had faded into a has-been. 

The recent release of Persia 550-330 BCE, steps the game start further back in time, and as the title suggests, features the rise of Persia as a central highlight. The player can step into the shoes of Cyrus II, aka Cyrus the Great, and see if you can match his conquests. Although your neighbors at the start, Babylon and Media, are massive, they are old and worn down empires that have rotted from the inside. It won't take you long to overrun their lands, but after that you will find yourself facing stiffer resistance from the Greek city states. Lucky for you, this DLC also introduces some new features in addition to the new campaign.

Regional Decisions will be immediately familiar to any fans of the older AGEOD games. These are essentially bonuses or special powers that you can apply (for a cost) to qualifying regions. They represent all sorts of historical events and realities, but do so in a simple and abstract way that doesn't over complicate things. For example, you can invest resources in attempting to turn the Greeks against one another so they don't have time to ally against you. You can federate barbarian warriors on your borders to improve relations and sap their manpower, or you can invest in building up newly conquered lands. There are many different regional decisions, and all have a cost and potential benefit. Some are unique to certain civilizations, while others can be employed by anyone. This is a perfectly natural addition to the game that makes things more interesting without adding any additional complexity.

Another new feature adds a bit of randomness and replayability to the game. Impediments and Boons are, respectively, bad or good features of any given region that you may find as you go about painting the map your color. Things like an impenetrable forest or a bandit infestation which can slow down development in a region until you find a way to deal with the issue. Occasionally you can also find an especially good boon that makes a region far more important than it might be the next time you play the game. This feature isn't quite as meaningful as the Regional Decisions, but anything to mix up strategy and increase replayability is a win in my book. Both of these features are also added into the original campaign timeline, in case you were wondering.

Special effort was also made to add extra flavor to playing as the key nations of the time by giving them unique events, missions, and more, so that playing Persia won't feel anything like playing as Athens. So far, I've only played a campaign as the Persians, and I have to say it was a new experience compared to my plays of the base game as Rome, and then as various barbarian tribes. I happily found that, much like in Europa Universalis IV, playing as the big names and the little names of history can be fun in different ways. Playing as Persia was a delight. Finally, a chance to play as a rapidly expanding and wildly successful (for a while) empire not named Rome! That said, you can play this campaign as Rome if you wish, though you will be starting from very humble beginnings. Dozens of other tribes and empires are available to play as well, from the Picts up in the far North, to a still powerful Egyptian state, or perhaps you'll lead the Spartans in kicking people into wells all over the Mediterranean. 

Field of Glory Empires might not have dethroned the Paradox grand strategy games, but I maintain that it is still a very strong contender in the genre. As I discussed in my original review, the combination of multitudes of trade goods, semi-random construction options, and deep but accessible empire management make it a great choice for anyone interested in the genre. Being able to play out your battles in tactical turn based combat is a cool twist, though entirely optional. The Persia DLC seamlessly strengthens that gameplay with its additional features, and the timeline chosen is perfectly suited to the core theme of the game, the never ending balance between progress and decay.

Field of Glory Empires - Persia 550-330 BCE can purchased from Slitherine directly, or found on Steam.

- Joe Beard

Last year saw the release of Fantasy General II , the more than two decades overdue follow up to the 90's classic. Slitherine and de...

Fantasy General II: Onslaught Fantasy General II: Onslaught

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Last year saw the release of Fantasy General II, the more than two decades overdue follow up to the 90's classic. Slitherine and developer Owned by Gravity decided to revisit their iteration of the game just a little bit quicker. The Onslaught DLC brings two primary new features to the game. A significant of expansion of the air unit roster, and a new campaign that uses branching paths and procedural generation to offer a very replayable experience. There is also an extra mission slotted into the original campaign that will get you easier access to some of the new air units. 

While the air units are fun, and I'll discuss them later, the primary reason most players will want to pick up this add on is the new campaign. Taking place after the events of the main story, this new campaign is shorter overall, but is meant to be played more than once. There are three heroes from the original story to choose from, each with a very different style. One uses the standard units from the main campaign, one uses lots of not-so-cuddly animal units, and the last focuses on hiring mercenary units from mission to mission. Each hero also of course has their own style of fighting on the battlefield. In addition to choosing your hero, during this campaign you'll be constantly choosing between different branching mission paths. The different missions will give unique rewards and also shape the story to some extent. This means that you could play through several times before you see every mission, and use a different roster of units each time.

The game recommends playing on "Iron Maiden" mode. One save file, no quicksaving or restarting missions. And, as I learned the hard way, letting your hero take one too many hits and die is an instant game over, forcing you to start from scratch. I enjoyed playing using this mode, as the procedurally generated missions here tend to play much more quickly than the missions of the original campaign. This comes with the sharp trade-off of losing all of the in-mission storytelling and events, as well as the more complex mission objectives. Most missions here are simple affairs, like moving your hero across the map, or capturing a handful of objectives.  Even without any scripted surprises or side missions, the combat can still be unpredictable and interesting. The in-game world is in a state of chaos, with multiple factions fighting for control in the power vacuum left by the events of the main campaign. This is reflected by most maps in Onslaught having the potential for three-, and even four-way fights to break out between the various factions and neutral wildlife units wandering around the battlefield. 

The story itself is not nearly as deep as last time, but still has its moments. Essentially, your hero of choice is having vivid dreams, drawing them to seek out a powerful artifact in the war-torn lands of the Empire. This prompts you to go on a merry goose chase around the game world, seeking one item after another and fighting with a wide variety of enemies. The story is the same regardless of which hero you choose, but the way you go about it can be quite different each time you play. There's always a choice between two or three missions which each have different goals and rewards, and may send you down a separate path for a while. Ultimately, you'll always arrive at the same key story moments, and the overall story itself story doesn't change all that much regardless of your choices. The story does have a couple of charming moments and fun characters, but for the most part is just there to provide context for the procedurally generated missions.

Besides the new campaign, Onslaught also greatly expands the roster of aerial units in the fray. In the base game there are some air units, but they are limited to just a few choices. Now there's a wide variety of flying fighters, including many flavors of giant eagles. These various units can act as general purpose flyers, interceptors, or bombers. Although these additions don't radically change the game, they do open up some new tactical options, especially the bomber eagles, which can fly out, attack, and return to safety in one turn. You'll also need to be prepared to defend against such tactics.

At the end of the day, Onslaught is a nice addition to game if you enjoyed the main story and want a fresh experience. The missions play quickly, getting you straight to the action and on to the next challenge. There's a good amount of replayability between the three heroes and the numerous choices of missions along the way. While the story feels like more of a glorified side-quest than an epic tale, it serves its purpose. If you want some more Fantasy General II in your life, Onslaught is an easy recommendation. 

You can pick up Fantasy General II: Onslaught on Steam, GoG, or directly from Slitherine

- Joe Beard

My favorite Warhammer 40,000 strategy release of last year continues to expand in the form of a new small DLC and a fresh patch for the ...

WH40k: Gladius - Fortification Pack WH40k: Gladius - Fortification Pack

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


My favorite Warhammer 40,000 strategy release of last year continues to expand in the form of a new small DLC and a fresh patch for the full game. Gladius, the 4X title (with a heavy emphasis on the eXterminate portion) is all about building up your war machine and then engaging in non-stop war until you've conquered the map. The Fortification Pack is a new DLC for the game which adds a powerful defensive unit into the roster for each faction. At just $5, this isn't a DLC that's going to radically change the game, but if you've enjoyed it so far, it's a cheap way to bring some fresh options into the mix. Released along with the DLC is the version 1.4 update which focuses on balance changes and bug fixes. It's good to see this enjoyable game continue to receive polish and new content on a regular basis. 

So, what exactly are you getting in this new pack? Six new units, one for each faction, that will come into play in the mid and late game. The units are all defensive in nature, with some being buildings and some being mobile units that protect their allies. From the official description:

Space Marines - Aquila Macro-Cannon
Macro-cannon Aquila Strongpoints are massive fortifications, often used as bastions in Imperial defensive battle lines. Each consists of a munitions silo, topped by a large turret that houses the huge macro-cannon that gives the strongpoint its name. The munitions silo allows the Aquila Macrocannon to fire special "Quake Shells," each of which measures several Terran feet in length and has a powerful charge that causes the shells to reach hypersonic velocity when the Macrocannon is fired.

Astra Militarum - Void Shield GeneratorVoid shields are normally localised force fields reserved for protecting the monolithic Titans of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but static generators can be erected to serve as an aegis for other targets of vital import. The largest Void Shield generators can even project an invisible bubble of power across a large area of the battlefield, sheltering both troops and strategically vital battlefield locations by absorbing or deflecting the energy of incoming munitions.

Chaos Space Marines - Noctilith CrownNoctilith Crowns are brutal edifices raised up by the Chaos Space Marines to weaken the very foundations of reality. Crafted from the mysterious material known as blackstone, these vast psychic resonators thin the veil to deadly effect, shielding your own units and damaging enemy psykers. 

Necrons - Gauss Pylon The mysterious Necron defence turrets, designated as 'Pylons' by those who originally encountered them, were first recorded on the uncharged world of WDY-272. Rising suddenly from the desert sands, the Gauss Pylons opened fire without warning and with devastating effect, tanks and armoured carriers burning as the crescent-shaped weapons tore through the unsuspecting Imperial Guard column whilst resisting all return fire.

Orks - Big MekEspecially talented or popular Mekboyz will soon attract a following, lording it over a growing gang of underlings. A Mek with this much clout is referred to as a Big Mek, and can prove indispensable to the local Warboss with his knowledge of shokk attack guns, force field technology, and tellyporta rigs.

Tyranids - BiovoresA Biovore is a squat, bloated creature -- yet no less deadly for all that. Deep within its lumpen form, the Biovore nurtures a clutch of Spore Mines -- living bombs that blanket the enemy in acids, poisons and shrapnel-sized pieces of chitin. Biovores thump forward in battle, bony protrusions on their fore-limbs anchoring themselves into the ground as they release their vile payload in a single shuddering spasm.

While I haven't had time to play through multiple campaigns to try out all of these units, they clearly add some fun new options to the game. Who doesn't like building giant artillery cannons and shield generators? If you've enjoyed Gladius in the past like I did, this seems like a no-brainer. 

If you haven't had a try at Gladius yet, it's 50% off right now if you buy directly from the Matrix store. The game is definitely worth your time at $20 if you want a relatively simple, war focused 4X steeped in 40k grimdark-ness

If you already have Gladius, the Fortification Pack can picked up in the usual places - the Matrix/Slitherine store, Steam and GoG.

- Joe Beard

                        Scourge of War Waterloo DLC Ligny    Ligny is lost in the shadow of Waterloo, which was fought two days lat...

Scourge of War Waterloo DLC Ligny Scourge of War Waterloo DLC Ligny

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!



Scourge of War Waterloo DLC Ligny


 Ligny is lost in the shadow of Waterloo, which was fought two days later. This is upsetting for two reasons: 1) It was the last battle Napoleon won. 2) If events transpired the way Napoleon wanted them, he probably would have won at Waterloo. Ligny was fought by the Prussians under Blucher and the French under Napoleon. The battle was ripe with might haves. Count D'Erlon was ordered to bring his I corps and crush the Prussian right wing and turn a won battle into a Prussian rout. Marshal Ney, fighting at Quatre Bras, ordered D'Erlon to march to help him. D'Erlon's incredible blunder in not following Napoleon's order cost the emperor his throne. The Prussians survived to fight another day and their corps led by Von Bulow interceded on the field of Waterloo. Napoleon had "humbugged" both Blucher and Wellington by striking hard and fast between them. Napoleon's plan was for Ney to keep the English away, therefore being unable to help the Prussians while he gave battle to them at Ligny. Once the Prussians were defeated and seen off to the east, Napoleon could then turn on Wellington. 

 NorbsoftDev has continued their Waterloo game to now include a DLC of the battle of Ligny. They had already released another DLC covering the battle of Quatre Bras, fought on the same day as Ligny. The DLC has five different scenarios you can play:

2:30PM -  Leading a Prussian Corps
8:00PM - Leading a French division
2:30PM - Leading the Prussian army
3:00PM  - Leading a French corps
2:30PM  - Leading the French army

  The Scourge of War games also have a few modes in which a player can choose to use:

 Waterloo Battles
 Sandbox Campaign
 User Scenarios

 Thanks to NorbSoftDev, with the addition of the Ligny battle we are almost at the point where we can play out the entire battles of the Waterloo campaign. Each release of the the game engine brings refinement and tweaks and more fine tuning of an already excellent engine. The next release is going to be that of Wavre. Wavre is much like Ligny in that had things gone the French way it might have been Grouchy appearing on Wellington's left instead of the Prussians.

 With the start of the series in the American Civil war battles to the Napoleonic, this is one of my favorite series of games. Command and control from a general's perspective is what drew me to computer wargames in the 1980s. The ability to form a plan in your head and then to be able to use competent, if not deadly, AI subordinates always draws me back to this series of games. The only possible knock on the series is the same that can be said of any Napoleonic battle game. Because of the small sales that would be seen in releasing some battles against others more well known ones, we are not likely to see an official release of Eylau or Friedland, to name just two.

 For the multiplayer crowd, these games have always been a big draw. The sandbox mode can be used to represent pretty much any sort of engagement of the battlefields of the released games. There is also a large community of modders that are on the NorbSoftDev web site. 

  Please, take a look at my review of the base game 'Scourge of War Waterloo', also my other SOWW DLC 'Quatre Bras'.


Game: Scourge of War Waterloo DLC Ligny
Developer: NorbSoftDev
Publisher: Slitherine/Matrix
Date of Review: 10/29/2016