Fields of Glory

This last week I’ve remained hard at work on my secret project, and when not writing I’ve been hard at work playing a computer game titled Fields of Glory.

I used to have almost no willpower when it came to computer games. If it was on my computer, then I played it. That’s why until just this week I’ve stayed away from them for years. Instead, in my downtime, what I did was read reviews of great looking tactical board games, and buy them, and ask for them as presents, and then accumulate them in my closet… and never play them. It was sort of pitiful and ridiculous, really.

I was so far removed from the field of computer gaming I had no idea how excellent tactical ancient games had become. Now that I know, I think I’m giving all of that boardgame accumulation up, and selling most of it off.

I’ve read a small library of books about the 2nd Punic War, but to actually be able to game out Hannibal’s famous battles against an AI opponent in a quick-to-learn game system without having to spend an hour setting up a bunch of tiny chits is a 1. A huge help to seeing how a great general thinks 2. Inspiring for story telling 3. Great fun.

The game is a little simplified from the wonderful Great Battles of History boardgames I have stored in my closet, but it plays fast, looks good, doesn’t need a second player, and doesn’t get bumped by children or left out for days while I slowly work on a battle.

Recently I fought the battle of the Trebia and won, and tried my hand at the battle of Dertosa, and even beat Scipio at the battle of Zama — although I think that was because the elephants weren’t programmed as well. (At the real battle of Zama, the brilliant Scipio formed his legions in a checkerboard pattern. When Hannibal’s elephants charged, the Roman troops first disoriented the elephants with a loud trumpet blare, then shifted their legion checkerboard pattern into straight rows so the elephants would just rout right off the field. When I played in the game, my elephants worked like tanks, or, perhaps atomic powered zombie super elephants, because the legions didn’t move and once the elephants hit the front ranks those tuskersĀ  just refused to die.)

But apart from the elephants, I seriously love this game, and it is of tremendous inspiration. I don’t know that I’ve had this much fun with a game since the last time I joined E.E. Knight, Jason Waltz, John C. Hocking, John O’Neill and others for a game of Heroscape. Fields of Glory is far and away the most fun I’ve ever had with any solo wargaming.