Monday, January 07, 2008

Slitherine Software and Osprey Publishing prepare to release Field of Glory manual

"Historical miniature wargaming as a popular hobby can be traced back to 1913 when the famous author H.G. Wells conceived and wrote the first commercial set of wargames rules “Little Wars.” In fact it goes back further still with Kriegsspiel in the early 19th century, and the ancient pharaohs were rumoured to have used model figures to plan their military campaigns.

We've come a long way since then. Today wargaming is an absorbing and fascinating pastime involving elements of tactical skill and chance, where armies of accurately researched and painted figurines march across realistically modelled battlefields to re-fight bygone wars. Have you got it in you to become an Alexander the Great?

Games can range from re-fights of actual historical battles to speculative “what ifs” matching armies against foes that never met. They can be stand-alone games in which a points system is used to ensure that both armies have a fair chance, scenario games with unequal forces such as an attack on a marching army or the defence of a river line, or even complex campaigns in which logistics and strategy are as important as tactical skill.

Ancient/Medieval wargaming covers the widest period of all, from the first organised armies circa 3,000 BC until the rising dominance of gunpowder weapons at the end of the 15th Century AD. The armies are colourful and varied and come equipped with all sorts of weaponry ranging from simple slings to the dreaded war elephants and scythed chariots."

Each member of the Field of Glory design team has a keen interest in ancient and medieval history, and between us we have amassed over 100 years of wargaming experience.

In this Field of Glory rulebook, you take the role of the army commander and his senior generals, giving the rules a top down style and feel. Historical accounts describe battles as a series of events and phases, rather than solely an account of constant action. With Field of Glory, we have also tried to reflect this ebb and flow of events on the battlefield.

Armies of this era had a common theme, whatever their organisation at the micro level. Each had a commander-in-chief and a few senior commanders who would take control of a wing, or the centre, or a sweeping charge. Subordinate to these was another layer of commanders who controlled the various tactical formations which generally consisted of a number of units grouped together. In Field of Glory we call these formations battle groups.

In Field of Glory you will take command of an army which consists of approximately 10-15 battle groups led by the C-in-C and his senior commanders. The game has been designed to ensure that, just as in reality, the commanders (you) are fully occupied with decision making from the outset. Your key objective is to outmanoeuvre the enemy army and concentrate your forces at critical points in the battle. This will then destroy the enemy's will to fight, deal a devastating blow to the morale of their commanders (your opponent) and allow you to win.

Iain McNeil, Director of Slitherine Software, also tells me they have been working with education entities to find ways to use their extensive knowledge of history and game engines to promote the teaching of history from ancient to modern times.

I find this particularly exciting since I have been trying to promote history through technology for years. Now if we could just blend in a little machinima and talking, customizable avatars...

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