A Blog about Wargames and wargamers. Discussion of rule sets, painting techniques, different models, figures, links to manufacturers, reviews of all of the above, and other gamer resources. Not all Gamers, not all modelers - a blend of both! You are at http://tabletopgamer.blogspot.com Your hosts are Bwana Bill, Krazy Keith, and Consul Scipio. Thank you for visiting our little slice of the World Wide Web!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar

This is yet another article on a computer game, but, like "Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great" (see my previous article from July 2005), this one is unique in that it tries to present the look and feel of a table top miniatures game. I ordered this game from http://www.strategypage.com(it is a bit cheaper there) even though I had only just started the first game in the series which is based on the career of Alexander. I had heard that the Julius Caesar game ushered in some improvements to the game system so I wanted to try it right away. Now that I have started playing the Julius Caesar game I am "hooked" on it and I need to play it all the way through before going back to Alexander. So, what is different about it? The biggest change is that you can select between three different difficulty levels. The main criticism of the Alexander game is that it is just too hard. Another change is that you can now select and play any of the battle scenarios as "one of" battles instead of playing through the whole campaign in sequence. In my opinion it is better to play the game as a campaign. It gives you the challenge of managing your forces over an extended period of time. Best of all, the campaign system is not strictly linear. In the first phase you can pick which battles against the barbarians you want to fight. The idea is to build up sufficient prestige points to force the Siege of Alesia scenario to come up. Getting past the Alesia scenario will take you into the second phase of the campaign which is the Roman Civil War. This idea of picking which battles you want to fight during the campaign is a real plus. That means that when I start a new campaign I won't necessarily be playing the same scenarios all over again! Another improvement that I really like is that the "figures" appear to be sharper and more detailed. I like the fact that they collected and painted armies of 25mm Wargames Foundry figures as an inspiration for the computer code writers. Now, about the difficulty level. While it is true that it is not too hard to be successful playing on the "Easy" setting, you will discover that you still have to employ good, and clever, tactics in order to succeed. Let me give you an example. One of the battles I selected was "Ariovistus," which is where you get to try to push the Germans back across the Rhine River. In my first attempt I spread my cohorts out across the width of the "table" and advanced. I quickly found out that I was vastly outnumbered everywhere, and even on the "Easy" setting I was in a hopeless situation. At any point in a battle you can hit a "Restart" button and start over, which is what I had to do here. This time I massed as many units as I could, and also my best units, on the left flank. When the battle started I attacked aggresively on the left while refusing the right. This worked perfectly, by the time the warbands on the German left had finished marching across the "table" to engage my right flank, my left flank had crushed the German right. This brought the numerical parity down to about one-to-one, which meant that the remaining German units where doomed. It was very gratifying to say the least! Right now I have made it to the Siege of Alesia, which is a real rollercoaster ride. It seems hopeless, but so far I am holding out. Let me close by saying that I highly recommend this game for any computer gamer or tabletop gamer; both will enjoy it. If you are trying to choose between this one, or the Alexander game, get this one first. I'm having a great time with it and I will probably write more on it later. In the meantime, if you want to see more "eye candy" go here.
Good Hunting!
"Bwana Bill"

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