RT. Smith and CCS are two names which drive most knowledgeable strategy fanatics wild. For your information, Robert 'Call me Bob' Smith has a habit of coming up with some pretty good wargames. His last one, Vulcan, was voted Strategy Game of the Year, 1987. It's when he starts doing arcade games, such as Cyberknights, that things start to crumble.
CCS has, in a very select circle, a very high reputation. Right from the start they have brought out original and entertaining strategy and simulation titles; one of their first. The Prince, winning a major industry award back in 1984. Ancient Battles is fab, and what's more, you don't have to be a strategy or historical buff to enjoy it.
Ancient Battles is your chance to re-enact five very different but real battles, ranging from battle of the River Hydaspes in 326BC to up to minute wars such as Battle of Chalons in 451AD.
As wargames go, there's really nothing new about the way AB works. There are two opposing forces, each represented as a series of icons scattered about a 'board', each icon representing a unit or battalion. Each of the two 'leaders' takes it in turn to issue orders to its units. These orders can be any of two main things. Move or fire.
Each unit has a specific number of moves available during a turn, and different terrains use up different numbers of these movement points. Attack options are determined by the weaponry held by the unit.
Of course, you can't attack the enemy until you see them, and if the enemy aren't present in your field of vision, then they won't show up on the screen when you're playing. Being the last unit stuck in the middle of a dense wood, not being able to see any of your opposition is a little nervewracking.
Either side can be under human or computer control, or both. The human takes control of all the chief pieces, and the computer handles all the minions. This is a brilliant idea, and one I'm sure a lot of strategy buffs wish had happened before. It speeds up the gameplay no end, and also stops you wasting your time with a two-bit patrol of six unarmed footsoldiers, when you could be thrashing the enemy to within an inch of their lives.
It's difficult, but then again, it's worth the effort. Amazingly easy to pick up. but be warned, once you do, you'll be hooked. I know I am!
Label: Cases Computer Simulations
Author: R.T. Smith
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Fun, fabbo wargame. A worthy successor to Vulcan.