Being somewhat starved where I am for a regular wargame opponent, I do like to play the odd computer based wargame. Unfortunately my 6 year old i3 processor, 4GB of treacly slow memory was just not up to the recent game releases. I have a Steam account and have had a number of games on wish list and purchased them when the were released on the grounds that I would upgrade my laptop at some point of time.
I upgraded to an ASUS TUF, Ryzen 7 with currently 8GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD and an Nvidia GEFORCE GTX Video Card (GPU). It runs those games I have been acquiring a treat.
Field of Glory was one game I enjoyed on the old laptop since their first release the Field of Glory Ancient games. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not like the Field of Glory (FoG) tabletop rules, I still prefer De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) or Impetus for Ancients, however the computer based FoG rules have the advantage of not bothering me with how the rules actually work, or the calculations of melee results and such so I don’t need to think about what I don’t like in FoG, I can just get on and play the game on my laptop, working the tactics and let the machine do all the calculations.
The last release of Slitherine Software in the FoG franchise is Field of Glory II – Medieval. It is based, as its name suggests, in the Medieval period, a period of the French, Teutonic Knights, Russian boyars, Danes, Low Countries, Mongols and the like.
There are a number of pre-built scenarios of famous battles and the one I tested was, unsurprisingly, the battle of Kalka River where the Mongols took on several Rus’ principalities, including the Principality of Kiev, Principality of Galicia-Volhynia, Principality of Chernigov, Principality of Smolensk, and the Cumans
The Mongols were led by Jebe, and Subutai the Valiant, while the Rus were under the joint command of Mstislav the Bold, Mstislav III, Daniel of Galicia, Mstislav II Svyatoslavich, and Khan Koten.
Khan Koten is an interesting character, and from the Rus side, he is one of the few characters I can pronounce the name of. He was a Cuman-Kipchak khan and was active in the mid 13th Century. He forged the alliance between Cumans and Kiev Rus against the Mongols. After the defeat at Kalka River in 1238, he led 40,000 families to Hungary, became an ally to the Hungarian king, converted to Catholicism and then was assassinated by the the Hungarian nobility.
The battle was fought on 31 May 1238 CE on the banks of the Kalka River, in present day Ukraine, near Donetsk Oblast.
The Mongols had invaded Central Asia (the modern day ‘stans) and defeated the Kwarezmian Empire. Jebe and Subutai asked permission from Chinggis Khaan to continue invading and conquering for a few more years prior to returning to the main army.
Waiting for a response from the Great Khan they decided to invade Georgia. Approval arrived from Chinggis Khaan to keep invading so the pair set off through the Caucasus and defeated the Cumans (hence Koten’s requesting an alliance with the Rus).
Koten bolted to his son-in-law, Prince Mstislav the Bold of Galich. Mstislav formed an alliance with a number of other Mstislavs.
The combined Rus army defeated the Mongol rearguard at first. Yes, a rearguard as the Mongols were drawing the Rus into a battle at a location of their choosing by a feigned retreat. The Mongols stopped and deployed for battle on the banks of the Kalka River.
The Rus rushed to attack the Mongols without waiting for the rest of the Rus Army to arrive. The Rus were defeated and Mstislav of Kiev was forced into a fortified camp. He held out for three days and surrendered in return for a promise of safe conduct for himself and his men. Remembering previous Mongol practices with cities in Central Asia, surrendering on the first day he may have had a chance however waiting for the third day, the result was inevitable and Mstislav of Kiev and the rest of the Rus with him were killed after surrendering and coming from the camp. Mstislav the Bold, however, escaped after the battle and the Mongols returned to Asia and Chinggis Khaan.
The images above show the setup for the battle in FoG ii Medieval. I must admit that the AI works a lot better this time and there are degrees of difficulty to overcome. Victory conditions seem to be 40% casualties on your opponent and 25% more than you unless you get your opponent to 60% where it is all over then. Conversely of course, you could be the loser under the same conditions.
I’m really enjoying this and the battle setups are historic opponents in the Quick Battle selection, as well as a number of scenarios of famous battles. For those that want to take their favourite army out against anyone, that option is also there. I certainly will be playing more FoG II Medieval. My one gripe at the moment is that sometimes the zone-of-control rules are a little daft, but I am getting used to that and I guess it is a property of the geometry of the game.
I recommend it – come find me and let’s have at it!
The gallery below shows some of the different troops as well as the data about those troops that you can see in the game. As one would expect, the graphics are really quite neat neat now compared to the original FoG a lifetime ago.
Oh, one other gripe. Slitherine describe the rules author as the legendary Richard Bodley-Scott. I am not sure that he is quite legendary yet, certainly not compared to the likes of Featherstone, Bath, Wise, or even Rick Priestly of recent times! Do give these rules a try if your machine has the grunt, they are not that expensive through Steam.
Oh, and I did win as the Mongol!