Category Archives: Other PC Games

A Test Run Beyond Earth

The holidays and the flu and various other real life issues have kept both of my regular gaming groups from getting together to play very much over the last couple of months.  The instance group is just one instance into Warlords of Draenor and the strategy group managed to play a game of Age of Kings while talking about what we should dive into next.

Picking a game is a wide open discussion.  We tend towards strategy games, but more out of habit than a burning desire to remain pure to a given genre.  We could go anywhere, and even if we stuck with strategy the field is wide open.

But even as Potshot was bringing up Crusader Kings II (another on the list of games that have made me feel dumb) Steam stepped up and offered us an out.  There was a special demo/sale weekend a couple weeks back for Civilization: Beyond Earth.

Sid Meier strikes again

Sid Meier strikes again

The download was quick enough and the price was right, so while Loghound and I each gave it a quick try, we both ended up just buying it.  The following weekend it was just him and I online, so we decided to test drive it multiplayer.

That quick game, on a small map with options set pretty conservatively, pretty much all I had heard about the game was born out.

Setting up our game

Setting up our game

The Civilization: Beyond Earth feels more like an expansion to Civilization V than a whole new game, certainly when compared to the way Alpha Centauri felt after Civilization II.  When I first played Alpha Centauri way back when, I immediately wanted some of its new features ported back to Civ II.  I still do.  I still dream of a Civ 2.5.

Beyond Earth though, it pretty much feels like Civ VCiv V in space, as noted elsewhere.  It is like a stand-alone expansion.  And, given that Sid Meier is headed towards Civilization: Starships next, it might be the last hurrah of the Civ V era.

But being tied to Civ V is not necessarily bad I suppose.

Civ V is my second favorite flavor of Civilization, so it is hard to fault them making more of it.  While they have rearranged the UI some, there are no mystery buttons.  Just playing through a quick trial game settled everything for me.  The options for multiplayer pretty much map directly back to Civ V.  And it does look like Civ V… in space… which means it looks pretty darn good, even if it starts taxing all four cores of my processor pretty quickly.

A ways into a game...

A ways into a game…

There are some small differences that spice things up a bit.  There, for example, little “quest like” decision points that determine how resources will be handled or what production or units your cities will favor.  And then there are the alien life forms.  They are sort of barbarians, sort of not. (You cannot turn them off in the settings as in Civ V, as they are somewhat essential to the plot, such that it is.)

The downside for Beyond Earth is that while it did not carry the impact of Alpha Centauri when it launched, it is still saddled with some of the baggage that keeps Alpha Centauri down at the third position on my list of favorite Civilization games.

The game sticks to the conventions of the series, even when they do not make a lot of sense.  The map is blacked out despite the fact that I just landed from space?  I flew in a spaceship, but I need to do research on how to make a space buggy to ride around in… or allow certain agreements to be made with other factions?  And I care about these caricatures of factions and their inflexible philosophies why?

Then there is the tech web itself.

remember, webs are traps!

remember, webs are traps!

I realize that we are in the future for Beyond Earth, so we have to deal with future tech and rather than a tree forming at a single root it is more realistic to have a lot of choices to make.  The problem is that, as choices, they are only mildly interesting.

Part of what makes the historical Civilization games compelling is that journey from spearmen to modern mechanized infantry.  That is an epic journey through time that involves technologies that we know and understand.  High tech space soldier to slightly improved high tech space soldier can never capture that same sense of progress.

I will temper this by saying that, at this point, I have not played a lot of Beyond Earth.  Those are initial impressions.  Since it looks like Beyond Earth will be our next weekly game, we shall see if my opinion changes over that time.

And, if nothing else, it keeps us the hell away from a comical quagmire in Crusader Kings II for a few more weeks.

Starting the New Year in the Age of Kings

The so-called Strategy group finally came back from its nearly three month hiatus and actually played a game together last Friday night.  Well, at least three of us did, but that was still two more than most of our attempts to play since mid-October.

In something of a step back to our roots of nearly a year ago, Loghound, Potshot, and I got out Age of Empires II – The Age of Kings again.  It was a nice return back to a good old game that we had not played for many months.

AoK450I actually had to install it right then, but even the HD edition isn’t that big, relative to modern titles at least.  And then we had to remember how to get a game started.  Of course, once in the lobby, everybody seemed to remember the number for the “Start the game already!” taunt. (14)

We set up a game of four random civs, the three of us and a computer opponent.  In this case we set the cpu to hard and used what was billed as the “Conquerors AI,” which I guessed was the slightly smarter AI from the expansion.  We also set ourselves on different teams and locked that so there would be no alliances, and off we went.

Back to sheep again

Back to sheep again

Then we all had our moment of “What do I do?”  Fortunately, years of playing the game has at least instilled the first few steps permanently in my brain.  I think, on my death bed, if somebody asks me for my Age of Kings build order, my final words in life will be, “queue villages, build house, gather sheep… arrrgh…” followed by the machine making that flat line noise.

Anyway, I started down the path towards an economy of some sort as my scout began poking about.  In a classic AoK situation, I didn’t managed to locate all of my own sheep until the very end of the game, but I managed to steal a few of Loghound’s sheep.  Must be some of my Scots ancestry showing through.  I also managed to kill his scout.

The map, which we had set to full random, turned out to be a good one for us.  I think it was the “Rivers” map, where each player ends up on their own island of sorts with rivers dividing up the map and a limited number of crossings for choke points.

The game itself shook out into two parallel battles for a while, with Potshot and Loghound laying into each other while the computer AI, which had drawn the Mongols, came after me.

That turned out to be fortuitous, as I managed to get walls up at the crossings and the AI did not feel like an amphibious assault.  So the AI spent a long time going after my walls in its obsessive compulsive way, where it keeps attacking them even after it has a path through, while I was able to build up a small army and some defenses.  A strategically placed castle and a host of pikemen and skirmishers proved deadly to the Mongol horse archers.

Carnage before the castle

Carnage before the castle

Once I had slaughtered the attacking forces, it was time to go on the offense myself.  I pushed the computer back a ways and took out some of his buildings while breaching his wall, during which time I restored the walls at the crossing between us.  However, the cpu was also coming around via the crossing to Loghound’s island.  So after my frontier with the Mongols was momentarily secured, I pushed my force across into Loghound’s territory to clear out any buildings the CPU might have established.

While I was there I took a quick detour to kill a bunch of Loghound’s villages, destroy some of his buildings, and generally mess up his economy a bit.  Then I turned north to confront the Mongols again.

My foray into Loghound’s empire appeared to take some pressure off of Potshot.  As I was rampaging into the Mongols’ base with trebs and rams and a host of pikemen and skirmishers, with a few villages and priests in tow to repair and heal, I actually ran into a force Potshot sent in to attack the Mongols as well.  Between us the Mongols withered and ceased to be a force on the map, surrendering soon after.

There I was facing Potshot who had mounted his expedition using what I might generously call “economy of force.”  I outnumbered him heavily and started pushing into his lands.  Getting a ram up to his gate at the crossing, with my troops crowding the ford, was my most immediate problem, and soon I was into the midst of his economy.

Burning him out there, I returned to Loghound’s lands.  He had rebuilt quite a bit and had a force of Samurai, maybe the best melee unit in the game, waiting to oppose me.  But my mass of cheap pikemen and skirmishers, fully upgraded by this point, were able to defeat his force with minimal losses.  Then it was time for the siege engines to come up and to chase down the villagers.  I also caught up with Potshot’s last little outpost as well.  So I was the only force in being.

Timeline of the conflict

Timeline of the conflict

All good fun.

Well, probably more fun for me thanks to a couple of lucky breaks.  If the CPU had been set to hardest or if Potshot and Loghound hadn’t decided to go after each other things might have ended up differently.  But still, a good set of pitched battles and it was fun to get back together and play again.

But while AoK was fun, and will likely remain so for a couple more sessions, it does have a limited shelf life before it starts to feel repetitive.  Patterns will begin to develop and we will start looking for another game.

Recognizing that, we started the “next game” discussion immediately, but have not yet come up with a title.  We could always go back to Total War: Rome II, which was where we left off back in October.  There is probably a little life left in that, though it was starting to get a bit repetitive itself.  I am also concerned that, after the great Thanksgiving power supply blow-out, that my video card might not be up to the task.  With my last video card dead, I had to go back to the 2010 vintage backup card, an nVidia GTS 450, to achieve stability.  It was a modest but capable card back then, and hasn’t gotten any faster sitting on a shelf for a while.

Though if we really wanted to repeat history, we could go for another epic, multi-week Civilization V conflict while we wait for the expansion that will make Civilization: Beyond Earth worth picking up.  My video card could handle that, and my new CPU is a generation or two better than the old one.  Maybe we could beat Mattman this time around.  He won the previous two games.  And I am sure we would have a very different set of views on what options we would select. (Raging barbarians? I think not.)

Anyway, we are sort of where we were last summer, when we were looking for a new game for the group during the Steam Summer Sale.  I suppose the options I listed out in that post are still on the table, but has anything new come out since then that might be worth considering?

Rome – Ambushed

I was late to the Roman slaughter on Friday night as the Reaver extraction operation from Insmother took longer than expected… which is pretty much how every op in EVE Online works.  What will happen if we deploy somewhere even further away?

Anyway, I showed up to find matches in progress, with Mattman and Loghound facing Potshot and an AI in a variation on the city assault scenario.

SGRome

They finished out that match and then changed things up so I could join in for the next round.  I landed on Potshot’s team and we were set to be the attackers.  I used the forces I had saved from last week’s city assault, which included an expensive oneger attachment.

Deployed for action

Deployed for action

However, they did not seem to be much help this time around, as we were facing an unfortified city.  My siege detachment launched round shot and diseased corpses onto Loghound’s forces, who were positioned against me, to seeming little effect.  Burning shot was grayed out on the menu and I was soon out of anything else, so I sent in the troops.  Since I had spent so much on siege, I did not hold any quantitative advantage.  Meanwhile, the route I had chosen into the city was constrained, so Loghound and I ended up in a face to face shoving match that slowly ground down both of our forces.

Engaged with Loghound

Engaged with Loghound

It was enough, however, to keep Loghound fully occupied, as Potshot managed to get through Mattman’s defenses and roll him up.  At that point Loghound had to pull troops away from grappling with me to try and shore up his rear area, leading to their whole defense cascading to defeat.

Then we swapped sides and Potshot and I were on the defense.  I chose to go with fewer, higher quality troops backed up by a few archers this time around.  I ended up facing Mattman, who had gone heavy on archers, and so was able to stand out of range and wear down my lead units.  I really needed some cavalry then, to send the archers on their was as they were somewhat distant from their infantry support.  So I tried using some of my own infantry in the cavalry role.  But infantry cannot run fast enough.  I ran a unit towards the flanks of the archers, only to have Mattman move two units to defend.  That clash went badly for me and my guys had to turn and run.

In the end I was whittled down to one unit I had held in reserve and my general.  I pulled them back to the capture point to link up with Potshot for a final defense.  However, Potshot seemed to be falling apart as well, and by the time I got there his last unit had melted away.  My guys stood alone.

Gold trimmed banners are mine

Gold trimmed banners are mine

I was hoping that my reserve troop, still fresh and at full strength, would be able to hold on against multiple worn down attackers, and things started off okay.  But when my general went down things started to look very grim.  I managed to pull that last unit of legionnaires away from the melee and set them with their backs to a wall with one flank covered by a building.  They were still nearly full strength, still fresh, and were positioned for their last stand.

And then they lost their nerve and ran away.

So the attackers seemed to be able to carry the day when it came to unfortified cities, the reverse of last weeks results.

We were getting deep into the evening, but there was a call for Loghound and I to do an ambush battle.  This is a two player only scenario which Potshot and Mattman had tried earlier.  We had to reconfigure the game settings, opening up observer positions for Mattman and Potshot so they could watch.  I went with the Iceni, the Britannic horde, as I figured masses of troops would be advantageous.

I was first up as the ambusher, and the setup seemed simple enough.  There was a clear route down which Loghound would be marching, so I just massed troops on either side of the path.  When the scenario started, I rushed in from both sides and pretty much swamped him.

Iceni attack!

Iceni attack!

Things were going well.  As you can see in the picture, all of Loghound’s units, save his general, have banners flashing to white, which means they are about to break and run.  I was about to clinch a major victory… when Loghound’s client crashed.  I saved the replay, which flagged it as a decisive victory, but at the time it was just a game that ended incomplete.

Once we all got back together in the staging room, Loghound and I swapped roles.  I kept my same set of troops, as their mass seemed like a good thing to have.  Loghound changed out his roster and then we started.

Which was a bit disorienting.

When you are the ambushee, your screen just goes black until the game starts.  There is no setup, you just sit and do nothing.  Then, when the game actually kicks off, you can just see your troops marching in formation.  You have no control over them until the enemy appears.

Marching through the woods

Marching through the woods

Then Loghound appeared, up a hill from me, and let lose the war dogs.

Incoming dogs!

Incoming dogs!

The most charitable thing I can say about the Roman war dogs is that they are a unit we clearly do not know how to use correctly.  They have come up in a couple of our battles and have almost always been slaughtered when sent on the attack.  So it was a bit disappointing that Loghound went with what is essentially the “joke” unit in the mix for his turn as the ambusher, as they once again went down hard.

I turned my units to charge straight into the enemy, who was on both sides of the road, but was mostly concentrated up the hill.  I ended up chasing Romans all over the map on the one flank, while driving them back to retreat up the hill on the other.

Ambushers running away

Ambushers running away

It was a costly defense.  I ended up earning a “close victory,” on points, as I lost a lot of blue painted spearmen.  But the Romans were sent on their way and I was left in possession of the field, the Roman general thrown down.

And that was it for the night.  The ambush scenario was fun.  It is just a pity that it, like the full campaign, is only a two player option.

Going forward, we still have other armies to explore and we have yet to try any of the scenarios requiring the use of boats.  Still some things to do.

Rome – City Assaults are Difficult

We formed up again on Friday night for another round of Roman mayhem.  We had done a couple weeks of river crossing battles and it seemed like time to try something new.  I opted not to form the game up so somebody else could decide which skirmish scenario we were going to try.  Loghound was up to lead, so he formed the game and we all joined in.

SGRome

We dropped in and the teams became Loghound and Mattman versus Potshot and I, while the choice of scenario was ambush.

But, for some reason, we couldn’t play an ambush scenario.  Loghound reported that an error came up when he tried to when he selected that option.  So it wasn’t going to be an ambush evening.

The next choices was for a city siege.  Potshot and I were assigned the role of defenders while Mattman would be on the attack.

Of course, I think only I out of the bunch may have tried a city siege in the game, and I failed miserably at it, failing to take Carthage even on the easiest setting.  So this was going to be interesting for at least half of us.

We started with a low walled city on a hill.  I went with the Iceni, the Britannic barbarians, because we had had a side discussion about the Romans being something of the easiest mode of play, while the less civilized tribes were more difficult to handle.  I figured I could play with them in this scenario because I figured that the defenders were going to have things mostly their way.  Whether that was doing the attackers a favor or just adding insult to injury should they lose is up for debate I suppose.

Potshot, my ally, went with the Macedonians again, as did Mattman outside the walls.  Why?  I don’t know.  Alexander maybe?  I figured after the discussion about Romans being the most solid troops everybody would go with Rome.  But maybe Macedonia has become like home for them.

And finally, Loghound stuck with the Romans.

We got ourselves set up around the city, both inside and out and pressed the “Start Battle” button to see how we all chosen.

More after the cut.

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Planetary Annihilation Goes Round and Round

The biggest mistake the devil ever made was agreeing to play God, one on one, on an eight player Total Annihilation map.

-Commander Söze

Origins

In the beginning there was Total Annihilation.

This was not the first RTS game I played, but it was the first of what I consider the three great games of the RTS genre.

The other two are StarCraft and Age of Empires II – The Age of Kings.

There have been other good… even very good… titles in the genre.  But for me, these are the crown jewels that defined the genre.

StarCraft showed that very different factions could be brought together to form an almost zen-like rock/paper/scissors balance that required serious unit management skills to excel at.

Age of Kings brought that sort of balance to medieval armies, advancing at a slower pace.  It reflected the real world aspect of cavalry vs. infantry vs. ranged, with siege engines in tow, forcing players to adopt a combined arms strategy to survive and win.

But before those two there was Total Annihilation, which brought chaos and mass slaughter.

TA wasn’t balance.  The ARM ruled the early game with the Flash tank and the Peewee rush.  Cavedog eventually had to give the CORE a unit whose only purpose was to kill Flash tanks and Peewee kbots.

It had a pretty bad, or at least not a very creative, single player campaign.  Resources were simplistic, just power and metal.  The UI was somewhat primitive compared to its contemporaries.

It was a resource hog that needed a couple of generations of CPU upgrades before it would run smoothly.  The music was literally in the standard CD format, you could pop the game disk into your boom box and listed to the sound track.

And yet it was wonderful, a synthesis of a number of ideas put together in just such a way as to make a great game.  Probably one of the greatest things the game did was make terrain matter in new and interesting way.  Maps were 3D and heights could give you range in shooting or something to hide behind when fire was incoming.  And then there was the whole modability aspect of the game.

Probably the greatest testament to TA is the fact that, while Cavedog Entertainment has been dead and gone for nearly a decade and a half, Total Annihilation still has a pretty strong and dedicated community still supporting it.  You can still buy a copy over at GoG.com, and it runs great on today’s machines.

Total Annihilation

The Atari logo is a recent addition

Its main problem is that it was designed when multiplayer meant friends on a LAN, so being able to play over the internet requires effort.  You need some network know-how or something like Game Ranger to help you out.  So the idea of bringing the game into the 21st century is a compelling one.

More after the cut because of wordiness.

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Rome – Exiled to the AI Team

We managed to get all four of us online and together again last Friday.  Mattman, Potshot, myself, and Loghound were all in the hangout, with Loghound telling us about his new Windows 8.1 64-bit install on his Mac, upgraded from an older 32-bit version, allowing him to take full advantage of his hardware.  A copy of Windows 7 64-bit wasn’t readily available, so he had to go with Microsoft’s “tablets are the future, even if you don’t have a touch screen!” UI.  The cost for him to play Total War: Rome II has now moved into triple digits.

SGRome

But he has that to fall back on now for the next game that claims to run on the Mac OS, but has some issues.  In the case of Rome II, it apparently supports multiplayer on the Mac OS, but you can only play with other Mac OS clients.

Life in the world of video games.

With an even number on, we were able to carry on with last week’s river crossing scenarios without a need to have an AI opponent.  After a couple of warmups with the AI while everybody loaded in, where I played as the Spartans, we picked sides.  The teams were Mattman and I versus Potshot and Loghound.  I returned to my usual practice, playing as Rome, along with Loghound, while Mattman went Macedonian and Potshot chose some barbarian horde from Gaul I think.

I am not going to say I am good at this game, because I am not.  But I am okay at taking advantage of the mistakes of others.  So when Mattman and I were given the task of attackers, we each built up our force at one of the two river crossings, hoping one of us could break through, cross the river, and come to the aid of the other.  Not the best plan, I will admit.  It does ignore that bit about concentration of forces.  On the other hand, it keeps and problems with divided command and coordination of effort away as well.

As for what Potshot and Loghound did, you will have to look after the cut.

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Rome – A River Runs Through It

My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night. But ah my foes, and oh my friends – it gives a lovely light

Norman, from A River Runs Through It

Not that either the book or the film have any relationship to our attempts to play Total War: Rome II, I just like that quote and the game does seem in danger of burning out on us in a rather short time.

And there was a river.  But we’ll get to that.

Friday evening I found Mattman already online and playing the game as the appointed time approached.  He was putting in some effort to learn the game by playing the intro campaign, though he seemed to be having issues with a city assault.  I was no help.  I couldn’t see what he was doing and I could only vaguely remember the city assault part of the campaign, as I ran the tutorial back in June.

Potshot had not responded to the event, so was not expected, but Loghound had replied in the affirmative.  I left Mattman to his solo mission in case Loghound showed up, but as the minutes ticked by, I grew restless and began hinting, then bluntly saying, that perhaps we could have some multi-player gaming.  Mattman gave up his city assault and we formed up for another skirmish match.

Unfortunately, skirmishes look to be the extent of game play we can expect to have for the four of us.  There is a multiplayer campaign mode, but in this case “multiplayer” is defined as two people, so isn’t really an option for a larger group.

I already had the hosted game up, which put me in the drivers seat as to what we would be doing for the evening.  After the somewhat chaotic events last time, I had formulated a plan.  Rather than an open battle with troops wandering all over an open map, I chose river crossing battles as the theme for the night.  See, a river.  Several rivers actually.

I also went for a small budget… you get points to spend on your troops, so a smaller budget means less troops… with the idea that we could focus on controlling a few units so as to get better at the nuts and bolts before moving back to grand armies again.

So I formed up teams, with Mattman and I on one side and a pair of AIs playing as the Carthaginians on the other.  I was inspired by the Extra Credits YouTube series on the first and second Punic Wars, which was paid for by the people who made Total War: Rome II. In fact, the other quote I was considering using at the top was “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.”

I also made us the defenders.  All we had to do was hold the river crossing and let the Carthaginians come to us.  They would have a few more troops, but we would be able to focus on a simple objective.

Actually, it turned out to be two river crossings on each map.  But that was okay, as it let us each have our own position to work with.  And we did pretty well on the first run.

Defending the Crossing

Defending the Crossing

I took the bridge and Mattman took the ford.  As it turned out, the hostiles seemed to consider the bridge to be their favored crossing and so massed most of their troops opposite me.  Mattman was able to drive off or defeat the forces facing him and come around to strike them on the flank and read while I held them at the foot of the bridge, drawing them out so that they had to face three ways or be taken on a flank.

Mattman across the river and coming to the rescue

Mattman across the river and coming to the rescue

That worked out quite well.  The enemy was crushed, his demoralized troops driven from the field.

This gave us the courage to change sides and we did a run with us as the attackers.  That gave us a bit more budget to spend… worth about a single additional quality unit, or a couple of cheap ones… and made us push across the river to take the fight to the enemy.  We managed to win on that round as well.

As we were finishing that Loghound showed up to join the game.  I set up a new match, adding a slot for him on our side and another AI to face us, while he tried to get himself sorted.  He had downloaded the new Mac OS client for Total War: Rome II, so would be playing native in a 64-bit OS that could access all his RAM rather than in the 32-bit Windows partition he had been booting up to play previously.

However, there were issues.  The Total War: Rome II client for Mac OS either didn’t support multiplayer or was having problems trying to get hooked into multiplayer… it wasn’t clear which… so that eventually Loghound gave up and went back to Windows.  While he did that Mattman and I ran another two player against two AI battle and won.  We were looking good.

So when Loghound got online again and into the game, I decided to give us a bit of a challenge.  As we had been defeating two AI attackers quite handily, and would now have three of us playing, I boosted the odds for the Carthaginians a bit by adding in another AI player for them.  There would be 4 AI players against the three of us.

This did not work out quite as well.

With even numbers, the AI wasn’t able to mass forces against one of us without being weak against the other, and the AI’s modus operandi up to this point had been to weigh their attack heavily against one of the crossings.  But that weight was such that one of us had always been able to hang on until the other defeated their smaller foe and could came to the rescue to finish the battle.  With four AIs against three of us, the Carthaginians were able to put a big enough holding force together to keep that rescue plan from happening.

Compounding that was our setup.  I planned to hold one crossing while Mattman and Loghound tried to force the other.  As it turned out, the AI put the holding force on their side and the break-through force on my side.  And then I bungled my lineup, leaving a gap that allowed two units of Carthaginian cavalry to slip past me.  They proceeded to route my archers, who ran off to hide in the woods, and then started to charge my lines from behind.  As my infantry was barely holding, this caused my whole side of the battle to come unglued.  Units started to turn and run only to be destroyed.

My crossing uncovered, the mass of Carthaginians headed around to take Mattman and Loghound from the exposed flank.  The battle came down to a desperate stand by Mattman’s troops at the ford.

Rally at the banners

Rally at the banners

The field was littered with the dead and none of our units were able to escape, aside from a couple of my archers who had run literally to the furthest corner of the map before exiting.

Adding in an extra AI looked to be a boundary we were not quite ready to cross.  So we gave it another try.  Same plan, but with a three on three scenario.  As before, the AI chose my side… I opted to defend the bridge as opposed to the ford, and the AI just has a thing for bridges I guess… to mount the main weight of its attack.  Things nearly came unglued again.

Fortunately, Mattman and Loghound were able to break through at the ford and march to my support, as the battle at the foot of the bridge became a desperate fight.  I managed to keep anybody from slipping through, but the weight of the attack was falling most on a single unit and my attempts to reform my lines to relieve pressure only let the Carthaginians bring more troops to bear.  I was holding on by a thin margin, using my cavalry to drive on any unit that looked to be ready to break out… and popping off the morale boosts that my general provided to keep the troops in the line… when reinforcements started to show up.

Holding the foot of the bridge

Holding the foot of the bridge

There was a mountain of bodies at the foot of the bridge and my cavalry was spent, but as Mattman and Loghound came across the bridge, the enemy melted and was destroyed.

Victory was ours, but yet again it was a narrow victory.

So we got a bit more experience under our belts.  However, fighting against the AI is always a bit unsatisfying.  If you lose, then the computer beat you and if you win, well, it was just an AI.  We will see if this round makes us sharper when we next go head to head.  The river crossing scenarios certainly got us to focus, but once those get old I wonder which scenario to pursue next.  I tried a naval battle.  That was… different.   I also played historical harbor and city assaults.  We might be better suited to the open terrain battles where maneuver and position play more into things.

Anyway, we will see where we stand next time.