File under “Good news”: Slitherine’s awesome light wargame of ancients combat, Field of Glory, is now available on Mac OS X!
I reviewed the game and its first expansion, Rise of Rome earlier this year. This is a nearly perfect port, so all of the kudos and criticisms you’ll find in those earlier reviews still apply. But there are a few updates since my earlier reviews that are worth mentioning.
First, the game itself seems to have subsumed the expansions. This is a bit of an improvement. So, instead of having to download the expansions, the content for them is already in the app, and you just purchase a serial number for the expansion you want and add it to unlock it. I know this sort of scheme drives some people crazy, but I actually found it refreshingly honest (and it neatly sidesteps all the complexity of installing multi-stage expansions, which often suffer when being ported from Windows).
Second, one of the things I thought was a bit disappointing about the game when it was originally released was that it shipped with only 25 scenarios. No longer; Slitherine has leveraged its user community and included a very large number of player-designed scenarios. Most of the scenarios Slitherine has tapped are quite good; I think some of them are better than the included scenarios. Max Attenborough’s “Caesar’s Landing,” portraying the initial stage of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Britain in 55 BC, was wonderfully unbalanced, and gave more of a sense of “You Are There” than many of the more ‘balanced’ “OK, your two armies have lined up on a featureless plain” scenarios one can find.
Nitpicks: the Historical Game battle selection screen is too primitive. There’s no way to sort (or filter) the battles in the list. User-created scenarios have no ‘complexity’ rating. I still find it completely impossible to tell exactly which way most of my troops are facing, which is rather a critical issue for a game which restricts where you can charge based on facing. The music is still infuriating and repetitive (but, you can turn it off). There’s no way to save a replay of a game or even statistics.
And yet, despite these flaws, the game is still a diamond in the rough. Even the longest games against the AI are fast-paced while still allowing for thought and strategy. Most battles never play out the same way twice. And the ability to play a turn at a time across the internet is usable and enjoyable. Yet I am out of practice in playing turn-based games on my computer; being able to play games like Uniwar on my “with me all the time” device, the iPhone, has sort of made the PC seem like a lumbering beast in comparison. If Slitherine could figure out a way to release this game for the iPad, they’d make a mint.
Field of Glory, by Slitherine, for Windows and Mac OS X. £24.99, or $US 39.99.
Disclosure statement: Slitherine graciously provided Tea Leaves with a review copy of this game.