Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pike and Shot

I have been playing Slitherine's latest computer wargame release for the PC "Pike and Shot" around the clock. I was so excited I wrote this up for the new Forum discussing the game:

This is the first computer game that has ever really replicated the joy of playing with miniatures and a great set of rules. The period feel of the graphics, making a Spanish tercio or pike block really look like antique engraved images, was a very good idea. 

Screen-shot from Pike and Shot

I played Edgehill like the early commanders and troops on that fateful day fought the actual battle: rather amateurishly. But after a few games I figured out how to deploy a Swedish Brigade and what to do about those annoying hedgerows. The AI is very good and very unforgiving. I found I had to go back to school and review the tutorials before I was prepared to win! And what joy when I did. 

The extra study paid off when I won at Marston Moor. I knew enough of the history of  the battle to know that The Parliamentary cavalry could undo me on my right wing. I was not going to make Prince Rupert's mistakes. My plan of holding the center and sweeping the left wing quickly really paid off. I needed those Reserves to deal with the ultimate collapse of the right wing.

I tried the Multiplayer and Online game functions, they are elegantly implemented as in some other Slitherine games. This will be easy to set up with my wargaming friends and family.

Designer Richard Bodley Scott had done an excellent job of research, game design and implementation. I'm not up to scenario design but I'm looking forward to the game community coming through as usual with some great scenarios and mods. I hope Richard will take some of his great concepts and apply them to slightly earlier periods, say Tudors back through Wars of the Roses. and perhaps forward just a little to the early Lace Wars. With a little more graphics work the game could be perfect, but I'm very happy not to have to watch anarchic sprites do their thing. Wargames figures sit still on their Litko bases until moved by the gentle hand of fate, or the Armchair General. The animation here, moving, firing, battle effects, is just right to replicate the wargame and history.

My son Douglas is studying game design at WPI and is a great artist. I realised how the design concepts can have such a profound effect on the final result. I told him how prints from the period show, in a stylized way, the warfare of the time and how Richard has incorporated the units in a pleasant colour rendition of the relevant countryside. What a simple idea but brilliant concept for the game. The author of Anglia Rediviva might approve.

Strategic plan for the Battle of Naseby, June 14, 1645; from Anglia Rediviva (1647).
Credit: © The British Library/Heritage-Images

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