1066 – the year Duke William of Normandy was crowned King of England after successfully invading and defeating the English led by King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings on the 14th of October that year. Vikings commanded by King Harald Hardrada of Norway had landed in northern England a month earlier and gained a foothold there after crushing the outnumbered forces of Earls Morcar and Edwin during the Battle of Fulford. The English later defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge but had to quickly march southwards after that battle in an attempt to repel the Norman invasion and the exhausted state of the English army has often been cited as the major factor for the eventual Norman victory.
All three battles are playable in this wonderfully animated game developed by Preloaded for British TV network Channel 4. The single player campaign places the player in control of all three factions – the Vikings at the Battle of Fulford, the English at the Battle of Stamford Bridge and finally, the Normans at the Battle of Hastings. The Vikings excel in ferocious charges, the English form steady shieldwalls while the Normans are the medieval equivalent of a combined arms force. Alternatively, the game can be played in skirmish and multiplayer modes which are handy for simulating hypothetical scenarios with different army setups.
A combination of strategy, tactics and a trio of mini-games awaits in 1066 and yes, those mini-games will essentially decide the fate of the British Isles.
Before a battle, each side summons their warriors to battle via a points system similiar to tabletop miniatures games. The sight of warriors flocking to your banner as you add them to your army is a glorious thing indeed.
After choosing your warriors, deploy them on the battlefield taking into consideration the forces arrayed againist you as well as impassible locations on the map which will offer advantages for defensive moves during the actual battle.
Each turn, both sides plan their orders and then the orders are executed simultaneously in an arbitrary manner. Thus, two units may charge each other while trying to move to more favourable positions or an infantry unit may have rushed forward in an attempt to charge only to find that their target has withdrawn from range.
The tactical portion of 1066 involves maneuvering your units into formations for bonuses. Outflanking isolated units by moving two units above and below it is a great technique to rout shaken units off the battlefield with minimal loss of lives.
Three infantry units arranged in a vertical row will lock their shields together to form a shieldwall which confers additional defensive bonuses and is particularly useful for withstanding a cavalry charge.
Boar snouts are formed by moving three infantry units into a wedge formation and coupling this formation together with a charge into enemy lines can be very devastating to unprepared or wavering units.
Careful thought must be put in the movement of each melee unit as the two armies close in – charging with its substantial shock damage is very important and can only occur when a fair distance separates the two opposing units (indicated by a red arrow instead of the usual white arrow when moving the unit).
When the two sides eventually clash, melees are resolved between individual units one at a time. Melee damage is calculated by how accurately you press the cursor keys as they appear on the screen (akin to rhythm games like Beatmania) while the effectiveness of your archers is strictly determined by your skill in gauging the correct angle and power needed to release a hail of arrows directly onto the heads on your enemies. It’s always amusing to watch inept enemy archers fire into the backs of their own infantry until you commit the same mistake or fire indiscriminately into a swirling melee and wound more of your troops than the enemy’s.
Taunting and calling your enemy names can be a very effective tactic in a hard-fought battle since a series of perfectly-executed taunts can quickly knock down enemy morale and rout units with already flagging morale. It all depends on your typing speed though
Hmm … Foxbeard … not sure my morale would drop if someone called me that
Thus, while you may be a superb tactician, your reflexes must be equally as good to win most battles since they often involve close fights between two evenly-matched forces of roughly similiar numbers (which means more mini-games). For the reflex-challenged, I recommend playing at the lower difficulty levels since they offer a better test of your strategical and tactical abilities without overly demanding that you perform very well in the mini-games.
Play 1066. Thanks to g4g.it for featuring this game on their site, wouldn’t have found it otherwise.
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Tags: Flash Games Medieval Military Recommended Tabletop Games