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I am not talking RTW1 or RTW2 even with an award winning mod like DEI (Divide et Imperor) TW combat leaves much to be desired.

I have been played FOG2 by Slitherine, I got it as a bundle with a grand strategy game, Empires, since a friend is the developer.  (It is a very novel ancient grand strategy offering.)

I expected to hate FOG2; I hate TBS combat.  But it has the best TBS UI I have ever seen, and if you set it  up correctly it flows very fast.  (I am qualified to judge UIs and I have background in Software Engineering.)

What I like about it so much is that it is a very rich experience with lots of info that grogs love.  It considers unit types, morale, terrain (ground type, cover, elevation) and how it impacts different classes of units:  light foot, medium foot, and and heavy foot.  Not to mention cavalry, chariots, elephants, camels, ...  Remember how much unit variation CMx1 had?  Knowing how to use terrain and when to charge and when to hold is key.  There are many ways to to play including leagues.  Many mods:  battles, campaigns, and units.

Difficulty is not like in TW where units stats are changed.  Instead when you up difficulty, the OPFOR gets more purchase points.  You need to play a smarter and more mobile game.

I did find an AI mod which in my testing was 4X more deadly than the standard AI.  The AI is not hardcoded, but written in scripts.  In can see why it is not incorporated directly in the game.  You want noobs to be able to win.  For some canned scenarios, it could put the player at a big disadvantage.

You must study the terrain very carefully and plan.  Timing is crucial.  You might flank with cavalry.  Feint and draw of some of the enemy off.  You might use skirmishers to disorder their line.  Or you might get skirmishers behind their lines.  Usually heavy units like phalanxes and legions will not do a 180 to deal with skirmishers so that you can wear down the enemy from the rear.

Victory is mainly based on routing the enemy in 30 minutes turns (24 turns); so conceptually you fight from Sun up to Sun down.  No terrain objectives.  You control terrain by standing on it as opposed to being able to place fire.  It has been seriously historically researched.  And it has an create a campaign mode with allies different missions and a core units for 5-15 battles.  I can be longer if you lose battle as you can go back an redo them or call for reinforcements.  The campaign is full of strategic decisions to make, but there is not map connection.

You can fight real temporal and geographic opponents and allies or you can select fantasy match ups that would have never happened.

I just thought I would mention it and it turned out to be this unexpected gem.

PS:  The game does interface with the Empires ancient strategy game.  You choose to autoresolve or export and fight your battle like TW.  However, it should be point out that TW has crappy in game resolution.  Empires has a beautiful and  exciting system that keeps the game fast.  Also, as frontage of battles like alpine is 3 and farmland is 16 is not well conveyed to on export.  This means your phalanxes would be disadvantaged in Empire, but export always gives enough flat ground to make those phalanxes deadly.  I think you would need some in house rules also be prepared to play a 1 week strategy game for four months.

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I forgot to add well written and complete manual.

Excellent YouTube training videos on the combat system by Mike Chung.

Excellent YouTube training videos on fighting battle by Chris Weber.

The designer Robert Scott Bodely (a retired Australian MD, I believe) is always in the forums and there to help.

You can buy DLCs for time periods that interest you, but I find Slitherine to provide real value and reasonable prices.  Also, we are in the sale season.  Expect 3 before '21.

You get discount price if you bundle with Empires.  If you buy from Slitherine, no DRM just serial number.  Steam has no workshop support, the game has in game mod downoads.

Ancient combat is really a novel experience if all know is fire and maneuver.

Rome casts a long shadow over us today:  Our languages, sewer and aqueducts, the idea of professional military, the idea of citizen military, republic vs dictatorship, early battlefield tactics which still would work today, legal system, concrete, the arch, vault, domes, the alphabet, and many Greek ideas and Greece though defeated by Rome was considered the superior culture.  Every educated Roman had Greek slave tutor for his children, and read/wrote Greek.  Roman roads, bridges, and aqueducts are still in use today.

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Yeah FOG2 is good. Comparing it to CMx1 with the huge unit variety is pretty interesting. Battles can play out so differently depending on the era or army makeup. It goes from ancient Egyptians and Babylonians all the way up to Vikings. I love the big infantry shieldwalls and phalanxes but the big open cavalry battles can really be something else. They get so chaotic and confusing, where you have some units charging, some stuck in melee, others breaking off contact and falling back, others flanking, then others evading only to turn around and charge again. You get these big running cavalry battles with units chasing each other back and forth all over the map or sometimes off the map completely only to return again later. Those are always fun.

I thought the AI was pretty decent too. It knows to avoid exposing flanks, and it actively tries to exploit your own flanks. I mostly play single player stuff so it's nice to have a challenging AI opponent. I've been trounced by the AI quite a few times in that game, usually due to bad tactics on my own part.

I've done better at the game when I go back and read about the real world battles and tactics from the era. One of my favorite things is to do what the Thebans did against the Spartans at Leuctra. You mass all of your best/elite troops on one flank, and all of your weakest troops on the opposite flank. Then you have your elites advance first, with the rest of the army advancing behind them in echelon, so your weakest troops are the farthest back, and elites farthest forward. The idea is to delay contact with your weakest units for as long as possible while your elites do their thing and smash through the enemy line. I've had a lot of success in FOG2 using that formation. Sometimes the battle will be pretty much over before my weakest units even make it into the fight.

Sengoku Jidai and Pike and Shot are both good games too IMO. Those games use the same combat system and rules and were made by the same people.

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I didn't play the earlier games.

I have mainly being playing the Rome vs. Macedonian war an experimenting.

Watched the YouTube series by Mike Chung and Chris Webber; you will learn an incredible amount of mechanics and tactics.

Check out this mod and see if it boosts AI challenge by about 4X.  I am playing with stock AI at +2, but I think with this mode you could play 0.

Rise of the AI 2.3; he is working a new improved release with better flanking.  The stock AI tends to hit your line piece meal, this one hit is hard all at once.  It also maneuvered more, but coordinated.

http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=477&t=83272

You download it in game.

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A few more comments about FOG2.

* If you haven't tried it, don't dismiss it as being TW with turns.  TW has a few strategies and is hard to appreciate by people who take the battlefield seriously.  This bears very little resemblance to TW.  Example ... TW skirmishers have little do but rack up kills for low purchase price.  In FOG2, skirmishers have many roles depending on how you want to use them.  The game is truly deep ... so forget Rome1 or Rome2 (even modded) if you have played those.

* CMx1 was a statistical engine (like tiles and units has properties that fed into a resolution engine).  CMx2 is object modeling.  Trees are trees and a single soldier has a model, and the round he fires gets its own life and behavior.  FOG2 is neither.  It is carefully crafted rules, behaviors, and RNG.  So, it relies heavily on abstracted ideas.  Yet, the point of software is to model something.  How it actually achieves this is irrelevant if it captures the sense of reality.  BFCs approach of game fidelity is achieved by code fidelity to me is not an axiom, and FOG2 shows this well.  Besides being fun FOG2 shows what is generally true of computers; many solutions to the same problem.  Ultimately, all computer programming reduces the world to math which may symbolically represent the world.  So, I think FOG2 and CMx2 is a good example of how what is under the hood is irrelevant if the car drives well.

* From a software point of view, there are strong reasons to go the FOG2 route.  I have no doubt it achieves what it does with far less code than CMx2.  Code is money.  Also, with each line of code you add the chance of bugs and problems increase.  So, all things being equal a smaller code base is more stable and less error prone.

PS:  We know what is under BFC's hood, because I believe Steve explained this to us.  For FOG2, the code is not compiled, but scripted so you can actually read it.  So, we know what is under FOG2's hood.

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36 minutes ago, Erwin said:

I loved Rome TW but read poor reviews of Rome TW 2.  So, was interested to read about FOG2.  But, I really do not like the way the 3D game is set up in boxed spaces like a chess game.  What is better than Rome TW?

Well, as I stated, I hate TBS games, but I was a member and equity holder in AGEOD.  So, when "Pocus" (Philippe Malacher) did a new game Empires ... of course, I was going to buy it.  As I think you got a 25% off to get both Empires and FOG2, I took the bundle expecting to hate FOG2.  But I fell in love with it.

The main thing I don't like about TBS combat is the chess like plodding slowness.  Depending on how, you configure the game, it is one of the fastest moving TBS games I have seen.  But for spreadsheet grogs, you get get each line of calculation (10-20 lines) for every unit combat and the entire turn.  So, it depends how you set up the game.  WITP players will love it too.

As for square board as opposed to hex board, no problem.  Squares are actually more flexible.  It allows diagonal facing, motion, and combat.  So, for hex you have 6 facings, but for a square you actually have 8 facings.  The board could have been drawn with octagons, but I don't think it would have enhanced presentation probably just complicated map design and rendering.

The boxes give you something which TW sadly lacks ... real frontages and lines.  Most TW melee RTW1, RTW2, STW2 ... rapidly devolves into US football fumble pile ons.  Linear warfare tends to collapse.  This is due to the very loose modeling of space and unit integrity.

RTW1 is a great game especially modded:  Roma Surrectum 3 or Europa Bababorum.  RTW2 superb with Divide et Impera (DEI) is the best mod and it has won awards for years.  Combat has been tweaked and improved, but remember much of TW combat is in the engine.  So, modders can only do so much.

Despite great mods, I left RTW1 because the diplomacy logic is totally hosed.  There is no diplomacy.  You are going to be at war with anyone you border.  There is real diplomacy in RTW2.  So, I would say RTW2/DEI is the best Roman antiquity for that series.  You will find social classes, ethnicity, supply logistics, trade, complex building economy, seasons, military reforms, and AOR (area of recruiting).  In 2013, RTW2 bombed, but CA did actually fix it by 2017.  It is the better of the two Rome titles.  I understand it quite good out of the box.  My opinion is STW2 was CA's best out of the box game.  They got back to basics.  The game is beautiful and very tight as a work of art.  But the reality is:  Japan is kind of a narrow island and all the factions are relatively similar compared to RTW2.  No elephants, nomadic horse armies, legions, phalanxes, or chariots in Japan.  Rome wins on a big map with options and unit variability.

Still for a sense of pre-gun powder warfare, it does not come close to FOG2.  Think of FOG2 being CM, but without the quest for realism that frustrates playing fun.  You can actually, export your Empire battles to FOG2 for fighting.  Effectively, you got TW, but as separate games.  But FOG2 has good campaigns and great battle fighting options ... also Empires has one of the most comprehensible/exciting battle resolvers.  I just think the marriage of the two games is less than the sum of the parts.  I prefer both as separate experiences.

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Also, the RNG aspect of FOG2 is just enough for there to be seem exciting moments like when a Sherman gets a gun kill on a Tiger.  :)

Another unique thing about FOG2 is that success can actually be devastating.  How so?

Most times your unit with attack orders will win or lose it.  If they lose it (usually over the course of X turns, they will rout)  But maybe 1 of 10 times if they win it, they will pursue the enemy.  This can actually be devastating, because it disrupts your line:

* They put themselves in a situation where they can be flanked.

* They put a hole in your line.

So, usually pays to always have a reserve not just to plug holes when units rout, but to plug hows when units win.

The game has many subtle little features like that (victory turning into disaster).

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8 hours ago, markshot said:

Despite great mods, I left RTW1 because the diplomacy logic is totally hosed.  There is no diplomacy.  You are going to be at war with anyone you border.  There is real diplomacy in RTW2.  So, I would say RTW2/DEI is the best Roman antiquity for that series.  You will find social classes, ethnicity, supply logistics, trade, complex building economy, seasons, military reforms, and AOR (area of recruiting).  In 2013, RTW2 bombed, but CA did actually fix it by 2017.  It is the better of the two Rome titles.  I understand it quite good out of the box.  My opinion is STW2 was CA's best out of the box game.  They got back to basics.  The game is beautiful and very tight as a work of art.  But the reality is:  Japan is kind of a narrow island and all the factions are relatively similar compared to RTW2.  No elephants, nomadic horse armies, legions, phalanxes, or chariots in Japan.  Rome wins on a big map with options and unit variability.

I'd probably agree about Shogun 2 being the best of the series (albeit a bit light on horse-archers for my liking), but I do have high hopes for Three Kingdoms (in 'Records' mode).....The new diplomacy systems look pretty good, but I only just bought it so I haven't given it a proper test yet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I still have fond memories of the Win95 versions for the "Great Battles of" Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar👍

These days, I fully concur with those who grant high regard to Field of Glory II.  It's a great game and I especially enjoy its PBEM capabilities.  😍

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Besides the ancient world presenting its own science and technology of war; just as the US ACW or Europe's Napoleonic battles ... the ancient was full of conflict which very much impact who we are today.

The Romans cast a very long shadow on the Western world:  language, construction (concrete, arch, vaults, domes, roads), legal systems/trial, republic, civic obligation of military service, etc...  (The founding fathers of the USA were all educated in the classics and it shows in the famous documents they left behind which would become the USA.)

When George Washington declined to be the first American King, he had in mind the Roman tale of Cincinnatus who left his farm to serve and when it was done wanted nothing more than to go back to his farm.

I am old.  Finding a veteran of WII is not easy task.  But so much of today can be explained by those 2 huge conflicts of the 1900s.

So, whether just games or hardcore history ... the ancient world has much to offer.  Our ancestors were not stupid or ignorant.  They were simply expert at many skills which for us have no value.

I want to know those who came before.  For without them, I would not be.

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