Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

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grumblefish
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Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:37 am

Field of Glory II has been out or over a month, and the first expansion pack was just released today:

http://www.slitherine.com/products/651/ ... f.Glory.II
http://www.slitherine.com/products/716/ ... ortal.Fire

The new expansion pack, Immortal Fire, focuses on 5th and early 4th c. Classical warfare. More to the point, it includes a campaign based on Xenophon's Anabasis. If you haven't read it yet, hurry up. It's top stuff; plenty of adventure, combat, and drama. Xenophon sets off to support a contender for the Persian throne, but the contender dies and the Hellenic mercenaries must make their way home.

This AAR is going to be a play-by-play of the Anabasis campaign. It originated and is being cross-posted at the Codex: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.ph ... gn.119433/

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Thalatta! Thalatta!

So, let's see how good this campaign is!

I'm going to play ironman style, so if I lose a battle I'm just going to end the game.

Campaign selection screen:

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Campaign settings:

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First mission:

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So apparently we have to fight against the army of Tissaphernes, who is basically some clown-tier satrap scrub. As far as I recall, there is no pitched battle against Tissaphernes in the Anabasis. If someone knows better, let me know, but this battle seems to be fictional (or of such a small scale that Xenophon just forgot to mention it/I forgot it occurred).

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Army list. Looks like a late 5th c. Persian army list, supported by Hellenic mercenaries. It would be cool if the army list changes as we continue on through the campaign, but at this point I don't know what will happen.

I'm going to take as many hoplites as I can, because Mede fears the Hellenic warrior!

...also, I took a scythed chariot, because chariots are basically the tanks of ancient warfare, right??

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The initial approach. There are some patches of rough terrain on the flank by the lake, and some rocky hills on the other flank.

On the lake-flank, I placed medium-foot irregulars and had them seize the rough ground and stay put. They are opposed by a few hoplite mercenaries and some shit-tier peasant rabble. Their line doesn't reach all the way to the lake, so I am going to charge some cavalry up around them, and also have some javelin-cavalry and archers harry them.

On the mountain-flank... yeah. They outnumber my cavalry, but due to the poor terrain I don't think cavalry can be properly deployed. So hopefully I can just delay the inevitable defeat on that side while I roll their army up.


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Skirmishers clash in the middle. You can see that my irregulars are camping on the rough terrain, supported by the heavy-foot hoplites. The white-shield hoplites are junk, but the others are decent.

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The strategy on the river-side is going well, some of my cavalry has ranged weaponry so I am going to pick at the hoplites while a few horses go around to kill the peasants.

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On the other flank... yeah. It's getting ugly, but they really can't use their cavalry assets well because of the rough terrain on the hill. Slow movement and slow combat resolution means that my flank is safe for now.

My chariots break after one turn, because apparently scythed chariots are junk.

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The shoot-out and flanking move is going well.


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First impact on the river flank/centre. You can see the hoplites are still catching arrows on the extreme end of the line, and the peasants are not doing so well.


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Yeah... it's pandemonium on the other flank. At some point my hoplite general catches a spear to the face and dies, but thankfully my line continued to hold.


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The enemy gives way, finally. Between the arrows, javelins, rough terrain, and flanking cavalry, they never really stood a chance. Now I'm going to roll up the line.


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I don't know why I saved this picture rather than one of my flank, but anyway I tried to move some cavalry across the mountain and they got smashed. The arches shot them down, and then they got hit in the flank and the routing survivors were chased off the map.

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Doesn't matter, though! Victory is mine. I just kept moving in from the flank routing their units.

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Casualties


On to the next mission!

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Looks like Cunaxa is next, an actual battle I recall.

The campaigns in this game sometimes offer the player options, so I will take a break when that occurs and let people vote. If you want to join in, go to the Codex forum where this is cross-posted: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.ph ... gn.119433/

Also, if you want to see me pick up a particular type of unit, or employ a certain type of strategy, let me know. Just be aware that if I lose, I'm just quitting because if Xenophon was able to ironman the Anabasis, then so can I.
Last edited by grumblefish on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Temple
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by Temple » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:52 am

Great AAR so far! That's quite a victory tally.

It seems like some of your pics look zoomed in closer than I'm able to on my game. Are they just edited screenshots or have you modified the zoom somehow?

grumblefish
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:58 am

Battle of Cunaxa

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Time to put the true Great King on the throne of Persia!


I did not get to design the army for this battle. It looks like they took my damaged units from the first battle, and then stuck them in a large army that featured some more cavalry and medium foot. At any rate, here are some post-deployment shots of the battlefield:

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The above pictures are from turn 2. As you can see, I'm not going to be able to flank him very well. His line is mostly medium foot, though, so my plan was just to go toe-to-toe with him. I placed King Cyrus with a hoplite unit. The fake king, Artaxerxes, is in one of those cavalry units way behind the front line.

Anyway, turn 3, getting closer:

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On turn 4 the enemy had a really lucky round and routed one of my light cavalry units. He charged with a light cavalry unit of his own and managed to land it just right. My horses flee through the gap between my infantry line and the heavy cavalry force, and the enemy gives chase:

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Lines getting closer again:

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Turn 6 is where it all happens. Contact on both flanks and in the centre:

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Zoomed out shot of the battle, not much movement in the centre or the flank by the river. The fake king isn't even in this picture, he fell back with a couple of cavalry units; in hind-sight if he had charged in he might have made the difference:

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As a bonus, take a look at this, the scythed chariot earned its keep today. It didn't act alone, but all the same it managed to send one unit packing, smashed into a second unit, and lined up perfectly for a scythed chariot vs scythed chariot screenshot. Reminds me of that mosaic where Alexander the great is giving Darius a fright:

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This is just a big slog; I thought my centre would perform a lot better, but the enemy is holding up well. That hoplite unit in the centre that burst through is actually King Cyrus' unit. I have him fall back later so he doesn't get cut down by skirmishers and cavalry.

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Here you can see that the fake king has finally decided to wake up and join the battle. As great as hoplites are, I decide to have Cyrus continue to fall back rather than face off against 3 cavalry units and accompanying skirmishers.

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Here's the general state of the battlefield on turn 9; the centre is still slogging it out, same for the flanks. However, it's pretty clear that I'm winning. Even though the enemy still has a semblance of a line, there are a lot of units that are fleeing or clearly on their way out:

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Almost done:

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It's all over:

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Here's a close up of King Cyrus facing down the pretender and a few units of cavalry:

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Another stunning victory for the true Great King, Cyrus:

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However, allegedly the Great King died, and now we're alone:

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Fair enough, that's how the battle is supposed to end, but still. I deserve some sort of Steam achievement or special recognition for keeping the guy alive. I should have just made him general of a raw medium foot unit and had him charge forward alone at this rate.


Anyway, for the next battle it appears we will be designing a new army:

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I'm not sure what the army list will consist of, though. I imagine it will mostly be hoplites and skirmishers. As I recall, the mercenary force in the Anabasis had a lot of quality slingers and hoplites. I hope the campaign will eventually give us a branching storyline, too. Some of the campaigns let you pick different paths, or choose to fight under different conditions.

grumblefish
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:07 am

Temple wrote:Great AAR so far! That's quite a victory tally.

It seems like some of your pics look zoomed in closer than I'm able to on my game. Are they just edited screenshots or have you modified the zoom somehow?
Thanks. I have the difficulty level set to Governor, and I turned the progressive difficulty setting on, so in theory it should start to get much harder. I wouldn't be shocked if I lose one of the upcoming battles; I don't know if that will just end the campaign, or if it alters the story and sends you down a different path.


Anyway, yes, I edited the configuration file. So I can zoom in closer and I can tilt the camera so things look better. Recently I've wanted to turn off the banners, but I don't know if that's an option in the config file.

grumblefish
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:34 am

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All right, time to protect the baggage! Despite my tactical brilliance in the last battle, the King has been auto-killed and now I have to guard the baggage as we... walk all the way back to Hellas?

I've never done a protection mission before, but here goes. At the end of the last battle, we were told that we needed to create a new army. Here's the list:

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Nothing too fancy. Hoplites and archers, with a couple of cavalry units. The Cretan archers are nice, but the slingers are crap in FOG II (in the Anabasis they actually out-range archers).

After deploying, messages popped up telling me that the enemy was closing in on my flanks. My plan is to delay the flanking cavalry, and just push forward with the carts and get them safely off the map (which should trigger the victory screen).

Here's my army, note the baggage:

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A small force is blocking my path; I am pretty sure I can just crash into them head-on and make a clear path for the baggage. By the time the flank deals with my rearguard, I'll have won.

Here's the enemy blocking force:

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Left flank:

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I proceed to march forward. These carts are slow as molasses; two squares a turn, and it appears there's a swamp near the edge of the map that will slow them even more. I just want to go straight ahead and end this sooner rather than later.

The march continues:

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Left flank. Note the peasants in the trees trying to assist the mass of cavalry. I'm pretty sure my rearguard is going to be slaughtered:

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Here's the far-right flank, this force is a good distance away, but they can still catch up given the speed of the baggage train:

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Getting closer; the blocking force moved to intercept me after this turn:

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I move the hoplites so they form a wall protecting the baggage. I should be able to sweep the enemy blocking force away, while my baggage can simply continue on unopposed to the edge of the map. Note the rearguard in the background:

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Everything going as planned:

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Success; I've tied up all his units so the baggage is now totally safe:

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Not looking so hot on the flank:

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The blocking force is annihilated. I will turn my army back to try and save the rearguard if there's still time:

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It's too late for one of my cavalry units; they were surrounded and destroyed:

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Time for revenge:

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Too late, apparently I've won!

The baggage didn't even reach the edge of the map; I literally won by points. I accidentally routed half the enemy force, and they decided to throw in the towel:

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Here are some pictures of the battlefield at the end:

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Final tally:

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Time for the next mission, surely we must face many more challenges before we return to Hellenic lands...

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What?? I'm in Thrace already? Great, I'm kind of disappointed, but whatever. I thought I'd have some nice mountain battles, a contentious river crossing, etc. The sort of stuff that happened when Xenophon and the 10,000 had to march all the way back from the interior of Asia. Whatever.

This would have been a nice moment to give the player some choices. Xenophon himself wanted to found a new colony on the coast, perhaps we could have done that and had some interesting defensive battles.

Anyway, here we are in Thrace! Time to help Prince Seuthes II, may he fare better than the late King Cyrus.

rbodleyscott
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:05 am

What?? I'm in Thrace already? Great, I'm kind of disappointed, but whatever. I thought I'd have some nice mountain battles, a contentious river crossing, etc. The sort of stuff that happened when Xenophon and the 10,000 had to march all the way back from the interior of Asia. Whatever.
I should point out the the campaign never claimed to be an Anabasis campaign. It is a "life of Xenophon" campaign, and he did a lot more after the Anabasis.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Temple
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by Temple » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:14 pm

Nice to see someone else deal with the "baggage" scenario :D. With my luck my opponents always seem to have a lot of cavalry, which makes protecting the baggage a bit dicey.

grumblefish
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:13 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
What?? I'm in Thrace already? Great, I'm kind of disappointed, but whatever. I thought I'd have some nice mountain battles, a contentious river crossing, etc. The sort of stuff that happened when Xenophon and the 10,000 had to march all the way back from the interior of Asia. Whatever.
I should point out the the campaign never claimed to be an Anabasis campaign. It is a "life of Xenophon" campaign, and he did a lot more after the Anabasis.
You're jumping the gun; so far every battle has been from the Anabasis. The fictional battle against Tissaphernes, the Battle of Cunaxa, protect the baggage, and now Seuthes in Thrace.

We're at 4/6, and I would not be surprised if the 5th battle is also from the Anabasis; perhaps it's back in Asia, when Xenophon went to kidnap Asidates. If that's the case, then we're at 5 out of 6 battles being from the Anabasis... and what's left? Maybe the game closes with a fight against Tissaphernes or Pharnabazus? That would make it 6/6 from the Anabasis, but maybe we'll get the second Battle of Coronea or something, I don't know yet.

Anyway, this is all besides the point. Read what you quoted: I'm fundamentally disappointed with the quality of the campaign. It fails to live up to the source material. It doesn't even attempt to present the player with any plot decisions, or even any decisions that might affect the terrain or unit selection in the upcoming battle. It's so lazy and mediocre, I'd be embarrassed to make this campaign. I literally find the randomly-generated campaigns to be superior.



But hey, maybe the last two battles will be amazing and change my mind! Off to find out! :lol:

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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:03 am

Time to save the Thracian!

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We just got back to Greek lands and we're already taking a new assignment. Xenophon agrees to join Seuthes in the last book of the Anabasis, and there are a few little skirmishes/battles that take place.

Here are the terms of battle and the roster I'll be recruiting from:


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Looks like an opportunity to recruit some Medium Foot infantry and various types of skirmishers. Not bad, considering that I already have a good number of Heavy Foot infantry.


Here's the line-up:


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The enemy doesn't have any Heavy Foot, so this is a great map. I'm a little concerned about the MASSIVE numbers of light cavalry, so I'm just going to race forward and engage as quickly as possible. Once our lines meet, the skirmishers should be relatively meaningless.


Moving in; interestingly the light cav is staying put with the rest of the enemy army:


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Closer; light cav still motionless:


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Contact! My cavalry successfully reached their line without any real harassment from the enemy skirmishers. A real lost opportunity for the AI.

My heavy cav is pretty decent quality. They managed to immediately disorder two units of Medium Foot:


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The battle lines are face to face now. The flanks have engaged, the centre will clash next turn.

As you can see, the enemy light cavalry has reacted. It's too late, though; my cavalry is slaughtering the MF and part of his line is already retreating:


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The cavalry continues to tear apart the Thracian medium foot:


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Zoomed out; battle is going as expected:


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Things are getting progressively grim for the enemy. They aren't going to last much longer:


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At least one of us knows how to humiliate the enemy with skirmisher cavalry:


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Looks like the Thracians were hiding some literal peasants behind their main line. They fall quickly:


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Reinforcements arrive for the enemy; too little too late. It's basically skirmisher foot and cavalry:


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It's all over:


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Final look at the battlefield:


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Casualties:


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~Victory~

I'd act proud of this result, but it was perhaps the easiest battle yet. I hardly used any tactics; I literally just charged forward and engaged as quickly as possible. The enemy didn't have any heavy foot or regular cavalry, so it was a foregone conclusion the moment they tried to engage me in the open. Perhaps if they used their skirmisher cavalry properly, and placed their units in the forests and swamps, I might have had some real difficulty. Perhaps I shouldn't expect literal barbarians to employ actual tactics, though.


Next battle:


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Back to Asia we go! Looks like they skipped the kidnapping of Asidates and went straight to my second guess: joining Thibron against Pharnabazos and and Tissaphernes, the very last act in the Anabasis.

So, 5 for 5 from the Anabasis, and let me guess... the last battle will be the Battle of Coronea. I guess this fifth battle is arguably from the Hellenica, given that the Anabasis doesn't actually relate any specific battles fought under Thibron, but then again I doubt this battle is based on any particular incident. Also, note the lack of any decisions; this campaign might literally end without a single campaign-decision being offered.

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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:27 am

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This marks the end of the Anabasis; we are going to war under Thibron. I have to leave some units behind, so I ditch a lot of my medium foot and a few skirmishers.

Here's the new unit list, I only have 50 points so I grab some more Cretan archers (which I promptly forget to deploy at the front line):

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The terrain on this map is pretty interesting; the enemy is camping by a dense forest and rough hills. Here are some shots of the battlefield post-deployment.

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My plan is to overpower his cavalry on the far flank by using the bulk of my skirmishers and cavalry, while my hoplites try to move forward and engage the enemy on what little open ground there is. My infantry is higher quality than theirs, so if I can hit his line in open terrain I should win:


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Here you can see how I'm positioning my heavy foot infantry:


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It's troublesome getting the infantry into the right position, but so far so good. The enemy cavalry is also getting demolished on the far flank:


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Still going well, looks like my cavalry and skirmishers did a good job:


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Finally my hoplites are engaging. The enemy cavalry on the flank is getting absolutely slaughtered, I think it's pretty much over on that side:


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Next turn, no new developments:

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Another turn, still nothing new. Just people fighting and dying:


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Looks like defendant's river-side flank is starting to crumble. Got a nice shot of a his cavalry routing. Also, the last picture is of Pharnabazos hanging out at the rear of the battlefield doing... nothing:


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The enemy infantry is starting to break; this isn't going to last too much longer:

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The slaughter continues. Note that my skirmishers have rejoined the battle; they pursued some routing opponents many turns ago:

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~Victory!~


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Final review of the battlefield:


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Casualties:


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On to the final battle!


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As predicted, it's the second Battle of Coronea. This battle is from Xenophon's Hellenica.

Not that you would know it based on the game text. Note that it doesn't refer to the name of the battle, just like it failed to mention the Battle of Cunaxa. In fact, this campaign has failed to present any substantial information at any point in time. This is battle 6 of 6 and, again, the player is not presented with any decisions. The description of the Battle of Coronea is also a little weird; yes, it's significant that Athens was on the opposing side, but there were many city-states on the other side. To read Xenophon's account, the Thebans were the main opponent.

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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:50 pm

Final battle. It's with Agesilaus and it's dated to 394, so it's pretty clearly the second Battle of Coronea.

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If you want to read the historical account from Xenophon it's in his Hellenica. Basically it's a large and brutal hoplite battle that resulted in Spartan victory. The actual battle was split into two parts; the initial clash, and then Spartans moving to block the Thebans when they tried to withdraw. A brutal grudge match, to hear Xenophon describe it.

Here's the recruitment screen; I pick up 2 more units of veteran hoplites, a unit of cavalry, cheap medium foot, and archers:


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After I finished deploying, the enemy army was revealed:


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Well that wasn't what I expected. That army is absolutely massive, about twice the size of my army.

I honestly could lose this battle. My units are higher quality than theirs, but at some point the numbers are just overwhelming. When you get flanked while engaged in combat, your units automatically get disrupted so it doesn't matter how worthless the enemy is; the only thing they need to do is pin me down and envelope me.

My strategy is to try and smash their centre with my superior hoplites, and delay delay delay on the flanks.

The flank by the lake has a big patch of rough ground, so I take my 3 medium foot (2 rubbish units, 1 band of thracians) and take a defensive position. I also gave the Thracians a general to make sure they can beat whichever heavy foot unit is dumb enough to enter the rough ground. I put a couple of skirmishers with them to do some damage in case the enemy camps just outside the rough ground.

On the other flank I place all my cavalry. I have a cavalry advantage, so my plan is to go wide and try to flank the enemy line. This should discourage the enemy from trying to envelop me with the hoplites; to hit me in the side, he will have to turn his back to my cavalry, so I expect he will just take the hoplites that would have enveloped my main line and instead try to fend off my cavalry.

With that plan in mind, time to begin:


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Here's my Medium Foot locking down my lake-side flank. Note that the enemy only has heavy foot:


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Things are going exactly as planned on the other flank, too. See how the hoplites are facing my cavalry, rather than enveloping my centre:


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Hmm the enemy heavy foot actually engaged one of my medium foot units in the rough:


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Here's the other flank, note that I have multiple units of archers between my centre and the cavalry. I am peppering the enemy as they wander around trying to fend off my cavalry, and I have one unit of cavalry just waiting to hit their hoplites in the side or rear if they decide to attack my main battle line:

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Units are engaged across the entire line. Looks like the heavy foot managed to fragment my medium foot unit, which is a serious problem. Thankfully my centre is doing well:


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Centre is doing great, cavalry-flank is doing great, the lake-side flank... not so great. He managed to defeat one unit of medium foot, which in turn disordered another unit. Still, it would take several turns for them to actually envelop me:


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So far so good, everything is going according to plan. The centre is just massacring the enemy hoplites:

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YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

ENEMY REINFORCEMENTS:

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They are a number of turns away from my centre, so they probably won't be able to change anything. My centre continues to steamroll the enemy, I just have to hope the flanks hold out:


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Nice shot of the slaughter; note how few enemy units are present compared to the beginning of the battle:

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It's a rout! The enemy centre is broken, my hoplites are pretty much climbing over dead bodies at this point:


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Close up of the flanks:


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~VICTORY~

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Final look at the battlefield:


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Casualties:


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Closing scene:


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grumblefish
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Re: Field of Glory II: Xenophon's Anabasis Campaign

Post by grumblefish » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:27 pm

Final Word:

The game is great, but this campaign stunk.

In regards to the setting: this campaign barely made any use of the source material. I sincerely doubt that the author of this campaign has ever read any of Xenophon's works. The author should have just made a fictional set of battles and kept Xenophon out of it.

In regards to the gameplay: this campaign did not involve any campaign decisions at all. This game does allow for the player to give strategic, campaign-screen input, but that feature was totally ignored. What a let down; you may as well just make a Battle of Cunaxa scenario, Second Battle of Coronea scenario, and be done with it.

The last battle was a pretty satisfying hoplite conflict, but that's about the only positive thing I have to say. This campaign is an embarrassment, it should probably just be removed from the game. The randomly-generated sandbox campaigns are superior.

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