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New Tin Soldiers Game

February 5th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

The sequel to Koiosworks’s Tin Soldiers: Alexander has been announced. Unsurprisingly, it is Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar. As I said in my review of the Alexander game, Koiosworks is doing the first real ancient wargames since I-Magic did their Great Battles series all those years ago. Rome: Total War, after all, is not really a war game and is hardly a tribute to realism.

Julius Caesar, to my mind, has always been a little overrated as a military leader. His greatness was earned in battles against Gallic rabble no more talented than the Eastern armies that Lucullus and Pompey fought. Caesar had a reckless tendency that almost led to disaster at Dyrrachium and Ruspina, and his final battle at Munda – against an army rapidly assembled by Pompey’s less talented sons – was almost the end of him. The only flash of true genius in his battles was at Alesia.

As a leader of men, though, Caesar is almost unparalleled. I’m challenged to think of any ancient general aside from Hannibal who was more able to lead his men where they did not necessarily want to go.

For game designers, Caesar’s battles are excellent because we know quite a bit about them. Though his accounts of some of his encounters are frustratingly abbreviated, and the Spanish Campaign is a complete muddle written by a near illiterate soldier, we know more about his battles than probably any other ancient leader. Though the battles in the Roman Civil War lack the variety of troops that the wars of Alexander and Hannibal have, they have an epic feel of settling old scores that should work well in a campaign game.

And the Tin Soldiers campaign game is excellent. It’s a little disappointing that you have to fight your way up to all the big battles, but it does give victory in the campaign battles an importance that they might not otherwise have.


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