What’s Gus Playing? Episode 10

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Our pint-sized pistoleer picks up Pike & Shot ~

Lloyd Sabin, 11 December 2017

If you include fan made scenarios and campaigns, Pike & Shot Campaigns covers warfare all the way up to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

As soon as I learned that the Pike & Shot: Campaigns engine was the same one used by the Battle Academy games, I knew I would be drawn in. I love those games for their simplicity and also for the sense of urgency their turn-based structure creates. In some ways they create a sense of tension usually reserved for playing against other humans, either digitally or in person in a board game. Pike & Shot is exactly the same, with the added bonus of covering European conflicts that are generally lacking in game coverage from the late 1400s to the late 1600s. If you include fan made scenarios and campaigns, Pike & Shot Campaigns covers warfare all the way up to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

It had been a while since I had fired up Pike & Shot: Campaigns to look around, but I quickly downloaded literally dozens of fan made scenarios, including ones based on the 16th century Italian Wars, the early 18th century Great Northern War, a Gustavus Adolphus campaign and many more. I then started the first tutorial mission. It was one of four in the the tutorial campaign portraying the struggle of 17th century Transylvanian Boyars against the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. Digest that for a moment, I’ll wait…

…how many games have you played that even touch on that subject? For me, exactly none, and I was psyched. And the first tutorial confirmed my excitement…the turn based game play was relatively simple to understand. The most complex part for me was to remember which units were best when going up against other specific types of units, similar to the basic understanding of chess. But it was fun to experiment and see what worked when fighting traditional pike & shot infantry, more advanced tercios, musketeers, arquebusiers, hussars, armored horse, etc. The unit variety kept me interested as well as learning the tactics.

So I continued through each tutorial mission over the course of a 4-5 days and enjoyed it more and more with each mission I completed. Each one is designed to demonstrate a different aspect of pike & shot warfare, whether centered on infantry, cavalry, or artillery – usually a healthy mixture of all three. And the exotic setting of Transylvania really helped capture my attention. I could not help think of my next move when not playing the game…it got under my skin quickly.

Enjoyment quickly turned to squealy delight when I realized how many historical eras, how many scenarios, how many campaigns I had to choose from after downloading like crazy. A healthy and active fan base just makes Pike & Shot Campaigns that much more enjoyable, and that enthusiasm for me carries over to it’s sister game set in late medieval Japan – Sengoku Jidai.

I’m really looking forward to starting that game now as well. Having an accessible, enjoyable, versatile gaming system helps a lot, and I can’t wait to dive in and start exploring some more obscure Renaissance European and Asian military history with these games. Check out some of the early screens I captured below of the tutorial campaign. I’m sure I will have a lot more in the weeks to come.


Battle Academy players will feel at home immediately, with mission intros and setupd exactly the same in Pike & Shot Campaigns as in the Battle Academy games. Tool tips are helpful as there is a lot of initial info to absorb, especially if you are new to Renaissance era warfare. I found it all fascinating.


The view is zoomable until players can see individual soldiers in each unit, whether infantry, cavalry or artillery. I felt most comfortable playing zoomed out almost to the max to get a big picture view of the field.


Once a mission is over there is a simple summary of how the player did against their enemy.


There are also detailed unit descriptions for each unit portrayed. Transylvanian Boyars!!


And there are my Transylvanian Boyars in action. Players will soon learn that flanking and hitting units from the rear are very useful tactics, if you control the right types of units. The player will sometimes be told what their unit is capable of, and sometimes action will simply be unavailable. It takes some time to learn but for me it was a joy because I love the era.


Finished the tutorial! Now to choose which scenario to play next, stay with the in-game recommendations or go off on my own. So many tempting ways to go.


See you next week!

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