DGS Games

GrogHeads Reviews Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Reviewed by Michael Eckenfels, 14 March 2015

Developed by Hexwar for iOS (iPad)

OVERVIEW

Twilight’s Last Gleaming first made an appearance almost 20 years ago as a board game by Decision Games, one that rates just below a somewhat above average 6 on BGG’s website. Hexwar’s recent partnership with Hunted Cow Studios has brought this title back into the gaming limelight, but playable on either a Mac or an iPad, and with many more battles to fight than the board game ever offered (three battles from the board game, and ten in this electronic version).

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GAMEPLAY

Make no mistake – while this is a Hexwar product, it is pretty much a standard Hunted Cow game, if you’re familiar with the latter’s products as I am. I’ve said many times before that Hunted Cow games are very light, casual wargames that are great if you want a quick fix, but far short of a real ‘groggy’ experience.

Twilight’s Last Gleaming is a hex-based light wargame with infantry, artillery, and cavalry units commanded by both sides. Units are moved around on the map, change formation to face certain situations or foes, and interact with the terrain to the best of their ability to gain an advantage on the other side. Most missions involve capturing ‘control points,’ which are basically victory hexes, but also mix in other conditions too. These usually include avoiding losing more than a certain percentage of your army, or causing a percentage of casualties to the enemy.

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The ten battles you can choose from do evoke a feeling of fighting on an early 19th century battlefield, with lines of infantry moving and cavalry dashing around. There are also five tutorial missions to give you an understanding of the game system, with each one building on the last. The tutorials are always perfect in how they teach you step by step the system and unit capabilities, which means it’s always easy to get right back into this game should any amount of time pass between plays.

Infantry can move in many different formations, including column to facilitate faster movement, or square to become very strong versus enemy cavalry charges, or line to deliver musket fire to the enemy. They do, however, ponder across the battlefield ever so slowly, unless they’re in column formation – which makes them more vulnerable to attack, too.

Cavalry is not quite king on these fields. For one, there’s never enough of them, it seems, to really do much except hit enemy units that have been softened up by fighting, or to make quick dashes to a distant point, as they do move further than any other unit. Moving them right up to full-strength enemy units will certainly destroy them, and quickly, which counts against you in the end.

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Artillery is made up of cannons, but also of mortars. Mortars are a new thing to these games; I’ve not seen them in any other, and they’re actually quite fun to play around with. There’s nothing quite like seeing a mortar shell fly up into the air, arc over, and then land in the middle of an enemy unit. They’re not always quite effective at causing massive casualties, but the action of firing them is always satisfying.

The battles themselves give you a good representation of the War of 1812’s historical battles, and before any of them there is a short yet interesting piece on the conflict you’re about to fight, to give you some historical perspective. Units too, as I said, seem to be labeled according to their historical counterparts, though I am hardly an expert on this event enough to say whether they are accurate or not. Suffice it to say, it all feels right, and adds to the flavor of the game.

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Each time you decide to fight an enemy unit, you’ll get information on the strength of the attack. The game will come up with a percentage chance of success and how many times it will check against this value to determine success. Sometimes you get several checks against this, so taking a chance at a low 18% out of 100 chance at hitting an enemy unit might make more sense if you have six chances at doing so. I like this feature, and it’s another ‘new’ one added that improves the overall Hexwar/Hunted Cow wargame by adding a bit more depth to it.

There is not, however, a campaign tie-in for any of the battles in this game, so you’ll be playing each battle separately. Each one does score you according to your performance at the end of the battle, measuring victory or defeat according to a set of conditions (as mentioned earlier). The score is saved by your iPad or Mac, so you can go back and refight it and try to improve your score. There’s no ranges of success that can measure your score – some kind of ‘historic’ point level result would have been very satisfying to see, so I could compare my performance against that of my historic counterpart’s – even if this is a casual type of game.

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CONCLUSIONS

If you’re a fan of the history of the War of 1812, this game would appeal only if you are in need of a casual fix. While this is pretty much another Hunted Cow/Hexwar casual wargame wrapper around a series of historic battles, there is some added depth to it in the form of the battle outcome predictions and mortars, making it feel as if the publisher is taking steps forward with this system each time. I’ve played Hunted Cow’s games before I started writing for GrogHeads.com, so I’ve spent my own money on them, and each time I never had an issue with what I’ve spent. If you enjoy casual games that take very little effort to get into, and like the time period this game simulates, you will definitely get some great gaming mileage out of this title.


 

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2 Responses to GrogHeads Reviews Twilight’s Last Gleaming

  1. Jay Kiley says:

    Great info. Thanks.
    With the sudden surge of iOS wargames, I’ve been looking for a website to consult regularly. Hopefully, you’ll keep things fresh.

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