What’s Gus Playing?: Pike & Shot: Campaigns!

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Apologies for that four month break in publishing. Rest assured I was gaming during that time but well…stuff gets in the way sometimes. I will make a strong effort to resume a regular weekly schedule of What I’m Playing from here on out, and will attempt to throw in some other, additional, screen shot features during the week too. It’s what Jarhead and I like to call a ‘resumption of operations.’

Gus Arcanum 1 SPLASH

By: Lloyd Sabin,

So, without further adieu, I am currently playing – Pike & Shot: Campaigns. Specifically, the Gustavus Adolphus campaign, which could also be labeled as a Thirty Years War campaign. Players can choose to play as either the Swedes or the Holy Roman Empire (read: Germans, of a kaleidoscope of different types).

There is an actual campaign map, albeit a simple-looking one, and the player is free to choose where to move armies, where to recruit armies, besiege cities/provinces, and withdraw. It’s not particularly detailed or intuitive but it gets the job done in order for the player to get to the meat of the game – the tactical battles.

I have only had one battle so far, since I just started this campaign a few days ago. I lost by just a hair’s breadth as you’ll see in the shots below, but fortunately the campaign did not end there…I was able to consolidate what was left of my Swedish military machine and fight again.

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Here’s a good shot of the campaign map, with the adviser in the center and a status scroll at the bottom right. Not a bad looking map but certainly utilitarian.


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Another campaign map shot, showing the German provinces more clearly. The small flags indicate armies and are used to move those armies from province to province. Small box in the upper right gives a very simple summary of forces in the province selected.


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Battle is joined as the Swedes intercept a German army in Franconia. There is a deployment phase here as Pike & Shot players (and Field of Glory players) have grown accustomed to, but because of the fast pace and movement, it is relatively limited.


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For me, the real highlight here are the unique, exotic units.


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Commanded Shot, part of the backbone of European armies in in this early 17th century era.


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The battle heats up. As you can see from the counter in the upper left, it is very close, with slightly more German troops routed than Swedes. Things are looking good for me. I am playing on the 2nd of 5 difficulty levels, by the way. ‘F’ means that a unit is ‘fractured’ – damaged, but still functional. Both sides have taken casualties.


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And then, suddenly, the AI performs some kind of wizardry and knocks out the majority of my units! Blindsided, I have lost the battle after leading for the majority of the time. Grumble. More screenshots would have helped here but I didn’t take enough while playing through.


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It was a relatively small engagement with casualties in the 100s on each side. Each side also lost it’s guns. Still not sure how I snatched defeat from victory, but the campaign continues.


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I consolidate my forces in Saxony and after some cat and mouse chases around the map, close in on the Germans.


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The Germans shifted around on the map quite a bit as I consolidated and attempted to corner individual armies. And as it says above, they did take 100s of casualties as they moved away from me. Not as definitive as a tactical defeat, but it will be interesting to see if and how this is reflected in the next battle.


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And battle is joined again in Westphalia. I’ll detail that next week.

I was surprised at how mobile both the tactics and the strategy were becoming in this campaign. For more info on the era from a less common perspective, check out A Warrior Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of Sweden as a Military Power, 1611-1721 by Henrik Lunde.
It’s available for under $4.00 on Kindle, which is what I bought.
More next week! Thanks for reading.

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