Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tuesday Screenshot – Europa Universalis IV

click to enlargeMonty Tuesday Screen Sept


Woe to the world when, through luck, shrewd marriages, and a small war, the great overseas Spanish and Portuguese Empires merge under a single crown.

Strat Chat: Rome II

By Jim Zabek

Playing Total War: Rome II can be a challenge. Although there is an in-game encyclopedia it’s fairly limited when you get into the game. It can tell you What things do, but you have to figure out the Why and the When on your own. If ever a game could use a Strategy Guide, this would be it.

I’m now about fifty hours into the game. It’s 79 BC and this is my first campaign. I’m playing the Suebi, northern European Germanic tribesmen, and I’ve managed to conquer most of continental Europe playing on the easiest game mode. Almost universally (at least on our forums) gamers have concluded that even the easiest game setting for Rome II can be challenging. With fifty hours of gameplay into the game, I’m discovering that it finally is relatively easy to play now. I’ve got a surplus of 50,000 gold in my coffers, am making 13,000 gold each turn, have a surplus of about 50 food, and have several large armies trampling about the continent taking provinces by storm at will.


My empire thus far.

So how did I do it? With only one game under my belt – and that only half completed by my estimate – I cannot claim to be a Rome II guru. However, with some reasonable success I think I can sketch out some basic strategies that may help folks struggling with the campaign. Because there are so many factions and each has their own building I am making a large assumption here: I am assuming that no matter which side you play, infrastructure plays a similar role. I could be wrong on this. If I am, I would urge folks to discuss it in our forums where we all as a community can learn from each other and improve our gameplay. Again, I’m not claiming to be an expert, just a guy with some time to share some thoughts on what I’ve learned so far. With that, let’s begin.

It’s Not All Total War

For a game entitled “Total War” I have found that Creative Assembly has been particularly good about creating games that go well beyond war. The strategy portion of their games has always been the most satisfying to me, and part of my enjoyment comes from the fact that these games incorporate economic and social aspects of empire building along with the military. Rome II is no exception.


Commerce, culture, and agriculture. These buildings are typical of most of my provinces.

Allied Corps – AAR Part Four

So now we arrive at the fourth and final part of our Allied Corps AAR. Readers may recall that Part 3 left off as I made a mad dash to capture victory objectives in the Netherlands. I had successfully captured objectives due west around Leiden, decided not to try and crack the nut to the south in Rotterdam. But that meant I had to walk into the teeth of the German defenses around Amsterdam and this was going to be a tough fight. By ignoring Rotterdam I was committed to capturing all of the objectives around Amsterdam. Go big or go home. So we open with Lucky Turn 13:


Allied Turn 13

Allied Corps AAR-Sept-2013-119During Turn 12 I managed to box in an armored train to the west of my main force. Unable to move off the rails it had nowhere to go. Because it was at a junction boxing it in required three units. Two infantry units I could afford to spare, but the tank would be useful in Amsterdam. I didn’t need it yet, but the clock was ticking and I was hoping I wasn’t going to need that tank before I destroyed the train. Being armored it’s as tough as some tanks. To be safe I also had two aircraft loitering for extra fire power. That’s a lot of assets for one unit, but it was in my rear and I had no idea what kind of nasty surprise it might deliver if I left it to its own devices.

I first move the British Engineers behind it to block it from retreating any further. They don’t attack because they and the train are about the same strength and it won’t turn out well for the Brits. I move the Chaffee up from Utrecht and take it under fire. I inflict two points of damage and the train is now low on ammo. Excellent. US Engineers attack it and its strength drops from five to two – then, with nowhere to retreat, it surrenders! Perfect.

Down by Den Haag my Firefly needs to be resupplied so I do so and it rests a turn. The Cromwell fires in the V2 for fun and does three points. The loitering Wellington drops bombs and takes out the remaining point on the V2. I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave these tanks in Den Haag in order to prevent the Germans in Rotterdam from retaking it. The force I have up north will have to do.

I have some 7.2 inch artillery shell a 37mm Flak gun protecting the airfield to the east of Amsterdam. Three points of damage!

Tuesday Screenshot – War! Age of Imperialism


The nation of Languedoc longs to stretch to the sea from their base in southern North America, and is slowly building up their forces in the Republic of Texas in anticipation of an expedition into California.  While Atlantis has significant forces south of Mexico, the oddity is Outremer’s colony in Cuba, as their power base is far away in Asia.

Eschalon Book 2 – PC Game Review

Developer: Basilisk Games

Author: Avery Abernethy

Eschalon Book 2 is a turn-based, single-player role playing game produced by Basilisk Games. I purchased my copy on a sale. There is a playable demo which can be found at: I purchased a full copy without playing the demo because the price was low and I tend to like these sorts of games. This review is based on more than 30 hours of play. My fighter played the game to completion including exploring every map and completing every quest. My play style can be described as “overkill” and one should be able to complete the game in fifteen to twenty hours of play.

This was a fun game. There is a huge variety of skills, weapons, armors, spells, alchemy, and side skills that will warm the heart of any old-school RPGer. The combat is turn-based so there is no irritation at having twitched right instead of twitching left and thus causing the demise of a character. There are lots of enemies to smite and quests to complete.


The world is open. There is nothing preventing the player from wandering anywhere on the huge maps in the game – except the deadly monsters infesting the various maps. Play balance in open world games can be a design challenge. Play balance was done quite well done for my fighter character. I occasionally wandered onto a map with monsters far more powerful than I. But prodigiously using my potions and running really fast enabled me to escape, become more powerful, and return to wreak my pixilated vengeance at a later time.

The player receives a mysterious note at the start of the game requesting a clandestine meeting. As many RPG meetings of this type go, the contact is assassinated while leaving clues which drive the story for the rest of the game. There are a couple of neat twists on this plot which I will not divulge. Overall, the background story is enough to drive the character’s actions without becoming an annoying deus ex machina holding the whip hand over the player.
In Eschalon Book 2 the player can use perfectly adequate prerolled characters or can roll the computer dice until they get a player of their liking. The characters can be dramatically shaped by skill point allocation as they gain levels. Still, the basic characters tend to be a fighter, an archer, or a magic user. A combat-avoiding thief can be designed but I doubt the utility of that play style given how experience points are awarded.