Groghead’s First Look! Field of Glory: Empires – Persia 550 – 330 BCE

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It was a great day when Slitherine announced that the original Field of Glory – Empires (FoG:E) would link to Field of Glory 2 (FoG2) and allow players to fight out the campaign’s battles in a tactical turn-based format. As I concluded in the Groghead’s FoG:E review, the system succeeded! I never had one stutter, bump or crash when switching between the two systems, or in the games themselves for that matter.

What did happen, though, is that the campaigns were very long. This is still the case with the new FoG:E DLC released this week for Persia (Persia 550BC-330BC) – I’ll acronym it as FoG:P. I fired it up for the first time yesterday, chose Persia immediately and played for two hours. How many turns did I complete?


By: Gusington

Two. Yes, two. That also included two exported battles against Elam (which I had never heard of until playing) and Media.  So – if time is very limited for you as a gamer, or you are not as interested in the history, units or military structures arrayed against or by Achaemenid Persia…maybe skip the tactical battles.

Starting position and starting armies. The one in the north does not look like much now but it will be the force that heralds a new era!

My fight against Elam could have been skipped – Elam fielded exactly two units of urban militia against my much larger army led by Cyrus – but they are so damned fun I hate skipping.
The battle against Media was much more of a contest – we were almost equal in number, both with professional infantry, cavalry and archers, and we had excellent leaders on both sides. Fortunately I won both – if I would have lost against Elam I don’t know if I would have reported it here. It would have been just too embarrassing, even for me – the guy who has been getting his ass kicked by games of all stripes for 20+ years.

Charging north into Media.

Additionally, I have to mention this up front. For Persia, anyway, the detail included is immensely deep. Other major players like Egypt, Sparta, and Athens also hold a tremendous amount of historical detail, which is a bounty for people into ancient history. Be ready for it.

Detailed faction screen that includes economic and legacy info, including your decadence rating…basically how old and fat your empire is getting.

FoG:E:P was released with great timing for me personally because I have just started to read Tom Holland’s Persian Fire, and I know next to nothing of ancient Persian history. I have always been more of a Sassanid, Fall of Rome type of guy.
So playing this DLC is a learning experience. I welcome it, because between the Holland book and the new mechanics of FoG:P, I am learning a quite a bit. Some players may see the new customized goals of the DLC as ‘hand-holding’ but I definitely do not. Rather, I think it steers what could otherwise be an ungainly amount of information into a digestible, enjoyable campaign.

Context! Always important in a game like this. And it adds some beefy detail to the coming tactical battles. An ancient history lovers dream!

Moreover, the player does not have to abide by the game’s recommended course – just don’t expect an easy run of things. The customized detail and campaign goals are a great way to rein in a potentially huge game and give it focus.

Advisor’s suggested course of action, in no uncertain terms. It helps that once key regions are taken out, the whole empire can fall.

The game is still huge, even with custom goals for each faction. A player could easily spend 15 minutes deciding whether to build a farm or a kiln in one province or another, or whether to unite disparate provinces into regions – another new mechanic. I would recommend taking your time, being patient with yourself and the game.

Starting position as Persia, with unique faction modifiers listed.

Two turns in and I have already destroyed Elam, as happened in the real world (finally got to that part in Persian Fire), and I have ripped open Media’s soft underside; aiming straight for their capital and what promises to be a quick siege.
As I have pushed north and west in the map with Cyrus leading the way, some regions fall on their own as I physically take others, fighting the locals in the FoG2 portion. This part of the world in the 6th century was a musty collection of old kingdoms and tribes – all that was needed was one energetic, aggressive power to rip it all down and build something new.

Fielding an army of Immortals. Who hasn’t dreamed of doing that? (FoG2)

If I am successful in the siege of the Median capital, there is a chance, decided by in-game modifiers, that all of Media can fall to me. Then it becomes a game of numbers to see if I can keep the whole bloody mess I have created together. Historically, according to Holland, it was not easy – as the Persian Empire expanded west, rebellions broke out in the east.
I have been careful over the course of my two turns to build up infrastructure in captured regions, garrisoning and trying not to overextend. Time will tell if I succeed, but I don’t see myself getting bored of this.
My in-game advisor recommends charging into Babylon next, which the Persians did do around 521BC. Being an up-and-coming empire, smashing the old world into dust, is quite gratifying in FoG:P. My only fear is over extension.

Sweet, sweet victory. On to their capital!

So far so good, though. I’ve even earned my first progress token, most likely for listening to my advisors. It will be interesting to see how long I can keep this going, and the replayability here is simply infinite. Playing as Sparta or Athens or Syracuse are obvious possible next choices, but if I was so inclined I could play as Elam too! I won’t.
If you love history and tinkering with numbers and modifiers, you will love FoG:P’s deep campaign. It is an ancient history lover’s giant sandbox. Bolted together with the FoG2 tactical game, its a no-brainer. FoG:P supplies some fantastically detailed background information to spotlight the always fun tactical battles, and a great time will be had by most. Even if you do not want to play the tactical battles, remember – they can be skipped and auto-resolved.
This is a game system to be savored, sipped slowly, and not rushed through. I daresay it is meant for the more discerning, perhaps *cough* more mature gamer. It does not give instant gratification and will definitely bust you up if given the opportunity. Enjoy!

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