Field of Glory: Empires Review11 Jul 2019 1
Field of Glory: Empires Review
Released 11 Jul 2019
Field of Glory: Empires is a new historical grand strategy game from Slitherine and AGEOD. You'll recognise Slitherine from games such as Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, or their 40K licenses like Gladius: Relics of War. What you may not know is that Slitherine is one half of a company that started out making hardcore war games - much like how Paradox Interactive started. Like Paradox did half a decade ago, they've been trying to balance their desire to continue making those classic wargames with the need to expand into more mainstream strategy, and FOG:E is the most recent culmination of those efforts.
You can view Empires as a contemporary and challenger to Paradox's Imperator: Rome - it's an historical grand-strategy game set at pretty much the same time with the same factions, although the underlying design philosophies are different. Empires is in many ways comparable to how Rome: Total War was designed - focused on specific, headline factions, with key mechanics designed to abstract what the developers felt were the touchstones of the era. The map also isn't as big - while the very edges of the Indian sub-continent are present along with the Maurya faction, India itself hasn't been included.
Empires also differs because it's a turn-based WEGO game - something that harks back to AGEOD's 'usual' style which were more logistics based wargames. Similar to the strategy layer in older Total War games, you and the AI commit your moves and end the turn, and then everything resolves at the same time. Deadlock is another WEGO game, which is a better form of turn-based play in many ways because it moves away from action/reaction to a more cerebral level of planning - you not only have to think about what you want to do, but also what you think your enemy might do in the same moment.
Like Imperator, Empires abstracts its battles to you watching units duke it out in a pre-scripted way via number crunching, but Empires possesses a trump-card that brings it more in line with a Total War game. If you happen to own Slitherine's turn-based tactical wargame Field of Glory II, you can actually import the Empires battle data into FOG2, play out the full battle in that game, and then export the results back to Empires to get your results. Sure, Total War can do this trick without needing an extra game, but it's an innovative use of existing properties that means the company is able to compete with companies like creative assembly without having to invest money in a new tactical engine for Empires.
There's a lot more to Empires than just the combat though - empire management, population management and the decadence feature all feed into a game that's trying to give you an engaging romp through the ancient Mediterranean, and it's honestly refreshing to see someone in the grand strategy space that isn't Paradox, for a change. If you want to read our full thoughts on Field of Glory: Empires, our sister website Wargamer.com has the full review. Here's an excerpt:
They nailed it. Slitherine-AGEOD’s new grand strategy game Field of Glory: Empires is here and I think it just set the standard on how challenging is was to be top dog in the days of Rome. I’m talking at least XII Ave’s for not only producing one of the best ancient grand strategy games on the market, but because the designers have also taken the genre one step beyond.
Empires lacks the breadth Imperator has striven for and is a few years behind what Total War is doing these days, but it's a smartly made game and gives a deeper military experience for those who prefer those aspects. It's definitely one to consider and an excellent new contender in the grand strategy space.
Wargamer.com reviews don't have scores, but we asked Bill what he'd give the game if he had to put a number to it and since Strategy Gamer does do scores, we've decided to list it here.