TMGR [9]: Mount & Blade Napoleonic Wars

Onwards with the 20min game reviews – and this one will kick off a series of Mount & Blade themed 20mins. The game I often rave so much about, how does it stand up to the tough test of the 20min review?

Also, Happy Guy Fawkes Night!

I did this first 20mins on a Wednesday night as a quick disclaimer. As boring as this may sound, Wednesday night is the worst night to play on a public Napoleonic Wars server as it’s the night all the regiments do their training and that leaves the public servers pretty empty of excitement. Regiments aren’t my kind of gig, they’re way to serious for my liking, but whatever floats your boat I guess!

Anywho, I loaded into one of my favourite servers, the Roleplay server. Two teams of real players face off against each other on a battlefield. One life each, 200 players, and a strict set of rules that you have to follow officers and don’t kill musicians or surrenderers.

From pressing the play button I was into and playing in a round within a minute and a half. That’s damn quick, so extra kudos there, and it meant plenty of extra time to play! There was a bit of good luck on my part, as a round had just ended so I spawned straight in to the start of a new one.

I loaded in to a snowy map as an Austrian infantryman against the French. First round we were holding a church and got annihilated by some French cavalry which encircled us. That was mainly just 10 minutes of firing in the vague direction of a far away target and then being trampled by the overwhelming French cavalry – not the most fun. 10mins remained and I was starting to worry 20mins wouldn’t be enough to give the game I rave about so much justice!

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I got two more rounds in in the next 10mins though, which were quick and brutal wins for us Austrians holding the church – much more fun!

I think this 20min review highlighted the slight problem of Napoleonic Wars, and some other games. It can be really incredibly boring sometimes (actually, maybe more than 50% of the time if I’m honest), but those good rounds are so awesome you just want more. You’d be prepared to play for hours of the dull stuff for just 10mins of the awesome stuff. I got 10mins of the dull and 10mins of the good, which is a pretty good ratio.

Because of how addictive I used to find the pull of the good I’ve made a promise to myself to not play if I’m finding it dull. I only keep going if I’ve dropped in to one of those awesome rounds. I can afford to be a picky gamer when there’s so many games vying for my attention out there.

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I guess Napoleonic Wars was lucky in this 20mins that I got so much awesome gameplay in. That said, the score has to be based on the 20mins I had with the game, and aside from a slightly slow start I had great fun and at least 10mins of fantastic team based Napoleonic warfare. It was the Mount & Blade series at it’s best for that time, and for that I give it 4 out of 5.

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Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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Salad Saturday Screenshot [29]

I’ve always loved my Saturday Screenshot feature, and I’m bringing it back with a favourite screenshot from my recent gaming.

This is a screenshot from Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars. One of the most popular servers these days is the role-play server – which has a very strict set of rules. You have one life per round, and two armies of real players fight each other to the death. You have to follow your officer (unless they get killed, as they often do!) and you can’t kill surrenderers.

Needless to say, the role-play server requires a heck of a lot of admins to keep 200 unruly players in check. When it works, it can work wonderfully. Other times, I just skip on by and head to my absolute favourite server – the bot server, where you hold out against bot hordes with other players.

Anyway; this screenshot is from one of the best battles I’ve been part of on the role-play server. I played as standard French line infantry and followed my officer (like the well behaved player I am!) and he led us across a bridge over a river dividing the battlefield in half. Immediately over the bridge was the wooden hut you can see on the left of the screenshot.

There were roughly 20-30 of us hunkered down in there. However, the entire bulk of our Austrian opponents had spotted us and were coming right at us. Majorly out numbered and well within range of their artillery, it looked futile.

Needless to say, we managed to hold out bravely despite the odds – and this screenshot is just as we’ve emerged from our hut having broken their attack. Just a handful of Austrians remain to chase down. Definitely one of my best gaming moments!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

TMGR [8]: Napoleon Total War

I wanted to return to one of my favourite features – the 20min game review. I give myself just 20mins with a game and review it based purely on the experience I had. Lets face it, we don’t all have hours to sink in to games, so how does a game feel when you only have a handful of minutes to dedicate to it?

Let’s find out how Napoleon: Total War fares!

I all of the Total War games apart from the most recent outing – Atilla. As much as that might make me look like a big series fan, I wouldn’t say so. I mean, I was definitely pretty into them as a teenager, but they never really fully charmed me even then. I’ve never had more than one loaded on my PC at once, and I’ve never put all that many hours into them. Napoleon is the main exception, which I used to play multiplayer with a friend which was great fun.

I could never work out why I didn’t get on with Total War games as much as I should have done on paper, but I think this 20mins has really helped me work that out a bit more.

So here’s my after action report of how the 20mins went.

I set myself up as a small force of French, under attack from a much larger force of British on a map based on the Spanish peninsular war. We had good artillery and other than a unit of elite Old Guard, just a handful of standard line infantry regiments.

2015-07-12_00003I dug in and waited for the British to come. Their cavalry came first, already shaken by my artillery, they took one volley of musket fire from my lines and ran – they never actually finished their charge. My men were confident and warmed up – and they’d need to be for the horde of British line infantry coming for them. Just then the British artillery started firing as well.

My artillery were crucial, cutting huge lines through their clumped up infantry as they slowly advanced in the high of the Spanish midday sun (they were exhausted before they even reached my lines).

I used my one unit of weak cavalry to sneak around the British lines and take out their artillery – giving my infantry some breathing space to ready for the infantry assault.

When the British finally arrived to face my lines they were broken and didn’t take all that much fighting until they completely routed. A regrouped cavalry charge took out my Old Guard, but the line did a fantastic job of facing them off.

The 20mins finished just as I was charging down their last unit – some plucky riflemen who’d stayed far back from the fight.

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As fantastic as the battle was, I felt like 20mins just didn’t give it justice. I’ve managed so much in 20mins of other games, but on Total War I couldn’t even finish one custom battle.

When Mount & Blade: Napoleonic Wars can give me a similar kick to Total War, I know which one comes off the best every time when I’m sitting choosing which game to play. Not that Napoleon: Total War is a bad game in the slightest, it’s just very greedy on time!

Time for the score.

I had really great fun in the custom battle I (nearly) finished. Although it showed me why I always got on a bit uneasily with the Total War series – how greedy on time they are – I still had a great 20mins. For that reason I’m going to give it 4 out of 5.
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Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Salad Saturday Screenshot [28]

The week it’s a screenshot from Napoleon: Total War.

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I recently loaded up Napoleon: Total War again for the first time in a long while to do a 20min review (soon to be posted!). I’d missed the game and jumped straight back in with a naval battle.

I love the naval battles of Total War and especially taking on huge enemy fleets in my tough little ironclads.

In this case I’d picked 4 British iron clads against a super strong fleet of a dozen or so top of the line French ships. Massively out gunned – it was always going to be a tough fight and just what I was looking for.

This screenshot gives you a bit of a flavour of how it all ended. One of my ships caught a cannon ball to it’s magazine pretty early on and went up in a giant blast. It was even more of an uphill struggle as my 3 remaining ships took broadside after broadside from the French line – hundreds of cannon balls pounding away at my much smaller ships.

A good few French ships surrendered, and their Admiral fully sank, but it was too much punishment for my plucky little ironclad ships. This screenshot’s what happened to the flagship and Admiral Digital Salad on board. It was definitely an exciting battle, even if I ended up sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

New Feature – Salad Saturday Screenshots!

Exciting news! I pretty spontaneously decided on a new feature for the blog. Every Saturday (or as near as I can!) I will be posting a screenshot from a game I’ve been playing. Essentially, I have way too many screenshots on my computer, so posting some favourites every so often is a good way to go through them whilst sharing some of my favourite gaming experiences.

Saturdays will now be Salad Saturday Screenshot days!

Here’s this week’s to kick things off (imagine it’s Saturday just this once – it’s too brilliant an alliteration to pass on).

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A screenshot from a couple of weeks ago on Mount & Blade Warband – Napoleonic Wars DLC. A battle of ancient foes and occasional friends; Great Britain vs France. Here the victorious defending French, including myself, survey the field of dead British, whilst holding their musician prisoner (left corner in grey). We fought really well that time and had a great team spirit going.

Sadly I can’t capture the team spirit in a picture, but this screenshot brings that back, one of the best parts of any game is its sense of team and community.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoy the new feature!

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com