Welcome to HISTORY™ Great Battles Medieval!
Great Battles Medieval is a unique blend of Real-Time Strategy and Role-playing that allows you to develop your army; gaining experience, abilities and equipment to customise your troops. Success can never be guaranteed but to give you the best chance we recommend careful preparation and equipping your squads to meet every eventuality. Tactical planning before the battles are fought is also essential; as even the best General cannot rectify every error once battle is joined.
In Great Battles Medieval you play as a general in control of English or French forces during the Hundred Years War. The English campaign is designed for new players and the French campaign is much harder so best tried once you have some experience. As the English you will fight under the Black Prince, Henry V and other heroic characters from history, and as the French you fight for Joan of Arc and the King. (Note : The Android version only includes the English campaign. The French campaign will be coming May 2011!)
Great Battles Medieval is split in to 4 main areas, which we will explain in more detail later.
· Quest Map – where you choose which missions to undertake and travel around the game world.
· Army Camp – where you recruit, equip and train your troops.
· Deployment & Battle – where you create battle plans and engage the enemy.
· Battle Cards - where you select the Battle Cards to take to the next mission.
The game offers a unique RPG experience on a massive scale. Instead of playing with a few characters, the player has up to 20 squads under their command. Each squad can be equipped and trained by the player, selecting their armour, weapons, fighting styles and much more – there are an almost infinite number of combinations. As your men fight they gain experience and new skills. Pretty soon you have a unique army customized to your tactics, and different to any other army out there.
The Quest map is where the story of the Hundred Years War unfolds. As you play, key missions will be introduced by movies and these must be completed to progress the story, while others are optional. Some missions are hidden away and only unlocked when you achieve special mission objectives in battle. You can scroll around the Quest map by pushing the mouse to the edge of the screen.
When you first arrive, only one province is open to you: Flanders. It is marked with a flag. In this province, you will see the Battle of Cadsand is available to fight. As more provinces become available, you can select them with the mouse to find out details about them and decide if you wish to fight. As you complete more missions more flags will become available.
Before you start Cadsand we recommended you explore the Army Camp and Battle Cards. At the top left of the screen you’ll see a button that takes you to the Army Camp and at the top right a button to take you to the Battle Cards.
This is where you customize your army. In the middle of the screen is the selected squad. Icons arranged in a wheel around him represent your other squads. Click on these icons to select these squads. Your general’s icon has a crown on it.
By clicking on the selected squad’s icon you enter the customization mode. In this mode there are many options open to you. You can choose a squad’s armour, weapon, shield, attack skills, general skills and defensive skills. You can also change the livery of a squad using the small arrows at the bottom of the wheel, which changes the shield designs. Each time you click on a choice you go deeper in to the customization menu. For example if you choose weapons you’ll be shown a list of weapons available. When you mouse over a weapon it will tell you the cost and benefits of the weapon and compare it to your existing weapon. If you cannot afford an item then it will be greyed out.
Squads gain experience for killing opponents and when they gain enough experience points they go up a level and gain skill points. These skill points are used to further customise the squad. The skill points a squad has are shown on the squad’s icon, but at the start of the game you won’t see any numbers as your squads are all new recruits with no experience of battle.
You can recruit new squads and disband existing squads using the buttons on the left of the screen. There are only 3 basic unit types in the game – infantry, cavalry and archers. How you equip them determines how they behave – give them a pike and they becomes fearsome cavalry killers, but equip them with a sword and shield and they are best suited to fighting infantry. There are millions of possible combinations.
As you progress through the game new weapons, shields and armour will be unlocked and you’ll receive more money to purchase equipment and squads. You will spend a lot of time customising your army later but for now return to the Quest map and look at the Battle Cards.
Battle Cards represent those key turning points that occurred in many famous battles. They represent things such as weather, leadership, bravery and much more. Battle Cards can be played on your own or enemy squads or even on the terrain itself, depending on the card.
The effects of a Battle Card are described when it is selected. The number of cards you can take to a battle is limited by your leader’s skill. Battle Cards are awarded for completing missions and by the end of the game you will have found a wide selection to choose from, but initially you have only 2 cards and 2 card slots. This means you can take both with you in to battle. Later on you’ll find you have more cards than card slots and will have to select the best cards for the upcoming battle or for the tactics you wish to use.
To select a Battle Card, first select the slot you want it to occupy. Next select the Battle Card to place in that slot.
DEPLOYMENT & BATTLE
When you have decided you want to undertake a mission you are taken to the battlefield. Battles are split in to 2 phases. Before the battle starts, there is the deployment phase. This is where troops may be repositioned, last minute alterations to equipment and Battle Cards made and your initial disposition of forces set. The green tiles show the possible positions you can deploy your troops. The yellow squares show a route this squad has been ordered to take when the battle starts.
Once you’re happy with this, you move on to the real-time battle. To begin the battle press the Start Battle button. From now on you are no longer able to change your equipment or Battle Card selections and the only way to reposition troops is to order them to move to the desired location and wait until they arrive.
Whenever you want to enter orders click the mouse button and the battle pauses. This makes it easier for new players and those with slower reactions to play the game tactically. It is not about the speed of your mouse – it is about the speed of your mind!
You’ll notice that the battles are split in to a grid of tiles, which further simplifies the selection and ordering of units. It also allows players to set up more refined battle plans knowing how many tiles a unit can move or shoot, removing the guess work associated with other real-time strategy games.
At the deployment stage you’ll see the battlefield from behind your troops. At the top of the screen you can just see the enemy army. If playing as the English your men are red, and the French enemy are in blue livery. Across the bottom of the screen are your Battle Cards, and beneath this is an icon for each squad you have in the battle. These icons show the status of your men. If the squad becomes shaken or routed then blue and white symbols will appear on top of the icon. Once the missions objectives have been completed or failed, or all the squads on one side have routed, the battle is over.
Squads will attempt to follow the route they have been given but if an obstacle blocks them they will try to find an alternative route. If they encounter enemy troops, they will engage them. Any orders given before combat are forgotten in the heat of battle, and so any waypoints that were issued before a combat began are cleared.
Each time a man dies, a small skull floats up to give feedback about the progress of a combat. The skulls are colour coded for each side to provide an overview of who is winning or losing.
Morale is a key feature of the game and breaking the enemy army’s morale is a quicker route to victory than just killing them. Units are susceptible to their own and others' successes and failures on the battlefield, while Battle Cards and special skills acquired through the game also play their part. A squad can be ordered, shaken or routed. Once routed, they will run away and, unless rallied, will leave the battle and play no further part. Every time a squad drops a morale level you’ll see an effect over the squad. You’ll also see effects played when a squad is attacked in the flank or rear or a when a Battle Card is played. Resting your squads is a good way for them to recover from fatigue and poor morale.
POST BATTLE SCREEN
When a mission is won (or lost!), you get a report of the battle. This shows you information about how many squads you lost, how many the enemy lost, how much money you earned, what rewards you won (or if you see a large ‘?’ symbol, what rewards you didn’t win!). If you lose a battle you won’t win any rewards. If you win a battle you may get some but not all the rewards, depending on whether you achieved all your objectives. Rewards range from money and Batle Cards to unlocking new pieces of equipment and even special hidden missions.
Losing a mission is not a disaster. You can just try again. There is no penalty for losing a mission other than you have to replay it.
If you win a mission it is a good idea to go straight to the Army Camp to spend your loot and select skills for any squads who have gained a level. Squads with skill points to spend will be marked with a bright halo.
You access the army editor from the main menu or inside Skirmish and multiplayer menus but you cannot do it while you are playing a game. The army editor is almost exactly the same as your army camp. It allows you to recruit, equip and train your squads in new skills. The only real difference is that the amount of gold you have to spend and experience points available are set when you create the army – the army does not gain experience or get better. You have the choice of editing one of our pre-set armies or you can create an army from scratch.
In the army editor all pieces of equipment are unlocked so you can try out things you’d never be able to do in single player.
Once you have customised the army you can save it for use in Skirmish and Multiplayer games.
Skirmish mode is intended as a practice mode for multiplayer. First select your campaign
- Sandbox has a variety of scenarios but never ends so you cannot win or lose it. The scenarios are not balanced and so you can end up with some very interesting and unusual match ups.
- 3 node tug-of-war. In this there are 3 battlefields to fight over. You start on the middle one and the winner pushes the loser back to their base camp. If you lose when fighting on your base camp you lose the campaign. On your base camp you will get artillery support!
- 5 node tug-of-war. This is the same as the 3 node tug-of-war, but with more battles to fight.
When a battle occurs in skirmish mode you must select which army you wish to use in the battle. At this point you cannot edit an army, only load up an existing army – this is intended to keep the game flowing fast and avoid delays, especially in multiplayer. You can either use one of the pre-set armies that we designed or an army you designed in the army editor. You can use a different army for each battle. Note that some battles limit the size of the army you can take while others allow any army.
Once you are logged in to the server you’ll be able to see any games that are being hosted by other players. You can either join a game or host your own game. You can play Great Battles Medieval in 2 player head to head only.
Once you are connected to your opponent you can chat. To chat press the Enter key, type your message and press Enter again. You can see chat messages from your opponent.
Multiplayer games are set up in exactly the same way as Skirmish games, except that the client must approve the host’s settings before he can proceed.
Once in a multiplayer game there is a slight difference to the single player and skirmish game. Notice the order bar that appears on screen. Every time you pause the game to issue an order your order bar will go down. This bar recharges over time but if you enter order mode too often you’ll find you run out of points and have to wait before you can issue any more orders.
When you pause, your opponent also pauses AND they are also allowed to enter orders. There is a lot of strategy in working out when to pause and making best use of your order bar.
Other than this multiplayer games work in exactly the same way as single player games.
TIPS AND TACTICS
There are lots of things to take in to account in battle. Here are some hints and tips, but you will learn more as you go.
- Weapon & Unit Match Ups. The core concept of Great Battles Medieval is that all units have strengths and weaknesses. Spearmen are good against cavalry. Cavalry are good against infantry without spears, but best at the initial impact so suffer in drawn out fights. Archers are good at ranged combat but weak in melee. Artillery is lethal at range but cannot turn to face and have no melee ability at all. Large shields are great protection verses missile fire, but poor in melee. You can specialise your units with equipment and skills so there are units they are great against but you will also end up with a unit that is very vulnerable to some units. Alternatively you can create an all round unit with no strengths or weaknesses. The combinations are endless and so are the strategies. Try things out and see what works for you. Always take in to account what enemy squads are equipped with as there is a huge different between enemy infantry with Large shields and spears to those with small shields and axes – one will ruin your cavalry and archers, the others will be a tough match for your infantry.
- Battlefield Terrain: The terrain affects the combat abilities of your units. Forests reduce the effect of missile fire and give combat penalties to mounted and bonuses to lightly armoured infantry. Rocky ground is some protection from cavalry, but defensible terrain such as stakes is best. Try to get your units in terrain they like and your enemies in terrain they don’t like.
- Aggression: You units can be defensive, normal or aggressive. Passive units will only defend, they will not engage any enemy on nearby tiles. This is the default aggression for archers. Aggressive units will chase any enemy nearby, sometimes getting themselves in trouble when doing so – this is the only aggression setting for cavalry and not possible for units that are shaken or previously routed and rallied. Normal aggression is the default for infantry and in this mode they will engage adjacent opponents but not chase off after enemies without orders. Aggression is set using the icons on the right of the screen in battle. Be sure to choose the correct aggression settings as too much or too little autonomy for your units can win and lose the day!
- Fatigue & Walk or Run. Units get fatigued if they run or fight too much. You can toggle whether your units run or walk on the right of the screen in battle. The default is to run, but fatigued units cannot run. When fatigued units receive large combat penalties so it pays to rest your troops and rotate the units in the front line if possible. The fatigue is shown by a bar on the unit’s cards at the bottom of the screen.
- Morale. When a squad takes casualties its morale drops. Over time it’s morale will recover so rest shaken units and they may recover. If a unit routs it is beyond your control and will run from the field. Sometimes it may rally before it leaves the field and in this case you can control it again but bear in mind is probably quite fragile.
- Flank Attacks. Once a unit is engaged in combat it faces that direction. Even if attacked from behind a unit can turn quickly to respond. However if a unit is attacked from 2 directions at once this counts as a flank attack. Flank attacks are shown by a blue effect over the unit in battle. A large morale penalty is caused when a flank attack occurs and it is a good way to break enemy units.
- Trample. Cavalry units, especially lance armed cavalry, have a chance to trample enemy infantry on contact. This trample attack is applied before combat and gives cavalry a chance to sweep the enemy infantry away. Infantry armed with spears are very resistant to trample attacks, and skills such as Stand Firm further reduce their chance to be trampled.
There is a lot of great modding support in Great Battles Medieval. You can create new campaigns, new scenarios and even edit unit data. See the modding folder in your game install path for detailed information on how to do this, but here is a quick overview.
The scenario editor lets you edit and create new scenarios. It is the same editor we used so anything we can do you can do. You can place units, choose their equipment, skills, even their textures and give them initial battle plans. You can set the weather, set rewards and more. Note – to use the scenario editor you need to have .Net, which can be downloaded for free.
All events that occur in a mission are set out in a script file. These script files are in text format so can be edited, added to and completely new scripts created.
The game supports modded campaigns. You can create new maps covering any area you like, even fantasy maps. All campaign events are set from a text format script file so you can set up anything we can set up and create an entirely new game!
For more support visit the forums where other modders will be there to help you get the most out of this.
Editor Source Code