1066: Shield Walls And Stench Weasels

By Tim Stone on June 7th, 2009 at 11:36 am.

The bloke that cut-me-up on the A303 yesterday is a STENCH WEASEL, the librarian that never returns my smile is a RAVEN STARVER, and the person that regularly fly-tips at the end of my road is a STINKING TURD. Thank you midden-mouthed web wargame 1066, a week in your company has enriched my abuse lexicon no end.

Not content with commissioning one of the best historical docu-dramas in years  British broadcaster Channel 4 have, with the help of developer Preloaded, accessorized it with a dinky online TBS. Like Proper Wargames, 1066 boasts pre-battle unit purchasing, morale, formations, multiplayer and a skirmish mode. Unlike Proper Wargames, it has stylish cut-scenes and top-notch narration, and uses a ragbag of mini-games in place of dice.

Charging a unit into enemy ranks? Hammer the space-bar Daley Thompson-fashion to add momentum. Want to rattle an opponent and raise your own troops’ flagging spirits? Type the required random taunt (PUNY POTLICKER, FOX BEARD, OOZING PUS-WOUND etc.) as fast as your sausage fingers will allow. Archery attacks are most fun. Get the bow angle or power wrong and you can easily end up bodkinning dozens of your own men.

Behind the fairground mini-games is a simple yet diverting WEGO wargame played on a narrow gridded board. Units can be moved individually or in formations. The Boar Snout and Shield Wall add offensive and defensive strength respectively, but make bypassing impassable terrain like rivers and woods (hard to see on the stark 2D overhead view) difficult. However you choose to fight, you’re guaranteed some memorable scraps, some very tense denouements. If half the Proper Wargames released each year showed as much imagination, style and spirit as 1066 the genre would be in a far healthier state. Disagree? You would, you ILL-BORN FEN RAT.

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32 Comments »

  1. markcocjin says:

    FIRST of all, for something so flat, this thing looks amazing. I wish there was a true flash based full RTS though.

  2. Janpsula says:

    Patapon for the PC?

  3. Sam says:

    I was in the documentary that this game is alongside of. I was one of the men on the bank of Stamford Bridge in Part 1, and part of the invading army in part 2. I tell you, there is nothing more tyring than running down a bank screaming in full armour…. for SEVEN takes because the director didn’t think it was quite “energetic enough”. Then getting back up the bank was tricky..

    Yes, thats right, I bloody suffered for your television enjoyment.

  4. Russell says:

    I’m rather delighted that pacifists can easily win battles without attacking a single soldier just by taunting their oponents into submission. It somewhat takes the challenge away but it good for comedy value.

    Otherwise, a rather lovely game

  5. nikos says:

    off-topic comment of the day: does anyone else think too that some of the shields look like google maps icons? :D

  6. Tim Stone says:

    @Russell. Yes, the limitless taunting thing is a definite flaw. It would have been far better had they restricted taunting to formations only or made it range-related -long distance = inneffectual.

  7. HidesHisEyes says:

    Really good fun, actually.

    Except archery is pretty much impossible to judge?

  8. Tim Stone says:

    @Sam. Do you make a living running down banks screaming in full armour, or was it just a one off?

    @HidesHisEyes. Archery does get easier once you get your eye in. The range scale is useful. Target at extreme range = max power + 40 degree-ish angle. Target at mid range = a few notches short of max power + a 60 degree-ish aiming angle.

  9. Helm says:

    Yes I way amused that my tactician sense apparently is ranked as kingly by this game and it pretty much was limited to peppering the enemy with as much ranged fire as possible until they run into earshot range and then, having suffered my arrows they were met with torrents of obscenities.

    I rather enjoyed this!

  10. The Archetype says:

    @Helm: really, all that plus “try to have the high ground” and “stick the other guys with the sharp end” were the core of tactics circa 1066. Everything else is for if you’re outnumbered or want to be fancy.

  11. Justin says:

    Helm:

    Yes I way amused that my tactician sense apparently is ranked as kingly by this game and it pretty much was limited to peppering the enemy with as much ranged fire as possible until they run into earshot range and then, having suffered my arrows they were met with torrents of obscenities.

    What, you don’t think that’s a workable strategy? It’s really a good description of the internet, in a way.

  12. bob arctor says:

    I was on the 303 on Friday so couldn’t have been me. It’s a shit road anyhow, needs proper dual carriageway all the way along.

  13. jarvoll says:

    Coming from an organization that still insists on calling itself the ‘British’ Broadcasting Corporation (though granted they earned a smidgin of that adjective with their Welsh channels), there is no way that this could be historically non-biased enough not to make me rage. Sigh.

  14. Pags says:

    @jarvoll: case of misplaced rage there, this is a Channel 4 thing, not BBC.

    Ps. All this post really needed to say was “game narrated by Bilbo Baggins” and I’d have been sold.

  15. Andrew Dunn says:

    Misplaced and completely weird rage, I’d say.

  16. Centy says:

    This is simply brilliant I’ve had more fun in the multi battles than I have with any other game recently. I kind of wish they could expand this and release it properly I would certainly pay a few quid for a tarted up version of this thats not in my browser.

  17. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Svinafell Troll!

    marvelous game

  18. STARVER OF RAVENS says:

    Man, this is awesome.

    Although, my inability to keep cavalry alive makes me sad.

  19. FhnuZoag says:

    @STARVER OF RAVENS

    Just pull them back out and charge them in. Repeatedly. Just like the Normans did.

    Has anyone worked out how flanking works?

  20. Andrew Dunn says:

    To flank, you need to get a unit in front and a unit behind. The sandwiched unit seems to suffer big penalties and takes heavy casualties.

  21. Erlam says:

    I’m of Irish descent, so I hate almost anything English ;) but I’m curious where the ‘bias’ was – was it the Saxons having their asses handed to them by the Normans (Frogs!) or the fact that the entire culture is a result of being conquered by a good half dozen different cultures?

  22. Helm says:

    Yes I wasn’t meaning this is unrealistic or anything, I just thought apparently Kingly tactics had a pretty low entry at the time, heh. Alexander the great, a long time before them, tried some *real* strategems and tactics and conquered the world while constantly outnumbered. I wonder if his troops also shouted obscenities enemywhere. ΝΟΘΕ ΓΙΕ ΓΕΡΑΣΜΕΝΗΣ ΚΟΤΑΣ!!

  23. FhnuZoag says:

    I guess this game is the inevitable appendix to Monkey Island’s insult swordfighting.

  24. scundoo says:

    Woohoo!

    Bloody Awesome!

    Insults are a bit overpowered, and not enough players around for multiplayer (plus most of them quit half way through the game when its evident they will lose).
    Otherwise its great.

  25. jarvoll says:

    @Pags: aha – thank you. :) That’s amazingly poor reading on my part; I really thought that the article said BBC.

    @Andrew Dunn – it’s rage that could probably best be summed up as “History is written by the victor”. Just as in most places in the world (sigh again), one nation (England) oppresses, conquers, and assimilates another (Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland), and then, as victor, gets to tell everyone that they were right to do so, that they were all one people anyway (‘British’) though that’s not even close to true, and gets to paint history as though their dominance was both desirable and inevitable, when neither is true (see Erlam’s first statement).

    Sure, this game is probably short enough and small enough in scope that any such historiography is unlikely to be particularly blatant, but… I dunno. I can get around this in most history games by playing to “right the wrongs”, so to speak. I played the Gauls in Rome: Total War so I could keep Rome the hell out. Given the chance, I’d play the Basques’ ancestors and keep the Gauls the hell out. But in this game, either way, I lose. If I play Guillaume and win, then I get the “wrongs” that actually occurred in history, but if I play Harold and win, then I’m still on the side of an invading people who displaced others for their own gain, and would go on to do so to all of their neighbours, Frenchified government or no.

    So, I think most people would agree with you: this does seem like weird rage; I can certainly see how it could be seen that way. Hopefully, though, it makes a little more sense now.

  26. Richard Beer says:

    Jarvoll: welcome to the entire history of the world! I can put good money on whatever people you consider to be the ‘original’ inhabitants of anywhere, including Wales, just kicked out the people who were there beforehand.

    You really need to let go of the bitterness, or you might as well vote BNP and prove yourself to be properly Neanderthal.

  27. MD says:

    Richard Beer says:
    “Jarvoll: welcome to the entire history of the world! I can put good money on whatever people you consider to be the ‘original’ inhabitants of anywhere, including Wales, just kicked out the people who were there beforehand.

    You really need to let go of the bitterness, or you might as well vote BNP and prove yourself to be properly Neanderthal.”

    Regarding the comment that “I can put good money on whatever people you consider to be the ‘original’ inhabitants of anywhere, including Wales, just kicked out the people who were there beforehand.” He implicitly recognised that, I think, when he said “I played the Gauls in Rome: Total War so I could keep Rome the hell out. Given the chance, I’d play the Basques’ ancestors and keep the Gauls the hell out.” Sounds fair enough to me, and I don’t see why something being commonplace makes it right. Or why one people’s ancestors having done the wrong thing in the past makes it okay for an unrelated group to go in and do the same to them.

    (I’m not trying to get into the Britain debate at all, and I have no knowledge or opinion on that. It just seems a bit ridiculous to imply that historical invasions should not be complained about because they happened a lot.)

  28. Richard Beer says:

    I’m saying the ridiculous thing is to take sides and bear grudges for a thousand years.

  29. Andrew Dunn says:

    I’m a member of an oppressed and downtrodden culture in these fair and blood-soaked isles and the BBC can call itself British all it wants for all I care. Through conquest and settlement and trade and all the rest of it, modern-day Britain can call itself British as if it’s mostly one culture and have a good claim to it. It’s become such over time.

    It’s also interesting that you pick a programme about 1066 to rant about history being written by the victors. It’s always struck me as a historical event that’s almost universally written with a predisposition towards the losers, the Anglo-Saxons, rather than the Norman victors. Even with roughly a third of the vocabulary used to write about it being Norman French in origin…

    Of course this is all beside the point. This game is great fun – played some of the multiplayer last night and it’s very solid and entertaining. The culture-specific insults don’t get old, either.

  30. Ergates says:

    Except that Scotland, Wales, Cornwall Ireland are also artificial constructs (as are all nations/kingdoms) formed by one group oppressing, conquering and assimilating others.

    Everyone has their own idea about what is the “correct” level of aggregation (and consequently who are the victims and who are the baddies) , but that just displays their own personal prejudices (and what flavour of bullshit propaganda they’ve swallowed.)

    Or to put it differently – you can’t right the wrongs of history, you can only replace them with a different set of wrongs of your own making.

  31. Vicktor says:

    Is it me, or do the norman taunts sound like the spy from TF2?

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