May 24, 2024

First Impressions of Field Of Glory: Kingdoms

Peter Robbins, 13 May 2024

Field Of Glory: Kingdoms is a welcome transport ahead in time for the very well received, eminently approachable, extremely intuitive Field Of Glory: Empires wargame series. In Kingdoms we jump all the way to the post Great Schism, post-Norman Invasion world of High Medieval Europe.

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First Impression moment: I was a tad surprised that AGEOD did not do an Anglo-Saxon/Gaul/Early French/Viking romp prior to making this jump, but that is purely my tastes of late talking from my love of both the Vikings and Last Kingdom TV series (and its related Saxon Stories book series). “Field Of Glory: Dark Ages” may be in the future? We’ll see if I can convince the developers to stutter step back to include a DLC for it perhaps? Just an initial thought, but I digress heavily.

Kingdoms is at hand, and it is glorious to behold. Tried and true interfacing, improved graphics, improved speed of play through for the AI turns, expanded functionality throughout; who can ask for a better sequel? You feel at home in Field Of Glory: Kingdoms. If you’ve played Empires. You can jump right in, read a few extra tool-tips throughout (still one of the best in the genre at the amount, clarity, and succinct nature of its tool-tipping) and you’re off and running.

Let’s dive right in and take a good look around the Press Demo version of the wargame.

Press Release Notes: This press demo includes two smaller scenarios, minus the Grand Campaign which will be very expansive. The notes from the development copy regarding this version of the game were provided as follows:

Hello and welcome to the Press Preview of Field of Glory: Kingdoms.

Field of Glory: Kingdoms is the new grand strategy game from genre specialists AGEOD.

The action begins in 1054, just after the Great Schism, and encompasses more than two centuries of epic European, African, and Middle Eastern history. Can you lead your dynasty to glory through a mixture of warfare, trading, diplomacy and ruthless cunning?

This Press Preview build is approaching final quality. We are approximately six weeks away from Gold Master, so all major features are in the game.This preview version does not feature the Grand Campaign, which spans 220 years and three continents, and instead features two of the smaller campaigns that will be available from day one. One is an Angevin campaign, as England, France and the Holy Roman Empire battle for supremacy in western Europe and the other is the El Cid campaign on the Iberian peninsular, as Christian and Muslim forces battle each other for control of Spain, and the legendary figure of El Cid also features – very much putting his own interests first! The tutorial is not yet final quality, and is also available to play. Certain sounds and music files are missing, texts are not necessarily final and there is currently no localisation in the build (final version will have French, German and Spanish).

What’s New?
We have a number of innovations in Kingdoms that have been added to the series since its predecessor, Field of Glory: Empires.

  • Authority and Disorder: One of the series’ best loved features is its mechanisms to prevent late stage snowballing, where the most powerful empires simply cannot be caught. The tension between grabbing more territory to increase the power of your
    dynasty and the stretching of the authority needed to control such lands is one of the most fundamental decisions you will need to make in the game.
  • Dynasty: With a 220 year main campaign, you are not playing as one single character from start to finish, but rather as a dynasty. This comes with a family tree of relatives, who will need to be married off, bought off, sent off to war, or even killed off.
  • Religion: A major factor to be managed in-game, the tension between Christians, Jews and Muslims will inevitably lead to conflict. Tensions will always be high with a neighbor of a different religion, but subduing conquered lands of a different religion will be very difficult. Crusades (and Crusaders), jihad and the Papacy will all have a part to play, as will tensions between different denominations of the same religion.
  • Population classes: Administer your population from the lowest peasants to the prestigious, powerful, and troublesome nobles. The social ladder is difficult to climb and your ability in keeping social classes under control is paramount to success.
  • Buildings: A new building system allows you to pick a specific building to build, at the cost of precious Authority points.

The game in numbers

  • 375 factions
  • 325 units
  • 600 Buildings
  • 14 Religions/heresies
  • 90 Cultural traits (all new)

With all of the above caveats and notes stated, I will say the press demo is extremely playable and as they say near final quality in features. The game is near release quality. The tutorial is very solid thus far, and along with the tool-tipping throughout the game, will get you knowledgeable enough to play in no time flat. Now, will you succeed? Well, it takes time to learn the small tweaks and practices that will edge your faction towards victory and domination over your neighboring Kingdoms. Legacy is still King in Kingdoms. Do you have what it takes to push your kingdom towards higher levels of power, grace and civility to endure through to Late Medieval, Renaissance and beyond? We shall see.

Bias Check: I do love some AGEOD developed wargames. I own and still play regularly: Birth Of America 2, Rise Of Prussia Gold, American Civil War II, English Civil War1FoG: Empires, to name a few. I personally find them more approachable than, let’s say, their nearest counterparts – the Paradox Interactive series of wargames, Crusader Kings II/III, Europa Universalis III/IV, Sengoku, Heart Of Iron III/IV etc. AGEOD strategic games are just one level slightly less complicated in execution; which for me as predominantly more of an operational or grand tactical level wargamer of most periods/genres, is just more in my wheelhouse. So take this first impression with that grain of salt. I tend to like my strategy games Mid to Lower levels of difficulty. They need to be approachable to keep my horrible attention span in check. And low and behold FoG: Kingdoms is right in my wheelhouse, just as Empires was and remains.

The area of the game that you need to get used to in the FoG strategic series is that buildings are very important by way of their individual functionality/adjustments to parameters, but additionally for trade consideration (in region or external vassals), and for accruing legacy sakes.

By default you are not fully in control of which buildings are available for building next in a village or town. This is a very interesting twist on gameplay that is rather unique to this series of games.

I enjoy this aspect of the game a lot as you have to navigate how the community wants to auto-generate what is being built in the area. Now, with that said, in Kingdoms, AGEOD has given more granular control over which buildings become available for a given category of buildings.

Below are screenshots from the Angevin campaign that shows you where the button is to select your own building manually.

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click images to enlarge

We’ll take a much closer look at the Buildings Panel and all of the choices and adjustments that connotes in our full After Action Report, which we will release soon after this First Impressions article.

Below are a few shots from both of the provided scenarios, El Cid (Al-Andalus) and Angevin FranceI love that AGEOD provided smaller sandboxes to play in before you jump into the deep end to the promised 220 yr dynastic campaign in the final release. As I’ve said too many times already, I have the attention span of a squirrel2 and these smaller scenarios are perfect for getting used to the interactions involved.

 

First up is the El Cid scenario, which is a fantastic little romp in good ole’ Al-Andalus. Anyone who has played the board game Almoravid will find themselves at home in this scenario. There are a slew of factions to pick from, as seen in the second shot below.

Along with the El Cid scenario, you are able to pick a second longer campaign called the “Fall of the Angevins 1194-1223” which gives you a slightly more direct taste of what the really long 220 year dynastic campaign will provide.

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The majority of the remaining screenshots I will provide are from the tutorial. If you want to avoid reading through a majority of the tutorial text prior to owning the game, avoid this section of this First Impression. I’ll additionally show off the multiplayer aspect of the game just after this gallery of Tutorial shots.

 

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ed note: this is an extended slideshow gallery
you can right-click to open any of these images in a new tab for a larger view

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 


Finally, we’ll take a really quick look at setting up a multiplayer match, which remains the same as in FoG:Empires. If it ain’t broke, don’t muck with it as we say. It works extremely well and provides email updates as it becomes your turn. This is a great aspect to the game. It allows for you to play with friends around the world at whatever pace makes the most sense for your group of online friends. The AI will even take over specific roles as needed if any one of the players is a little lackadaisical that week 😊 we’ve all been there as players.

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From clicking the multiplayer icon on the main screen you get a splash screen that you check box through.

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At first coming into the multiplayer interface, after logging into your Slitherine PBEM++ account (same account you use on all slithering multiplayer actions) you are then shown any in progress matches that you are currently “up” as the player for.

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All of the available selections to start a new match are shown above. I’ve chosen above the El Cid campaign scenario and then picked the up and coming (literally) Almoravid faction which has just landed and taken hold of the extreme south of Al-Andalus. You select how many player slots to support. You also pick the Time Limit for turns. If you go past that limit the AI will take over and progress the game forward a turn and rotate to the next up player to post a turn for. You can select the Quick Victory selector to reduce the margin of Legacy points from the top player to the 2nd top player to denote that one faction has retained enough power to eventually take over the whole of the Iberian Peninsula in this scenario.

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The HotSeat Allowed function is rather neat in that it allows players to play multiple factions in the multiplayer match. That is rather neat and can make for some interesting alliance pairings throughout multi play.

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You are then able to set a Challenge Password to keep the match private to only those that know the password.

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Once it’s all set, you are then provided a My Challenges tab screen where you see every challenge you’ve placed on the board. Someone else then drops into the multiplayer room, clicks on Accept Challenge, finds your game, clicks on it, enters the password, and away you go to the races. Who will win control over Al-Andalus? Only time and patience of play will tell. FoG: Kingdoms is outstanding as a single player strategic game, but really shines in multiplayer with many factions played by multiple human opponents.

 

In Summary:

FoG:Kingdoms is as outstanding as FoG: Empires remains, with palpable improvements throughout. More soon on this great strategic wargame. We’ll provide much more turn by turn detail in our full After Action Report format “review”. Oh, and had we mentioned that the battles can be fought using FoG II: Medieval?! The press version so far did not appear to support it, but I have to imagine before full release it will be incorporated*, just as FoG: Empires is able to support battle play thru by way of exported game files to FoG II tactical battle simulator.

 


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Footnotes

  1. Particularly Good/Approachable
  2. Nut!

Armchair Dragoons PAO

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