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This is the second part of my play through of the game King Arthur. If you haven’t yet read Part one, you can find it here.
Cornwall is mine. The only province that I can reach without boarding ships is the neighbouring state of Dumnonia. No, seriously, that’s what it’s called. Believe me, we think it’s pretty damn funny as well. Anyway, seeing as my ‘fleet’ would currently consist of a bunch of wooden buckets tied together, a naval assault probably isn’t the best idea for the moment. So Dumnonia it has to be.
The province is ruled by King Mark, but he’s weakened over the years and others have smelt blood in the air. The first to launch an assault is King Idres, Tyrant of Dorset. It normally isn’t a very good sign of one’s benevolence if their actual title is ‘Tyrant of Dorset’. Actually kind of unfair to give someone a title like that…you can’t call someone the ‘Tyrant of Dorset’ and then expect him to grow up to become an exceptional baker, can you?
Seeing that I’ve taken Cornwall, and would present a threat from their Western flank, both of these men have requested my aid. Idres offers gold in massive quantities. Mark offers only his sword. There are also morality effects depending on who I choose. The game’s scale has 4 points…a Virtue – Tyrant range going North to South, and an Old Faith – Christianity range going left to right across the first one. Depending on where you lie, you’ll gain access to new abilities, units and improvements. You’ll also gain favour with those of like beliefs, and gain scorn from those who feel otherwise. In this case, Idres would give me +1 towards Tyrant, while Mark is +1 to Virtue.
Both men are in the field. Mark himself leads a small force of light infantry while Idres has sent one of his knights, Sir Glais, to lead a more powerful force of axemen and archers.
I choose the Southern route. I will attack Sir Glais. I need legitimacy, and aiding the rightful King of this province is more likely to help me at this point. Glais is a sage…part warrior, part mage…and certainly a tough foe, but it seems the best course of action to take him on. Sir Kay leads a large army towards him, only making it half way before Winter sets in. The men have no choice but to set up camp outside a large town and wait for the thaw. Also during this period, several units levelled up. Standard units can add abilities every 5 levels, while Knights do the same AND gain one point in general score to be distributed as the player sees fit with every level. Since Kay’s strength is leadership, I add to that.
As the ice melts and the snows turn to lakes, the march continues. The battle begins. Though Glais leads a small force of tough soldiers, Kay’s army is more than twice the size and many units have gained previous experience in war. As they prepare to battle in the meadows, goals become clear.
The farm village is the nearest objective…the light cavalry is sent off in a sprint to take control of that, with a unit of bowmen behind them will set up on the hill just to the South. The rest of the force will spread out ahead, with the heavy footmen and second unit of bowmen over to the left in the clear area.
I do not know where Glais and his men are starting out, so I’m going to hold up and see if we can spot them once some of my men get partway up that range on my left. Time passes. The village is taken. I pull the horses back…a unit of footmen is on the way to occupy the town, and I’ll hold the cavalry behind a hill to swing in and smash in to the flank of any attack. The rest of my infantry set up in ambush positions in the trees. Finally, Glais appears.
To the North, the footmen I had heading to the village are ordered to curl in to the right of his battle line and lay in wait. My infantry just within the trees creep forward to meet his men head on. My archers move up, while the troops up that big ridge inch forward to sneak in on the left side. One of them is sent over to the coast to take the fishing village located there…I don’t see enough enemy forces here to need everyone in the fight.
The battle begins! A fierce scrum ensues in the heart of the wooded area, axes meeting swords in a vicious clash of steel. His men are heavier, but I have more…and forests are the realm of lighter soldiers without cumbersome armour. Meanwhile, my archers engage his infantry on the flanks, while my infantry flank his archers from two sides.
It isn’t long before the battle becomes a rout. I simply have too many men for his to deal with. The battle of attrition in the center becomes a walk for my forces. His final unit of infantry are ambushed and cut off from his main force, quickly annihilated. His archers spot my troops moving in on them from the right, but aren’t aware of the men I have high on the ridge on the left. They retreat towards them and are utterly crushed in the open. Soon it’s over. Sir Glais and 5 men are all who remain alive out of a starting force of 228 souls.
With that over, King Mark pledges allegiance to my rule and joins my army, bringing several units of his Sentinel light infantry with him. I now have enough forces for two separate armies. The cavalry, some bowmen and a split of heavy and standard footmen continue under Sir Kay, while the Sentinels and the remaining forces serve under Mark. My round table is beginning to see some life.
By the end of the Fall, Kay and Mark have moved to every key town in the province, bringing them to my side and adding all of Dumnonia (note to self…make changing the horrid name of this backwater a priority) to my burgeoning kingdom. Where to now?
As I ponder my next move, a messenger arrives. The province of Salisbury is a point of contention. From the South, King Idres wants it back…his clan long owned that land until my father took it from him (thanks a Hell of a lot, pops!). From the North, the man who has ruled over Salisbury since, King Somerset, tries to hold on. Once again, they both ask for my interference on their behalf. Briefly, I begin considering whether ruling over these pantywaists and their snivelling nonsense is really much of a goal…
Once again I have a choice to make. For whom do I fight? Do I dare to go against Idres and his powerful Army again? As I ponder this, Winter hits once more. Kay has encountered willing recruits in the field, hiring on two units of spearmen. He’ll spend the cold months ensuring that they’re ready for battle. Mark, not so much of a leader but a fearsome warrior himself, champs at the bit and waits for the season of conquest.
Every decision you make forms a branching path of options through the game…at some points, picking one will permanently remove others from ever being available again. So you have to think things through.
That will due for this post. The game is definitely more ‘open’ now, letting me completely fuck things up if I make a bad call. And the strategic options of building and recruiting and relations and all that fun stuff are starting to come on line. So far, so good.