Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Total Waargh

I already miss the Woffboot, I truly do. Perhaps it's the separation anxiety of any ex-pat, or perhaps it's just the prospect of the long and assuredly gameless months ahead of me. Either way, I wasn't just content with deciding to build a Chaos Host (it's not going to be just a warband at the rate I'm trawling through Ebay). None of my ordered models have arrived across the Poisoned Sea yet. A partly-used box of Marauders is probably going to get here by the end of the week, but I'm nothing if not horrifically impatient.

This is what you find when you type random words like
'poisoned sea' into Google Images.
It's a sea cucumber. Who knew they were so terrifying? 
I already feel the need to recreate those epic clashes in the privacy of my own bedroom.

I therefore turned to Russians on the internet.

Heard of the Total War series? No? Well, you're losing out. Gaining in terms of life achievement, of course, but still, losing out. They're the cream of all tactical computer games. There were even TV shows based on the original release of Rome: Total War.

Fully painted armies and scenery - all included in the buying price.
Damn you, GW, why won't you learn?

They're exactly what I've always wanted out of a strategy game. Turn by turn, you build your empire on a Risk-style strategy map. And when your armies clash, you take charge of your men and lead them to glory on the field, watching from on high as hundreds of tiny men beat each other to death with steel. Wonderfully realised, intelligent games, with a range of settings from ancient Greece through to the Napoleonic era, taking in Medieval Europe, the conquest of the Americas and all the interesting Japanese stuff on the way.

And by 'interesting', I mean 'on fire'. 
Chris Webster, who some of you have met through DnD, may be providing the voices of various Roman centurions for next February's Rome 2. He did an audition which consisted of screaming 'Roma Victor!' for about three hours, and loved every second of it.

This is an early screenshot of Rome 2.
Chris is in the top right,  either leading a charge or perishing under the hooves of one, I can't quite make it out. 
Ben and I have occasionally played campaigns, either together or against the computer. I have my usual runs of lucklessness, true to my usual battling form. Our recreation of the Teutonic Crusades saw my Templar order starve to death inside their cheerless Estonian forts, surrounded by a rolling countryside entirely made up of elite pagan horsemen. On another occasion, we stormed the castle of the last remaining Shogunate Lord to resist our alliance, and although Ben's army came through fairly well, I had a single man left of a vast assembly after the wall assault. Great days, great days.

'Did you remember the sandwiches?'

But no fantasy releases.

The studio who make these are a fairly beardy lot, but their beards are of the 'strict realism' variety. The games are carefully researched to keep them pretty accurate. I've learnt plenty about life in other ages from their detailed unit descriptions. Okay, now and again they mount cannons on elephants just for fun. But it's re-enactment not roleplay that they're famous for.

The Byzantine firethrower unit is another example, although based on strict historical fact/conjecture.
Chainmail and  napalm, everyone's dream combo.
This amazes me - I can't think why they wouldn't want to do exactly a game like this for Warhammer. It seems to cry out to me for exactly that treatment. Someone tried, but Mark of Chaos was pretty bad, apart from the opening title sequence, which was cool.

Luckily, a band of impressively beardy Russians have made the Call of Dark Gods mod for Medieval 2: Total War, removing all traces of historical accuracy and replacing them with incredibly accurate recreations of GW's Greatest Fluff.

Plague Knights! Just like England in 1348.
Until my armies arrive, then, I've decided to play myself a little campaign. Currently, the game is undergoing the elaborate and Byzantine installation process that will do this. The Mod install file is something like 5 GB in size, and takes a while. But once it's done, I should be able to play out a campaign set in the time just before Archaon turned up, taking my pick of sides from all the available races.

I think this is Tilea and the edge of the Border Princes on the campaign map.
If I'm wrong, I'll invade it anyway. 
The mod isn't famous for its stability - it crashes a lot. And the last time I played it, all the voice acting was in Russian, which was fun, but broke the mood from time to time. Although the Russian for 'Waaargh' is still 'Waaargh', so that's okay. Although they spell it 'Вааааргх', or some such.

Pokemon! I chose you!
Before I start, though, I'd be willing to take any suggestions as to what side I should play as. One of the Chaos factions, who have to beat each other before uniting and assailing the Empire? One of the Empire factions, who are divided into their city-states? Orcs, and try and claim the Warhammer World for Gnashbad?

No boats, sadly. Nobody's done a Man o' War mod for Empire yet, as far as I know... 


  1. Civilisation III was as far as I allowed my computer-games addiction to run ... I can easily see how this would absorb days of my life without much trouble.

    If you're taking suggestions, I'd plump for an Empire army. I can't help but support those poor sods from that Mark of Chaos trailer.

  2. Civ III is historical re-enactment these days.

  3. I'd plump for Chaos as a prelude to your next WoffBoot involvement!

  4. Sorry Leofa! I didn't see your comment until today, and I went ahead without looking. I'll crush the lapdogs of the Empire next time.