Title Ancient Battles Publisher CCS Programmer Richard Smith, 1990 Game Type Strategy Players 1-2 HD Installable Yes Compatibility All Amigas Submission John Burns (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review Coming on one disk, Ancient Battles is a serious wargame which includes scenarios from the Battles of Hydaspes (326 BC), Zama (202 BC), Cynocephalae (197 BC), Pharsalus (44 BC), and Chalons (451 AD). As such I would have to say that a knowledge of these battles is of use in attempting to win. It also boasts a scenario editor which enables the user to generate both the terrain and the armies. These armies can in turn be created new or chosen from a quite comprehensive preset list (Carthaginians, Early Romans, Thracians etc. etc.). Some of you may already be turned off by the foregoing and I wouldn't try to persuade you otherwise since this is a wargame for the serious fan rather than the casual dabbler. The AI as with other games by Richard Smith seems to be pretty good though I would criticise it's accuracy in one respect, Elephants. When you have a unit which contains elephants a check on the casualties which ensue on both sides when this unit engages shows the flaw. Basically, these units fare far better than historically they should. Elephants, whilst of use in intimidating the opposition in actual combat, were prone to panic and stampede causing as much, if not more, damage to their own troops; a factor which doesn't seem to be reflected. That aside, the AI is such that the preset scenarios are definitely on the hard side to win, not helped by the fact that your forces are usually outnumbered. But hey, where's the enjoyment in beating the opposition when you were favourite from the start. The game itself uses quite large and varied sprites to denote the differing unit types and this works well enough. Whilst the battle area may seem to be quite small there is not the need for a larger/more strategic overview that one would expect, nay require, in a later period wargame. Battles at the time were fought in relatively small areas so if you want to engage in wide flanking pincer movements get another game. Control is simplicity itself; using the mouse you click on a unit, issue an order and that's it. Using this method there is little room for ambiguity which sometimes exists in these games. Okay there are some commands which could have been added such as "Melee" but that's a minor and maybe personal quibble. Battles are resolved at the end of each day, (though you can get an update of the overall standing at any time), at which point you can quit or fight the next day. Despite battles at the time being somewhat attritional, tactics do play a part and their correct employment can make all the difference. So overall my verdict is that this game is good but with the proviso that it is aimed at the serious wargamer. Another factor which helps is that even today, just as on it's release, the game benefits from lack of competition covering this historical period (off-hand I can't actually think of any other, on any platform). The scenario generator helps the game maintain it's appeal and longevity. Another plus is that if you are using a VGA monitor the game will run there without any problems or fiddling about.