1066, or A War of Insults

1066 is a rather interesting flash game. It’s crafted really well and it’s not bad for a flash game, but it’s not the greatest either. From a gaming standpoint, it’s very pretty to look at, but the controls were a little off. You have three types of units, each capable of attacking and forming groups when in the right formation. Each unit is given three options: Move, Taunt, or Fortify, with the exception of Archers who can fire. Personally I never used the fortify option as the one time I did it didn’t see much of a difference and the game went faster if I moved the units into an attacking position. Units automatically attack when next to an enemy unit, capable of charging if you move them in a straight line from a distance. There are a great many options for strategies, including just having the computer randomize how many of each unit you have, and you quickly figuring out if your strategy is working.

However, the battle system is a little too easy to figure out. Here’s my strategy for winning: 1) get 1 or 2 groups of attacking units have them move together 2) have the rest of the attacking/soldier units go charging at the enemies individual units 3) line up archers with as many of the enemy as possible or their leader depending on situation 4) have your leader taunt. I didn’t have much time to experiment with other strategies, but usually it all boiled down to this. By the end of the battle, most of my soldiers were dead, I still had my archer and my leader and I won by calling them silly names. Every time, the battle fell into a fight of calling each other silly names and I won because I managed to keep my moral higher.

The battle system also has little mini games which while interesting for variety, weren’t always as well implemented. Taunting required you to do some fast typing, fighting requires you to hit the arrow keys at a specific time a la DDR, charging requires pressing the space bar really fast (more fun than it sounds), and archery makes you choose an angle and a firing strength very quickly. The archery was the worst in my opinion as you have no idea which angle is correct until you fire and if you accidentally select an angle that you didn’t want you can’t fix it. The others were really fun, though sometimes I suspected that the fighting mini-game was a little off on timing.

From a historical standpoint, the game is very interesting. You play through three battles that occurred in 1066. You get all your quick historical exposition in lovely cutscenes, and each army has different units to add to the flavor, i.e. only the Normans have knights on horseback. Each army also has customized taunts, the English being fond of ones involving poop and the Vikings calling you a troll. You get to play all three armies, and are on the historically winning side for each battle. This works great for those trying to learn a little about 1066, as then you are required to win to find out more. This bothered me because I didn’t get invested in any side and already knew that whenever the Normans showed up they would win. If each army had a campaign I felt I would have learned more and had more opportunity to learn tactics for each side (this is not overly complicated for flash games, as some are very in depth).

While the history set up the idea for the game, while playing the game I felt it could be any two armies, and 1066 was just the flavor chosen. This is a problem known as gameplay and story segregation. This comes in degrees, and for this game it wasn’t horrible, but it was noticeable. I felt no difference between the Vikings and English, and did absolutely nothing to change my strategy. The Normans I felt a noticeable difference as they had knights which just murdered everything. History can work as a setting for a game, it’s just that it needs to be more than a flavor, it needs to be visible in all aspects of the game.

2 Replies to “1066, or A War of Insults”

  1. I agree with you that the historical aspect of the experience seemed more of a flavor than an integral component to the game. I appreciated the design of the game, and thought the level of difficulty could keep a kid engaged for a fair amount of time, yet whether or not they would walk way learning anything legitimate about the battles remained unclear to me. Overall, while I can see how this game can be a fun and parental approved activity for the web, I am not completely convinced of its' educational component.

  2. I tried jumping into a campaign after skimming over the instructions, and felt this was too similar to many other flash battle games where the history is used only to decorate the style of fighting. Without the history aspect, the game becomes just a simple turn based battle with mini-games such as typing words or using the mouse to drag and click to deal damage. Even the designs of the fighting characters were too similar (only difference in color), and I thought it would be interesting to see customized designs for each side that indicated the historical design at the time.

    If the game had found a better way to incorporate the history into the game-play, rather than use it as a style or design, I think it would have stuck easier with people playing it. It is well done in animation and execution, but personally i found it too slow-paced to retain my interest.

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