Friday, February 22, 2013

March of the Eagles Gameplay Review

I'm playing March of the Eagles, a real-time wargame by Paradox Interactive.

The game covers the Napoleonic Wars in Europe from 1805 until 1820, a relatively short period of time that results in quicker, more heated matches (for a Paradox-developed title). Eight major powers are the focus of the game, although you can play as any minor nation as well; each empire is given a set of province objectives (different for each nation) that, when held, results in victory. The focus of attacks are cities, defended by forts that must be sieged. Your leader’s ratings modify tax income, manpower, supplies, reinforcement rates, and morale, and each nation can also research ideas to further customize your bonuses. The national budget is easy to balance and money rarely becomes an issue. Diplomatic features are fairly standard, although war declarations can be made with no restrictions. In addition, temporary coalitions can be formed (the primary belligerent pays its members), while war subsidies and expeditionary forces can be donated. Units of varied types in several categories (infantry, cavalry, artillery, naval warships) can be recruited from any core province and sent automatically to a rally point, which significantly cuts down on micromanagement, especially in large countries. Armies are split up into center, left flank, right, flank, and reserves, and you can manually place units into specific roles and adjust some troop behaviors and flank tactics for battle. Each portion of your army is (hopefully) led by a leader, who gains new traits with combat experience. March of the Eagles has a much larger focus on warfare, but is definitely more approachable than, say, Hearts of Iron due to its streamlined mechanics. It is very important to keep supply lines open for both reinforcements and the supplies themselves. It can be difficult to defend territory against small, mobile enemy units, since non-urban provinces are instantly captured and units rarely completely disappear from the map after defeat. The AI is capable, although it sometimes doesn’t accept peace until total victory is almost achieved, and it does not appropriately shift its manpower reserves or existing forces during war on multiple fronts. Overall, March of the Eagles is an accessible wargame with near-constant combat and an uncluttered focus.