1066


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Rating: 4.4/5 (123 votes)
| Comments (26) | Views (531)

Dora1066Ah, Middle-Earth! No, put the elf ears and the ranger cloak away, Bob. Not that Middle-Earth! We're talking about a thousand years ago here, when men were Vikings and the English were less into John Cleese and 'fish and chips', and more about sticking their swords into anything that moved. Preloaded wants to take you there in 1066, a surprisingly deep game of strategic medieval warfare. Featuring top of the line production values and some of the hardest won battles you've ever seen, rampage throughout the ages to the dulcet tones of Sir Ian Holm. No, stop swooning! You've got a war to win!

Battles play out on a large grid, with you clicking on your troops to select them, and then moving them square-to-square. If an area is green, you're able to reach it. If an enemy is in your path, you'll automatically engage. Selecting the formation of your troops can mean the difference between dismal failure and well-earned victory; placing three units in a row from top to bottom activates the Shield Barrier formation, for example, which greatly boosts their combined defense.

Each time you engage an enemy, you'll have to play a little "minigame" to determine the effectiveness of your attack. Taunts have you type out a phrase as quickly as possible. Directly attacking an enemy has you hit the [arrow] keys as they appear on the screen. Charging someone has you tap the [space] bar to build up power. And you'll have to select your angle and strength of your shot if you want to use your archers. I don't know about you, but I have an entirely new respect for Vikings now. War is hard! Imagine how much more difficult this must have been for them without keyboards.

Actually, as with many games, 1066 sounds more complicated than it really is, and you'll learn more by throwing yourself into a skirmish than you will by studying the instructions. Your goal here is to either kill all enemy troops, or lower their morale enough through successful attacks or taunts that they flee the field. You'll need to experiment with what works best and learn to use not only the terrain but your own enemies against themselves. Don't expect to master it within five minutes.

Everything about 1066 is stylish and well-groomed, and here for once in a browser game that style doesn't interfere with the game itself. The visuals are absolutely lovely, and the soundtrack and voice-overs are very well done indeed. The downside is that older machines may not be able to run the game as smoothly as newer ones. While my laptop has no problems with it, my PC tended to choke and snarl from time to time, resulting in periods of slowness that can make some of the minigames almost unplayable. Like those gritty, appropriately visceral sound effects as swords and spears start swinging? Plan on hearing those a lot when you first start out. As in, a lot a lot.

1066Analysis: 1066 tries to do a lot, with multiple minigames associated with issuing commands, complex troop placement, and morale. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. While the fiddliest gamers are going to appreciate being able to choose their shots just so, and form up their phalanx like so, the rest of us are just going to want to shoot an arrow at a dude, and maybe call another dude a rotten cockerel. So we're not complex, sue us. It would be nice to have the opportunity to turn these little minigames off and just have the armies clash on their own. You have to be in the mood for the sort of complexity that 1066 offers, and if you want fast-paced hack'n'slash casual gameplay, 1066 isn't your girl.

You can expect to do a lot of trial and error early on. Trial and error here meaning, of course, watching the English tapdance all over your Viking corpses and toast each other with obnoxious hurrahs. 1066 really earns its strategy stripes here, as blundering forward without a plan is the fastest way to get yourself newly ventilated with a few dozen spearpoints. Every battle presents a new challenge, and you'll need to really think out your moves to be successful. One of the nice things about the game is that you really can fight to the bitter end and squeak out a victory, no matter how bleak things look. A well-timed taunt followed by a volley of arrows can turn the tide, and it makes winning extremely satisfying.

I spent a lot of time in the beginning unsure as to how I felt about 1066. It's like having a friend who you have a lot of fun with, but is the obnoxious sort that thinks randomly tripping you up or shoving you into things is funny. 1066 wants nothing more than to trip you up, stampede over your prone form, and make off with your women, children, and exotic spices. The game really grew on me as I gradually came to understand more of the strategy at work behind it, however. Instead of desperately trying to hold the morale of my army up long enough to squeak out a victory, I was sending the enemies fleeing with a series of well-timed attacks that left them devastated and more susceptible to my taunts. Well, who can blame them? Calling someone a "dog scut" is about as devastating as you can get. Try it out the next time you're stuck in traffic.

If your definition of casual gameplay is something light and fluffy you can leap into for a few minutes, 1066 is going to bewilder and intimidate you with its lengthy battles and steep learning curve. But if you're willing to sink the time into it and pick up the moves, the end result is remarkably rewarding.

Play 1066

Thanks for sending this one in, Phil, Todd, Nanimo, and Keith!

26 Comments

SWEET BABY CTHULHU THIS IS GOOD.

A lovely blend of strategy and sheer button mashing. I think it would quickly grow stale if you didn't get the chance to play the mini-games; they're hardly lengthy jobs.

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interlinguana Author Profile Page July 9, 2009 11:02 PM

I really wanted to love it, I really did. The artwork is gorgeous, the gameplay engine is solid, and I rather enjoyed the different strategic elements (like the two different formations). Unfortunately, the minigames seem uninspired, and the game is way too short.

I think the ability to customize random skirmishes against the AI is fantastic, and I wish more Flash devs would incorporate it. With a little fleshing out of the minigame element and some more strategy and length thrown in, this would be everything it deserves to be.

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camille July 9, 2009 11:07 PM

men were french, actually
1066, time for the norman invasion
ain't you whipper snappers read any sr walter scott anymore? (:

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juv3nal Author Profile Page July 10, 2009 3:07 AM

It's a good thing it's beatable without using archers because I am *awful* at the archer minigame. It's one thing when its those archer defense type games where you can shoot, miss, adjust your aim, & shoot again, but when you only get one crack at the minigame or your archer's turn is wasted, it's bloody difficult.

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This looks good, and was great for the first couple of plays, but then I discovered that it has a very easy unbeatable strategy to win you any game.

Buy nothing but archers and light foot troops. Deploy them at the back of the battlefield. Every turn, don't move, just shoot with the archers and taunt with the foot troops. Enemy morale will drop to zero well before they reach your lines.

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Boy this game is great. I like being able to watch the loading screen indefinitely because it won't load but half way. The art is wonderful, just watching an army of guys go from the left side of the screen to the right side. I give this game a solid 9/10 for its impressive loading screen.

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Am I the only one who found the gameplay to be repetitive and boring? On the last campaign battle I must have spent the last 10 minutes

arching and taunting his last units' cowardly hide!

On the bright side, I absolutely love the history lesson element!

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mitomane July 10, 2009 1:33 PM

epic subject... epic game.

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siriusxdremus Author Profile Page July 10, 2009 2:56 PM

For some reason, the game pauses when loading at 5.8 of 9.1Mb while the screen says Presents.. I am on Explorer, so maybe that has something to do with it??

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Fun game! A little repetitive gameplay, but super fun mechanics.

Encountered one bug where the opposing troops ran away through my side of the battlefield, and the game never went on to the next step - it just said "Moving" and stayed there.

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ElliotM Author Profile Page July 10, 2009 4:02 PM

This game is awesome! I just did a custom battle of Vikings vs English on Fulford with a 26 unit point cap and got a battle rank of King. :D

I had 3731 guys left at a morale of 72 with 2181 dead to 0 English with a morale of 0 and 5277 dead when the last Earl fled the field. I only lost one unit the entire game, it had fled with 88 guys near the end when I pulled it out of formation to replace it with a healthier unit.

Battle Tactic Spoiler:

I chose a mixture of 4 Varangian Guards, 3 Warriors, and 4 Archers. Over the course of the game I pulled off 5 charges, mostly with the Varangian Boar's Snout formation, with taunting and archer'ing going on throughout the game.

I liked charging so I would arrange for my Boar's Snout of Varangians to retreat after a charge with the Warrior Shield Wall that was behind them sometimes moving up and taking their place. I would then charge again with the Boar's Snout next turn after recreating the space for them by retreating the Warrior Shield Wall the command just before, with an occasional taunt thrown in between. It worked great, especially at this one point when the CPU had his three remaining Huscarls out of formation in an inverted V that was the perfect shape for my next Boar's Snout charge... I wiped them all out much to my surprise, leaving just the last Earl.

My 4 archers killed about 1/5 of the English with most of the work coming from my rotating Boar's Snout tactic. I'm getting better at the archer minigame but I prefer spamming my spacebar for a charge attack, :D , though I don't know how well it would fare against Matt's tactic in post 5.

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To win on the first turn, all you have to do is use all foot soldiers and taunt. If you can get a brutal taunt on every one, you won. It is fun to play on multiplayer and shock the opponent.

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This was quite an entertaining game. Though I think the graphic style made me think the gameplay was better then it really was.

The paper-cutout graphics and the overall war theme reminded me of the music video for The Tain by The Decemberists. Even though Táin Bó Cúailnge is about a bloody cattle raid in Ireland, and this is about the Normans concurring England, I still expected a driving indie-rock soundtrack to randomly appear. :P This game would have been 1000 times easier if Cúchulainn was in your armies.

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joeynow Author Profile Page July 10, 2009 9:31 PM

Why can't I play the English? Con Artist's war games let you play either side.

And, well, Vikings were bloodthirsty.

Really complicated, alright. How do you set the arrow angle and fire?

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Well, Cúchulainn wouldn't fight for anyone but the Irish.

And if you got a supernatural warrior, so would your opponent, to balance it. And that would just add yet another complication to an already-complicated game.

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Asatruer Author Profile Page July 13, 2009 2:40 PM

No camille, I do not read Sir Walter Scott's work, but I do know that the Normans were not French. The Normans were the descendants of Scandinavian invaders who conquered and settled a bit of land from the Fankish/Gaulic people.

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Great game, I've played through a few times now. A few pet peeves:

Combat does not seem to take unit strength into account. For example, a unit of 80 archers killed 130 of my men with one shot. That's almost two kills per arrow - amazing shooting!

Movement arrows in planning stage don't always indicate where units will go. For example, if your arrow moves across the field behind an enemy unit, your unit will stop and fight.

Otherwise quite fun.

Strategy hint:

Killing the king/leader will drop the enemy morale significantly

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ElliotM Author Profile Page July 14, 2009 3:38 PM

@joeynow

There are arrow buttons that will let you change your faction and that of your opponent. Just look near the faction portrait in the select menu in custom battle.

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A very important tactic, and devastating if you can manage it.

Being on both the front and back of an enemy and attacking simultaneously from both sides is either automatic instant kill or strong enough to have instant-killed all the enemies I used it on, including near-full strength elite units.

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woooooo 1066 is the best, love the review ;)

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To anyone who says "yaaaay archers", i'd like you to meet the business end of my knight's lances
And/or, good luck killing enough to actually hurt me if i use shieldwall huscarls or varangian guard...

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Harry Spyser December 24, 2010 4:46 PM

Awesome game! It does feel like there should be more. I don't know it sounds ungrateful but I am a hardcore strategy dude i like my games long complicated and epic. But still its a 10/10 for this one! I cant wait for the next one.P.S There should be better music!

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I had 5000 Vikings against 4460 English and the final battle result was with 3460 Vikings remaining i wiped out 4600 English and 1455 was attributed to archery and my Rank was King.

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a great game, played it out with each battle the battle rank of king. but don't you fight the first battle with vikings second with english and third with normans? 'cause when i look at the comments i begin to think it is all three battles the vikings you play.

my strategy

with vikings only varanganians and place 2 on the top line and place the rest on the bottom 3 lines and advance and fight of those english.

with the english only buy huscarls and place them on the second and third line from below and then advance over the bridge and try to be the one who charges.

with the normans take a good mix between men at arms and knights. use the knights until they have all died or fled on the huscarls and charge, charge and charge. then finish them of with the men at arms.
tada played out.

P.S. i don't guarantee you will get three times king rank but you will i think be close to it, i was just extremely lucky i think.

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love the norman knights

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The Normans are by far the most changeable with strategies...

I usually line up a wall of men-at-arms, with archers in the rear and knights in the very top and bottom of the map. Fire arrows as the enemy advances, sending your knights around the back. When the enemy is in range, attack with your men-at-arms, and outflank them with your knights on the same turn. Massive damage every time.

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