<< Portico: Wargamer review of Crown of Glory

8/26/2005

Wargamer review of Crown of Glory

Wargamer.com, the website of choice for discerning grognards, has reviewed Crown of Glory. Bill Gray liked it a lot more than I did. Admittedly, he left a lot of the decisions to the AI, including economic development and diplomatic activity. Maybe if I had made more use of the virtual viceroys I would have enjoyed it more, too. It seems a bit like cheating to just let the computer handle everything that isn't all interesting, especially in a review. Did Gray understand the economic system before ceding control? Because a lot of it still puzzles me.

I don't begrudge anyone who likes a game more than I do, especially a marginal title like Crown of Glory. Bill Gray knows what Bill Gray likes, I know what I like. And I wanted to like Crown of Glory more than I did. Gray doesn't address the utility of a lot of the functions and his review is largely a six month play of the 1805 scenario. The mid and late game is really where the game breaks down, in my opinion, and I am curious as to what happened to Gray later on in the game. Six months in, he says that his people are clamoring for food but he's happy in his victory. Let's see him deal with the revolt factor and then proclaim a win.

Gray is right on that this game will provoke different reactions from different audiences. I wouldn't worry about the "Arcadians" as he calls them; the glitz and glamor brigade haven't heard of this game. I disagree that this is a game that would appeal to a mainstream wargamer; I even think that a lot of grognards will be annoyed by it, especially if they don't trust the computer to make their decisions.

As always, though, the review is well written even if the conclusions are quite different from mine. I agree with Gray that Crown of Glory is a classy game. I just think that it needs a little more than that.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Bruce said...

I'm sorry, but I can't accept this as an example of a good review. Who in his right mind writes this:

"The game manual itself is nicely laid out with a sidebar base index and color illustrations of specific symbols or screenshots keyed to each appropriate section of the text. In PDF it defaults to a double page layout so some gamers may want to change the view settings or simply print the document as I did. In order, the sections covered are Installation, Basics, Game Concepts, Combat Basics, Quick Combat, Detailed Combat, Political Concepts, Economic Concepts (gamers must read this one), Advisor Screens and Game Control Buttons. Also included is an Appendix covering mouse control and keyboard shortcuts, as well as a Strategy Guide and a Scenario Guide."

I'd just like to add that the game is displayed on your monitor, and that it is controlled by input devices. Also, it runs on your computer.

8/27/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Jim9137 said...

Forgetting the review itself in a most nicest way, I'd like to comment on the virtual viceroy situation.

Master of Orion 3 was a perfect example of the worst case scenario. The game was so complex, that even the thick manual only scraped it. And in the complexity, there were many errors present but that's a bit to the side. The most notable feature is the option to let AI handles your systems for you. And in fact, unless you're a masochist, you have to do that in order to proceed in the game. The relation between the DEA elements and the galaxywide econony is not very clear, building something on a planet might have only effect in the system. And when the system has 6 planets, and the six planets have 6-4 DEA slots, you're bound to have a bit of headache remember what's going. Again, AI to the rescue. Except it didn't work.

This is the problem in the future 4x/Strategy/Military games. The complexity of it all. I'm predicting, at least hoping, that these virtual viceroys are just the first evolutionary step in abstracting the gameplay to more acceptable level. But hey, are we advancing here at all? Does it matter if the inner mechanics are getting more complex and complex, if the only sign showing is meagerly more "realistic" numbers in your economy sheet?

8/27/2005 04:57:00 PM  

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