Friday 13 August 2004

BBC Games

Not the usual ones of spin-the-article, or pin-the-tale-on-the-Minister, or even Tall Stories, but genuine fun and quite educational too.

Today's interesting URL : Battlefield Academy
Pit your wits against the remorseless Artificial Intelligence engine of the Battlefield Academy, in four challenging historical missions.

The computer will be your enemy as you seek to gain tactical battlefield experience. You will only graduate when you have won every mission.

To help you succeed, some of the greatest commanders in history will be on hand to give you tactical advice - and the best players will be entered into each mission's High Score Table.

These are the missions that await you:
  • Stop the Romans from capturing your Celtic hill-fort
  • Eliminate your Wars of the Roses rival in a river-crossing battle
  • Hammer the French fleet in a Napoleonic sea battle
  • Defend the UK from the Luftwaffe
Highly Recommended. You can play online, save the games, and play offline via a download too.

I had a go at the first scenario: although greatly simplified, it captured the essence of the tactical problems facing both sides. The Celts, with great, fast mobs of missile-equipped troops and a few swift-but-brittle chariots, the Romans with a more ponderous but implacable force that would cut to pieces anything that took it on frontally, plus heavy weapons and skirmisher support.

Unusually, it shows the essential point so often missed in many military simulations: the use of reserves, and rotating troops out to re-organise and rest, rather than driving them to destruction. Even if the AI is a little retarded.

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