my solo games odyssey: Field Commander: Alexander (and Napoleon, sort of)
I bought this game when I was in Miami for eleven days shooting an episode of Burn Notice. I spent a lot of time in my hotel room playing Field Commander: Alexander, and watching the Evil Dead movies so I’d have something to talk to Bruce Campbell about.
FC:A is a very simple solo wargame. I’m not sure wargamers would even call it a “wargame,” but that’s what I’m calling it.
Your goal changes with each scenario, but in general, you have to get Alexander’s army to a certain area of the board, having conquered a bunch of certain places on the way.
I played the Granicus campaign covered in the rulebook. The goal there is to have conquered every stronghold on the map, either through battle or intimidation, and end with Alexander’s army in Lycia. Of course, that means you have to win a battle in Halicarnassus, which is terrible and difficult. Enemy forces build up each and every turn, and every so often dump into Halicarnassus.
My point: You have to spend some cash to build up your army before heading there. That can take time. The longer you wait, the fewer points you get at the end.
I waited for a bit.
I ended up winning, and peacefully governing five areas on the map. You can raze or govern a place you take control of. Razing gets you fast cash, but loses you some esteem across the board. Governing gets you less up-front money, but pays you throughout and keeps people respectin’ you.
At the end of the game, you add up some stuff to get your Immortality Points, which dictate how long history will remember your efforts. Or something. Then you can go on to play further campaigns with your beefed-up Alex.
I stopped here.
Governing five areas on the map got me 30 points. I had a single unspent “Glory” counter, netting me 4 more points. I built two cities along the way for 5 points each, and I won in the winter of 335 B.C., for 10 last points.
So we take my 54 Immortality Points, cross-reference this handy little chart in the rules…
Huh. 50 years.
Maybe could have done a little better.
Sometime, it’d be fun to link some campaigns together and go for the full experience. But not now. I have too much to do.
Field Commander: Alexander score: 54
Running TWIP: 1819
AND NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS:
Field Commander: Napoleon has been sitting on my shelf for about a year. When I first got it, I eagerly punched out all of the pieces, and gave the rules a cursory read.
Then I put it back on the shelf.
And that is where it has lived since then.
I pull out the rules once in a while and give them a read. Then my eyes glaze over. I realize it is probably a fantastic game. But the added mountain of rules on top of what the system already does with FC: Alexander… It seems like something I’m just not willing to embark on.
I think I’m gonna trade it. I know I’m missing out on something, just like I am with Ambush!. But I am not excited enough to spend time playing it, when there are a bunch of games I am very excited to get to.
Field Commander: Alexander score: TBD (something terrible, I’m sure)
Running TWIP: 1819