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The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD V1-3
|King Bob VI
Posted on 08/21/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 08/27/04
The battle at Stamford bridge took place in Northern England in September of 1066. The opposing sides were the Viking invaders of England under Harald Hardrada, and the Saxon King of England, Harold Godwinson. As the
Vikings drove deeper into England, King Harold led an ambush of the Vikings on Stamford bridge over the river Derwent. The result was a bloody battle that ultimately drove the Vikings out of England. Just a few days
after the battle, King Harold led the Saxon army south to fight the Normans under William the Conquerer at the famous battle of Hastings.
COMING THIS SUMMER:
STAMFORD BRIDGE, 1066: THE REMAKE.
I have realized that this campaign is historically inaccurate, and I have decided to do it all over again. The map, armies, and story will be as accurate as I can make them, and now I have some great sources for information, such as several books on the subject from Osprey publishing. Progress as of 5/13/05 is approximately 40%. Look for it sometime this summer!
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The Battle At Stamford Bridge is another amazing fixed force campaign. This one happens to take place in the year 1066, when William the Conqueror decides to take on the saxons. This is the Battle at Stamford Bridge, where the Vikings and Harold the Saxon clashed.
This was simply a pleasure to play. I love fixed force scenarios and this one is high ranked amoung my favorites. When the Vikings land and pillage it looked genuinely real. The bridge was much better then the default bridge given. This bridge allowed for plenty of troops to fight it out high above the water. This was very realistic and fun. Another great aspect of this Campaign that added to it's playbility was the secrets. There were several ways to get at the enemy. One way, could virtually win the game for you. But, it is very difficult to locate. Another passage, the bridge, is the most obvisous. But, if you charge accross that place only, you are doomed.
This countained wonderful strategy opertunities. You have just enough nooks and crannies to store your men, yet you can always find new ones. The monks at the monastery who volunteer to heal you added to the playability and made the strategies increase. There is even a place, hidden in the woods, where you may lure your viking foes and has a great advantage.
Verdict: 4.98 (5.0)
This was a great and balanced campaign. The units you were given could not defeat the vikings if the were massed together but they could if several abushes and formations were executed. The vikings also had all the counters to your units. This added to the need to find the higher elevation that was cleverly placed through out this battle field. The three difficulty levels added to the balance so that a beginer and an expert could both suceed. This is almost perfect.
Rating: 4.5 (5.0)
I do not believe that someone ever came up with the idea of doing a campaign on a minor battle before a bigger one. The author of this campaign did though. The creativity was one of the greatest parts of this...the passages, the monks, the burning cart. This was a truely creative campaign and it deserves a hands down 5.0.
This was a pleasure to look at. The bridge was fantastic. The burning town looked very, very realistic. The bridge even had a shadow! The map design is great and it deserves a...
This had a great opening BMP. The information that was given was more then enough. The author even went as far as giving a history before Stamford Bridge. I was never left not knowing what to do. Great job on the instructions.
Over-all this was a great campaign to play. I highly recomend this download for anyone who likes history and a great challenge.
I loved this so much! You can play it 30 times and still find new ways of winning or losing to the Viking hoarde.
It was very well balanced apart from one fact. I played first on easy just to have a look-see around and lost by a huge amount, I then tried again this time on moderate and won with at least 10 man-at-arms, all my ranged units and my monks left. Thats tactics for you.. :S
It was very creativity. I loved the how each side got moral boasts as certian things happened. Just like a real battle.
Map design was great, the eye candy for the bridge made it look asif it was resting on the 2 cliff sides and no just part of the river.
The instructions were well detailed and and very nicely set out.
All in all I give this a "Must Download" seal of approval!
The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD V1-3, by King Bob VI
When King Edward the Confessor died in 1066 he left no direct heir, and the throne of England passed to Harold of Wessex (King Harold II). Harold's own brother Tostig influenced the legendary Viking warrior, King Harald Hardrada of Norway to invade England to seize the Saxon throne. The Norwegians under King Hardrada sailed by way of the Orkneys and landed at Riccall, near York with a force probably numbering 10,000 men. When the news came of the Norwegian landing, Harold quickly drove his Saxons up the old Roman Road known as Watling Street. The Earls of Northumbria and Mercia, Morcar and Edwin, advanced their men from York and met Hardrada's Vikings at Fulford on September 20. The experienced Norwegian commander completely routed the earls, depriving King Harold II of valuable allies for the fatal battle at Hastings which lay ahead. The Vikings appointed Stamford Bridge as a meeting place for an exchange of hostages with the city of York. The confident victors of Fulford were relaxing in the meadows surrounding this crossroads 12 miles from York when to their shock they saw the battle ready Saxon army. The Battle of Stamford Bridge ended the long Viking threat to England.
The enhanced fixed force game is great fun to play and the open map design also has replay value. The technical design is excellent, and no bugs were experienced. The story and game-plot are incongruent and it's impact on playability should be noted. The game-plot portrayal of the historical theme diminished my experience, as much of the history was absent or had only token representation in the game. Moving past any expectations given in the description and instruction screen messages for history, the relatively short game is challenging and exciting to play. I had fun trying new strategies and also being forced to adopt new strategies on the most difficult levels. 5
The balance of the scenario is excellent in this enhanced fixed force modeled after similar designs by MCrnigoj. Many aspects effecting balance are given and most notably the 3 choices for difficulty to be selected in-game after one has selected a pre-game level of difficulty. In effect the additional in-game choice gives players 9 levels of difficulty, with each pre-game level having three slightly different enemy postures to good effect. The Standard level seems great for less experienced players and although Moderate might be considered easy by the experienced player I would imagine that most would require at least one restart, and I needed a few to win having chosen the level initially. The Hard level is hard but not virtually impossible and/or left totally unsupported like the one MCrnigoj's Hastings design it was inspired by. The morale system that holds the historical heroes as key targets for affecting the outcome was well implemented, and the only downside was a bit of confusion in the description of it to be addressed in Story and Instructions category. 5
The creativity fell just short of excellence and mostly due to the failed intentions for the historical portrayal. What seemingly could have been excellent was diminished by the absence of historical details and made obvious in the unit choices to portray a great portion of the Saxons as mounted Knights. Harold's house-carls were a unique force of mounted infantry, that did not battle from atop their horses (horses used for travel only). The map design was fantastic and the focal point bridge was both admirable and memorable. However, I didn't leave the map feeling I had visited the historical geography or what is known to be meadows. The cut-scenes were well designed to forward the player into the game, and even though they lacked the detail and polish of the scenario's noted inspiration of MCrnigoj's designs they did manage to reach my threshold for cut-scene excellence held in my precedents. In other words I think the cut-scenes could be improved, but they didn't require any improvement (if you will). Again, the failing aspect was not meeting the intention of making the scenario a prequel to MCrnigoj's Battle of Hastings. The mark was missed creatively and my great expectation and dream of controlling the Saxon force I fought against at Hastings was dashed by the design. 4
The map design is an outstanding visual experience. The bridge, the landscape and the locations although not historically accurate as a forest, are exquisitely designed. The locations on the map were positioned well but the bridge was not the focus of the main battle but rather a legendary reference of the lone Viking century given in the scenario's History. The dramatic views created made up for the failed aspects of the portrayal already mentioned in the Creativity category and given that consideration the map design is excellent. 5
Story and Instructions:
The History of The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD is the story provided in the scenario and the scenario fails to provide an adequate portrayal of the history. The excellent map designed bridge and locations seem generic in relation to the historical forward given in the instruction screen messages. The expectations of players is also made intentionally high in the noting of MCrnigoj's Hastings design and inspiration, and these expectations were not met in the scenario. It would be facetious to suggest making the story to be more generic or intentionally fictitious to improve the scenario, but it might improve the player experience to tailor the history provided to what could be considered closer to the game-plot. That is to say, if some of the aspects of the historical forward you provided were omitted and if the inaccuracies were creatively noted then the player expectation would better suit the otherwise great scenario experience. The instructions are precise, but there is one aspect that caused me to pause, and that is the indication of the balance in regard to the morale system; For Moderate the morale boosts and deductions were noted to be exactly the same only the actual statistics being reported in game are not the same. This confusion with the instructions was minor, and no deduction is made to the otherwise excellent instructions. On another good note the History, Hints, and Instructions were well written and the instruction screen image was superb. 4
Final Thoughts for Players:
The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD is must download for enthusiasts of the enhanced fixed force game play conceived and made popular by MCrnigoj. However, if one is expecting the same degree of historical recreation found in designs by MCrnigoj, I believe they'll be disappointed.
Final Thoughts for scenario designer King Bob VI:
This is a great scenario and I was amazed at the levels of excellence reached in this campaign. In my view you are an extremely talented designer and I did not see any indications in The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD V1-3 of limits in regard to your creativity. Only as a player and Reviewer I must have the courage to point out aspects of a design I consider to be less than excellent and to rate them in relation to the categories of Review they impact. I can only hope that my Reviews are seen as a fair and honest account based on the facts of my experience playing. In the past I've had to muster the courage to Review the 'Hastings' design by Marko Crnigoj -- the inspiration for this scenario, and with the same respect for his talent as I have for yours, still reasoned a deduction for that design. The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD design is a credit to it's inspiration (Hastings), and I look forward to playing more your designs.
The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD is a single scenario, a FF, the game loosely based on the historical battle that took place Monday September 25 in the year 1066 at today's Stamford Bridge, historically Stamford, located in Yorkshire, 12 miles east of York. You play the Saxon side under Harold Godwinson, elected King of England by the Wing, former Earl of Wessex, brother in law to the former King Edward II, The Confessor, your opponents, Harald Hardrada King of Norway and your own brother Tostig, former Earl of Northumbria.
PLAYABILITY: This was truly disappointing as I had high expectations downloading the scenario. Do not get me wrong, the scenario is fun and challenging, probably I would have enjoyed it more with a fictional story and a title like 'Battle for a Bridge'. The only historical accuracies of the scenario where some names and that there was a river with a ford and a bridge, the rest of the scenario had no resemblance whatsoever with the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Harald Hardrada's army rested on the two sides of the bridge crossing the river Derwent, a small force to the west and the main army to the east near Stamford, more than a third of the invaders guarded the fleet of over 200 boats in Riccall. The Vikings on the east bank overlooked the area from the low hills and had a spectacular view; they saw the helmets, spears and armors of the approaching Saxons blinking in the sun from far. Every armor, helmet and sword sent multiple reflections of light towards the Vikings who overestimated the number of the approaching army. Harald Hardrada, not aware that he outnumbered Harold Godwinson's forces, sent messengers for help to Riccall, sacrificed the soldiers on the east side of the bridge to buy time to get into battle formation, to unite his men later with the ones led by Eyestein Orri. When they arrived exhausted running the 19 miles from Riccall to the battlefield it was too late, by that time the Saxons had crossed the bridge and ford, took position opposite the Viking forces and annihilated the main part of the Viking army. In this scenario, the Saxons instead of being seen from far lay an ambush, the Vikings not the Saxons attack over the bridge, instead of a battle on hilly meadows the fights take place in the wood, on and around a bridge. Still, the scenario had interesting game variations and thus a replay value and it was not as bad as it might sound above. A player, uninterested in history will enjoy this. 4
BALANCE: I played the scenario thrice, always selected the same level for the AI and in game, and won easily on standard by just gathering the troops around Harold fighting downhill, for moderate that was not enough. A challenging game to use micromanagement and a variety of tactics, the battle was demanding without frustration, great fun and I won with one unit left, Harold Godwinson. The hard level gave me a restart and a couple of reloads from saved games, which brought me close to victory without achieving it, and I consider the scenario's moderate level as perfectly balanced for me. 5
CREATIVITY: While all creative aspects are well above average, with exception to the map, history and story, the scenario's creativity lies primarily in the balance. The map did not portray the historical locations and it is not creative to copy articles from the internet as an alibi for a failed historical approach. The opening cut-scene for the landing of the Vikings in England gives the impression of having a cut-scene just for the sake of it. 4
MAP DESIGN: The map was monotonous, but better than random with a river, forest, elevations and a stone bridge with an unrealistic shadow, which did not look like the historical Stamford Bridge and has no resemblance with the area where the battle took place. The original bridge was narrow, so that according to the legend one man could defend it alone and out of wood as an Anglo-Saxon drove a spear from underneath the bridge into the lower body parts of that brave Viking. Historians believe that the bridge was so narrow that people crossed it only walking, to reach the other side with dry feet, while equestrians and carts used the ford. In this scenario, we have a wide stone walled bridge for an army to fight on it. In addition, there is a technical flaw in the design. For the hard level I chose to divide the army into three, defending the bridge, to attack the Vikings by crossing the river with boats and through the ford, one enemy soldier blocked my units that passed through the ford, due to clumped trees, which was unrealistic. Redirecting them back and across the bridge probably denied the sweet fruit of victory on that level. 4
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The category's content provides what is necessary to score high, a superb bmp, clear objective, good informative hints, a small story and a history section, unfortunately the history were copies from the internet. The description of the historical events falls short of my expectations and are insufficient for this turning point in English history. The events that led to the Battle at Stamford Bridge could serve for a great story, they are so fantastic, exciting that no screenwriter could possibly invent them, a story of family intrigues, betrayal, conquest and two mysterious deaths. 4
OVERALL: The Battle at Stamford Bridge 1066 AD is a challenging, entertaining scenario.
SUGGESTIONS: You have to maintain the standards of historical accuracy established by the creators of AoK. Honestly, change the name of your scenario into something like 'Fight for a bridge', rename the historical units and make up a fictional story.
IN CLOSING: I recommend the download; it is a great scenario for all fixed force fans.