B1 Intermediate US 93 Folder Collection
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Total War has been my go-to series for re-enacting
scenes from Lord of the Rings ever since the

movies came out.
But… which is best?

(Obviously not Rome 2).
There's only one way to find out. I shall

compare them in a controlled and fair environment.
For this I have chosen play as the English

and to crush the French, rating how fun it
is to do so in each and every game.

Of course, this does mean that I may have
to skip the Japan-only Shogun titles -and

possibly the Warhammer ones- but what's
the point in playing a Total War game without

the British any way?
So today, I'll be trying out Medieval: Total

War. The oldest of the series (apart from
Shogun), and the very first that I bought.

Those were good times: I got it as a combined
deal with Morrowind for £30. Pound-for-pound

the best deal since I got these TWO DEADLY

Good old Medieval: Total War. It may have

been basic but knew it was total war, not
a 2% bonus micromanagement simulator. No,

this title kept it simple, letting you focus
on the things that really mattered. Like invading

countries and forcing incestuous family trees.
But first things first: before I can think

about France, I must first unite my own island.
And get used to the controls, which are quite

a bit different from the later games.
I couldn't work out how to get units to

leave their castles for a while, then accidentally
got my King stuck in there as well.

But with all that figured out, I was ready
to take over the world, starting with Wales.

The battle would be long and hard. Many men
would fall. Equipped with longbowmen and some

of the wettest, slipperiest and most miserable
hills in the world, they'd rek my armies

and delay my attack on France.
So I bribed them instead.

The plus points of this approach are that
I get to keep my own army, PLUS a new one!

The down-sides are that it costs 2,000 florins…
…and I get Wales.
But it's probably best to get some practice
of the battles in, so I launched an attack

on Scotland, led by the King himself!
To maximise my archers' range, I chose to
fight when the weather would be clear all

day. But remember… this is Britain. Having
maximised my chances, now all I had to do

was to find the enemy.
I found them hidden in the trees. I kind of

expected them to jump out at me as I went
past them, but they seemed happy camped there,

allowing me to gain the high-ground and to
launch barrage after barrage of arrows into

their ranks, which was a tad hindered by the

It took them long enough, but they eventually
responded and we became engaged in TOTAL WAR.

My foot-soldiers were my major weakness, comprising
of peasants who stood no chance against their

hardened warriors. But I had horses, and the
King himself flanked the enemy and charged

into their rears, sandwiching the Scottish.
But then another bunch of Scotsmen sandwiched

MY horses between them. Things got messy and
I tried to get my horses to retreat. But they

weren't having any of it. I was honestly
expecting my King to die any second.

Even though they had a pretty good advantage,
having their general die immediately made

the rest of them give up and run away, meaning
that I had secured the whole of Britain for

But a difficult choice lay ahead. Should I,

the King of England, be a ruthless dictator,
or a fair and just leader? After all, it was

I who had invaded their lands so why should

*Sound of death, destruction and the lamentations
of the women*

…Onto France.
It was truly a blessed day for England. Not

only had I secured the island, but the Pope
paid me for being a good Christian and my

Son came of age, ready to be tossed into the
battlefield as cannon fodder! I married him

to both of his sisters to ensure the bloodline
remained pure, and planned my assault on France.

Turns out England used to be pretty awesome
and had already taken over most of Western

France. The French mostly resided in the East,
though strangely also held onto Brittany.

Clearly this is the first place I want to
attack- though it's guarded by a pretty

formidable general.
I decided to play it smart for now by reinforcing

what I had first by securing everywhere with
forts and to research people with actual weapons

to be my main foot soldiers. Also, the bloody
Welsh were at it again with another, bigger

army that I had to deal with.
...but I had a problem. I didn't have enough

money to bribe Wales, but also I didn't
have a big enough army to comfortably beat

them with. So instead, progress slowed to
a crawl. I built farms and all that boring-ass-shit

instead, spamming the end turn button as my
money replenished and then was spent again,

over and over.
But the time wasn't wasted. I remembered

a lot about the game's mechanics. Countries
came to me requesting alliances, and in general

there was great peace and prosperity across
the world… apart from when Germany attacked

France and was then excommunicated. That was
something I'd have to bear in mind for when

I finally decided to attack them myself.
This is kind of sad, but being a fan of Lord

of the Rings I always made a big effort to
ally with Aragon. So of course, I accepted

without a moment's notice when they requested
it this time.

Spamming the end turn button, I knew the clock
was ticking. The French would troll me by

saying how happy they were, and sadly the
King of England eventually died too, replaced

by one of his many illegitimate sons.
I was eventually rich enough to bribe Wales

again, amassing a large and well-equipped
army with it. And I prepared for my attack

on France.
And for now at least, the royal family was

doing a good job of keeping their perversions
secret. The incest was starting to take effect

too as the royal family evolved to the next

I began researching buildings that could produce
exotic units. Or at least, not just your average

farmer. I lowered tax rates in far-out regions
so I could move their armies to the front

line without fear of rebellion.
My troops from England landed in Flanders

to face the French King's army, while my
already-France-based troops teamed up against

My English troops didn't even get a fight

since the French just ran away. But those
in Brittany had nowhere to go and a battle

broke out between 2 high-ranked armies.
I approached them slowly, across the hills.

Their 2 almighty ballistas managed an impressive
ONE kill before they were overrun and destroyed.

With so much Calvary it was easy for me to
create a pincer, trapping their army in the

The right flank alone could hold its own but

it was the left that really pushed them back.
At this point it descended into a massive

raging brawl. But I was the victor and their
army, scattered in all directions.

It's kind of hard to see because the controls
are SO BAD. But I'm doing my best here,

This fight, it wasn't even close. Some of

them regrouped and I had to hold my own with
just a handful of units while the rest rushed

to help from across the battlefield. But they
all handled themselves beautifully and I crushed

their army, claiming Brittany for my own.
But what happened next was even better. Countries

from across the world all wrote to me letting
me know that they had chosen my side and suddenly

the French found themselves very lonely. And
to top it all off, the POPE blessed me and

my Christian ways and decided that France
had some how broken a treaty and that he would

no longer be friends with them.
Jeez… I kind of felt sorry for them. Poor

But I had to keep the momentum up! I launched

3 more attacks the following year. The first
to lay siege to the castle at Brittany. I

auto-resolved this one since it was 2 EZ.
The second the French just ran away. But the

third became a surprisingly close battle.
There was a damn lake in the middle of it

and the enemies kept running away. It resulted
in my armies being spread too thin, then my

generals got caught up in a fight that they
didn't want to run from and I ended up losing

pretty much all of them.
The enemy didn't come off much better. He

sent some brave 1-man armies against my urban
militia and dealt WAYYY more damage than he

should have done.
And then the second 1-man army arrived.

It was a messy brawl. When my main general
fell, those engaged in combat quickly ran

away. But luckily my reserve footmen finally
made it to the frontline and finished off

the stragglers.
I had won the battle, but it was a very costly

I had secured 3 more provinces and ransomed

back important prisoners for a HUGE load of
money… but then the Pope decided I had had

enough fun and threatened me with excommunication.
This meant I had 2 turns to get out of French-owned

provinces before the Pope tells the whole
of Europe to DESTROY me.

And so began another boring period where I
built up my armies and shifted them to the

front-line, waiting for the excommunication
timeout. I began to get some pretty decent

units and commanded a siege that I couldn't
be bothered to do properly and sustained heavy

losses, but here's what such a battle looks
like in case you were interested.

Admittedly when I agreed to this battle I
thought I was the one in the castle, defending

against the French. But sadly, that wasn't
the case- I don't think they've attacked

me once so far. Poor French. They had pimped
their fortress out with catapults, ballistas

and burning oil which they poured on my army.
I lost a decent general amidst the commotion.

All in all I think this would have been one
of the better battles to have autoresolved.

Any way, eventually the Pope forgot about
my aggression and I could set to work destroying

what looked very much like the final French
province, guarded by a decent army and the

King himself.
What should have been an epic 6,000-strong

battle was marred by poor camera controls
and trees. Which, when coupled with bugged

and sticky- feeling units under my command,
made me just ramp up the speed and turn it

into a huge bloodbath. The battle raged on
but the quality of my troops and the fact

that I had like, twice the number, resulted
in an easy victory where the French ran away.

The French were no more. A once powerful faction,
crushed beneath the boots of the English.

I had done it in 62 years! Could have done
it sooner, I guess. But I chose to play it

smart. To pick my battles and to invest in
decent units. And to not get excommunicated.

This has been Medieval Total War. First released
in 2002, it is kind of showing its age. The

battles are annoyingly unresponsive and I
can appreciate the improvements they've

made in more recent titles. I like the difference
the quality of the units makes- get a decent

soldier and he'll destroy weaker ones. Something
I feel has been toned down too much in the

newer games.
But while the battles feel dated, the campaign

map is as fun as it's always been. Diplomacy
is lacking. There's not a lot of depth.

And autoresolving battles normally means you
lose. But there are things this title does

well and that the newer games could learn
from- most notably, the decisions you make

in this game feel meaningful and you see the
consequences of them just minutes later. Future

Total War games slow to a crawl and you've
normally forgotten what decisions you made

before they start to pay off. Plus, the buildings
you can have in this one feel like stuff you

want to build! Build a castle? It looks like
a castle for the rest of the game and really

helps in sieges! Get a decent sword making
place? You're rewarded with REALLY good

units well before everywhere else does. I
love this and have had many great stories

to tell after just a few hours of gameplay.
Plus the family trees are awesome. I give

this game 7/10.
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2kliksphilip VS the French - Medieval: Total War

93 Folder Collection
wei published on December 16, 2018
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