Title Vikings: Fields of Conquest Publisher Krisalis (1992) Programmer Brian Vodnik Game Type Strategy Players 1-6 HD Installable Yes Compatibility All Amigas Submission John Burns (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review First off I'd like to address the issue of this game's title. It is actually prefixed Kingdoms of England 2, which it most definitely isn't. It is in fact an updated version of the original Kingdoms of England (1987) rather than a true sequel. Another reason for dropping the prefix and staying with the title Vikings is that the sequel (IBM only) was titled Vikings 2. So, any complaints on the back of a postage stamp please. The game is most reminiscent of the later title Lords of the Realm and given this similarity I will be comparing them frequently. I would venture that the designers of Lords had in fact a good knowledge of this game such is the similarity. Like that game this is a turn based strategy game set in medieval times. However, one important difference is that this game is set not only in England and Wales but also incorporates Ireland, Iceland, Scotland (so you know you're gonna have to be tough) ;) and parts of Scandinavia. Remember it is called Vikings and this is yet another reason for dumping the KoE prefix. The game begins with the usual selection of leader and kingdom's name, difficulty level etc. then it's off we go. Unlike Lords, where your starting location is random but always in one of the predetermined positions, in this game you have the option to either choose a starting territory manually or have one given at random. Obviously when you have played the game a bit manually choosing can be a bit of a cheat but hey, you don't have to and it is nice to be given the choice. There are some 150 or so territories to choose from and in addition to getting a Castle and Army in your homeland you are also given some adjacent territories to rule over. Taxes are set by territory and are not adjustable but this is not a hindrance. Turns in this game represent a year and unlike in Lords there is no micro management of the population in their endeavours. Your people farm the fields and harvest the crops without your interference. However, before you can get ores (silver, gold and iron) you have to pay to search a territory and if some are found a mine is created and manned. Some resources such as wood and stone are automatically produced in territories that can produce them. In Lords of course all territories can produce the same but here they cannot so in that sense this is more life-like. Okay, I could go on and list all the other features, their differences and similarities, but I think you get the drift. Of course this is primarily a strategy game so let's talk about fighting. As I stated above you are given some armies at the start. You can send these forth immediately to conquer new territories or buy some more troops to strengthen them; your money, your choice, though obviously where your neighbours are will play a part in this decision. So what is the combat like, well nothing much really - a window appears in which both side's forces are detailed along with the option to retreat. As you watch you will see the figures for each side modifying as combat is simulated, not very exciting granted but reasonable enough. Unlike Lords there is no siege option when besieging an enemy territory which contains fortifications, (Castle, Tower, etc.), a definite oversight in my view. On the flip side an Army in this game must be equipped with catapults when attacking fortifications something missing from Lords. Vikings does have one other feature which some of the more astute amongst you may have been wondering about, The Sea, or to be more precise the crossing of it. Yes, in this game you have to build ships for fighting and transportation. Of course you will also have to build a port to access these options. All of this eats into your precious resources and money so this is yet another element which you have to juggle when making your decisions. Control wise it's pretty intuitive being mouse/icon driven with the exception of loading and saving which are accessed via the keyboard. Clicking on a territory for instance will bring up an information window giving you details about that territory and some icons which allow you to buy troops and build items such as the aforementioned ports and fortifications. The buying and selling of produce; wood, ores and food is managed on a kingdom wide basis from icons located at the left edge of the screen which affects mouse actions. These icons are used to select the troop, territory or mining modes when using the mouse on the main map. All in all it works well and only takes a few minutes to learn and become accustomed to. Overall then this is a game which I, and will continue to, enjoy. Ultimately though one has to ask the question is this better or worse than Lords and also is it worth having both. If I was really pushed and had to choose only one to keep then I'd probably opt for this title, albeit with much regret. That said, my view is that though very similar in many respects, there are still enough differences to enable both games to co-exist within your software collection without either being overshadowed by the other. Certainly a game worth owning and playing.