Guest Author - James Shea
A fairly simple real-time-tactics game, "King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame" uses a model established by the Total War series and combines it with some weak attempts at fantasy.
"King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame" is, naturally, set in the mythos of King Arthur - a quasi-medieval Britain full of faeries, magic, and knights. In the campaign, the player takes command of the Knights of the Round Table, gradually winning Britain province by province. However, it's less like an open strategy game and more like a campaign game - you have specific mission objectives, it's not just wandering around doing things the way you want.
One of the game's key features is its morality system, which features two scales: Righteous/Tyrant and Christian/Pagan. The former is a fairly standard good/evil thing, and the choices are fairly obvious: "help the rightful lord" versus "help the evil tyrant", "give to charity" versus "burn down a village", and so on. The latter is a bit less black-and-white, but the prompts are similarly simplistic. There's sort of a turn-based world map, but there's not that much to do on it other than proceed to your immediate objectives - although the game opens up after some early content.
The battle gameplay is essentially the same as a Total War game. Units are grouped into platoons of 40-odd units, and include melee infantry, archers, cavalry, and a few special units. The one thing that separates this from a Total War game is the presence of magic, in the form of Hero Abilities and special zones on the battlefield that can be captured. Some of these abilities, like the ability to summon fog, are tactical. Other abilities, like lightning bolt, are more directly combat-related. This adds a new factor to the otherwise normal combat system. Still, the basic gameplay is kind of slow and plodding, and there's not a whole lot of tactical complexity. The magic isn't really enough of a factor to change the dynamic, it's just an occasional shift in the battlefield or a single damaging attack.
The graphics aren't that great. The designs are uninspired and generic, but more importantly the game doesn't really look like it makes sense when you zoom out. There's a bunch of little flags and a mess of troops and it's kind of hard to tell what's what. Total War had similarly sized battles, but made it a lot clearer who was where and what was going on. The graphics in this game are not conducive to gameplay at all. The sound designs are similarly boring, with only one quote per unit type (so get used to hearing the same "Infantry!" "Archers!" quote every time you click a unit).
Overall, "King Arthur" is kind of a boring game. It's not really exciting or interesting, and it doesn't have that much to recommend it in terms of its production. Medieval: Total War basically does everything that KATRPWG does, but better.
We purchased this game with our own funds from Steam.