Your Sinclair1st December 1991
Published in Your Sinclair #72
War Of The Roses
I've always said that roses are pretty stupid things to have wars about. I mean, apart from the colour they're all the same, so what's to fight about? So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that these rosy-type wars were between Lancashire and Yorkshire, and actually started when Richard, Duke Of York, claimed he was King (cos the real King had just had a mental breakdown and believed he was a small forest on the Isle of Wight).
Between 1455 and 1485 there were loads of gory battles in loads of blood-spattered, muddy fields. Of course CSS can't show the whole war (well they could, but it's be a bit of a long game), so they've just chosen seven humungous (and very boisterous) battles, all of which you have to load in separately. You can choose which side to play and, depending on the scenario, one side will have a big advantage (like standing on a hill when the enemies are knee-deep in a marsh or having zillions of archers when the enemy only have a few pointed sticks). But if you play all the scenarios it all evens out. Skill, luck (and quickly inventing the B52 bomber to flatten your foe) should win the day.
If you've played Cromwell Art War (and you should have done cos it was on our cover cassette a while back) you'll be right at home with War Of The Roses. The format is pretty similar to look at and use, but David Stokes (the programmer of both games) has added a huge amount of new stuff like morale and fatigue ratings. This means that when your guys are getting trashed, they feel a bit blue and depressed and want to go back to bed. Then, if you make them run up and down hills, they get tired and demand cans of Lucozade before they go any further. Just like real life.
Eat Metal Arrow-Heads, Lancashire Scum!
Perhaps it's just my imagination, but War Of The Roses seems lots fast than Cromwell and it's certainly a better game overall. The graphics are pretty similar except that there's a few more ground details, like improved villages and towns and lots of different army units. They've kept the map in the corner that tells you where everyone is, and there are options which give you lots of info about your forces.
I had quite a bit of fun with War Of The Roses, especially when my troops way outnumbered the enemy. I kept my men out of fighting range and just told my archers to let them have it with the arrows. I'd make such a good general, I just have that fighting instinct. (But, James, you're scared of your neighbour's daschund. Ed) Ahem, anyway, eventually the girlies gave up and ran away, so it was victory to me (playing Yorkshire, naturellement). Hurrah!
It's a bit specialised and you'll need to settle down with War Of The Roses for at least half an hour just to work out how everything works. But if you're vaguely into medieval blokes slogging it out in the rain, and you like a bit of strategy, then this is the game to go for. There's a demo of it on the cassette, so check it out.
It's history in the making - get it to exercise your brain not your trigger finger!