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Great War Nations: The Spartans

by Dreamcatcher Interactive, 2008, $39.99.

Great War Nations: The Spartans draws on campaigns from two historic periods—Sparta’s decline as the dominant Greek city-state and the unification of Greece under Alexander of Macedon, the latter having little to do with Sparta. The game was released in Europe as Fate of Hellas, a more appropriate title.

As in other real-time strategy games, the player gathers resources, raises and equips an army and engages enemy forces. One unique feature is Spartans’ troop-creation system: You can customize the weapons and gear of every soldier on the battlefield and even employ equipment dropped by defeated enemy hoplites.

On the downside, poor AI plagues the game. Sparta and Macedon greatly depended on the phalanx formation. While you can organize your units into such a formation, they tend to break ranks when traveling or fighting, creating defensive gaps. If this had happened as often in real life, the Spartans and Macedonians would have been footnotes in the annals of military history. Pathfinding is also problematic, as troops repeatedly lose their bearings or take the longest march route possible. Despite these criticisms, Spartans offers an easy learning curve and should appeal to novice strategy gamers seeking an introduction to the genre.


Originally published in the December 2008 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here