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Fantasy strategy done properly
Now this is a game which does exactly what it says on the tin and which does it with style, depth and variety and which makes for a fine fantasy-themed strategy sim. Coming from the SSI stable which produced similar WWII sims like Panzer General, this one places players into a fairly traditional fantasy world where the evil Shadowlord is attempting to seize control of the land. Taking control of one of four heroes, each with their own special abilities, players must engage in a series of squad-level battles against the Shadowlords forces and generals. The main focus of the game is the combat but there are other elements like recruiting, technology research and resource management which are straightforward enough but make for a nice diversion. Battles take place over a range of environment types on hex-based maps and which each present their own tactical challenges, with certain units proving more effective in some than in others and which adds a nice extra element of strategy to proceedings. There is a good mix of units available across various classes, including expected types like cavalry and archers and more unusual ones like siege engines and sky hunters and while the range of options might not be extensive, it does provide plenty of options for differing force types. While Fantasy General doesn't do anything particularly new or original, it does manage to get everything pretty much right which makes it a good choice for genre fans and newcomers alike. The graphics are unspectacular but are certainly serviceable and there are some neat designs which mix fantasy with steampunk-style sensibilities and there is a lot of attention to detail. The combat is exciting and challenging with plenty of opportunities for different tactics and overall this is an entertaining slice of fantasy strategy that is well worth seeking out. Check out Star General for SSI's sci-fi take on the genre which is just as good.
Hex based, but fantasy in theme wargame
In Fantasy General you have the option of playing the campaign included or going for the multiplayer route, which allows you to play hot seat against your friends. The game's theme is a fantasy one, but fear not, if you've done your apprenticeship in regular WWI or WWII games, you'll be right at home in Fantasy General, controls wise and style of play wise. The game offers you two distinct factions, each with its own unique units, slightly different and slightly inviting to different types of play, but I think that overall, whatever faction you play your experience will be pretty similar in terms of your involvement and strategy. Graphically the 2D maps and the way information is conveyed work as good as you can wish for, so that will be alright; not the prettiest game out there, but stylish enough just as well. At any rate, give it a try, you should not be disappointed. Alternatively, Lords of Magic can be a good option for another highly strategic game, though this one sure plays a little different than your everyday hex based.