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Spoils of war logo

Internecine 29.99

Spoils of war Tabletop wargaming is a genre that has been emulated time and time again in computer games, and it does not seem to be too hard to get them right, providing you have a decent game system. Spoils Of War is an attempt at a true tabletop game, and what a great attempt.

The aim is to search a new found landscape, finding islands and colonising them before any of the three other possible opponents do. Success guarantees you a position at the King's side.
You do not actually do any of the hard work yourself. You need explorers to do the dirty work, and these are divided into four categories, from Governor (good in towns and at controlling people) to Commanders, used to lead your strikes across land and sea. You begin the game with little money, and have to build your armies from scratch.

Spoils Of War is played out over a series of game turns, like any other wargame. What is new is the dauntingly high level of strategy involved. You run everything in this game, from ground level taxes on up, and getting things running smoothly is a challenge in itself.
Clicking on icons opens up submenus, giving you the chance to do almost anything, from hiring some colonists to building a boat. A scrolling map window gives you a view onto the word, and is also where most commands are issued.

Where the game really stands out is in close-up battle. The high level of intelligence shown by computer opponents gives their moves a calculated feel, rather than seeming merely random. Depending on how you fight each battle, it is possible to take on a huge army with a small bunch of soldiers and win, provided you find weaknesses and exploit it.

I am a fan of the genre, so I liked Spoils Of War a lot. However, I doubt if non-wargamers will get much enjoyment out of it, as there is very little to appeal to them. One for purists only, I am afraid.
Tony Dillon


CU Amiga, December 1992, p.59