• ?Good vs Bad – Thrones of Britannia – Community Review

    I’ve had a very strange experience of Thrones of Britannia so far.

    On the one hand I’ve deeply enjoyed most of the new campaign mechanics introduced. I love the intimate detail of the setting, the period accurate names, the more involved family and character management, the music, and all of the other features which do a great job of evoking the setting and time period so well.

    I especially appreciate the unit recruitment and upkeep systems. The introduction of food as a new resource and partial-strength recruitment make army management so much more tactical. In Warhammer if an enemy managed a surprise attack you could always recruit a new lord, stick him in a garrisoned town, and have a decent half stack army within one to two turns. Not so in Britannia, and I love being forced to plan ahead and actually maintain defensive armies in a way I’ve not had to do in other Total War titles.

    But, on the other hand, I’ve abandoned my current campaign due to one new feature that, while a great idea in theory, has been implemented in such a stunning stupid way that I can only assume they asked Jack Lusted’s twelve year old nephew to fill in on the day it was being designed. Namely, the War Fervor system.

    I actually loved the idea when I first saw it. “Aha,” I thought, “now I’ll actually need to manage strategic gains and possibly make peace if I can’t accomplish my objectives in a reasonable timeframe to keep my people happy.” I like the idea of being forced to strategically balance war and peace, trying to make as much progress as you can and keep your people’s spirits up before they start whining loudly enough that you’re forced to pack it in for a bit and let them get back to mundane concerns like farming and making new arrow fodder…*ahem*, I mean babies.

    But that’s not how the system works at all. The bonuses and penalties you accrue NEVER go away. The three points of Border War penalty you took on turn one for having a border with one of your enemies? Still there on turn 100. Apparently the ancient Britons had shockingly long memories. Which ultimately means that making peace does nothing to help reduce your war weariness aside from the pitifully small bonus you get from declaring peace itself.

    The only consistent way keep your war fervor balanced is winning battles. The problem here is two-fold. First, only actually field battles count. If you managed to maneuver your enemy into a bad position and conquer half his kingdom after only fighting one or two battles, your ungrateful peasants couldn’t care less. Also, because of the way the points are awarded, you would have to win a decisive victory EVERY SINGLE TURN just to keep up with the border war penalty. Only Heroic victories give enough points to really buy you some breathing room.

    All this creates a situation where you’re forced to constantly pursue new wars in order to fight new battles in order to keep your war fervor in the black, which is exactly the opposite of how the mechanic was intended to function. And the penalties for dropping down into even the first negative state are massive, the biggest of which being a whopping 25% reduction in unit replenishment.

    It has totally killed my enjoyment of the game so far, because it makes the kind of careful, strategic maneuvering I enjoy largely impossible. My proposed changes would be.

    1. Have all war fervor bonuses and penalties gained from a specific enemy begin to decrease by 5 each turn after you’ve made peace.

    2. Add a war fervor bonus for conquering territory as well as battles, as well as a penalty for losing territory.

    3. Add a scaling unit replenishment bonus for being in a positive war fervor state (men more eager to join) but also a scaling loyalty penalty for lords (bored lords begin looking more to their own interests).

    Whether you did it through these changes or something different, in the end I would just love to see the numbers balanced out so that your people’s war weariness increases as you remain at war unless you are consistently successful, and then begins to reduce once you are at peace as you regroup for the next campaign. Hopefully some enterprising modders will tackle the issue now that the Steam Workshop has launched.