After having a thoroughly impressive time romping around the New World as Colonial Great Britain and then giving the Frenchies the spanking they deserved, before surviving the Battle of Bunker Hill by the skin of my ‘birth of a nation’ teeth, I decided a change of pace was in order.
The start of Episode III of The Road to Independence Campaign opened up a huge range of mind-boggling possibilities. I almost found myself reaching for the game manual such was my stunned WTF experience with the campaign map. It is many times more complex than previous versions of Total War, but so far the additional complexity doesn’t appear to be a hindrance as one may have worried it would, rather it is a great enhancement to an already great game. Gone is the linear tech tree replaced with an interwoven tech, building, unit system. It’s no longer a case of having the right population level and the right prerequisite building to be able to construct the next level in the chain, or the next unit, now you need to have the complimentary tech which is researched in schools, colleges and universities. Your agent, ‘The Gentlemen’ performs the research allowing you to unlock new technologies, therefore new abilities, therefore new units, therefore new tactical opportunities on the glorious field of battle.
Spurred on by this realisation I wanted to explore the options presented in the Grand Campaign. I opted to play as The Maratha Confederacy, residents of the southern part of the Indian Sub-Continent and hemmed in by the Portuguese on the west coast, the Dutch on Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the Muslim Mughal Empire to the north covering the rest of India. As tempted as I was to start as Great Britain and go France-bashing, or as Spain with access to the Spanish Main, or even as Prussia hemmed in by major European powers, the different location of India appealed to me, as did the challenge of facing down a major opponent to the north whilst holding off the interests of the Colonialists who will inevitably come calling.
And it’s ‘so far so good’. I’ve expanded from two regions to three with a fourth under siege and about to fall. As I go further north so the religious compass will start to swing towards Islam and the going will get tougher with an ideological change required for the conquered populations, but the early years have been good to me so far. The Colonialists remain friendly if uncommunicative, and the Ottoman Turks are interested in securing trade options. In the centre of the Confederacy, Mysore has just declared war against me and attacked a couple of my outlying settlements, so I have responded in turn by occupying a few of theirs over the border from Carnatica.
I wanted to continue, but it’s getting late and I have work (nooooooooo!!) in the morning.
Options are.. ok, this isn’t an option. Mysore will be crushed as soon as Ahmadnagar succumbs to my siege. Then we have options.
One, we push forward and continue the momentum of the attack on the Mughals, attempt to remain on friendly terms with the Portuguese and Dutch, and fend off any other would by Colonists who drop by. Or two, turn back, hit the Europeans before they become too established and potentially incur the wrath of the major powers who will surely retaliate. I have a feeling it will be easier to defend against a seaborne attack rather than against an army with a major settlement (re-arm, recruit) to use. However currently they do not threaten me and as Maratha marches on, our strength grows and in time the Colonialists may learn to fear us.
Goddammit, this is game is going to keep me busy for months!