Very late to the party - can't quite get my head around the game
Got KA in the Paradox publisher sale last June, and thought I'd give it a look over the weekend, as had some free time. Some things are really impressive, and playing through my first campaign on normal really enjoyed it until I got my first Stronghold. At that point, I got hammered by a whole bunch of flood/disease/what have-you quests, at the same time as having to replenish my troops, and fight off Virconium (which, for a place with two provinces, could support a much larger army than I could even after I'd added those two provinces to my kingdom!)
Got through Virconium, got the upgrades to settle the disasters down, and got things under control, but it took a while as had to do a lot of repairing of armies in the field (I'm still winning battles with around 25% or less of the losses of the people I'm fighting - so very, very good results from any realistic or historical, or even fantasy literature perspective) but by this stage every other kingdom (even East and West Mercia) have far larger armies than I could possibly support even though I own half of England and Cornwall! And before I can refit and maybe take on Mercia, I get Sidhe armies rolling down from Powys, which continually sap my manpower, putting me in what feels like an eternal grind (I'm up to turn 250 now - King Arthur must be around 80 years old!) - I'm making slow progress, but this game won't be over until King Arthur is well into his 100s.
So far, this feels less like a strategy game and more like a puzzle game - ie, you have to do everything _right_, or you'll get taken over eventually (ie, you're not playing in a semi-sandbox of fantasy Arthurian Britain with quests and a storyline, you're playing on a rigid timeline and if you can't keep up you'll be hammered by AI that get a much easier run than you).
So, a couple of qns for the vets:
- Does the AI blatantly cheat and be able to field much larger armies and repair their troops much more easily than the player?
- Does dropping the difficulty down to beginner affect the rate at which this occurs?
- Are the Saxon/Druids quest less puzzle and more strategy? (ie, more pure strategy where in a normal game you can take some losses and keep playing, or 'puzzle-strategy', where you have to keep going back to past saves to re-do things you didn't get spot-on right the first time, even on normal). Neocore's 'Crusades' was very much puzzle first and strategy later, but was hoping adding in RPG elements and the campaign map would have brought the game more into strategy than puzzle (that said, nothing wrong with puzzle-strategy, it's just not so much my thing).
- Is KA2 more strat and less puzzle-strat, or more of the same?
There's a whole lot of potential to KA, but it just seems a bit unpolished (and the AI seem to do _very_ well for themselves strategically), and it doesn't telegraph strategic failure well enough for a classic 'puzzle strategy', but the AI seem to get far too much of a helping hand for it to be traditional strategy. Playing it traditional strat deffo doesn't work (I've been playing strat games since the text-sprite based empire, and have _plenty_ of experience), as there's no way that East/West Mercia should be able to maintain the armies they can on the resources they have (ie, you can't rely on thinking strategically - about resource use and management - as very different rules apply to your opponents). But puzzle strat isn't really my thing (the repetition bores me, and kind kills the immersion).
Hi, King Arthur is indeed a challenging game, it's one of the main "quality" of the title, and if you read some of the threads here, you will notice that most of the players have a more easier start on their second playthrough, knowing what to do and when.
About your questions, yes the AI cheats, those poor 1-2 provinces kingdoms would be no match otherwise. The difficulty only changes the HP and mana of the enemy heroes (maybe the level of their units too, but I'm not sure), the hard difficulty being the balanced difficulty (same hp/mana for everybody).
The 2 DLC are more a sandbox game, and the quests are all battle challenges with artifacts or heroes as a reward. The AI cheats less also. I didn't play KA2 yet.
If you want some advises, give some informations about your game (armies, economy, quests ...). I usually finish my games around turn 250.
Thanks heaps for the response Noon, much appreciated. Much easier playing the game when you've got an idea of how it plays, as while it looks like a Total War game, and the battles are similar (and I very much like the control point idea), the strategic side of things is very different, and caught me completely off guard. I could see it was a quality production, and love the vibe, but despite playing the strategic map like a traditional strategy game, I was getting hammered, and was a little puzzled why.
Think I'll start again, rather than try and salvage this game, and play a much tighter run-though - will be more fun that way. Glad to hear Druids/Saxons are a bit more open-ended as well.
Thanks again for the help, good gaming .