A late-1980's computer strategy game by SSI, distributed by Electronic Arts. You are the heir to the Duke of Aladda, and must reunite the Aragonian Empire by building an army and conquering the neighboring city-states either through force of arms or other means. Your final goal is to conquer the capital of Tetrada.
While only offering CGA
graphics, Sword of Aragon had a highly detailed medieval
combat simulation system, featuring:
- morale - units could break and run if damaged or under the influence of enemy spells. Veteran units were less likely to lose morale, and high morale also affected a unit's performance in battle.
- fatigue - units that had been force-marched, or those that had been in combat too long lost effectiveness.
- troop experience - individual units could gain levels, much like heroes (PCs)
- troop equipment - you could choose to equip an infantry unit with a variety of arms, both melee and ranged, armor ranging from leather to chain and plate, and horses, from light to heavy. Horses could also be equipped with armor (barding). Equipment costs were not only charged during unit creation, but also increased unit maintenance. Also, some equipment (plate, for example) were only available to higher-level troops.
- terrain - high or low ground was a factor, as well as mud, tree cover, and fortifications.
- weather - the game keeps track of the various seasons, and marching during winter will kill off a portion of your men. It's therefore best to plan military campaigns during the spring, and make sure you are secure within a city by the first snow.
A direct descendant of the tabletop cardboard-counter strategy game, Aragon is seen as one of the forerunners of the modern computer strategy simulations such as the Panzer General series, although few of these newer games have a combat model offering this level of detail.
The game proceeds in a somewhat linear fashion. Although you could wander the map, do quests, and conquer cities freely, several quests only appear if you visit the enemy cities in a particular order. You may also choose to strike deals with factions in each city, helping them to overthrow the current ruler, in which case they will agree to be your vassal, freeing you from micromanaging that particular city (as they will pay you a tax each month).
You will also have to contend with various non-human races (the standard fantasy elves, dwarves and giants) and can either strike alliances or declare hostilities with them as you wish. Be advised, however, that angering the elves is unwise without a strong military to back you up, due to their proximity to your starting cities.
This is reputedly one of author Jerry Pournelle's all-time favorite games, and has received lavish praise in his Byte magazine columns.
A very addictive game, especially for strategy grognards or fantasy role-players, although extremely dated graphics and a clunky interface may put off younger gamers.