Sunday, October 30, 2022

Kisah AKU n With Fire & Swords: English Civil War


Hari ni nak buka entry pasal video games lah pulak. Dah lama rasanya tak buat entri pasal ni. Takpelah, sekarang ni sudut video games + mod di diarimcbride nampaknya bakal bernafas balik. Yelah tu, ni pun sebab takde benda nak update and kebetulan terjumpa mod ni dekat ModDB. Haha

Baiklah, mod yang aku nak review hari ni ialah English Civil War or simply known as ECW. Mod dicipta khusus untuk Mount & Blade: With Fire & Swords ni was being developed an English modder team, DavB pada tahun 2018. As the title suggested, mod ni bertemakan English Civil War, sebuah konflik besar yang berlaku diantara tiga faction - Royalist, Parliamentarians dan Scots Covenanter. 

Map fokus di British Isles, merangkumi kawasan dari Ireland (barat), Scotland (utara) dan England (selatan). Yang aku screenshot ni ialah area capital, London. Ada empat faction yang ada - Royalist, Parliamentarians, Scots Covenanters dan juga Catholic Confederates. Interestingly kita bermula sebagai pro-Parliamentarians, tapi lepas habiskan quest first tu kita bebas untuk pilih mana-mana faction. Macam aku, terus jump tu Royalist. Sebab apa? Sambung lah baca kasi habis. Haha

Dalam map ni banyak jugak point of interest yang labelled kaler putih. E.g: Hawnby House macam kat gambar atas ni. Ada close to twenty visitable interesting location ranging from church/citadel, windmills/watermills, country houses. Each of these location ada function tersendiri, sebagai contoh windmills untuk produce wheat/bread for foods, watermills untuk gunpowder production which essential for artillery, church/country house untuk recruit special unit such as drummer, standard bearer, preacher, etc.

Dari segi kosmetik memang tak banyak changes with vanilla games, kebanyakkan scene masih menggunakan native file. Maybe sebab era yang sama kot. Tapi dari segi uniform, weapon dan equipment memang based on era ketika itu, iaitu kurun ke-16 di England. 

Elemen RTS didalam ECW ni dapat dilihat melalui role karekter dalam faction yang dipilih. Mirip Total War, mod ni membolehkan party yang diketuai karekter untuk attack, defend, reinforce, besiege atau scout open world. Konsep RTS atau real time strategy dapat dilihat melalui tema game ini iaitu ketika zaman English Civil War. Watak, tempat dan event yang wujud didalam open world ialah berdasarkan real-life event yang triggered within the Kingdom at that time seperti King Charles I, John Pym, Oliver Cromwell, William Cavendish, Alexander Leslie dan banyak lagi. Mechanic game sama je, its role-playing game. Dimana kita akan control satu character yang kita created before starting our journey. For this review, I created my English character yang bernama Fredrik Stewart. At the time of this review, beliau masih lagi memegang title captain didalam tentera Royalist. 

Okay since aku takde intention nak create miniseries (penat dan takde masa), jom kita tengok sikit journey hero kita dalam mod ni. Fredrik Stewart is the eldest son of Sir Henry Stewart and Mathilde Percy. His father is currently serving as administrator for Newburn district, which is under the protection of William Cavendish, the Marquess of Newcastle.

The Stewart's clan run the district from their family seat of Newburn Manor House. The region served as the principal coal production of Newcastle Upon-Tyne. In the year 1642, the Kingdom was rocked by a civil war between two factions - the supporter of the Crown or known as the Royalist against the Puritans or known as the Parliamentarian. Fredrik who being groomed to be a county official was summoned into the Royalist army to support Cavendish' campaign of Northeast England. Lobbied by his father, he was put directly under the Marquess himself as his cavalier regiment. Whilst the move seems political, Fredrik's enlistment was also credited due to his exceptional horse-riding skills and swordsmanship.

Cavendish invaded Yorkshire with 10,000 troops and caught the Parliamentarian's forces off-guard under Earl of Essex, Lord Ferdinand Fairfax near Piercebridge in November 1642. In the aftermath of the rearguard action at Piercebridge, Cavendish advance southward and besiege the strategic town of York before triumphantly captured the Parliamentarian's stronghold. The success allowed the Royalist forces to secured a landing zone for arms convoy of weapons from Europe via North Sea.

December 1642 - the Marquess renewed the offensive and advanced towards Tadcaster with 4,000 men against the Parliamentarian forces of around 2,000 men. Although outnumbered, Fairfax already strengthen the town defenses with a construction of redoubt overlooking the main road. Cavendish commenced the battle by sending 1,000 Royalist musketeers to check the East side of the town, defended by Parliamentarian's rearguard under Sir John Hotham. A brief exchange of musket fire happened between the two equal forces which saw the Royalist initial attack faltered. 

Having realized the strong enemy defenses, Cavendish improvised and launch a two-prong attack against both flanks. This assault was carried out with 2,000 infantrymen directed against Hotham's battered position while 400 cavaliers and dragoons under the command of Sir Reginald Percy quickly deployed to clear the Western redoubt

At 3pm, the attack begins. Cavendish stormed Hotham's position under heavy musket fire from the well defended Parliamentarians. However, the Royalist's sheer number slowly managed to diminish its disadvantage and reached the battlement. Melee fighting ensued with no sides refuse to surrender and held their ground. 

To the West, the Royalist cavalier commenced their assault by charging directly towards the redoubt. Under continuous artillery fire, the brave cavalier dislodged their enemy and forced Fairfax to abandon the fortification. Despite the victorious charge, Percy was killed during the melee engagement and the command passed to the young Fredrik Stewart. 

Upon clearing the redoubt, Fredrik is hesitant to chase the enemy fearing the ambush. Instead, he rally the cavaliers and swung eastward to reinforce Cavendish which are in the verge of collapsed against the determined Parliamentarians. Striking from the west, Fredrik's cavalier managed to wreak havoc among Hotham's men where many of them gave up the fight instantly and surrendered their arms.

June 1643 - Impressed with Fredrik's performance, Cavendish relieved him from the cavalier squadron and handed the leadership of Newburn company of some 300 musketeers, 100 horseman and 3 cannons to Fredrik, thus allowing him to assumed command of his father's own contingent. In a brilliant maneuver near Adwalton, Fredrik managed to intercept Fairfax thus putting tremendous pressure to the traitorous Earl of Essex. Having no choice, Fairfax was forced to give battle as the main Royalist army under Cavendish is closing the gap. 

Fredrik took his Newburn company with an additional 200 German's mercenary and positioned himself near Adwalton Moor. Unbeknownst to him, Fairfax's army is coming with its full strength to attempt for breakthrough. Raising the Royalist standard, the Newburn contingent is forming its battle formation with river at their back. Fredrik placed his musketeer behind the well protected ring of wagon. While the cavalry unit led by Sergeant Haze are well concealed in a ditch near the river. 

An overconfident Fairfax sent his entire cavalry under Major General Gifford to strike first with intention to soften the Royalist defense. Parliamentarian cuirassier charged the outnumbered enemy, however discipline prevailed as Fredrik's wagon managed to absorbed wave after wave of attack before the musketeers released a relentless volley fire towards the enemy. The assault was catastrophic for Fairfax as he suffered approximately 800 casualties in the opening hour of battle.

At half an hour interval after the first attack, Fairfax who still having numerical superiority follow up and renew the attack against the Newburn with a combined forces of 2,000 musketeers and pikemen. Together the column advanced forward in a traditional fashion, supported by the remnant of Gifford's cavalry. 

Steadfast and unbroken, the Royalist musketeer reorganize the wagon to maximize its defensive capacity. Both infantry exchanged musket volley with Fredrik having advantage of extra protection despite being outgunned almost 3 to 1. Fairfax's pikemen circling the wagon from both flanks in order to penetrate its strong frontal defense.

At the height of battle, Fredrik light a bonfire to signal cavalry charges led by his deputy, Sergeant Haze. Soon, the young commander himself joined the fray to reinforced his dying right flank who is now fighting fierce melee against the Parliamentarian pikemen.

Fairfax commit his final reserve, around 3,000 men to reinforced his troops. However, it was too late as the Royalist under Cavendish arrived at the battlefield. Soon the infantry rushed to join the battle and strike the Parliamentarians from its rear. The gap was closed and thus, trapped Fairfax's army. 

At the end of battle, Fairfax suffered 3,000 dead or wounded, 1,500 captured and the rest fled the battlefield. Newburn contingent whom fighting the battle since the first hour lost 40% of its strength and were ordered to garrison Durham to replenish the strength, while Cavendish moved his army to subsequently captured Leeds and Hull which resulted a complete capitulation of Yorkshire back into the hand of the Royalist. 

February 1644 - Grim news from the North. Scots Covenanters entered the conflict by joining the Puritans in their bid to overthrow King Charles I. After two months of bloody siege, Newcastle has fallen to the hand of Earl of Leven, Lord Alexander Leslie who leading the Scottish army against the Crown. Situation in Yorkshire also seems dire for Cavendish as he was present with a dilemma - whether to advance northward to recapture Newcastle or relieve York which came under siege by Earl of Manchester, Lord Edward Montagu.

July 1644 - Prince Rupert of the Rhine, having cleared the Lancashire was forced to abandoned his gain in order to relieve York by order of the King. Cavendish decided to follow Rupert and later both army merged at Marston Moor, bringing the total number of 18,000 troops. However, the Parliamentarians having join forces with the Scots earlier amassed a significantly larger forces of around 24,000 troops. The battle is inevitable and will decide the fate of the war in the Northern theatre. 

Delayed by the late arrival of York garrison, the battle starts at 6pm with exchange of artillery barrage by both sides with minimal impact. 

Fairfax drew his first move by sending an infantry regiment led by Sir Lawrence Crawford against the Royalist right flank. Simultaneously, the Parliamentarian's cavalry under Sir Oliver Cromwell charged Lord Byron who guarding Rupert's left. 

In response, Rupert's brother, Prince Maurice led his elite Lifeguard cavalry to strike Crawford in order to relieve the hard pressed infantry. The maneuver was paid off as the Royalist succeed to drove the enemy and stabilize the flank. Similar to what happened during the Battle of Edgehill earlier, discipline remains an obvious problem for the Royalist cavalry as they failed to follow the defeated foe but instead, halted their gain for looting. This insubordinate action prove catastrophe as the Parliamentarians regrouped, counter-attack and chase the Lifeguard away from the battle.

Having both flanks cleared by the English, Leslie's Scottish contingent seized the moment and assault the outnumbered Royalist center manned by majority of the Marquess of Newcastle's army. 

Fredrik's Newburn contingent also stood their ground and repulsed three wave of Scottish attack. The Parliamentarians reinforcement came at a continually increasing rate to seal the battle. This forced Fredrik to retreat to a new defensive line shortly after their position was overran.

The stubborn Cavendish's troops continue to held the center despite both of Rupert's flanks were effectively routed and destroyed. A ferocious melee encounter ensued at the right wing guarded by Sir Henry Clinton. In a desperate request, Clinton sent a messenger to Fredrik, asking for a covering maneuver while he starts to organized an orderly retreat.

In response, Fredrik led his cavaliers to strike the isolated Scottish infantry who are confused and disorganized off being left behind by Crawford at the late stage of the battle. The cavaliers succeed to punch a hole to offer escape route for Clinton's forces via Tockwith Road

The battle is all lost for the Royalist at 7.30pm. While most of Royalist commander began to flee the battlefield, Fredrik and his cavaliers still fighting to allow Cavendish and his army to escape in a well-ordered manner. 

The Newburn's contingent were the last unit to retreat from the battlefield. Approximately 5,000 Royalist soldiers had been killed with 1,500 captured. The Parliamentarians and Covenanters lost around 500 men. After the defeat, the Royalist effectively abandoned Northern England. Marquess William Cavendish having seen his army broken, went into self-exile in Hamburg together with many of his senior officers.

As for our hero, he continue the war effort by leading the remnant of Newburn's contingent to conduct guerilla warfare against Leslie's forces in Newcastle Upon-Tyne. 

So, sampai itu je ceritanya. Nak tunggu new version TOTSK for Bannerlord lama sangat nak release. So kita main je lah mod ni dulu. Interesting jugak sebab dapat polish my brain ni dengan new knowledge dan of course, writing. Huhu

P/S: Newcastle menang bergaya malam tadi, 4-0 menentang Aston Villa. Now, kita masih berada di tangga keempat. Satu mata dibelakang Spurs yang menduduki tempat ketiga, dan hanya 5 mata behind Manchester City yang menghuni tangga teratas. Well done boys!