The Ancient Art Of War was probably the first realtime strategy
game. It was released c. 1984 by Broderbund
, and was available for PC
(and maybe some other platform
Gameplay involved moving 14-man squads around a map in an attempt to secure victory by capturing the enemy's flags or wiping out his armies. The game required a mixture of strategic and tactical planning for success. A number of historical campaigns were included, as well as an editor for players to generate their own maps. A squad formation editor was also included.
AAOW had excellent graphics for its day. It was easy to learn, addictive and way ahead of its time. Highly recommended for retro-gamers or curious types who want to see where Starcraft et al. began.
- knight: best hand-to-hand combat, but slow-moving and easy fodder for archers.
- barbarian: not so good at hand-to-hand, but quick moving and elusive targets for archers.
- archer: ranged attack, helpless at close quarters.
- spy: non-combat; used for scouting and reconnaissance.
- sea: impassable.
- river: passage is slow and exhausting, with a chance of troop loss.
- bridge: of great strategic importance due to the difficulty of fording rivers.
- plains: easiest terrain to cross; no modifiers.
- forest: moderate slowdown of movement.
- mountain: high movement slowdown, also exhausts troops at accelerated rate.
- hill: of great strategic and tactical importance, as troops with the advantage of elevation gain a combat bonus.
- fortress: troops defending a fort have a high combat bonus, and only their archers can be targetted. Forts also regenerate troops and optionally function as food sources.
- village: occupied villages provide food, and are important for securing supply lines and starving enemy troops.
Opponents: Crazy Ivan
, Alexander the Great
, Julius Caesar
, Genghis Khan
and Sun Tzu