An Old Age of Rifles

After my brush with the Anglo-Zulu war playing through Day of the Spears II: The Battle of Isandlwana from White Dog Games, I’ve been in a spin trying to find more games covering the same period. Sadly, in PC Wargaming at least, it seems this era is very under populated.

I did stumble upon Jeff Lapkoff’s Zulu War.

And from the brief play of the demo, its seems serviceable with a UI thats on a par (or slightly better) with White Dog Games’ title. But still, it didn’t give me the “visual sense” of being there with the redcoats, struggling against the overwhelming odds of well trained and disciplined brave Zulu warriors.

More searching found a Mod for Napoleon Total War, namely the Khartum and Zulu Mod. Although I was unable to download the actual files, so I didn’t pursue it any further.

I’m really looking for turn based games anyway. The search continues…

I sifted through the scenario archives, that I could find, for the likes of Advanced Tactics and The Operational Art of War III, but come up empty.

Finally, I found what I was after in a game released  fifteen years ago in 1996! Age of Rifles. I flicked through my old PC game collection and pulled out the CD. A DOS based game that might prove a little tricky to get working on my Windows XP rig. I turn to DOSBox.

I run the install program from the CD, and install the game to C:\RIFLES.

I fire up DOSBox and mount the rifles directory as the DOSBox C:\ drive

mount c c:\rifles

I then mount the CD drive in DOSBox

mount e e:\ -t cdrom

And finally I run the SOUND.EXE file to configure the audio for the game.

sound

Luckily DOSBox is emulating a Soundblaster 16/AWE 32. I select the audio device and then select the option to automatically configure it.

I can now run the game’s main EXE file

rifles

There you go! I can now play the old DOS game Age of Rifles, in a window or maximised (but obviously at quite a low resolution).

I load up the Isandlwana scenario and start to play it. I’m amazed just h0w good this game is. After all these years! How come no other wargames have turned up that can present the likes of the Anglo-Zulu war in such an accessible and pleasing to the eye format?

I think the only other game that has this level of accessibility and visual appeal is Field of Glory, but I don’t know whether they are planning to cover the age of muskets and rifles in their future packs. I can’t see why not. But at the moment the best we have is a game released in 1996! Deary me.

I continue playing through the scenario and am skewered on the tips of many Zulu spears. Good Times.

  • redwizard117

    Age of Rifles was an unusual game for its own time and I remember some of the reviews were very critical of the gfx even back then, but it still is one of the few games that cover the latter 19th century is such fidelity and detail. For those who want a tactical game about The Indian Uprising (1859), Franco-German War (1871), Austro-Prussian (1866), from the US invasion of mexico in 1840s to the Russo-Japanese War in 1906 and plenty of other scenario and a number of Civil war campaigns, AOR is really the only game in town. Available on abandonware sites and such, if you dont own a CD at home.

  • gcbisset

    I just reinstalled AOR using Dosbox with Dosshell as the front end. Ill be using it to play solo miniatures. They dont make em like this anymore! I especially like the editor.

    I do think Field of Glory will release a musket type version in the next few years. Probably renaisance first, then Napys. Until then AOR is it for solo play (since you need a decent AI opponent).