By John Miller
Monday the 7th of May 2018
It isn’t every day that new vidya lands and I immediately cave, but Grand Strategy Wargaming is Patrician as all hell, and Thrones of Britannia was always going to take my money.
Whereas HOI and EU are time-consuming addictions that swallow half a day before you know it, the Total War franchise at least makes you press the Next button, which allows you to get your daily chores done in between turns unless you are a complete reprobate.
I prefer Historical GSW, but because my secret desire to be a Warhammer nerd was thwarted in my adolescence by my father my only previous purchases from the Total War franchise on my Steam were Shogun, WH1 and WH2. I came to TW early with Shogun, which was my favourite GSW until Rome, which in turn was my favourite GSW until Medieval 2, back when we still bought hard copies of games.
After Medieval 2 the Total War franchise seemed kind of mediocre. I stopped buying new content until it came with Orcs and Dwarves.
So why buy Thrones of Britannia then? Because of that Celtic-Nordic pride my man.
This is a standalone game. I was prepared to roll the dice that unlike the low-effort shitty Britannia campaign in Kangdoms it would teach me something about muh people.
TOB is a game for the Irish, for the Britons, for the Anglo-Saxons, and for the Viking ancestors, all vying for control of the British Isles. Creative Assembly marketing does not make this clear, but this is a game of thrones which takes place right across Hibernia, Mann, Cumbria, the Hebrides, Orkney and Caledonia, and Britannia.
Calling the game Thrones of Britannia is somewhat misleading desu, since the eternal Anglo has long since co-opted the History of the Britons, in much the same way that the BBC and the eternal Paki is presently rewriting Anglo history. But enough of the mundane present world and sissified modern society. TOB begins in 878 AD. Here is your OP.
As you can plainly see the OP designer has a boner for the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons, who were in 878 AD the strongest groups in what would become England, but was then Saxon Wessex, Anglish Mercia, and many lesser Christian kingdoms of Saxons, Angles, and Britons, all being slowly devoured the Great Heathen Army of the Vikings.
You’re not in it for the easy victories though, are you anon? For you it is all about blood and honour, ancestral clay, and freedom for your noble folk. So let’s play.
The first thing that you notice at the Main Menu is that the artwork for the Game is kind of cartoonish. Two years ago this might have really triggered my autism, but now that I dodge my 3D friends just to watch anime I kind of like it.
It’s Total War. You can go straight to Batoru, but I want to get Historical, so let’s start a campaign.
The default choice is Alfred the Great of West Seaxe. Wessex is one of two “””English””” factions you can play, even though Alfred was not Anglish, but rather a Saxon. As you can see from the screenshot, Alfred the Great starts off with all kinds of vassals, all goodly Saxon, Anglish, and British Christian lords.
The other playable English Kingdom is Mierce (Mercia), whose king had traditionally been King of the Angles ever since they and their Saxon neighbours had left Germania and the Danish March behind to begin the conquest of Britannia. The first King of the Angles in Britain became king of Mercia in 530 AD, and he was a pagan. Within a century the Mercians and their king were Christian, thanks to the Christian Britons.
If you want to restore old Arthurian Britannia then you might like to play one of the two Welsh factions. Gwined is located in Wales, but Strat Clud is in Scotland. What sorcery is this?
Welsh is just an Anglo-Saxon way of saying foreigner. A rather rude way to treat the native Christian brothers, but the Anglo-Saxon of 878 AD was much less of a faggot than the modern English Nigel.
Gwined is in Cumbria, and Strat Clud in Britannia north of Hadrian’s Wall in the Scottish Lowlands, but both were kingdoms of Roman-Celtic Christians and therefore proper Britons.
Although the Romans did not occupy the Scottish Lowlands for long after they beat back the Picts, Strathclyde was thoroughly Romanised. These were my mother’s father’s people, and there was not a single beady eyed Anglo-Saxon among them in 878 AD.
The Arthurian Round Table itself has been discovered near Stirling Castle, but thanks to Braveheart the modern Scottish nationalist prefers to LARP entirely as a Pict, even if his ancestors were Britons.
Not that I have anything against the Picts. My father’s fathers ancestors came from Circenn, one of two Gaelic faction kingdoms playable in TOB, so I’ll be entering full Braveheart LARP mode myself to play the game.
Circenn is the legendary proto-Scottish kingdom of the free Christian Picts occupying the northern Scottish Lowlands, farthest from the Wall and Roman influence. The other playable Gaelic faction kingdom of non-Romanised Christian Celts is Mide in Ireland. This completes the six great Christian kingdoms vying for control of the British Isles in TOB.
The next faction is the Great Viking Army of pagan invaders. The game is set after the conquest of the two greatest Anglish kingdoms of Western Britannia: East Engle and Northymbrie. You may play either of these as a Heathen Nordic king with his Viking warband controlling a restive territory of Angles.
You are eager not only to avenge Lothbrok and become pre-eminent as he was amongst Vikings, but to succeed where he failed in subjugating all the Angles, Saxons, Britons and Gaels.
My English grandmother’s family on my mother’s side were not yet in England in 878 AD. They arrived in Sussex in 1066 AD with the Normans, the Christian Nords who succeeded where the Vikings failed in the Conquest of England, Wales and Ireland.
Those Nordic ancestors were given lands in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, fittingly conquering both Northumbria and East Anglia. Here they would eventually became Englishmen, after extensive intermarriage with the local Anglo-Saxon Untermensch. Alas, I probably have some recessive failure genes and a latent propensity to produce tiny offspring with Hun eyes.
Turning back to the game, if you want to play a Viking king who was not part of the Great Heathen Army smashed by the Saxon Christian Alfred the Great of Wessex whose victory created England as we know it, then you might like to try the last faction, the Viking Sea Kings.
The Viking Sea Kings faction gives you the option of playing either as the pagan Nordics of Dyflin, who settled and founded Dublin and ruled the Irish Sea until my Norman ancestors conquered them, or the pagan Nordics of Sudreyar, who conquered and settled the Hebrides, which was not yielded back from Norway to Scotland until 1266.
So what are you waiting for faggot? If you’re any sort of Anglo-Saxon, Brit, Celt, or Nordic then get the fuck in here and take your ancestor’s rightful clay. Here’s the intro for the rightful Kang of the Scots campaign.
Full disclosure: John Miller’s IRL name is Frank Faulkner. I’m an Aussie who’s keen on Conservative politics, Trump, and the Anime Right. Alba is rightfully mine, by Christ.