HE MILITARY ASPECT OF THE GAME is probably the most familiar, and therefore the easiest to explain.  Players should be cautious of overfamiliarity, however; as Blood Royal revolves around diplomacy and the status of your house, rushing into wars may be a quick way to make yourself powerful enemies.

Having said that, war has been described as 'diplomacy carried on by other means', and there is still a place for achieving supremacy by use of armies.  The key factor to remember is that your campaigns should always serve a wider purpose than mere battle-lust.

HE AVAILABLE ELEMENTS for building your armies are described in Section Two, but to reiterate, are knights, the fyrd and mercenaries.  Each type has its own attributes, and armies should be structured accordingly.  Your available strength in knights and the fyrd will be reported to you each turn; if you have recruited mercenaries, these will also be reported.  The supply of mercenaries is large, due to the frequent wars, but is not a bottomless well; when you attempt to recruit mercenaries, you will be told how many signed up, and what proportion of the requested recruitment this was. Mercenaries require their contracts to be renewed each year, otherwise they will look for other employment.  It may appear paradoxical, but having large numbers of mercenaries tied to contracts will actually, over time, cause the number of available mercenaries to increase - if they see that there is good money and job security on offer, people will start thinking that being a mercenary is a good idea.

The numbers of troops on your report are not active military forces; they represent a pool from which you can draw to create or reinforce your armies.  While in this pool, only mercenaries will actually be costing you money to support; once troops are assigned to an army, you will have to maintain them or risk a drop in morale.

There are no specific units such as regiments or squadrons in Blood Royal; such niceties of the art of war were not appreciated during the medieval period.  Your military forces, no matter what their size, will be referred to as armies; armies can be created, merged together, split to form new armies, or disbanded.

S BLOOD ROYAL IS A STRATEGIC GAME, you will have little scope (all right, none at all) for deciding the fine detail of tactics to be used in battle.  Each year, you can set strategic goals for each of your armies.  These are described under the 'Designate Army Strategy' command in Section Seven, and represent the giving of orders to the army leader.  You will then have to order the army into the field, using the 'Begin Campaign' order.  After that, it is up to the army and its generals to attempt to fulfil their orders; on your turn results, you will receive a report of how the army fared on its campaign.  The factors that govern the results of conflicts are the relative sizes of the forces involved, their morale and training, and the military ability of their commanders.

In many games, the primary aim of warfare is to conquer new territories.  This is still a goal in Blood Royal, but in addition, winning battles and wars can provide you with the influence to force other lords to acquiesce to your demands.  As you win battles, your military influence will rise, and this can then be used similarly to normal influence to pay for orders.

NCE A TERRITORY HAS BEEN CONQUERED, it is necessary to keep it subdued.  This can be done militarily by maintaining a garrison, by using diplomatic means to improve the morale, or by raising the people's prospoerity through economic support.  A territory where no presence is maintained could become restive, causing production to suffer, or even rebel.

Copyright © 2001-03 James Doyle. All rights reserved.