I was very pleased to see this grim faced Grenadier in the window of the Oxford HMV last week on a poster advertising the turn-based strategy and real-time tactics computer game Empire: Total War.
Setting aside my doubts about the historical accuracy of the poster (would you really have your face that close to the gunpowder exploding in the pan?) I allowed myself to be pleased that military history, and in particular Eighteenth Century military history still had the capacity to reach the high street and who knows where that might lead.
Now I lost track of computer games a few years back when playing Age of Empires until three in the morning became incompatible with having small children but I am now tempted by Empire: Total War. Apparently:
"Empire: Total War is focused on exploration, economics, politics, religion, the founding of colonies and, ultimately, conquest. The game is set in the early modern period, spanning from 1700 to 1799, allowing players to lead a variety of contemporary factions to dominate Europe, North Africa, the Americas and the Indies. The player will use both complex strategies on the campaign map as well as command military forces in battles on both land and sea."
Sounds pretty good. Anyone played it yet?
Of course the hope is for everyone who wants a continual supply of fresh blood interested in military history that playing the game will spark an interest in the history of the period and a desire to find out more. So on the off-chance that you are an Empire: Total War addict who knows nothing about the period here are a few pointers to get you going.
If you are starting on the campaigns in the Americas why not get a background introduction to two key conflicts with our Essential Histories on the French-Indian Wars and the Revolutionary War. If you are planning to fight into the early hours in Continental Europe then you can explore the Seven Years' War and French Revolutionary Wars instead.
If you are interested in battles why not try our Campaign series which may have some valuable tips on the strategy and tactics of the period. There are a lot of titles on the Revolutionary War including Trenton and Princeton, Philadelphia and Monmouth Courthouse. For the European battles there are the classics like Blenheim and Rossbach & Leuthen for starters.
If you want to check out your troops then why not try some Highlanders, French Revolutionary Infantry or Hungarian Hussars. Then for everything you need to make your Empire: Total War a complete experience visit our Eighteenth Century page for everything else.