Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Video Game Chat - Mount & Blade 1866

I think I have to lower my own standard on what I post just to get something posted these days.  Work is still sapping a lot of my creative energy.  So, today, a more casual ramble.

What have you been up to recently Telecanter?  I've been playing a lot of video games.  I got on a western kick for a bit playing a mod for the original Mount & Blade called 1866.  The mod had some issues, scripts not working, the occasional crash, and yet I found myself just as excited to play it, if not more than the triple A Red Dead Redemption. 

I think the main draw was the variety.  You can play as a Comanche. Apache, U.S. Army, Mexican Army, Outlaw, or lawman.  I'm not sure how many guns are available in the game but there are many.  Pistols, rifles, carbines, shotguns.  They all have different speed of fire, speed of reloading, damage, number of shots and penalty for horse back use.

I'm not super interested in tons of guns in modern settings, but for some reason, seeing the Pattern 1861 Trade rifle with its brass tacks in the stock or the nickle-plated Winchester repeater, these historic guns, brings out the boy in me.

And it all matters in the game.  Because the guns that let you fire multiple times, say a Spencer repeater, do less damage, while the single shot carbines, like the Burnside, do much more.  Do you want to kill a target with one shot or blaze away, close range, at a lot of unmounted targets?

There isn't as much variety in the horses you can choose compared to the other Mount & Blade games, and protective gear is pretty much non-existent to fit the genre.  The skirmishes have less tactics and more high-speed gun play.  For example if you play as Comanche, pretty much all of your troops are mounted and that first version of Mount & Blade won't let you re-designate units.  So everything is cavalry and you can't order some cav to do one thing while other do something else.

The mod did one thing that is pretty interesting with the format, the different big factions own towns, but a town can also have a hotel, which is like a little appendage town.  Some also have banks.  Because these hotels are not owned by the big factions, but by gangs and posses, this allows outlaws or lawmen to get a foothold without having to face the full fury of one of the big factions like the Army.

The mod also allows relations to cool of with different factions, so you can raid a wagon train and slowly, slowly the faction it belonged to will forget about you.  You won't be eternally at war.

Troops cost a lot more than the default game.  You won't have a huge army for a while.  But there are lots of companions around to get to join you cause.  I ended up with my own company of irregulars of about 20 mounted companions.

I played for hours.  But once I secured a hotel, fort and village close to each other, I cooled on the game.  As is typical with me, once I see the path to complete victory in a strategy game it just starts feeling like a grind to me.  I don't enjoy slowly taking over each city.

The mod is a bit immature in some aspects.  You can tell dialogue was written by teenage boy for teenage boy, for example, but I could largely ignore that.

I got a chance to house sit for a friend that has an Xbox/Red Dead Redemption and I wanted to play it again to remember what it was like.  I played it a lot when it first came out, but I mostly remember enjoying the hunting and chafing at the plot forcing me to do things.  Alas, I forgot how slow the game starts, like a movie with quicktime events.  Cut scene, walk over there, cut scene, ride the horse over there.  Uggh, I didn't have the patience.  And I can't think of a better example of designers believing the future of games is to make them more like movies.  I read a comment on the web once that RDR has the greatest video game ending of all time, which SPOILER, is essentially rocks fall everyone dies, you don't have a choice.  If that is the greatest video games have to offer I'm pretty sure movies already provide that in much better form.

A thing that really struck me is how this crappy mod for a crappy old game allows you so much more freedom.  You can, gasp, be female!  You can be Mexican, Indian.  You can pick your own name and decide whether you want to steal horses and kill settlers or hunt down those who do.

Anyway, that's enough of a ramble for today.  If you own the original Mount & Blade and want to get some old time west gun battles in 1866 is pretty fun in my book.


  1. Oh hey, I think I made some outfits for that mod back in the day.

    It's a small world sometimes.

  2. Awesome, the outfits are great! Have you done or are you still doing any modding work?

    1. I did a lot of bits and pieces on various mods for the original Mount & Blade and Warband.
      More recently there have been some failed plans for a third-party Warband expansion (We pitched a pirate-themed campaign right after another group did the same thing) and some independent games.
      It never quite works out, but hey, you keep trying.

  3. I thought you could rename your units in the party screen? You should be able to break up your Comanche cav into separate units. Not tried the 1886 mod or any of the modern mods yet; still playing the hell out of the Floris mod.

  4. I've not tried this mod. I will have to try and find it. I assume it is searchable within STEAM? Or... no...
    I own the original M&B , and Warband and its main for-sale expansions by the original developer.

  5. @Lee: That's true of Warband, the sequel/upgrade, but unless I'm mistaken, not in the first game.

    @Peter: I don't think the original game has a steam workshop, which means you have to fiddle a bit. I found the mod here:


    There is a mod for Warband that uses a lot of the same guns and properties as this mod. It's called 1860s Old America. But I only just looked at it, the map is sprawling and looks like it abandoned the cool hotels innovation as well as adding weird shooting tournaments that felt out of genre for me..