1066 was created as a promotion for a two-part television movie by the same name, shown on Britain's Channel 4. It's been hugely successful, with tens of millions of plays, and has, in fact, many virtues -- even though, in my opinion, it is fundamentally wrong-headed in approach.
Viewed as an audiovisual product, 1066 is superb. The drums of war play, there's the clang of metal weapons, the shouts of men in battle -- and, a nice touch, bellowed taunts to the foe. In an area at the top of the screen, which has no actual gameplay function, cameo soldiers have at each other, with blood spattering all over the Flash window when men die.
In other words, the game has something of the external indicia of Medieval battle, indeed, it is entertainingly evocative. Moreoever, wargames are almost entirely lacking in the Flash game scene (for, to me, inexplicable reasons), and its nice to see one. And the way the game embraces the brutality of the conflicts it addresses is refreshing.
The actual gameplay, however....
The units you control are small circular icons arranged on a square grid. The grid has five rows, and its quite long. Groups of three units can be formed into a "shield wall" or vee-formation, but when in formation, can only move forward and back, never up or down rows.
In other words, the board layout is designed for headlong melee combat, with only scant room for maneuver -- and 'maneuver' is additionally devauled because flanking is prohibited. A unit may only attack other units in the same row; thus, even if you are able to flank an opponent, you gain no benefit, since you cannot attack from the side. This is, of course, absurd.
There may be some sort of conventional strength-comparison combat results calculation under the hood, but the mechanism by which the player affects comhat resolution is via the play of minigames. To improve the effects of a charge, you bash Space rapidly. To use your archers, you select an elevation for you fire by moving the mouse, then press the button and "pull back" to select strength, and release; since there's little sense of scale and no hints as to range, this is particularly frustrating because it takes a great deal of trial and error before you have the slightest ability to fire effectively (and meantime your opponent is raining arrows down on your men). In melee combat, you engage in a beat-matching game -- without a beat; arrows move across the screen, and if you time keypresses appropriately, enemy casualties mount. And the effectiveness of your taunt depends on how quickly you type the literal taunt.
The fire combat system, if awkward, at least has the merit of bearing some resemblance to the actual activity it simulates; however, last time I looked, the early Middle Ages had neither DDR nor typewriters.
In other words, one of the chief and most vital aesthetics for a wargame is simulation fidelity -- or, to put it another way, historical accuracy. The only mechanic of this game that bears on simulation is the grid used for deployment and movement -- and the way in which the grid is used, particularly the inability to attack from one row to another, defeats any fidelity the system might otherwise offer. The other mechanics are common to any number of videogames, but have no bearing on the material whatsoever.
In short, the developers have focussed on external and irrelevant detail -- the shouts of men, the spatter of blood -- and reskinned mechanics from other games with which they are familiar, without making any fundamental attempt to grapple with the need to produce something that can reasonably be described as a simulation of military conflict in the period.
1066 is a finalist in the 2010 Indiecade Festival.