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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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This is a newish city-building/survival sim that takes place in a Steampunk world that is experiencing an ice age. Anyone else playing it?

I picked it up off GOG. The game's aesthetics are gorgeous without being overdone. Pretty good mechanics, with a unique and well realized setting.

It is rather challenging, and it kind of throws you in feet first, so it took me a few restarts to realize what I needed to be doing from the get go. It's one of those games where the ramifications of your early choices can hit you in the ass well after you stopped thinking about that choice. But I appreciate that it makes you think hard about your choices, and the difficulty is indeed in the events of the game itself, not false meta-gameplay crap that just makes things frustrating--i.e., it's hard because you have a lot to manage and keep track of, not because it stops you from saving the game at certain times or something.

What I really like is the focus on the people/workers you are controlling. People aren't just resources, they have opinions and feelings and it's a big deal when people get sick or die or whathaveyou. While it has all the usual stuff you have to manage in terms of resources--food, building materials, fuel, etc.--the main thing you have to keep an eye on is hope vs discontent. The one gets too low and the other gets too high, the result is the workers you've been managing exile or kill you. (What I like is there's nuances in that. If you just managed things poorly but tried to make compassionate decisions, they exile you. If you're a megalomaniacal jerk they execute you in the worst way possible, and so on.) You have to make some hard decisions, and know that a) you can't please everyone, and b) something that may make people happy in the short term may cause problems in the long and vice versa.

There are several ways of doing things and there's no one right way to do it (though I think there's probably definitely some choices that make things harder than others in some ways--it's all about balancing pros and cons).

In addition to the city building there's also an exploration mechanic that feeds into the gameplay, offers some variability in what happens, and adds story elements to the game.

My only complaint is that it is a HEAVILY micromanagey game that yet does not give you enough feedback on movements of workers and the feedback of where they go and what they do could be better (i.e., if someone dies, you have to click around a bit to figure where you need to reassign a new worker). You assign jobs by clicking on each individual work site (mine, food production site, etc.) and the total population counter doesn't show you how many free workers vs engineers you have, which is really frustrating. I wish it had something like Banished's system where you can assign people on a single control panel rather than via each individual building (which gets overwhelming when your city gts bigger)---so say, you want 30 people to be resource gatherers, if a resource area depletes, the people working there will automatically move to the next area to be mined rather than having to reassign them. And ergo, when you need more hunters rather than resource gatherers, you could just mark that on the control panel rather than each building, and the new hunters would just report straight to a hunting hut rather than having to transfer back and forth. I'd like it that you could still reassign them more specifically as needed (e.g., okay, so let's put more people on coal vs steel), but I hate constantly having to move and re-move people around as your facility gets bigger and you need to constantly shift your priorities to different developments.

Still I highly recommend it, especially if you like management/simulation stuff with a twist, and you want a challenge.

I'm still trying the first scenario (which you have to progress through a bit before you can unlock other ones). There's several scenarios apparently with some different focuses on what you're trying to do. I believe they are adding additional scenario and gameplay modes in free updates.

If you do get the game, three pieces of advice:
- Build a workshop immediately
- And otherwise, do NOT wait for the tutorial or in-game events to guide you as to what you need to build or do. Click around on the interface and see what you can build, research, and enact regarding laws. Outside of some obvious quest/story or similar events, if the game is prompting you to do a thing, you're probably being too slow on the uptake and should have already had that thing handled. There is going to be stuff you miss, but much of the challenge of the game is anticipating problems before they arise rather than having to patch a problem after it's occurred.
- Pay attention to the timeline/calendar of days on the top of the screen. It will tell you when temperature increases and drops are going to happen.

Silver Crusade


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