As far as 4X games goes, Old World is one you will spend plenty of time learning and playing. Set in the ancient era, the game is complex but easy to get into with interconnected mechanics. There are also RPG elements that have you managing marriages, alliances, and heirs. The Heroes of the Aegean DLC, which comes free (until June 2), is also tons of fun. You get to play pivotal moments in history, such as the Battle of Thermopylae, or conquer Greece as Alexander the Great.
- Games last 200 turns max
- Lots of depth and complexity to explore
- Make personal decisions to change your ruler and heirs
- Comforting hex-tile based design that is familiar
Created by Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson, the game features similar hex-based tiles, city building, moving army across the maps, but that's where the similarity ends. Instead of micromanaging every single thing on the map, the game forces you to choose what you do as you can only make limited orders each turn. You do get more as your empire grows. There are also plenty of resources to handle, such as money, wood, stone, ore, food, and more. As you get deeper into the game, managing what you build or train is important, too.
Somewhat like the Crusader Kings games, you also play as the ruler, and must manage alliances, influence members, get married, and have heirs. Not having someone to succeed your throne will cause you to lose the game. There are a few ways to win. You can conquer everyone, or fulfil 10 ambitions, which are like goals to hit. Clearing all ambitions means a win, too. You can get the required amount of victory points, or have the highest amount after 200 turns, when the game ends. That means less “one more turn” playstyle of the Civ games and realising it's morning and you didn't sleep a wink since the morning before. Phew.
The Heroes of the Aegean expansion has six scenarios to play through. Depending on your skill level, it can be really easy, or hard. But each scenario offers different playstyles. I particularly like the second scenario, which had me using Leonidas, the Spartan King, holding off hordes of Persian invaders like in the movie 300. The scenario evolves to a naval battle, and a final land battle. It's super enjoyable, though I recommend turning off Following AI moves — otherwise it just becomes an excruciating long wait as the AI cycles between a ton of units.
Overall, I really enjoyed playing the S$49 Old World and the Heroes of the Aegean DLC. There's plenty of depth and fun, and a proper finish, without having a game drag on forever. Old World, which was previously exclusive to the Epic Games Store, is now available on Steam and GOG.com. It runs sweetly on both my PC and the Apple MacBook Pro (2021). For Mac users, you will need to set the game to run on Rosetta until the M1 fix comes through.
Note: Review unit provided by Hooded Horse, the publisher.
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