Monday, November 9, 2009

Realm of Empires

For the last month, I've been playing this game. It is one of those addictive, strategy games that can just eat up into all your time!

As you can see from the picture, it has a medieval setting. You start with one village and gradually acquire more villages. It has just a few elements. For example, resource gathering is limited to just 1 item. Fighting units come in 2 varieties: infantry (good for defense) and cavalry (good for offense). There are 2 varieties of each: light, cheap inf and cav; and the expensive, more powerful kind. Fortifications have 2 varieties, too: walls and towers. These are opposed by 2 kinds of siege weapons: rams for walls, and catapults for towers.

The overall product is elegant. Some folks get the idea that the more complicated the game, the better it is. Game design is like story telling in this one respect: it ought to have just enough elements to make the story work. Subplots and extra characters that don't advance the story end up detracting from it. The same goes for game elements. More units, more buildings, and more resources to gather should add focus to the strategic problems of the game. If they just make it more complicated, then they detract from it.

The problem for me is that this game has soaked up all my time! I've had to take a vacation away from it.