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Management / Sim dotAge - TBS roguelike colony builder

mediocrepoet

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I picked this up on sale out of curiosity to see why it was getting such high reviews. I thought it was far better than I expected it to be.

What is it?

A solo developer's turn based board gamey worker placement strategy sim where you try and lead a small band of survivors in establishing a settlement and guiding them through the hazards they face. Hazards range from the normal: satisfying the needs for food, clothing, and shelter; preparing for seasonal changes and weather events; to more unusual events such as sickness, paranoia, and insanity, caused by dark entities that have cursed your village and are bringing the apocalypse.

The dark entities and tech trees are randomized and introduced gradually, over time. At least in the first run I played, the game was structured into some mini-events, culminating in a more major event at the end of each season and then a larger event at the end of the year.

Roguelike elements come in from unlocking parts of the tech trees that can help you deal with various hazards and unlocking new hazards such as random weather events, new types of powers working against you, etc.

My thoughts

My first run took around 8-9 hours on "hard difficulty" (second hardest, IIRC) and it was fairly chill for the most part and I had a few turns where I made weird decisions that I had to fix later due to learning how the game actually works. Despite that, I still eventually hit an unrecoverable death spiral (as expected), so I probably should've started on the highest difficulty to see how it hits my expectations in that regard, since I found it far easier than I was thinking. I entered into a death spiral in the Winter and my village was destroyed early in the following Spring.

Generally I tend not to like games that don't have any combat elements, but the way the dark powers are represented gave me enough of a sense of opposition that it kept me engaged.

All in all, I found this more engrossing than I expected to and if you're into worker placement games, like the ideas of colony sims but are less interested in them being in real time, I highly recommend checking this out. Just be prepared that any comments about difficulty are probably overblown for anyone who's reasonably familiar with things you might need to exist in the world, i.e. oh, we're expecting the risk of fires? I should probably ensure we have sufficient water, etc.
 

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