Eador – Genesis either borders on the obscene in terms of options, or crosses that threshold and goes a few miles beyond. I’m not sure right now because I’ve yet to piece everything together, but so far I’m loving the game.
In many ways Eador presents things like you would expect from a game like Heroes of Might and Magic. You start with a town to build up and recruit from, and with a starting hero you aim to expand your kingdom and eventually knock out the other lords. Except that unlike HoMM, where you quickly expand and cover huge chunks of the map (in a generally one-and-done fashion), here expansion is slow due to the quickly ramping difficulty of adjacent territories. The areas in direct contact with your starting tile should be doable, but go even one jump further and you will hit a roadblock. Go one further, and you will need a seriously beefy army and hero.
The result is you start and live in a small-ish kingdom for a good number of turns (20-30?), all while planning where to go next. But don’t worry, you won’t be bored. Each area has a slew of locations to discover, from troll caves to undead ruins, and the difficulty of those locations varies greatly as well (in my current game my starting location featured a dragon’s den, which even after 50+ turns I can’t handle). Successfully defeating the monsters in these locations gives your hero and your units (yes, units can level up as well) XP, gold, and items. Units that die in combat are gone, poof, so protecting them is important as well. Heroes can be resurrected, for a cost related to their level. Gear also wears down and needs to be repaired, with a cost related to the power of the items. Crazy depth.
If this game or its upgrade get internet multiplayer, I could see myself spending a lot of time playing with friends. The current game does have hotseat at least, which means next time my buddy is over we are likely not getting much sleep.
As I continue I’m curious to see if all of the options and depth result in a lot of variety (like in Civ V), or if it all ends up being an overly complex puzzle that is eventually ‘figured out’ and there is a clear path to victory. Again though, for the price, it’s impossible not to recommend this game to strategy fans.