If you like turn-based Strategy, whether it’s in a table top game or a video game, Age of Wonders is at the top of the list.
Released: October 31, 1999
Price: $6.49 CAD
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Age of Wonders was released back in 1999, so it has now been out for over 20 years. For an old game, you might think it would look aged and unable to hold up to present-day gaming. In my opinion, this game is a classic that is still plenty of fun to play and has a great art-style that still looks great even to this day. If you go back to the original pictures of this game before it was released, the art is so simple and would easily have gotten old pretty quick. Thankfully they decided to go in a bit of a different direction which I think looks like someone painted it by hand; this sort of painted-looking art-style is definitely my favourite. Visuals are important when deciding whether or not to play a game, but there’s much more to talk about.
Just Like A Boardgame
The gameplay is turn-based. If you enjoy board games, this will feel JUST like playing a board game. Everybody takes a turn one at a time to plan out their strategy and execute their plan of action to the best of their ability. There are some options such as having the map already explored, whether or not to have your leader as a playable character in the game, and whether the turns are taken simultaneously or one at a time.
Personally, I prefer to have to explore everything on my own, have a leader, and have turns played one at a time; though every once in a while I change it up for fun. With leaders on the map, one wrong move can end the game.
Games can be as little as 2-players all the way up to 12 with each player playing a difference race, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Each game revolves around capturing cities and other landmarks, then using the income from those sources to create the right mixture of units to eliminate your opponents.
As a turn-based combat game, each attack has a chance to hit or miss. If you really enjoy the strategy of combat, you can chose to control each battle yourself, or have the game automatically generate an outcome for you. Obviously this speeds up the game to have it decide on an outcome for you. The system has a way of doing calculations which can give a completely different outcome from controlling the battle yourself. One example is if you’re trying to protect a unit that is low on health, you can choose to have that unit run away on your own, but the computer-generated outcome will run that unit headlong into battle even on 1 health point.
Throughout the game you also have to choose what spells to research to help tip the scales in your favour. Your leader and additional heroes which join your during the game may have the ability to cast spells. These leaders and heroes have an amount of spell points which get refreshed at the beginning of each new turn and from this they can cast spells which each cost a number of spell points. Choices of spells can change the state of the overworld map, enchant units to make them stronger, or can be used in battle to turn the tides in and otherwise unwinnable situation.
The Bad Part
If you can’t tell, I absolutely love this game and could go on about all the great qualities forever. Unfortunately at some point I have to acknowledge the grit of the game. Some points can be a little bit painful either due to the age of the game or due to design. Depending on how much time you have, you may enjoy watching all the animations. Some days I like having a relaxing time watching the animations go on, but they can be a little bit slow sometimes which makes an already long game take even longer to play. You can be playing just one map for an entire month without proceeding to the next scenario. This is why I tend to play while running a program which speeds up the game.
If you’re a fan of turn-based strategy games, or if you’re interested in trying to get into a turn-based strategy game, this would certainly be at the top of my list for seeing what it’s all about and trying it out. We even have a community of members who still play games from time to time over on the Good Old Games forums.
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