Cultures 3: Northland
Сultures is probably the classic German series of military-economic strategy. The previous two experiments allowed to bring the game to almost perfection in each of its aspects. The series in certain circles is recognized, “correct”, remarkably expressing the German view of the game life – and in it our European neighbors, as you know, “go their own way”, preferring not to copy overseas stereotypes, but to invent the original. Today we will talk about the game as if from scratch, because we hope to find new fans for it. The old ones are unlikely to find anything in it, except for a new plot and “general improvement in everything” 🙂
The most correct, in our opinion, analogy, suitable for the third Cultures, is a “simulator of a medieval village.”
The simulator is by no means primitive – those who want to play for real are unlikely to manage to do without going through a long and tedious training scenario (broken up into seven parts, by the way). But even after its successful completion – it will take a long time to discover all sorts of new buttons, flags, controls and chips – designed to make the process of “playing little people” even more pleasant, convenient, faster, etc. In addition, from the “understanding of the basics” to the “complete understanding of the gameplay” – the path is long, and this is included in the German idea of strategy as a virtual world, improvement in which involves the gradual discovery of more and more new aspects, the introduction of more and more patterns (weren’t the authors of Cossacks / Conquest of America so effectively used this look to give their games such charming depth?).
“Little Men” in this case is an individualized people (in contrast to strategies with crowds of the same faceless clones). All your wards (and there are usually not too many of them) look different, have personal names (you can change them by entering, for example, all your friends and girlfriends into the game for fun), have a different set of experience, have religiosity and social motivation . They are mainly divided into men and women. Women – prepare food, entertain those living with them under one roof, give birth to children. The style is completely classic. After all, every Viking can sleep in the open air – but it would be better to get enough sleep if he is assigned a place in the house. Every Viking can eat what he finds – but better feeds the food prepared by his wife. A married Viking allows you to “order” his wife the birth of a son or daughter, depending on what your current population needs are. The good news is that the Vikings at least never die of old age (they can only be killed) – otherwise manual birth control would become a very difficult element of gameplay.
Children quickly grow up – and become “unmarried girls” or “unemployed citizens.” The first is the road to new families – the second is to master the profession, and often not just one. Someone can always be on the alert, and someone will grow by realizing the “medieval career principle”, which forms in many respects the “patriarchal-pastoral” atmosphere of this kind and joyful game: the stone maker becomes a stonecutter of ever greater skill; the farmer as a miller, who then as a baker; the hunter as a shoemaker and then as an armor specialist. There are potters, joiners, porters, and traders – who, in the intervals between important international trade (where ships and bull sleds are used more often), do not find it shameful to balance resources in the warehouses of your village, taking up simple cars. Peaceful economic life is funny and idyllic in itself, and many players of a calm disposition will bring special pleasure in this quality – especially women often like to play this in free play mode.
But every Viking can be a stern warrior – for this they need to run into the barracks just for a minute (a warrior after the war can easily be converted back to a peaceful worker). After that, his further military fate will be decided simply by choosing a weapon – whether he will take a wooden or iron spear, a long or short sword, a large or small bow. Or even get up for the catapult. In defense (including from wild animals) your residents will greatly benefit from the possibility of building defensive towers (archers sit there), walls and gates. In the attack – the possibility of hiring soldiers from the allies – for example, the Frankish armored knights are a powerful help 🙂 The management of the allies and opponents is controlled by a special diplomacy screen – in many cases you can pay off materially from hostile creeps. The creation of a “realistic battle” does not receive much attention in this game concept – but the possibilities for combat creativity are large enough to “play enough with soldiers”. Fans of the war should remember that Cultures are games where the confrontation relies heavily on the economy and micromanagement.