Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom - Gold Edition - 20/20 hours

The plot of the campaign isn't even worth talking about. Suffice to say, I completed the last two missions, humiliated the Kings of two kingdoms, and was crowned Queen of Tandria by a grateful people, going on to rule with justice and kindness for many years . . . for some reason.

I think the problem with the campaign's plot is that it is referencing a sort of prototypical fantasy story, without actually showing any of its work. Like, why are the people of Tandria celebrating Zoe for overthrowing King Balderus? They already overthrew him on their own, then she put him back. Did they just forget all those months where she was marching around the kingdom, defeating the heroes of the rebellion, accompanied by a guy who looked suspiciously like the king?

Achh! It doesn't make any sense . . . unless you view Zoe and Dracorian and Balderus as representatives of common fantasy archetypes - the plucky princess who rebels against a corrupt patriarchal authority, the dashing hero, and the sleazy, decadent monarch. That their actions only vaguely conform to these types is, perhaps, best overlooked.

Anyway, in total I really liked this game. As always, any game where you have to manage long production chains, direct traffic efficiently, and can win through economic prosperity is one that is going to be on my good side. It's definitely on the complex side of the strategy spectrum, but I found it to be fairly forgiving, even if it didn't always explain itself in the clearest of terms (and there was one occasion, at least, where it just plain lied to me - I got an error message saying that my sheep ranches didn't have enough water when, in fact, they simply weren't built on fertile enough land).

Final thoughts - The Settlers 7 is a fiddly, fiddly strategy/resource management game. I think the military aspects probably made it weaker, overall, and I'd have liked to see more trading and peaceful interaction between players. However the victory point system is pretty cool, and was definitely more dynamic than the economic victories of similar games. Overall, I'd say this was definitely a good purchase for me. It's probably a low-priority replay for me, but that's mostly because I have so many other great games I need to replay first. It's staying on the hard drive, though, and that's like the third-highest video game honor in my power to bestow.

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