Age of Wonders 4

There is, which I appreciate as someone that likes to go tall more than wide most of the time, but you can also spend Imperium to increase the city cap if you want to go wider - lots of interesting choices with how to spend your resources, like Imperium, it sounds like. You can also spend it to temporarily bump a cities growth rate, to get another pop faster, it looked like in the last stream.

I don’t think we know a lot about this yet, now you mention it. Or I’m not remembering a lot about it. @TriumphJordi have you guys talked much about victory condtions and I’m forgetting or not quite yet?

We haven’t discussed Victory Conditions in depth yet but there’s the usual ways to win. Military, Magic or Expansion.

Until I read what you wrote, I didn’t get the two screenshots were from two different games O_o

I made this badly-made meme when they announced Spellforce


There’s no question that Spellforce Conquest of Eo is heavily “inspired” by the AoW series, but I feel Triumph should consider it flattery. I also think that Triumph should pay attention to the way the Spellforce Conquest of Eo devs used a very similar set of combat mechanics to achieve a tactical system that is IMO equal to or better than the best of the AoW system. The good news is, it looks like AoW 4 is already evolving its tactical mechanics in a similar way (this is probably an example of convergent evolution as manifest in game design).

The specific thing that Conquest of Eo does with the AoW tactical system is that by having various discrete, buffable, dispellable, upgradeable statuses of various sorts (including racial and other categories), it allows for a very “modular” approach to the tactical battles with IMO less micromanagement and complexity than the Planetfall mod system (which I loved but was in truth pretty damn complex and micro-manage-y). Also, the various sub-systems within tactics in Conquest of Eo are very crunchy: painful debuffs that can feed nasty abilities, stuns and counters and resistances, etc.

So Conquest of Eo definitely “borrowed inspiration” from AoW and I think AoW should borrow some of that tactical mojo right back.

I agree, and I hope Triumph has spent some time with the combat in Conquest of Eo. Not to mention those battles play really fast while still feeling as crunchy as any other tactical combat I’ve experienced.

Spellforce also limits you to one (moving) city and only allows one stack per battle, which keep it moving along. I felt like most of my time in AoW3 was slogging through sieges with 40 units.

I hate those big battles in AoW, but love so much of the rest of the game I put up with them.

I have heard AoW 4 has somewhat smaller battle maps which may help with the battle sprawl. It’s not just the number of units in the big fights, you also have to march them a ways to get to the fight.

I’ve played some of launch Conquest of Eo but haven’t had time to really jump back into it lately. My struggles with the game were mostly elsewhere so I haven’t paid to much attention to the combat either, as it all plays rather straight forward.

I felt and feel CoE combat was quite…simplistic.

Perfect for the game, but I wouldn’t call it crunchy like AoW.

This is where I land on it - I love CoE, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not AoW3 level of crunchy tactical combat, and AoW4 is awhole other level, at the very least in terms of transparent information for the player and UI readability.

@Sharpe has described it perfectly for me. What makes AoW3 more ‘crunchy’? (I am not sure I am familiar with the word in this context).

Maybe this isn’t the right thread to discuss the combat of a different game, but…

I thought the CoE combat was perfectly crunchy. There are four damage types and two defense stats, and a wide variety of effects that played on that. Plus, one of the defense stats (willpower) was also directly target-able to try to produce a rout. It was well incorporated into the rest of the game–it felt distinctly different starting in the north and having a bunch of dwarves and really working the elemental / burning angle, vs starting with undead and working the death magic vs willpower angle, and then having one stack geared for fear specifically. And then when you fight an enemy immune or resistant to [elemental, fear, whatever] you have to retool, and there are appropriate tools to do so (glyphs, items/potions, spells).

Now, I don’t remember enough of AoW 3 nor have I watched enough AoW 4 to have a good understanding of how crunchy it is. But here’s my hot take: I don’t think it should be any crunchier in a 4X (or 4X-like). The amount of crunchiness has to be balanced against the ability to just bring more (or better) troops to battle. In other words, I’m already putting a bunch of energy into the empire side of the game, and if I have to put too much energy into the combat side, I’m eventually going to just tune it out and bring overwhelming forces to every battle. And (for me at least) most of the battles are already easily decided ahead of time (by the balance of forces) and I just autoresolve. There should be enough crunchiness that the key battles are fun and satisfying, but not too much that I have to work all the angles every time.

I thought crunchy meant in depth and requiring lots of thinking.

In that sense, into the Breach would be very crunchy.

CoE combat was/is pretty simple to me.

To clarify my own thoughts, I do really like CoE’s combat. In that it’s almost identical to AoW3 - flanking, action points, all that stuff.

I think what makes AoW3 a bit more interesting is what happens prior to combat - there are combat spells to cast during combat, there is a greater variety of heroes and creatures and summons and magic schools and skills, all of that make for a wider (not taller) combat arena.

Good to clarify, because my working definition of crunchy is “there are lots of different levers you can pull” (or maybe “angles you can work”). I would describe something like Into the Breach as more “puzzley”, but I agree that it fits with your definition of “in depth and requires a lot of thinking”. For CoE I’d say it’s more about doing the thinking beforehand–though from time to time I could still pull off some neat moves by exploiting terrain or one-use items or ability combos that felt really cool. To be honest, I never felt that AoW 3 combat was terribly complex–felt very similar to CoE, though maybe I just needed to git gud.

I agree with this, I think. I believe you may be underselling CoE’s unit and skill variety a bit, though; but OTOH maybe my memory of AoW3 is lacking. I agree that the combat spells are a big thing for AoW3 that just isn’t there in CoE; the alchemist has something kind of similar with the items but it’s more about rarer, more powerful items than having a big vocabulary of spells to throw around.

(Also I just realized that CoE could be read as “Conquest of Elysium”, but we’re definitely talking about Spellforce: Conquest of Eo, so maybe S:CoE, but whatever.)

To follow up on my own opinion earlier, I think the kind of game that really needs crunch combat (where I said I prefer a limit to crunchiness in a AoW-like) is Fantasy General, because it doesn’t have so much of a power curve for you to climb.

I disagree pretty strongly with this. There is a lot going on in CoE combat once you get some levels and have more abilities available to your troops and are facing tougher enemies. The AI is happy to flank you and swarm a weaker unit you leave out too. One of the biggest design choices that really lets you do some fun things is that melee units will counterattack automatically, but this eats up an action point for their next turn. So a bunch of weak units handled appropriately can overwhelm a single strong unit. They’ll still take damage but can control where that goes. Even without that extreme example, it does encourage you to be more aggressive to limit what certain enemy units can do on their turn vs just default to hunkering down.

CoE has alchemist potions that fit the similar utilitarian spell role.

Yes, a lot of this depends on stack composition. And certainly a stack built a certain way will try to exploit what it’s built for each combat. But it can come up against enemies that either deny that tactic or otherwise cause you to mix things up. Even just hitting a fast stack that’ll act before you and has units that can reach yours on that turn can throw a battle into disarray from the start. Having one or two of your units rout is also super disruptive to whatever plan you were working with.

Of a sort. They are also one shot, limited by resources and time, and only available to one of three classes. In AoW3 even a Rogue class has lots of fun skills/spells to use in combat. I don’t consider Alchmey in S:COE a replacement for that mechanic in Master of Magic or AoW games, but if that’s its intention it’s an unsatisfying one by comparison, at least for me. Again, I don’t want to pull CoE down in any way - I really like it - but it’s not Age of Wonders in my book. It is a fun A-Tier strategy game, however.