Age of Wonders: Planetfall by Triumph Studios

How can you not love the arboreal sentinel? Such a great T2 unit: provides much-needed overwatch, a badass free action shield, a defense mode that heals, and a nasty area of effect root+bleed. So good.

I think I’ve found my most not liked unit LOL. Every Amazon Lancer I’ve used has been the most easily smited unit of anything I’ve played with thus far.

Don’t know what they call them, but the amazon archer is pretty cool. Doing ranged damage plus a chance to blind is pretty nice.

Every water unit falls in my most not liked category. At any point I’ve got a decision what to build these do not come to mind.

I didn’t like them or the Vanguard assault bike at first. Now I love them.

I have no clue why they even exist, to be honest. I’ve never seen any reason to build them, at all. Even on a map with a lot of water, building units that can only operate in water tiles is beyond a waste when flying units can do both and it’s easy/fast enough for land units to traverse.

As far as I understand it, the real life reasons for navies is to enable amphibousity, and to transport over large large distances.

neither of which matter in most games!

Ok, how did you come to love them? I would like to appreciate them better. I don’t like the assault bike either.

They’re highly mobile and surprisingly durable. Their single action attack means they can use that movement and still do 100% of their damage and flank on many of their attacks. The Lancer has Flanker as well, which means another 25% flank damage. The bike staggers really nicely and when obscured by a PUG is a pain in the ass to bring down. They cause chaos in the enemy formations while Huntresses and Troopers destroy them. Have a Lancer or assault bike hit them from the flank, causing them to turn, then your main units follow it up with another flank attack. It’s devastating.

I had somehow missed this! That does make them more useful.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the Lancer is a melee unit. It really isn’t, even though it looks like it should be.

Ditto that Tyrannadon.

I made that mistake :)

Even after the scaling costs to colonizers, I still find an all-out land rush at the start is the only really viable opening, and it’s getting a little stale. One of the things I like about games like Civ is that there are technological brakes on colonizing every inch of land. I don’t mean unhappiness and corruption and limiters like that necessarily, I mean that there might be terrain that isn’t very valuable until you unlock some new technologies and then it becomes more viable. Or in space games, you start being able to colonize planets with different hazard ratings or world types (barren worlds, ice worlds).

I wish there were options for rushing or booming and stuff like that, but I feel like every one of the dozens and dozens of games I’ve played have gone the exact same path. It’s getting a little boring and predictable.

As a counterpoint, in my most recent game I founded 2 of my own cities.

I spent all my cosmite on 2 modded up stacks, captured 2 cities from one enemy, made leave with them by pledging to be their vassal, captured 2 more cities from another empire (enemy 2) that had declared war on me, made peace with them, built up my forces to 5 stacks, kept the NPCs happy, then attacked enemy 2, who had about 6 cities.

Another AI got wiped out and I found their empty cities.

I have about 14 cities now, built 2 of them.

Please correct me if I’m wrong but that still sounds like it was a rush, you just did it with military mods instead of colonizers. If you don’t grab that territory the AI will, it’s just that you took it from them. There doesn’t seem to be really a play to focus on building up economically/technologically to crush them later (i.e. a Boom strategy).

I wouldn’t say it was a rush because I didn’t attack them or expand towards them.

All self defence.

That said, I am pretty sure starting points are closer together, so you meet people pretty soon, so conflict is almost inevitable.

Kevin, it sounds like you want to be successful by neither early expansion nor by seizing your opponent’s expansion before they can capitalize on it and out produce you (who did not expand). I don’t think this is the kind of game that rewards neither expanding nor conquering, but just staying put and growing at your own pace and attacking when you feel ready. I personally am glad of that, but different strokes for different folks.

Either way it’s rush. You rush or you capture what the AI rushed to.

Sounds like what we need is a new game option. One that can make expansion slower while still researching at nominal speeds. Maybe kind of like Civ or Gal Civ long game modes.

Well, I mean to me at least, can’t speak for Kevin, the strategy layer is just an overlay pretext that sets up the tactical battles which is what I enjoy about Age of Wonders series.

I wouldn’t want just tactical, that ends up being not unlike just about everything slitherine makes that bores me, so I like that there’s stuff to do on the map and that you’re fighting the AI’s for control, but I get the most fun out of the tactical battles where the fact that I’m really rather bad at them makes it challenging pretty much every battle.

Oh, and I should add too, I think the strategic and tactical tie in together in this series better than just about anything out there.

I just want strategic options instead of “Grab all the territory as quickly as you can” being the only path. In many good strategy games that is a valid strategy, just not the only strategy. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just making the early game feel very monotonous to me because every game I perform the same opening moves… because there’s not really any choice in the matter. I would like to see tradeoffs between grabbing every bit of land you see as quickly as you can or slicing out a defensible chunk and developing it to Boom later. Right now the game is Rush and only Rush, and I’m getting a little bored with it.

That’s one reason I brought up planet habitability in scifi games. Not every inch of territory is grabbed right at the start, but if you focus a little more on economy and research at first instead of military units and conquest, you can get access to these areas first and potentially overtake the rushers that way (assuming you can withstand the early assault).

I understand this is a combat-focused series and I’m not looking to take away from that, I’d just love to have different pacing from game to game and to be thinking about what my opening strategy is going to be.