Age of Wonders: Planetfall by Triumph Studios

That’s an interesting take.

I think it has made the tactical space much larger.

But at the same time they’ve expanded the strategic space too.

It’s simply a bigger game overall.

Maybe they did. You obviously know those games better than I do. But to a casual player AoW3 strategic layer feels much more complex I think. A lot of things are streamlined in AoWPF starting with city foundation. I understand that they facilitate interesting choices instead of measuring hexes in AoW3 (“If I place a city in here I’ll need to rush stone walls and observatory and one populace growth. Then I’ll reach that Heart of the Blight”) but on the surface it looks like a complex choice replaced with an artificial dilemma. Kinda like in old X-Com games you might have several alien attacks at the same time givin you a dilemma while in new one they literally happen at the same time.

When you explore you know that everything important is in the middle of a province so exploration feels simpler too.

I’m not saying it’s primitive, I gladly accept when designers boil down miriad of choices (many of which are obvious when you know what you’re doing and thus are just busywork and traps for newbs) to few interesting ones. But it feels like they did streamlining in strategic layer and the opposite was done in combat. Now in combat everything has up to 3 (4 for heroes) modules in addition to improvements from city buildings, hero specialization, spells and so on.

What settings do people like to use? I’m mostly asking about difficulty related settings, but really any settings you deem important.

Extra large maps, highest difficulty, hardest marauders.

Game gets quite challenging quite quickly.

Do you also slow down research or anything?

No not yet.

I sometimes will play with city founding off.

But beware this makes the early conflicts very high pressure.

Losing a city within the first 20 or 30 turns, without using it as a trap, will really mess you up.

It does mean that winning an early war is a huge advantage.

But with the larger map size, speed becomes a massive limiting factor, so wars become rather challenging to prosecute and conclude.

Limited resources, challenging logistics.

It can become a bit grindy though.

Hey @KevinC , what settings do you like for your Planetfall games (i.e. difficulty, research pace, etc…)? You also have played this one quite a bit and I’m interested in which settings have worked for you.

Oh, dang, it’s been a while and they’ve actually renamed all the difficulty settings (and tweaked some of them, IIRC) from when I played last! In most 4X games I set the research to slowest possible but that wasn’t entirely necessary here. I felt a little slower was good, but I played quite a few MP games with default research speeds and it was fine.

I didn’t like the settings that made the neutrals really hard as I felt it just bogged down the early game and unlike many other 4X games, I don’t find the early game too appealing here. I think things get more interesting once I start having more mods and units to play with.

I believe I turned up faction strength quite a bit. This would be in relation to the NPC factions like Psy Fish and Automatons, not the regular marauder “barbarians”. One dislike I had about the game before was the number of Covert Ops that would be used against you especially if you have a lot of players in the game and I believe since I’ve played they’ve added options to control this now.

That’s about all I can remember. They changed a lot about the difficulty settings in their latest update and I haven’t played since, so I’m afraid a lot of my experience might be obsolete!

For what it’s worth, the settings will vary from person to person based on how well they know the game, how well they’ve learned how various stuff works and interacts. Other folks’ settings won’t necessarily apply to you, because Planetfall is one of those games you play on too easy a difficulty to learn it, and then bump up the difficulty to actually play it.


I still am learning, and I’ve not even finished half the races. I’m playing hard level, aggressive AI, aggressive spawners. The aggressive spawners is especially important cause it forces you to build up your military infrastructure to at least level 2 to keep your cities and bases alive. Otherwise I think turtling is the right strategy.

I’m impressed by the tactical AI, especially considering how many buff, and debuff options there are. Plus just the sheer difference of playing a defensive oriented race, like Vanguard or the Dvars vs a charge at them race like the Kiro-Ko. I stay about 1/3 of the them when I retry an autocombat I do the same or worse than the AI.

It also gives a lie to folks who say that doing a one unit per hex tactical game is too hard for AI, and makes me even more disappointed in how bad Firaxis AI was for Civ V, VI.

Also, thanks @tomchick I would likely not have heard about the Planetfall without your reviews and top 10 list. Planetfall has replace Gladius Gods of War as my favorite 4x game.

Which game is this? Do you mean Gladius, the Warhammer 40K game?

Total agree with you, although Planetfall is a little bit different in that it allows stacks on the strategy layer and only does 1UPT when ti drops down to the tactical level. Gladius is a good example of 1UPT working on the strategy layer on a fraction of the budget. Firaxis just never cared enough to make the design work or teach an AI how to play it and unfortunately it’s ruined the series for me at this point.

For sure, but if most people say “I started getting challenged on this level or I’m currently here after 5 games” then I’ve got a good baseline. I was also curious about the non-difficulty settings like research speed. I know that peoples’ tastes and abilities differ, but it’s a good starting point.

Yes, this game. Warhammer 40,000: GladiusRelics of War
Which has such a absurd title that’s it faster for me to google "Gladius game and cut and paste the title than try and remember what order the words are in.


In fairness, the problem space in Civ is significantly more challenging. Randomly generated maps and an arbitrary number of units are huge, huge deals.

In an adjacent space, when I was working on Ashes of the Singularity, map design was a huge part of keeping the AI from misbehaving. And that’s with (IMO) really, really excellent AI for the most part.

Yeah, that’s why Gladius is the better example. Gladius has randomly generated maps and an arbitrary number of units fighting tactically on the strategic map and the AI is great.

Fair enough! I’m a big Proxy fan from Pandora; I should spend more time with Gladius.

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