Age of Wonders: Planetfall by Triumph Studios

The brake on expansion is that colonizers get progressively more expensive.

I don’t “cram them in” as you say, but I do try to fill up available space as resources allow. Keep in mind that murder is econ in AoW, since you get such huge boosts from clearing neutrals and dungeons and digs, and make sure you prioritize keeping your main stack (and later, multiple stacks) in the field.

I had an amusing sequence last night.

I’m on a planet with extra RPR spawners and stronger RPR armies. Messing around with Shakarn for the first time (they’re interesting, I’m really feeling the lack of healing though). Right next to my capital, there’s a Hopperhound spawner, a RPR spawner, and of course a minor-controlled landmark.

As usual I immediately attack the landmark so I can annex it as my first sector. Lose my Infiltrator, but whatevs, worth it. Clear a couple neutrals, get some pickups, you know the deal. Get my first colony founded (annoyingly right on the other side of the RPR spawner that I can’t quite clear yet). Waiting for research to complete so I can mod my dudes and crank out another T2 dude and get the dumb spawner cleared.

The turn before that happens, the Psi-Fish spawn an attacking army on me, a freakin’ four-stack of Hopperhounds takes my colony, and a SIX-stack of RPRs take my capital. I’m cityless on like turn 10, y’all.

(Took the cap back right away and my colony the next turn, but STILL. Neutrals can be real buttholes in Planetfall, and I love it.)

I have had a similar experience on an RPR map.

I was Dvar, and they wiped the floor with me.

Couple first-tier mods, a hero level or two, and another T2 dude and that RPR nest found out what’s what. Helps that the Shakarn are heavy on stagger effects, which make the jump-n-slash dudes a lot less scary.

Just started this over the weekend.

So far it’s reminding me a LOT of Endless Legend, but with a much more fleshed out tactical/customization portion (and a much more streamlined city building compared to EL’s proto-Civ6 districts) at the cost of a much messier aesthetic.

(7 years later, and EL is still the most gorgeous 4X made)

Given that you like EL, I assume your post is a compliment.

For the record, I felt EL was one of the most overrated games ever!

It was gorgeous. The city construction options were original takes (at the time) and presented a neat “tall vs wide” option to growth (if you got cut off expanding to new territories, you could build more districts in existing cities. Both counted the same towards the happiness cap). It took a stab at some neat asymmetry nearly up to the level of Endless Space 2. Did I mention it’s still the most gorgeous 4X ever made?

But it mostly fell apart in practice. The race balance was laughable (one race was all but invincible to being attacked). The quest-line victory broken. The tactical combat time-consuming without being deep. Zero penalty to declaring wars to the death with the advantage going to the attacker instead of the defender. And the biggie: the game was simply a race to who hit tier 2 tech first because the jump in equipment quality was huge and you just steamrolled the planet at that point (picture the swordsman upgrade rush in Civ 6, only much worse and without war weariness or any defender advantages).

A lot of the same systems are in both games. Map divided into territories that can each have one new city built, or annexed for an income bonus. Influence is a separate resource used for both diplomacy and spells. The same Master of Magic army organization.

I haven’t dipped into Planetfall much, but I can already tell the unit customization options are a lot deeper (I think EL was just simple gear stat upgrades). And the race balance couldn’t possibly be as bad as EL.

Most definitely. Amplitude games are full of cool ideas but I’ve never found them to be very satisfying games. I’ll be picking up Humankind with the appropriate expectations. I want to see a gorgeous map, UI, and encounter some really interesting design decisions that don’t amount to a very engaging strategy experience. :)

For Planetfall? Oh yeah, unit customization options are really impactul. Maybe too much so for some people (not me!) given that one of the more common complaints I’ve seen has been the mental tax in trying to track just how all the various mods enhance a unit’s capabilities.

I tried to get into Endless Space 2 simply because the assymetry between all the races sounded so cool.

But it was a mess of poorly explained mechanics and even less explained math. I picked up the mechanics of Endless Legend, but gave up figuring out ES2. Plus it made me realize how most of the EL appeal evaporated when you took away the colorful “Game of Thrones intro” map and replaced it with the void of space.

Yeah I have the same reaction to Amplitude games. Triumph is vastly more successful from a design perspective, no doubt.

I think the general consensus in my circle is that the Endless series has some great artists but it hasn’t ever really resulted in a game that was better than “ok”. They aren’t bad but they aren’t great. I think I might have gotten 40 hours out of one of them which is… pitiful compared to my EU4 or Total War Warhammer numbers.

Galactic Empire mode continues to perform: tonight I had a mission that required me to do Archeology which I normally ignore. So at an Anomaly Site, I had to fight this thing, and then after beating it, it joined me.

To wit, say hello to my large friend:

I was near the win when I got it, so I only managed to get Magma Worm into a few fights, but it did in fact crush all before it. It was beautiful.

On a different note, I learned tonight how to succeed at those Empire Quests where you need to “Add” a colony. It just says “absorb a colony or settlement” but it turns out it needs to be of a faction not already in your empire (or at least not your starting faction for this planet). You can buy the settlement with influence or absorb an enemy colony but it needs to add a new faction to your empire.

Ah hah! Good find. Localization or someone really screwed the pooch on that one.

Archaeology is awesome, man, you’re missing out! With the hero skills you get crazy science out of it in addition to great items, free tech, unique units as you saw, all kinds of stuff. I prioritize archaeology whenever I can.

Archeology was/is a bit divisive. The harder core mostly mp crowd dislike them.

I personally think they’re great:)

Gave it a couple spins. I don’t think it’s a game for me. The big appeal is the tactical combat/mods and that part didn’t click with me.

So I went off to revist Fall from Heaven 2, which I haven’t played in 12 years. Discovered that it went through some iterations and now there’s a “Ashes of Erebus” version that adds and rebalances a ton of stuff, and is still being updated! If anyone ever fiddled with FfH2 back in the day or wanted to try a 4X focused on the strategic, give this one a shot.

Wonder why it requires you to set BTS to the original release instead of what currently ships in steam.

Hey guys I found the best tech in the game. This is going to have some…[sunglasses]…repercussions.

@Sharpe On the offchance you’re still monitoring this thread, what other settings do you recommend for a “first” game? Number of opponents, world size, world type, &c?

I started to folllow your suggestions yesterday while I was laid up with severe vaccine side effects and I played some of the tutorial and started a map, but got quickly confused with all the options and possibilities.

Also, the Purification Doodad, if I have the correct one, is one of the first row of techs, not tier 2.

Hello Ike:

Yes, the Purification Field is actually in the first tier (my memory was a bit vague) making it easy to get.

For starting setup, I recommend the default settings, simply so you don’t have to put in much effort figuring out the configuration - you can try different configurations as you progress. So, medium size map, 6 players, either pangea or continent (islands can be complicated), Game Intensity Relaxed, Opponent Level Easy for your first playthrough.

You can mess with pickup settings, archeology settings, voidbringer settings etc. as you gain experience but for now don’t change those (if you don’t see them, don’t worry for now - they are in the “Advanced Setup” options).

The basic idea is to pick fairly vanilla settings, a fairly generic starting faction (Vanguard), a Secret Tech with an easy-to-use mod (Promethean) and then learn as you go.