Fort Triumph - HoMM meets Xcom!

I must be dense but how does a hero equip an item? There doesn’t appear to be any inventory slots.

Good question.

I got distracted by picking up Urtuk, but I am definitely going to get this before the sale is up. $12 is less than two IPAs at my local hangout and currently, PC gaming is keeping me from pissing away money on overpriced beer. :)

Awesome, I will wait for your report. :) I was looking over the Steam reviews last night and left totally on the fence.

Yeah, it seems like one with a mix of mechanics that for some will hit a sweet spot and for others it will be 22 mins of playing, never play again and wonder why anyone enjoys it.

For the King has been mentioned in a couple threads and I wish every strategy game was that game. If they put out new campaigns for that game once a year for the rest of eternity I would buy them. The bits are just all ones I love and come together for me into a sublime experience. I played a bunch of it, went away for a year and then played even more the upon revisiting it.

I played a couple of hours of For the King, but it was in the middle of being deep into a couple of other games, so I moved it onto the “come back to soon” pile. I was so impressed with the creativity and exploration in that game. I really have to move it higher up on the pile.

I used to give good recommendations, but now all of my recommendations should begin with “Only speaking for myself, you may find this a tedious waste of time”. :)

That said, the gear management and levelling and especially way the overland exploration works is perfect for me. It is a bit like HoMM in that respect. Choose what fights you want, look for goodies, visit towns. But then the there are the dungeon battles that are added, which switch up combat just enough and in an interesting way as you have to plan out for a series of fights rather than just the one and done battles on the map.

I also really like that you can focus on three characters. Sure, it limits you to certain possibilities and for some it may not give you enough variety, but for me, the different classes and doing what each does best in campaign worked.

I played it on the Swtich, which came with all the DLC w, but the most recent DLC is only on PC…debating getting the whole thing again on sale just for that once there is a deep discount.

OK, I broke down and bought it played about 3 or so hours last night. The overland map on which you have have your own town, recruit heroes (no troop recruiting) and pick up resources and buffs is much like HoMM. It looks like you can have up to three parties. You start only able to have 3 members er party, but town upgrades can increase that. The map just isn’t as littered with stuff as the focus is more on the battles.

Yes the tactical battles remind you of XCom. There is cover and range that can affect your chances to hit. There is armor mitigation. Some battles you are on a field that is completely revealed, but a couple baddies can still be hiding, but soon reveal themselves. On others, you have to advance forward but not too quickly as you can reveal/activate new enemies when you do so.

As @belouski states above, the manipulation of the cover and other objects around the battlefield is key and where the creativity and more strategy comes into play. As your party levels, they get additional abilities that can further tweak your attacks and manipulation of those objects. They start with traditional class abilities and then the ranged damage dealers get something to defend against melee guys that rush them. For the archer its a bow bash and for the mage its a ring of fire that pushes away and burns, for example. Some of the melee characters end up getting a ranged ability. The fighter gets a paralyze “shackle” ability. Some of the magic abilities can hit behind cover, but are still affected by something and not generally 100% but better than normal ranges attacks. I haven’t figured all of that out yet.

There are other abilities, too, but you can only unlock a fixed number of them at least at the point at which I am. I think each of my party members now has 4 or 5 and are at levels 5 or 6. Then the abilities themselves can be are improved a level or two causing additional damage, piercing armor, reducing cool down, adding bleed/stun effects, etc.

The fun to be had for me is figuring out how best to use the interplay of the various skills paired possibly with the skills of another party member and the various obstacles/objects on the battlefield. Again, as stated above, it’s pretty clever and you must make use of these items to stun and damage as you are always undermanned. The A.I. will rush you at times and the ranged enemies are pretty good at using cover and the melee has a “Brace” power which usually means stay in place and defend. The A.I. isn’t perfect, but it also isn’t brain dead. It is aggressive, but ranged is careful in its use of cover and overwatch at times.

You usually have only 3 AP points. Basic attacks cost 2. So you can move then attack and vice versa. That can change and there are various abilities that increase AP and different attacks that cost different amounts. The base building affects character abilities. One upgrade gives you an extra AP to start. One gives you more HP. One gives you more movement. You start at 8 moves per AP. SO you and the enemies can cover a lot of ground, but you can also over extend and get ganged up on and die.

There is an inventory slot on each character. You can find health and speed (increase movement) potion to equip that are one use. You can find weapons and items to equip that can give an ability outside of your class. A base improvement allows you to increase those inventory slots so you can carry potions and equipment. Possibly up to three spaces.

All the parts are kinda cool and blend pretty well, but the focus is the battles and figuring out inventive combinations during fights. The overland map and base building is very stripped down, but serves their purpose in giving you locations for random and boss battles and strengthening your party. All overland enemies are in fixed positions, but there is an AI player wandering around with its own base and scooping up stuff. When you mouse over an overland enemy, it tells you in numbers of skulls (1 to 5 incl. half skulls) how difficult a fight it is relative to your party strength.

Here’s a couple of examples of cool things. There are probably a hundred cool combinations using a mixture of abilities and the landscape and these are the places where you will have the most fun.

Enemies can be kicked against something and stunned. Not all classes have the kick ability. I think it is just melee. The kck can be against obstacles or other enemies and it often creates a stun effect. There is “resistance” so they can only be pushed 3 spaces I think. I found Soapy wand that makes the resistance zero so you can push enemies much farther to allow you to do more things. You can even chain stun enemies if they are lined up.

One ability all characters has is pick up and move and it costs 1 AP. That can be a rock, an enemy or a party member. The melee characters have what’s called an Attack of Opportunity that costs 0 AP and happens outside of their turn of someone comes next to them. So I have used one guy to pick up an enemy, toss him into a space adjacent to a melee character and the attack triggers and he wails on him. I believe this also works with the ranged Overwatch ability (costs 2 AP). So you can pick up a guy behind cover toss him to another space within range of your archer/mage and they will fire off a shot.

My fighter was surrounded and standing in between two columns. One enemy in front, one behind him and one on the other side of each column. He has a stomp ability that pushes everything back. Two guys get pushed away and then the enemies on the other side of the columns were struck for damage as the columns toppled on top of them and they were also stunned. Stun reduces AP to 1 for the next turn and since most enemy attacks cost 2 also, that means they can only move.

Those are just a few of the neat interactions I had and there are probably dozens more to discover as you figure out your abilities and the interplay with those of other characters and the environment.

So, my quick review is the battles are really fun, but you have to think about how things work together and as you gain new abilities, the possibilities grow. You can try to fight using normal attacks from traditional classes and will quickly be bored. All the other “HoMM-like” mechanics simply serve to give you resources to improve your base that then strengthens your party members. I found that it was great fun trying to figure out what combos will work in different situations. I am bad about finding something that kinda works for each character in games and repeating it. This is making me think about he combos and that is where the enjoyment is to be had.

So, I don’t do write ups usually and certainly nothing more than a brief “first impression”. Not sure I have even done that for more than a handful of games on Steam. However, I had enough fun last night after 3 or 4 hours and still thinking about this morning what other things I can try with the increasing number of abilities that I vomited all of this. I have bought a bunch of games like most of us (250 I think now) and many I booted up and played less than an hour and never tried it again and others I’ve not installed. There are better games out there and games that do some things this one does better, but for the creative way fights work, I think this is worth the current $12 price. I do not think many games make use of the environment and ability combos as much as this game does.

My tastes seem to be super specific these days, though, and not always shared by others, so take all of this for what it’s worth. :) TO that point, I think maybe 6 of my Steam friends have this and by tonight I probably will have played more of this than all, but maybe one.

Happy to answer any other questions.

Shit, after hitting post, I can’t believe I typed all that or that I actually remembered enough about it after one play. :D Should prolly put this on Steam.

That’s some major impression work, @Tyjenks! :) Thanks! Sounds like a resounding thumbs up.

I’m sure this is mentioned somewhere in the thread, but it’s by the same people who have done the Thea games? I could get the discount to 65% by buying the bundle, even though I’ve already got the other two games.

Looking forward to giving this a shot!

Excellent write up. Quite informative. It has moved the needle for me. I’m at, if I buy this now will I still want to play For the King anymore? :)

HA! Yeah, Two different beasts. The overland exploration of FTK is far superior. The combat is not better or worse, just completely different.

I love For the King. No way that I end up liking Fort Triumph more. :)

Ditto!

So… I shouldn’t purchase it?

Sorry, I would still recommend it for $12 if the idea of tactical battles as I described sounds fun. I just played a couple more hours and the battles are still fun. I did burn down a house around me in which we were fighting including almost burning one of my party members up, but you live and you learn.

I just really, really love FTK. I was just saying it is impossible for it to meet that level of love. :)

So in the boss fights you have to advance down a path triggering pods of bad guys here and there and so far there have been houses and buildings you can go into and hide or fight within. So any fire abilities can cause some trouble as it’s all made of wood.

I was fighting some goblins at the end of Act I and they were all in and around a house and all had bows and were in overwatch. I was able to aim a fire arrow at a bookcase the goblins were behind. It caught on fire and then the next turn anyone beside it catches on fire. So the goblin began taking damage. This also causes the walls to burn as they were adjacent to the bookcase and this eventually removes the cover they have. I had gotten it down to three goblins with one inside the house. Some necessary amount of walls had been destroyed and the roof caved in and did 34 points (a lot in this game) of damage on the one on fire still inside the house.

It was unexpected and hilarious.

Because the battles are so fun individually and outside of the rest of the game, I might actually enjoy the skirmish mode, which I tend to avoid in every game I play.

This game is very much like Battletech as well. I just got the fourth party member. Looking at a 2 1/2 danger group of goblins. No problem, sez I.

On the goblin turn three of them had grenades. Party wipe. What the bleeding fuck?

On what difficulty are you playing?

Pretty sure it’s whatever is the default.

I think it’s “Classic” and there is one below that and two above. I had some close calls but I ended up wailing on easy mobs and leveling up and out of danger.

I bought and played this in EA when the campaign only had Act I. I’m currently midway through Act III in the release version and I have to say I’m really enjoying it. They made a lot of good changes in EA. Tip: If you want to get the best scores in battles, kick the crap out of everything. They give a lot of bonus points for using physics abilities in battles. That’s going to change in an upcoming patch though because people complained about it.

The scenarios are basically the equivalent of random maps in HoMM and AoW games. This was the area I provided a lot of feedback to them on. I thought the maps weren’t big and complex/random enough. I’ll have to try some now and see how it plays.

One thing they apparently didn’t change was the town defense battles. I told them I thought defenders didn’t have enough advantage and towns were too easy to take. They don’t have walls or moats like HoMM does and the few extra units you get for defense seemed pretty weak. I haven’t been attacked yet so I need to see if they at least improved the town defense ballista any. It was pretty weak before.

All in all, I’m enjoying this quite a bit. It’s a lot like HoMM. If they’d just put out a map/campaign editor, it could have some legs. I kind of doubt it happens though. At some point I asked them about several improvements like that and they said they just couldn’t afford to make any more improvements and had to go ahead and release it. it’s a shame it hasn’t done well enough in sales for them to continue to improve it with DLC or other additional content. Still, it’s probably the best recent HoMM like 4X game until Songs of Conquest comes out (and that will have a really nice map editor on release).

I saw a preview just this week for Songs of Conquest and I think my mouth began to water.