Jon Shafer's At The Gates

Sounds like a bit more than mere “polish” is coming.

I own it, but I have yet to install it and I’ll give it time to cook a bit before I do.

Had to put this one down - no notifications when 2 of my clans disappeared ain’t really acceptable.

Ouch. Did the 1.01 patch come out yet? I don’t see any mention of it on Steam, and we’re beyond the “1-2 weeks” window. Just curious if there had been any updates or news on the updates that aren’t posted on the Steam page.

The game’s concurrent players are dropping like flies, and it’s at the Mixed rating. Unless Jon has cash stashed away for further development, I don’t see how post-release plans are going to work.

Yes, this is one of the main things which needs fixing. If a bandit kills or captures your explorer, you do not get any notification.

It is almost too easy to clear things out with a spearman, but if you fail to do so, your people just disappear into the ether. In one case, I had one captures and later I recovered him, all without any special messages.

Some news about the first update

One strategy question - it seems like the best strategy is to beeline out to find a source of stone as that fundamentally changes how the resources nodes work (making them permanent vs degrading). And also leave any resource nodes once they’re done to 1 or so units before you have stone as I guess you can come back and then they’re basically full powered…

At least one migration is pretty much designed into the game. Doing as you say could be viable, but it would necessitate a pretty early expansion and might slow your initial development.

Stone blocks are not very hard to get- stone, coal, or even wood all eventually get you to stone blocks.

I think it depends on the map. If there is space available with good resources, it can be advantageous to move around a while, in which case depleting a resource is not particularly a negative. But if space is limited (or key resources have limited availability) then definitely, stone blocks are the way to go.

But it is a definite sacrifice if you hold up resource usage in a big way, just waiting on stone blocks.

I took your advice and I’m glad I did.

I struggled with 1/2 dozen restarts before noticing that you could do upgrades of tech, at which point the game becomes considerably easier. It is a nice idea, less powerful than next gen tech but able to really help your economy. Maybe it was just me, but hiding the upgrades behind the main tech and not even mentioning them in the otherwise excellent tooltips wasn’t the best UI.

I won with the Goths and unlocked a number of other tribes,then played again as the Slavs (probably an easier clan since they don’t worry about supply). Played until I was ready to send units to Roman and then didn’t want to sit through clicking 24 end of turns. I’ll try one more tribe but then I’ll wait to play more until the game is which given @Jon_Shafer track record on hit milestones maybe a while.

But overall I found the game to fun and truly innovative in several ways. Overall this review (German but Google Translate works well.) expressed my view on the state fo the game.

I thought I’d grade the game on well it accomplishes the 4x for the Genre

eXplore. Honestly, it is pretty hard to screw up the explore part of a 4X game. Something very compelling about an almost blank map. What will be revealed? How will the goodie huts treat me is some of the most fun parts of any 4x.
Good features: most of the resources require a two-step identification. That’s fertile ground for some crop. or some mineral but you have to send another unit to fully identify it.
Bad: The map is huge and the benefits of explorer the whole map are minimal the good huts are nice in the beginning but quickly become irrelevant. To me Stellaris, has raise the bar for eXplore part of the genre with the fun multi-part stories revealed in the goodie huts.
Overall B-

eXpand A real mixed bag here. Expand really consist of two different elements, population growth and expanding your presence on the map.
Good features. I was playing a lot of Rimworld before playing AtG. In Rimworld, you get more people, but the process is almost completely random. You have no control of getting more people you just have to react to events. In contrast in most 4x, population growth is very predictable in 6 turns you get a new Pop (4 if you build a granery). AtG combines randomness with player control. If you need more people, you put people in Fame generating positions. But what type of Clan you get is completely random. You maybe critically short of blacksmiths to make tools, but the new clan, is curious clan, who longs to be out exploring the world and not cooped up in the settlement. So do you train him to be a blacksmith, and risk tensions later or send him off exploring.
Bad features. I felt almost no need to expand at all. Sure it is nice to be able to move your whole clan, but I never felt the need to do so. You can easily win the game with 2 mines, 4-5 farms and logging campl. Building a single Watchtower is pretty much all you need to do to win the game.
Overall no higher than a C.
eXploit This is where the game really shines.
Good Features. The economic system is really well developed. You do need all of the resources to win the game. But you have many options on how best to get them you. You can use specialize and sells your excesses via the caravan system. But the caravan isn’t a 100% reliable and often doesn’t have what you need. I also like the research system. Just researching a tech isn’t enough to help you, you have to assign somebody to do it, and that often requires considerable resources that you don’t have. Overal I felt every job assignment, and every research goal was important, and mostly importantly they were very situational dependend I made different choices in different games.
Bad Features: bugs in several of the professions
Overall A-
eXterminate. Just as it is hard to screw up the eXplore part of 4x, it is really hard to do a good exterminate. I can think of only a handful of games that really were successful Moo and Civ IV being the most well know. First of all, you have to create a situation where the player is resource constrained, he needs something another player has. Or you have to make the player feel threatened by another player. Then those threats have to be credible (i.e. decent AI.) Stellaris had Fallen Empires which were super powerful but not threatening. Civ V and VI had plenty of threats and often the AI controlled stuff you need, but the incompetent AI but the threats meaningless.
Sadly aTG fails in all of those tasks. The first couple of winters facing starvage created some tension. The bandits are never more than nuisance, and generally incompetent. I tried to get a large worthless clan wiped out by making them an explorer and sending them out into bandit country, the bandits attacked him but never killed the guy. But most importantly no AI player ever attacked me.

Overall F:

Thanks for the detailed review. I keep thinking I’m going to spend time with it, but when I read things like this and the German review I realize I should wait. Maybe in another year…

Yeah thanks for the great write up. I am still waiting to see where it ends up once all development is done. Sadly I feel this will be one of the forgotten games of 2019, that might have been at least good (B range) if given more time in the oven before release.

1.1 patch next week! And then… June 1.2 patch and October 1.3 patch plans mentioned here:

Jon updated the thread on May 7th.

Most recent update on the unstable branch:

Will it have an AI?

Looks like 1.3 for that and diplomacy

I think I’ll give 1.1 a look again. But 1.3 is pretty much the game I supported as kickstarter. I certainly didn’t expect it to be fully optimized,or bug free but 1.0 and even 1.1 are very much an Alpha product not even beta.

Version 1.2 is out I’m going to give a play next week.

BTW, anybody know what happened to the forums @Jon_Shafer?

Possibly this and the need to take a break from constantly working on a game or being on gaming forums talking about games.

So I started several At the Gates games over the weekend. The game is significantly harder, it is now almost like “Don’t Starve”. The Roman player is a lot more active. I haven’t decide if the game is significantly better since I haven’t finished a game yet.

Edit: A word of warning. I’m having real issue loading saved games, often it crashed and one time I had to abandon a game because the save file wouldn’t load.