Urtuk: The Desolation -- tactical RPG

I think my favorite is a pimped-out Javelineer parked on a hilltop and defended by a couple tanks. Play it right and he can wipe out 2/3 of an army single-handedly.

I managed to get to the third map, and then switched PCs and lost my save games so starting again. Can’t wait to see what the final version looks like, but last I checked the GoG version was still on 0.87 or so.

Anyway 2 thumbs up. I like it more than say BB, DD or Iratus. It just feels like there’s lots to learn, but it isn’t as punishing as those other games (at least on difficulty level 2). I love the artwork and the sound bites are great.

As someone who refunded Battle Brothers after 119 minutes of play, this has me tempted, particularly marxeil’s view that it isn’t as punishing.

Man, I love battle brothers! That said, I kind of wish was a different game…? It’s just too brutal to be quite the experience I would otherwise be looking for, sadly. I think I want it to be more of a final fantasy tactics kind of game set in that world, maybe.

The Easiest setting is pretty easy, and I’m not humblebragging. As Mysterio also mentioned, the first time a unit falls in battle, it is only injured. I only lost some of my best guys against the boss because I assumed he wouldn’t be that hard and brought them in injured. If I would have waited, I could have brought in uninjured units. Then I would have been able to regroup after he kicked my ass and I wouldn’t have abandoned my game. I probably still could have recovered as it was, but I just considered it a quick first learning game and restarted.

The game offers you plenty of units as well, so you should always have enough to field the maximum of 6 units and then reserves that can be training, improving weapons, on scavenging missions, or just convalescing.

No, once you finish the game on one difficulty it opens up an initially locked higher difficulty. You also open up other classes and races to play that way as well.

Yeah, me too. I didn’t want to burn out on it before release (but I still do have something like 90 hours in it). It really is one of the best tactical games I’ve ever played. And not only is the tactical layer great, I really like how the world map and events are handled too. It’s a great total package and deserves to sell really well, imo.

I meant the priest in geenral.

He doesn’t actually heal, allowing lifestealing instead (at a cost to his life,) and then healing himself when something dies.

Feels fiddly to use, relative to the other classes.

I started a new game, this time with a Javeliner and a Xbow man, and that is a potent combination.

I like the priest although I am still a beginner. I like to throw Aegis on the Beserker round 1 for some protection. Heal up over the next few rounds and use Aegis and lifesteal when I can. Javeliner and Xbow are great for sure but are easily found.

Urtuk got actual healing for me later, but I don’t know if that was particular to that run or will always happen.

The Swamper Shaman have an regen spell. I noticed that in this game you have to be much more proactive with your defenses.

I’m only on day ten…

So much left to unlock lol.

I think I started my campaign on the second difficulty, adventurer and am on day 19. So far it’s pretty good. I like the way crits work. So far it hasn’t been difficult…as long as I remain observant. I had a couple guys get injured which I was able to heal with medicine. My big mistake was my last battle where I didn’t pay attention and my guy got pushed onto a death pit…poof gone. That is where the difficulty comes in for me. I just didn’t check to see if the enemy had special abilities / attacks and I got careless with my positioning. The rest of the battle was a piece of cake.

It’s cool how the mutators level up and how they can be absorbed although I’m not sure I understand the mechanics of how that works.

This and Trials of Fire take my votes for the most innovative, slick, compelling tactical RPGs of the decade.

Regarding the Priest, I treat it as an MVP since it has the unique ability to keep other units alive and that is a big deal when you have max 6 units and are often fighting outnumbered. The aegis ability which blocks the next attack also ensures a retailation strike, so you can load this onto a squishy hard hitter for a wonderful synergy. I want a Priest in every warband, so I always pick one among the starting 3 units.

My other MVP is the Javelineer developed with enough agility to raise two tiles and still make an attack. I aim to give him the mutator that triggers a ranged attack whenever a friendly unit within 2 or 3 spaces makes a melee attack. This makes him a fantastic terrain manipulator and damage dealer. Any unit that is 2 levels higher cannot be attacked in melee, so with some time it is possible to set up safe defences for the Javelineer and any other ranged dudes.

After that . . . happy to work with whatever else I get. Berserker has great damage output especially with a Priest support. The uh, guy with the maul has useful stuns, the Spearman is fantastic at pinning opponents (another great recipient of agility points). I am least keen on the Assassin as backstab is very powerful but requires positioning which seems tricky to pull off when you are usually outnumbered.

Hehe, the same in my campaign! That gosh dang taught me a lesson!

I’ve had my eyes on Trials of Fire but haven’t yet felt compelled to take the jump. Is it something that someone who has dozens of hours in Urtuk and liked every one of them likely to enjoy?

What are the innovations Urtuk brings to the table? Honest question


  • The mutators. The way you level them, use them, acquire them is all very different from what you normally do in a tactical game.
  • The campaign. It is like Battle Brother but much more focus. Plus the unlock you get later on are very different.
  • Abilities. Some of the abilities are quite interesting. Even if they aren’t, the resourcing involved are not what you normally see. For instance. Aegis absorbs 1 attack but it takes 40% of the user’s health to do so. The user cannot normally regen health unless they consume an enemy’s corpse.

I’m sure there’s more but that’s what I know on top of my head.

I REALLY like Star Renegades too. Personally I would put it up there.

I haven’t gotten Urtuk yet, I’ve had my eyes on it for awhile but haven’t taken the jump yet. However, as the resident Trials of Fire cheerleader just let me know what kind of things you like about Urtuk and I can tell you how that relates to Trials of Fire.

I think the procedurally generated battlefields are a notch above anything in the genre that’s been done before. They make very credible, tactically interesting maps that aren’t remotely cookie-cutter, and do it across a number of different map themes. To me it almost always feels like you have a truly unique map to fight on.

I particularly like the mutations and the resulting variety they give you in character building, along with those procedural battlefields, and the very interesting interplay of abilities between classes. Pretty much every decision feels like it matters.

The deckbuilding piece of Trials of Fire provides for a lot of variety in builds. Your deck consists of 9 class cards plus whatever cards your equipment gives you. You have a starting set of basic cards for your class, but at every level-up get a choice of 4 random new class cards to choose from that will replace one of the 9 you already have. Instead, you can choose to upgrade a class card in your deck. This already makes level ups an interesting decision. Do I want one of these new cards? If I do, what other card that I already have do I want to get rid of? Or, do I want to make my existing deck a little stronger by upgrading a card? I briefly touched on the equipment, but cards you get from your equipment can have some really big effects on how your characters play too, and I’d classify some of them as even being build-defining.

At a glance, the battlefields in ToF can look like pretty standard tactical hex maps, but the placement of obstacles matters a ton due to ranged attacks often only being limited by line of sight, as well as how good enemies are at surrounding one of your characters if you leave them a little too out in the open. Add to that a fair number of push and pull effects and I’d say that you have lots to be aware of on the battlefield each turn, and that it definitely changes from battle to battle.

With only three members in your party in a run of ToF, the composition of that party matters a lot, and yet I think most class combinations can be viable if handled correctly. The way Powers work in the game is a big part of this. These are buffs during battles that will last on your character until they’ve taken a certain amount of damage. The basic Powers will obviously work well on the class whose deck they come from. However, some class Powers don’t actually make sense to play on that class, but they make a ton of sense to play on someone else in your party to let them synergize with how your class works. Simple example: The first time a Warrior plays a card next to enemy each turn, the Warrior will add 2 defense to every other friendly character. The Warrior also has a Power that builds up +1 attack damage each time you are defended by another character. Well, the Warrior is far more likely to be defending other characters than being defended herself, so that Power almost always makes sense to get played by the Warrior onto another party member. Certainly there are some combos that are more obvious than others, but you don’t need your party to strictly have a tank, damage dealer, and priest(there really isn’t much of any healing in battles even) type of thing.

I’ll quote this separately because I’d 100% say that this applies to Trials of Fire. Keeping in mind that I haven’t played Urtuk, I think I can pretty confidently say that Trials of Fire has the most consistently engaging and interesting tactical battles that I’ve ever encountered. Every battle matters(I’ve died in “easy” battles as often as I’ve died against bosses), every card in your hand matters, every turn matters, your characters position matters. And a big reason it matters is because you can’t just fall into a pattern where every battle is beaten the same way and you’re just going through the motions. Sure, you want your Hunter to sit in the back corner with a wide open line to the enemies and just buff damage and fire away, but that’s so much easier said than done. Maybe you’ll never be able to get the right draws on the right turn to pull it off. Maybe the enemy can close the distance in a hurry and corner your Hunter(the AI is really pretty good about this). Maybe the battlefield is just too constricting and you don’t have room for ranged attacks. That battle it might just makes more sense to burn most of the Hunter cards to enable the rest of the party pick up the slack.

I’ve played a both Trials of Fire and Urtuk, but not a ton of either. So, I haven’t seen different unlocks or abilities Urtuk has to offer. I’m still on the first map after about 7 hours (of going slowly, examining info). I have to say Tof feels more different than other tactical battle games I’ve played. Urtuk is good, but it feels more an iteration of tactical battle games than an innovation. That’s not a knock against it, and while I’m not wow’ed so far I’m having a good time with it.

As a whole the Urtuk maps feel like they have more chokepoints than other games of the genre. I haven’t gotten my hands on a range character so I haven’t been able to really take advantage of it yet.