How civilized: Jon Shafer’s At the Gates coming to iOS

Ravenna's nice this time of year.

To stand the test of time?

It takes quite a lot to pull me away from my mug of whiskey (I really need to do the dishes) and evening reading once I’ve settled into it, but a raven from the tower of former Firaxis game designer Jon Shafer did the trick tonight. Shafer’s missive alerting me that his PC & Mac empire builder At the Gates is coming to iOS might be the best mobile gaming news of the year so far.

The designer behind Civilization 5 is wrapping up a successfully-funded Kickstarter for At the Gates, a 4X strategy game where you lead a group of barbarians into the power vacuum left behind by the decline of Rome. The game has some truly lovely hand-drawn art and an emphasis on the evolution of the map: winter will have practical effects on the landscape and farmed lands will lose their fertility over time, for example.

Shafer originally intended the game for desktop platforms, but after a feasibility assessment he’s satisfied himself that At the Gates can run effectively on iOS devices, and release on those will come as some point after the desktop launch in June (of next year) if all goes to plan. Android is a possibility but nothing’s promised yet.

I’ll be talking with Shafer this week, so do let me know what you’d like to learn from him. There’s fifteen minutes of pre-alpha gameplay in the video below. There’s still 10 days to get in on the backer rewards if you want to kick some money Shafer’s way.