There’s so much Autumn Dynasty news here I hardly know where to start. Why don’t start at the beginning?
Back in 2012, Singaporean developers Touch Dimensions released a mobile RTS called Autumn Dynasty that looked like nothing you’d ever seen before. Set in medieval China, it was a period painting come to life — remarkable to hold in your hands.
Next Wednesday night, Touch Dimensions are releasing Autumn Dynasty Warlords, a sequel that takes AD’s combined arms RTS gameplay and wraps it in a big single-player strategic layer. You fight the RTS battles to conquer and defend provinces on a map while you conduct negotiations with AI warlords and build up your provinces. It’s a bit like Rise of Nations, and from what I’ve played of the preview build, it might just be my favorite mobile RTS game yet.
Touch Dimensions have recently liberated the original Autumn Dynasty from publisher Bulkypix and today they’ve re-released it as a new app for iOS. “As the game is using iCloud,” producer Jeffrey Liyang told me, “[Apple is] unable to transfer it over to our account, and we have to re-release the game as a new app.”
For the next week, the original Autumn Dynasty is free on iOS, which gives the folks who bought the game a chance to pick up the new version, which Touch Dimensions intends to continue updating. It also gives you a chance to see how the game plays so you’ll have a feel for Warlords when it’s out next week.
So: go get Autumn Dynasty right now while it’s free — even if you don’t consider yourself a real-time strategy person you’ll appreciate it on an aesthetic level. Then stay tuned for next Wednesday night’s release of Autumn Dynasty Warlords, because I’ve got a very good feeling about it.
More Warlords screenshots await your attention below.
Touch Dimensions dropped us a note this week to say that Autumn Dynasty Warlords is very close to release on iOS. The turn-based empire builder followup to 2012′s beautiful medieval China RTS game was originally due out at the end of last year but got held back for additional polish.
I’ve been playing a preview build of Warlords, and I think it’s really promising — there really isn’t anything like it on iOS. The game takes the real-time strategy combat of the original Autumn Dynasty and folds it into a board game-like strategy layer where you’re competing with other warlords to conquer provinces on a map. You can erect buildings in cities and outposts that let you recruit different units and officers that give your units bonuses on the battlefield. This is a pure single-player game and I haven’t seen any IAPs or other such shenanigans at all.
The devs at Touch Dimensions have given two copies of the game to give away. They’ve asked for a different spin on our usual giveaways: there’s two cities on the game map in need of new names, and they want Pocket Tactics readers to bestow the new monikers.
After the jump, have a look at the descriptions of the two cities and leave your suggestions for their names in the comments. Next Wednesday at 9am Eastern, I’ll pick a couple of winners, using your “likes” to guide me.
Two of the most respected names in gaming are collaborating on slowplay real-time strategy title called Subterfuge — a multiplayer game of conquest and diplomacy that takes a real-time week (or more) to play. If that sounds a little like Neptune’s Pride 2 (which transfixed PT regulars when it launched last year), devs Ron Carmel (creator of World of Goo) and Noel Llopis (designer of Flower Garden and Rovio’s Amazing Alex) more than acknowledge the debt — they’re big fans of the game. But unlike the web-based Neptune’s Pride, Subterfuge will be a native app for mobile devices and features a number of gameplay twists that Carmel and Llopis have come up with.
After the jump, the very first public screenshot of Subterfuge and an interview with the creators on why you’ll want to play their slow-percollating 4X RTS.
There’s one game that I think everybody should give a whack this weekend: Empire. I didn’t expect Keith Burgun’s deconstructed 4X strategy game to be so divisive when it came out last year, but it turned out to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair. It’s very board game-y and the tiny “empire” you build is hardly worthy of the title (never bigger than three cities) so other than the basic mechanics it has little in common with Civilization or other empire-builders you might know. It’s also a game that hates you like the dickens and wants you to lose.
I love it. Empire’s one of my favourite games of 2013, and though I know it’s not for everybody, I’m pretty comfortable recommending it to everybody at its current price of one dollar. If you love it like I do, then you will have gotten a game worth several times the price you paid. If you don’t love it, then I owe you a buck, okay?
An ideal digital board game — playing the physical version requires two weeks and a general contractor to set up.
After five days of polling, the crack arithmeticians from the Pocket Tactics Mathematics Institute and Off-Track Betting Parlour have carefully considered the vote tallies and have determined which game has received the most support in our Pocket Tactics Readers’ Choice Game of the Year vote for 2013 — and it’s 4X iPad board game Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy. The second-strongest was Rodeo Games’ Warhammer Quest, which was also our staff-picked RPG of the Year.
In his review of Eclipse from April, Kelsey called it “an excellent game implemented well, deserving of the time of nearly every iPad strategy gamer.” Polish developers Big Daddy’s Creations are board game conversion specialists who are also the makers of the highly-regarded Neuroshima Hex.
Congrats to BDC and all of the games nominated by our forums regulars. When you look at that list of nominees, the only rational conclusion you can draw is that 2013 was one hell of a great year for iOS gaming.
Our forums denizens have unearthed something interesting: Alien Tribe 2 is a real-time (not a typo) sci-fi 4X for iPad by German devs Ukando. I’ve not played this or its predecessor, but it sure makes all of the right 4X noises: colonising planets, building fleets, mining asteroids, meeting strange and interesting beings and killing them, etc etc.
There’s a rub — actually two: first, it’s real-time, which isn’t the mode my ageing, deteriorating brain prefers for 4X games; and second, it offers what looks suspiciously like consumable in-app purchases, though PTers on the forums are saying that these are easily avoided and basically amount to cheats in this single-player game.
Watch the trailer after the jump and see if you want to investigate further.
This is a shame — I was harbouring a secret hope that this feudal Chinese strategy game was going to come out this week and steal the end-of-year-release show, but you can understand Touch Dimensions’ desire to not rush a game out during the most competitive launch period of the year. If it’s good, Autumn Dynasty Warlords will have plenty of the spotlight for itself during the January/February release doldrums after the new year.
The auction to sell off the remaining assets of the game studio that retired baseball superstar Curt Schilling ran into the ground last year has been scheduled for 11 December — and the asset brokers running the auction have discovered something interesting.
It’s public knowledge that Schilling’s 38 Studios had acquired the intellectual properties belonging to Big Huge Games back in 2009, but it now appears that the studio had been quietly developing an iOS strategy game using BHG’s best-known property, the Civilization/RTS-hybrid Rise of Nations. RoN was the last proper game designed by Alpha Centauri designer Brian Reynolds before he vanished into Zynga’s maw, never to return.
A lot of gaming outlets reported on Friday what brokers Heritage Global Partners said in their press release: that they’d discovered an “unreleased game for Mac users titled ‘Rise of Nations: Tactics.’” (Here’s Polygon‘s piece, citing the release.) But on Twitter, Firaxis designer and former 38 Studios man Will Miller said that the secret game wasn’t for Macs at all but for iOS. Not even Curt Schilling would be daft enough to develop a Mac-exclusive game in the 21st century.
@Polygon Rise of Nations: Tactics was supposed to be an iOS game, not a Mac game.
Heritage Global’s auction of 38′s remaining assets will include the Big Huge Games portfolio, and that will presumably have an almost-ready-for-primetime iOS game inside like a Cracker Jack surprise. I’ll definitely be following this story, so stay tuned.