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From Kalypso Media: About Grand Ages: Medieval

It is the year 1050 AD. At the beginning of the High Middle Ages development in Europe has seen an unprecedented level of progress as a rapidly growing population spreads across the length and breadth of the continent. New frontiers are being explored, settlements founded and vast trading routes established. As the head of one of these small settlements, it falls upon you to lead your people towards greatness. Explore a vast world, gather resources, encounter other societies and use your trading expertise to expand and make your fortune. Found new cities, progress your nation with inventive technology and protect your trade routes against barbarian attacks until you are powerful enough to begin your conquest over Europe and forge a bold new empire.

Grand Ages: Medieval is a real-time strategy game from Gaming Minds. Lead your people and advance through the decades by utilising construction, research, expansion and conquest in an area extending from Scandinavia and North Africa; to Portugal, the Caucasus and the Middle East. Rise from the humble role of a simple mayor governing a small settlement to rule over all of Europe. Experience an exciting campaign with elaborately designed cut-scenes, play by your own rules in free play or test your skills in multiplayer against up to 8 players!

Features of Grand Ages: Medieval

GRAND AGES MEDIEVAL from Kalypso Media is a gather and build, fight and conquer type of game, playable solo or multi-player. To play with others you can join a game or start your own or you can simply set up your own world and hope to build it up and protect it and the people who depend on you.

Your first options are very familiar for all games of this ilk: Gameplay/Controls/Graphics/Sound/Multi or Single player - you can adjust these as necessary to your own requirements, within reason. For example the options allow for V-Sync on/off; full screen or windowed; detail high/low/normal; small to very large interface; auto resolution; gamepad on/off; scrolling on/off; and all manner of personalised settings for the comfort of the player. Nothing new but all accessible and acceptable. 

Minor irritation: You spend time creating your name and headshot yet the game insists you play Leon Vassellos, the Field Commander and Personal Guard of Emperor X Doukas. Sultan Rahib of the Seljuqs gives you a tutorial book for the game basics; rather unnecessary ploys I felt.

  

This is a strategy game like many other strategy games. You begin the campaign game, the best way to play it, in Constantinople 1050 where the tutorial leads you along fluently until the game itself starts and you are left to fend for yourself. In the multi-player game you can have up to seven competitors.

Your game begins with your small town, Sofia, shown clearly on the map. The surrounding terrain is barely visible, mostly greyed out until discovered, except for another town a little ways to the North. After you have added Metals to the Resources and set up production you need to communicate with the other town so that trading can begin. You have available to you a scout and a trader for each town under your command, so one of each to begin with, and as you already know the location of the next town it is simply a matter of selecting your trader, loading up his cart and sending him on his way. Very soon the road is found and you have a trade route established.

The game continues in a similar vein except that you have to discover new towns for yourself. This is quite as easy as it is in some games for you can just have your scout roam freely until luck and a fair wind locates the next settlement; though when I say "roam freely" there is a range limit that a Scout can wander from home.

On finding a new town you need to set up a trade route and make an offer of gold or goods, or both, to the leader there in exchange for goodwill and a peace treaty. This, if accepted, will allow you access to explore further and also to new and different resources. You should always make generous offers of friendship at first, you can always declare war later if you deem it necessary, but use everything to your advantage while you can.

  

Once you have a trade route established your merchant will continue to travel between the two cities collecting and delivering goods according to how you have set up the route. Trading can be constructed through the trade screen, discovered in each city; in fact many of your actions take place within the city walls, selecting them from the action headers and subsequent menus. There are also buildings that can be updated/upgraded such as the Inn, where you find your merchant and order his carts for the journey as well as finding other workers for hire. Then there are the Barracks where you get scouts and other military units, the mines which provide ore and the farms and orchards that provide sustenance; just about evverything you would expect for a game of expansion, resource and man management.

  

There are numerous short cuts via key selection but you can find these out for yourselves from the Controls option, suffice it to say WASD, [F] and [Space] are amongst the most common keys used. [Shift]+A and [Shift]+D moves your view to the previous or next town in the Buildings dialogue whilst in Trade A and D are the previous and next price list and W = buy all.

GRAND AGES MEDIEVAL is comparible to the famed and popular CIVILISATION computer game in that as you progress through the game time moves forwards bringing you different challenges and new technologies. Your beginnings are humble but still not without some power, though your end game should see you in control of all of Europe through to and including the Middle-East. The gameplay is similar through each era but also different enough to ensure that you are never just going through the motions. However, apart from being comparible to Civilisation it also has as much, if not more, playability and longevity.

Strategists will enjoy the fact that you can actually make their plans and then take the time to watch those plans come to fruition. Once you have completed the tutorial and have a good working knowledge of the game mechanics and controls then the world, as they say, is your oyster. I never did quite understand that saying because oysters are slimy molluscs that you swallow whole and wash down with champagne; why would you ever compare the world to such; ah well! that is mankind for you. Anyway; GRAND AGES MEDIEVAL is an extremely well managed and thought out game with more than enough in it to keep the game active and popular for a long, long time, perhaps even turning it into as much of a classic as Civilisation in due course.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015