King of Dragon Pass is set in Glorantha, the world that is the basis for the RuneQuest and HeroQuest roleplaying games. In the bottom is a resource management game like King or Hammurabi, but this is only a small part of the game. You will be faced with dilemmas that need resolving. Some dilemmas are one of a kind, some are part of a longer plot. You will also need to propagate the gods through temples and sacrifice, explore the world, trade and negotiate neighboring clans, raid and defend from raids, unite the clans into a tribe AND (long game only) unite the tribes into a Kingdom. To aid you are your “ring” or council of 7 advisers, that you can select from 25 or so nobles. The advice they make are generally sound – unlike many other games – but affected by how the adviser looks at the world. When your advisers advice is “out there” it is usually because they have a pet peeve. Each adviser has a personality, which adds a lot of flavor to the game. They also age by changing portrait image over time, each person has 3 portraits. All this gives the people portrayed depth and makes you (well, me at least) care for them, or sometimes dislike them. And that’s the synopsis of the game, lead a small village through pitfalls to fame or possibly ignominy. A friend said to me “it’s not a great game, but it is made with a lot of heart”
The graphics is “only” flavor images, but there are a lot of them, and they are beautiful. In combination with the slow paced game this makes for a game that should not appeal to the common target audience for computer games, teenage boys. But I think it should appeal to more discriminating, older people, which is nice to see. Try the demo, and while it is far to short, if it appeals to you, get the game.
The difficulty in this game is pretty much non-existent. Those looking for a challenge should probably avoid this title. There are pitfalls, like how to make sure you get enough food to feed your clan till the next harvest and avoid losing cattle.
Some gameplay tips – never sacrifice cattle, keep pastures at double what your advisers say, set crafters to maximum. (Check the last 2 every other year or so)
Finally, the soundtrack of this game is truly amazing. Any fan of epic retro ballads should check it out for the music alone. I can leave this game on in the background while I do other work.