Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Won't They Make These - Conquering Games/Wargames

Now, I know the question is mostly rhetorical, since the answer is clearly that they are so, so very niche.  But to that niche, of which I am a part, they are incredible things that have the ability to hold attention for weeks at a time.  So the distinct lack of them, especially now, is incredibly disappointing.

'What in the world is a Conquering game?', you might be asking yourself.  A Conquering game, simply put, is just one of those games that takes you and puts you in the role of a Leader (or in some of the more....advanced? games, allow you to take any role) during a war of some sort, or a period of Warring times, and lets you fight to gain control of the land in question.  Given that this is me talking, the obvious first choices here are the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series and the Nobunaga's Ambition series, but you may recognize these types by other game series like Hearts of Iron or, most popularly, the Civilization series.

Wargames seems to be the better term for this, so I'm going to just start using that now.  But the point is, that there are not very many games of this genre, which is in all honesty, a shame, since few games can really replicate the feel you get when you finally topple a neighboring kingdom by hiring his best men out from under him and invading with all the might of a whirlwind, crushing any and all who stand before your troops who have just been waiting for this moment for months that, to you, were mere minutes.  Similarly, there's nothing quite like the feel of seeing one of your top advisors suddenly rebel against you, raise an army and put you to a wall, leaving you scrambling for a way to pull up enough defensive forces and recall enough strategy to stave him off, lest your whole empire falls to him.

A few misconceptions about the genre are fairly inevitable; namely that there's no market for these games anymore and that, if there is, they're only concerned with going against other humans, so clearly, we need to make it more real-time strategy, like Starcraft.  Quite simply, to quote one of those things we all know of:  "If you build it, they will come."  They may not come in droves, or they may, but making these games can't be that expensive, and it's certainly a more interesting way of rounding out your catalog than by making another Team Deathmatch-focused FPS.

While wargames might just be fun to be played with others, that's not their sole duty, and the quicker we throw that out there, the better.  If there's anything that is becoming more and more distressing as games evolve these days, is the notion that a Single-Player-Only Experience is a lacking one, and you'll only get the real money, the real attention, and the real sales by putting out a game with Multi-player.  And since certain genres don't make themselves too welcome to Multi-player, they get phased out, rather than, well, continuing to exist.

Of course, these types of games, specifically if they're turn based (Like most of the RotK games and the NA games are) are fairly multiplayer friendly, which kind of ruins the point, but, well, hush.  What I'm getting at is that these are mainly Single Player experiences since you were never really likely to find a pal to sit down with you and play Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII by handing off the controller when it was your turn.  And even if you could, you would never actually finish the game, since it just took so long.  Not that that's a bad thing!

Of course, the genre isn't totally dead, which the recent release of the latest installment of the Total War series, Shogun 2 will attest to.  But a yearly release, (As Napoleon:  Total War came out in March or 2010, and Empire:  Total War came in March of 2009 before it) isn't quite enough, and especially so for those of us who don't exactly have the computers necessary to run the Total War series.  (At least, I know that Shogun 2 is a monster of a game.) 

But you don't need to go that intensive to release a game like this.  Especially if you put it where most logical people would; on a portable system.  That my only option for a portable Romance of the Three Kingdoms game is RotK IV:  Wall of Fire as a PSOne Classic blows my mind considering that take on Wargames seems perfect for handhelds.  Of course, looking up Nobunaga's Ambition earlier made it clear that there have been a few DS version of the series; but none of them were localized.  Surprise, surprise.

KOEI, I talk about you a lot more than I should, in more positive lights than I should, especially considering you make games that I really, really want and then never release them over here.  So I'm going to put on my best 'Son, I'm disappoint' face here and then we'll just move on.

Basically, the point I'm trying to establish here is that I want to be able to play a game on my PSP (or even the NGP, when it finally comes out) where I can have the same experiences I had playing Romance of the Three Kingdoms 7, 8 and 10, and Nobunaga's Ambition.  I want to build forces and invade neighboring provinces.  I want to delve in political matters and plan who I'm going to ally with, and who I'm going to inevitably backstab.  I want to focus on where to put my officers to maximize the development of my cities.  Why won't someone make this.


  1. Well, there aren't -too- many games for the genre, true (without going into certain games like Battle for Middle-Earth 2's conquest system or Dawn of War: Dark Crusade's campaign). But I'd honestly say that the genre isn't dead, so much as it is growing. I can't even say that it's a -small- slice, since the Civilization and Total War series are incredibly popular (and incredible games, too). The release of either a Total War or Civ game is pretty much an instant Highlight on the gaming calendar.

  2. Yeah, and not to sell those games short, but the point I'm making is that they're only one or two games out of the flood of new releases you get every year. And when they get released in forms you can't play, it's a bit frustrating. :(

  3. The genre only really exists on pc these days.

    I cannot think of any psp games that forcus on empire building and strategy. I can think of a number of strategy titles but the tend to be a fixed mission style game or tactical rpgs.

    In anycase check out RISK: Fractions.

    It has some rather entertaining fractions aswell. Cats vs Zombies.

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