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Manor Lords’ city-building rival fights back hard with huge new update

Manor Lords and Cities Skylines 2 might own the building genre on Steam, but one serious rival is fighting back with its first major update.

Bellwight Steam strategy game: Two medieval warriors in Steam strategy game Bellwright

Manor Lords is an intimidating opponent. Previously the most wishlisted game on Steam, it’s a superb mix of medieval warfare, small-scale strategy, and our beloved city building gameplay. But another game, released just three days before Manor Lords itself, and boasting a ‘very positive’ rating on Steam, is fighting back. In its first major update, this overlooked rival addresses every major concern raised by players so far, as the battle of the early-access Middle Ages strategy games continues.

Bellwright is a city building and strategy game where you explore a medieval open world, found a series of settlements, and gradually raise a militia to confront and overthrow the corrupt monarchy. It can be broken down into three components. Initially, you scour the land, searching for an ideal spot to create a new village.

After that, you design, build, and maintain your township while recruiting locals to staff the shops, fetch supplies, and man the battlements. Finally, you lead your army against the king’s marauding troops, capture an outpost, and begin searching again for the perfect spot for a new settlement – you can even connect them and form trade routes.

Released on Tuesday April 23, just three days before Manor Lords, Bellwright is holding its own against the Hooded Horse-published rival. In the last 24 hours, Manor Lords has attracted just over 12,000 concurrent players on Steam, while Bellwright has pulled in an admirable 6,509. And now, Bellwright is pushing for more with its enormous first update.

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The Bellwright Forestry update is designed to address all of the main issues raised by players so far. Firstly, it introduces a new building where you can grow saplings and use them to replenish nearby forests – if you’ve found yourself running low on nearby wood supplies, this should help a lot.

Secondly, it’s now a lot easier to prepare companions and soldiers for expeditions. Instead of manually equipping them yourself, you can send them to the new staging area, where they will gradually stock up on all the necessary provisions before you set out on your journey. Bread output from the bakery has been increased and food items that cannot be grown, like meat dishes, no longer spoil and go rotten so quickly, so feeding your village is a lot less hassle.

Combat has been tweaked (“increased the size and duration of blood particles to make them more prominent” could be the patch note of the year) and you now have a separate food bag, so you can store edible supplies without filling up your inventory. There are plenty of other details in the full patch notes, but as Bellwright’s early-access period continues, it’s clear developer Donkey Crew is paying close attention to feedback.

Alongside Manor Lords and Bellwright, you can try some of the other best city building games, or maybe the best medieval games available right now on PC.

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