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El Dorado is a new city building game filled with blood and angry gods

El Dorado The Golden City Builder has just launched its full version, asking you to decide between life and death for an entire people.

El Dorado is a new city building game filled with blood and angry gods: A Mayan building stands amidst a dense forest, with roads connecting it to other houses.

The mysterious city of gold has teased the imagination of many over hundreds of years. Used as an excuse both for intrepid explorers to head into the unknown and for some to inflict crimes beyond reckoning, it nevertheless holds a persistently evocative grip on dreams. El Dorado: The Golden City Builder is a chance to see things from the other side as you build a Mayan empire across the entire Yucatán Peninsula.

City building games have had a renaissance in recent years. It’s not all just SimCity or Caesar now, instead there are games which toy with themes and mechanics, allowing the genre to blossom into something varied and robust. El Dorado: The Golden City Builder is one of these, taking a closer look at a people and civilization often overlooked – at least in the Western world.

In El Dorado you’re put in charge of a settlement and it’s up to you to shepherd it from irrelevance into a colossal empire. If you’ve played a city builder before you’ll be familiar with much of the initial mechanics, you’ll construct roads and decide where buildings should go. You’ll butt up against neighbors and decide whether or not to put them to the blade or if diplomacy is a more viable option for you to get what you want.

There are two mechanics that set the game apart, and they’re both controversial ones. The first is your civilization’s reliance on slaves. They’ll do much of the carrying and building, being the human backbone of your nascent empire. Without slaves you’ll be at a critical disadvantage, both in terms of one other key mechanic, but also in a logistical sense. The best way to get more indentured subjects is to raid other nations, making this already a more bloodthirsty type of city builder.

The other way slaves can be used is in human sacrifices. You’re forever working to appease the gods, with a calendar running that determines which is hungry for blood right now. Make them happy and you’ll reap the rewards, disappoint the gods and your civilization will suffer. Blood must flow, and it’s your slaves which will pay the price. You can call on the favor of the powers that be, but again it’s blood that will grease the wheel of fortune. Your slaves are your most valuable resource, but also your most disposable one.

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El Dorado: The Golden City Builder is out now and you can grab 15% off until Monday July 1. Head over to Steam to check it out, or take a look at the free prologue for a teaser of the game.

You can also take a peek at our guide to the best strategy games you can play, as well as our picks for the best indie games out there right now.

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