Medieval city builder Manor Lords combines the peaceful industry of settlement management with large-scale battles in the style of Total War. The gorgeous strategy game created by solo developer Slavic Magic is being published by strategy and city building game specialists Hooded Horse, and you can get your hands on a demo of the city building side of things during Steam Next Fest in early October.
Heavily inspired by the architecture of late 14th century Franconia (a German region located towards the south of the country, and home to Nuremberg), Manor Lords lets players build out their cities fifth full creative freedom, eschewing the likes of grid-based systems in favour of complete positional control. As you build out houses, you can choose to add extensions – allowing your population to grow vegetables, raise animals, and more. The visual detail is lovely too, allowing players to zoom right in and watch their people go about their daily business.
Of course, you’ll be expected to deal with the demands of the seasons – stocking up during the spring and summer to ensure you’re able to make it through the harsh winter months. You can spread across the map, building multiple settlements and seeking out more valuable resources. However, the environment will react to your expansions, with animals migrating away from noisy settlements and deforestation a real threat should you get too greedy in your material gathering.
You can also establish trade routes with other neighbouring lords, or you can (and likely will) get into conflicts against them. Here is where the combat comes into play – and your soldiers aren’t just faceless drones, but rather trained warriors and your beloved subjects, meaning that “every death is a cost worth considering.”
Each fallen soldier means one fewer person to work in the settlement, so even a won fight could have long-term population ramifications. Fortunately, with a heavy weight placed on tactics and positioning, Slavic Magic says that even a small force at numerical disadvantage can win the day decisively with the right leadership. Sadly, the demo on offer won’t let you get your hands on this aspect yet, but it promises to give Manor Lords a rather unique spin on proceedings from many city builders and colony sims.
Nevertheless, the city building side has plenty to offer, and should give a good taste of what Manor Lords is bringing to the table. You can wishlist Manor Lords on Steam, and the city building demo will be available during Steam Next Fest on October 3-10.
If you’re after more strategy in the meantime, Terra Invicta early access is underway, giving fans a look at the ambitious space game from the creators of the XCOM Long War mod. Another upcoming game from Hooded Horse, Heart of the Machine lets you become a sentient AI in an already-established civilisation and decide how to impact the course of history.