It’s the year 1400- the late Middle Ages. Europe sees the dawn of the golden age of the new departures and the free spirit. Under the rule of the bourgeoisie and businessmen, more and more towns are emerging from the clutches of the aristocracy and are achieving independence, power and wealth.
New businesses are flourishing, bringing financial strength and political influence to a growing economy.
However, life in the narrow, overpopulated alleyways and streets of the towns also has its downsides: epidemics and diseases are spreading, and thieves and highwaymen lie in wait to get their piece of the wealth. Now you can try your hand in these exciting times of change. Will you head down the path of an honest craftsman or a dubious priest? It’s your choice.
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: TEEN with Blood, Mild Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard. Patched to version 2.06
Posted on 2009-02-17 01:09:33 byCalli:
The Guild Gold Edition is an intriguing simulation, set in Europe from 1400 to 1600 AD and centered on managing a business (for certain values of 'business' in some cases, namely the Thieves' Guild), playing politics, and continuing your family line. Even with tasks growing repetitive after a while, I keep returning to play a few more rounds, because something always pulls me backread more in -- expanding a home or business, gaining a political office, embarassing a rival, starting a new job, spoiling the children that will eventually take over said job (and any others you've mastered)...when I get tired of one aspect of the game, there's something else to hold my interest.
From the description, this game might sound complicated. "Complex" would be a better word: the in-game tutorial covers the basics of running a business and only briefly mentions obtaining a political office, leaving much of the game to be discovered in actual play. However, this is a double-edged sword: it's a joy to discover the finer points of the game on your own, but the learning curve is steep and it can be frustrating to try and figure out where everything is. The manual is somewhat helpful with this, but the game only runs full screen; with Alt+Tab disabled and on a single screen setup, it isn't practical to switch between the two.
Game modes include free play, in which you start in the year 1400 and end when your dynasty dies out or you decide to stop, and assignments, which involve playing the game toward a specific goal (such as becoming rich, obtaining nobility, blackmail, et cetera). This is a long game: I haven't had any descendants take over for dynasty founders yet, and I estimate I've sunk at least twenty hours into this game so far. Each city has their own degree of difficulty, on top of the five difficulty modes for free play and assignment mode each. (London on Very Easy free game/assignment difficulty makes an excellent sandbox for new players, which really helps smooth out the difficulty curve.) You also have the option of playing with historical events and information interspersed throughout your turns, some of which will be unique to the city you chose at the start of the game. It's a thoughtful detail on top of the other game elements.
Actual play is a combination of real-time and turn based: each year is one turn, but each turn plays out in real time. Curiously, each year is also a season: you'll start in Spring 1400, and the next year will be Summer 1401. Employee hours for many jobs are reliant on the season (thieves, on the other hand, are always at work), with more time in the summer and less in the winter. Your day starts at 6 AM and ends at 11 PM, regardless of season.
There are fifteen occupations in the game, eleven of which are selectable when you start a game and the other four trainable during play. These jobs range from the respectable -- clergy, smithing, running a guardhouse, et cetera -- to thievery and highway robbery, and each have their benefits and drawbacks. When you master a job, there's no reason not to move onto another: you keep your previous business, although you may have to sink money into setting up your new occupation, depending on whether you own the applicable business.
Of course, in order for your businesses not to end when your character dies, you'll have to have children, and in order to do that you'll have to find and woo a spouse. Courtships take time, and it's entirely possible for a rival to swoop in and steal them away before you win their heart! Rivals create problems elsewhere, too, besmirching your good (well, presumably good) name, committing arson, claiming much-desired political positions, et cetera. You can spy on your rivals and other people, though, and if you catch them committing a crime you can take them to court -- but proof doesn't always translate into a guilty verdict. If the crime's serious enough, a defendant found guilty will be ejected from any political position they hold (along with other punishments).
And on the note of political positions, this is one part of the game that I've had problems with. It's not just rivals -- outside of Very Easy, it seems like the elector(s) will go out of their way to choose anyone but you. There are items and actions that can raise your standing with citizens (and diminish others), but it's a lot of work for questionable reward, considering that money and time can usually be spent doing something else with more tangible benefit.
The other part of the game that's problematic is the interface. If you're trying to pick up multiple items without using the slider, click too quickly and it'll register as a double click and pick up everything. As someone else mentioned in another review, your units in combat don't always know you've clicked on them to deliver orders (and they have a tendency to get caught behind terrain, too, which means even more frustration trying to get them to move around the obstacle). Oddly, the 'right click to exit, hold down right click to see info' hasn't been a problem for me -- the game's pretty good at identifying which is which. The interface as it stands would be excellent with a tablet pen...but it doesn't quite work out that way, as I'll explain shortly.
Moving on, to technical issues: I encountered a minor bug running this game on my Vista laptop, in which text entry (for character names) was impossible if number lock is on. Turning numlock off solves the problem, but it's still slightly annoying. (My desktop computer, which runs XP, doesn't have this problem.)
Also, if you have a Wacom tablet, your stylus might not play nice: the tablet mouse for my Intuos2 works fine, but the stylus and The Guild Gold do not get along. At all. I wouldn't assume this is true for all tablet models, especially since mine is an older model, but it's worth keeping in mind.
All in all, the problems I've had are easily forgivable, but holds The Guild Gold back from a five-star rating. It's still a fun game, and worth a look if you're a fan of micromanagement games, especially of the economic or historical variety.
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Posted on 2009-02-16 23:39:42 byTraveler2112:
Let me first make a bold statement: this is one of the best turn based strategy games released in the last decade that no one played (in the US, at least). What do I mean by that? Well, this is a sandbox economic/political simulation with RPG and real-time combat elements where the goal is essentially to destroy all rival dynasties and become the most powerful person in your town.read more Despite an unpolished implementation, it gets quite a bit right.
Most of the items you can craft or buy in the game actually serve some purpose other than income generation. They can give you a bump in reputation, more action points per turn, the ability to annoy or hurt your enemies, avoid bad events, or even increase your children's talents (you will eventually take over as one of your children when your character dies). The sheer amount of items later in the game can become problematic since there are only 6 slots in your player's inventory. You will have to make some tough game-play decisions.
Politics pays off, but in the long run. All the higher offices have quite a few perks that go along with the nice income bonus. You can be immune to crimes, threaten rivals if they get out of hand, build stuff cheaper, and train skills for less AP (action points per turn). It can be annoying and overly expensive to move up the ranks in the early game, however.
All buildings are unique and upgradable. Your own house will help you live longer and gain reputation, plus you can build rooms which allow you to sabotage your enemies and hold banquets to make new friends. When your businesses reach higher levels, you can craft more lucrative/powerful items, and build additions that can generate income on their own.
If you tire of being a crafter, you can try your luck at being a thief. I frankly view it as the most unbalanced class, but it's quite fun to play. You can rob people's houses and shops, physically attack (and take over) all of the rival thief/robber baron/city guard buildings (but not normal shops/houses), and even avoid prosecution by kidnapping the people foolish enough to charge you with crimes (you can even get a ransom for them afterwards).
Finally, the castle keeps the end-game pretty interesting. You can hire a wizard to research random potions (which allow for all kinds of interesting bonuses), assassinate rivals, and even shoot the castle's cannon at buildings in town.
To put it simply: the balance can suck.
For example...You can marry very rich old women, toad slime their house, and wait for them to die so you can inherit their money. Every few turns. Also, some professions are easy-mode due to the items you can produce, the easily predicted market forces the game simulates, and the passive income buildings you can build (I'm looking at you entertainer's).
In fact, the game's fairly primitive AI can be pretty disappointingly easy (multi-player exists, but can be buggy...and good luck finding English speaking players if that's a requirement). Even on the most difficult levels, it's easy to take advantage of the predictable marketplace and keep enough people happy/threatened to remain in office.
The real-time combat in this game is horrible. It's unintuitive and obnoxious to the point that it makes classes like the city guard and robber baron unplayable. If you're sucked into combat constantly, it will drive you absolutely crazy.
In conclusion, this game is quite complex and can be played in any number of ways...so don't let any of the short-comings I mentioned deter you from an addictive and truly underated game. It is quite a bargain at this price, and not something any turn based strategy game lover should pass up.
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Posted on 2009-02-13 22:45:06 byDMorrone:
The drudgery and tedium of Medieval Life is now yours for the taking! Whether you choose to craft iron goods and sell them at the local market, run a bustling money exchange or better yet - run your own Thieves Guild - you can do it.
One of the few games that defies definition - replete with the minutia that you'd expect from a good European strategy game - The Guild was one ofread more those unexpected joys that made gaming new and fun again.
For example - I would start up a local thieves guild, sending my fledgling footpads to scour the cities for business to rob, houses of adversaries to extort or firebomb - while myself spent time courting the local women and helping my allies rise in political standing by collecting evidence against their political opponent!
If you enjoy an open ended game style and want to see what life was like in medieval times - sans Metrosexual elves and Scottish dwarves, you can't beat the value for the money on this game.
Let me know if you want to play multiplayer!
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