There are all kinds of different gamers and genres to suit each, but perhaps the most intense type of gamer is the strategist. They like to plot their moves exhaustively, learn from the mistakes of those who’ve come before them, and research procedures and blueprints before finally deciding on their master plan. To some other styles of gamer, the slow burn strategist looks as though they’re at work rather than play, but only a slow burn strategist will ever truly get to understand the elation of conceiving a plan, following it through, and seeing it all pay off. If you recognise these traits in your own gaming then you’re going to love these releases.
Dawn of Man
Madruga Works is the developer and publisher behind Dawn of Man, making this a really small-scale production. However, with their 2015 release of Planet Base behind them, Madruga Works learnt from their successes as well as the tweaks that they had to make and delivered the goods with a brilliant game in 2019. Dawn of Man is, as the name suggests, a game all about the very beginnings of mankind. You’re given a handful of early humans and left to your own devices to work out how best to take care of them. You’ll need to learn to hunt, fish, or forage to keep them fed. You’ll also need to collect sticks and rocks to fashion weapons and make shelters. As you progress, the success of your little encampment will attract other humans and your tribe will grow. With this, you’ll gain more experience and be able to unlock different areas of knowledge. This is where the strategists really come into their own. If quick growth is your main aim then you might think that unlocking farming is the best direction to go in, but when a cold winter hits your crops could be decimated and your people might still be living in draughty tents, leaving them open to disease. Ticking off each of the basic knowledge levels one by one could be another approach, but you’ll see no great gains early on. Working out your strategy will be individual, but watching the differences your choices make to your tribe is universally fascinating.
Starters Orders 7
Starters Orders is a horse racing game for those who are deeply interested in the real sport. The whole Starters Orders series has always put an enormous emphasis on the betting element of the games, but with the release of Starters Orders 7, it has become possible to play a game based entirely on your skill at backing winners. The ‘Punter’ mode allows you to study the form of all of the horses in the game and bet on the ones that you think will win. It is incredible how similar the experience is to betting online, with years and years of form to study, as well as a market that reacts to how much other people are placing on each horse. It is clear that the makers of the game took great inspiration from some of the most popular online betting sites in order to create such a lifelike experience. The only way that the Starters Orders series differs from real life is in the ability to take advantage of bonuses. This breakdown of sites by SBO shows the importance of the bonuses available in choosing where to bet, as well as mobile betting and the ability to partially cash out. Whilst mobile betting might not be so important to the Starters Orders series, being able to place ante-post bets online and take advantage of deposit bonuses would bring an added sense of realism to the game. Plus, the ability to partially cash out would make a big difference to those following the Punter mode and betting on unpredictable maiden races.
Finally, a note for a game that hasn’t been released yet, but is one of the video games we at Fired Out are most looking forward to this year. Fragile Existence is published by Hooded Horse, a company best known for the hit video game Old World. Whilst Old World is similar in style to Dawn of Man, though skipping through the Dark Ages and heading straight in at a Roman kind of level, Fragile Existence turns all of that on its head. This game is set in the future when humanity has driven itself to the brink of extinction. It’s up to the gamer to find resources, and other colonies and develop their military in order to protect the base. Sci-fi fans will be absolutely in their element careering through the stars and seeking out unusual life forms.
Whilst the other games on this list have taken a more serious approach to strategy, Stardew Valley is altogether far more light-hearted. You are given a plot of overgrown land by your father and asked to take care of it for him. This game is created by Eric Barone, also known as Concerned Ape, and took off far more quickly than anyone could have imagined. The game now has an enormous following thanks to its catchy music, cute graphics, and endless potential for creativity. The game gives the player total freedom to achieve whatever goals they set themselves, whilst also giving pointers along the way for those who prefer a little structure. The strategy element revolves around how wisely you use the hours in your day. Players who want to amass a great deal of money can spend time working out the crops that give the best return on the initial investment, as well as time spent working and time spent waiting. Other players may prefer to spend their time tending to animals, making artisan products, mining, fishing, or any number of other outdoorsy pursuits. Although the stakes aren’t as high as in many of the games that fall under the strategy bracket, this game might in fact be one of the most strategic of all, depending on your gaming style of course!