by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Expanding By Conquest
Northgard is a real time strategy game with Norse mythology themes, set on a brand new continent the Vikings have just discovered. They want to become the rulers of Northgard, but that won’t be as simple as they think thanks to the other clans which also inhabit this wintry land. They’ll have to fight one way or another to become the rulers, whether that be via brute force or something else.
There are a few different ways to win a game of Northgard. To win via military, you’ll have to break down the opposing clans’ strongholds. You can win via fame by becoming the king. A trade victory will see you setting up lots of trading routes overseas. You can even win via knowledge, which comes about when you discover the entirety of the game’s technology tree. There are five clans to choose from, and each of them has a bonus which will aid you towards one of the victory states.
In the demo I was shown at Gamescom, there were three clans of the five available to choose from. One of them is better for attempting a war-based campaign, another has bonuses towards fame, and the third has bonuses to population and trade, meaning you’ll get more villagers, and thus more ability to build new structures. Once you’ve selected your clan, you are sent to the beginning of the game, where you merely have a town hall, three villagers, and one scout.
The scout is used to peer into the fog of war, and discover new tiles. These tiles might contain new resources or neutral factions. The giants are dangerous, but they may also be a valuable trade ally. Of course, while you’re scouting you might find opposing factions too, in which case you might have a fight on your hands. Declaring war on a faction is as simple as sending your warrior into their lands and attacking them, but you’d best make sure you have the resources to handle a war.
Scouting can even reveal ancient locations which provide certain bonuses. Being the first to fix a legendary sword will grant you a huge amount of fame, but once it’s unlocked, everyone will know you’re trying to do it, and they may try and stop you. If you investigate a Circle Stone, you’ll gain a boost to your Lore, which is used to unlock more of the tech tree. This is split into three paths, Warband, Economy, and Knowledge, and how you spend points determines how best you’ll go about winning the game.
Your villagers are your basic workers, collecting food and building structures. A woodsman’s lodge is needed to start gathering lumber, and you can ask a number of villagers to get to work on something so it’ll go faster. However you’ll also need them to gather food, so it’s about finding the most efficient way to expand your settlement. Happiness is important, because the happier your people are, the faster new villagers will spawn. You’ll need to make sure everyone has jobs, and homes, but also make sure it’s not too crowded. As you unlock more buildings, you’ll be able to assign your vikings various jobs, such as fisherman, farmer, warrior, sailor, and loremaster.
If a real time strategy game about vikings making their way in a new land sounds appealing to you, Northgard is due for release later this year.