8 indie games with which to rewrite history (while you wait for Humankind)
Amplitude Studios’ Humankind won’t be out until 2020, but with these indie strategy titles, you can already make (or break) history.
Sega and Amplitude Studios announced Humankind earlier this week at Gamescom, and it looks like it could give Civilization a run for its money. It’ll be a while before you can get your hands on it, but in the meantime, you can already get to rewriting history to your own whims. Will you lead the Roman Empire to unforeseen heights? Or maybe your prefer the intrigue of the Cold War? Thankfully, indie games have you covered.
Field of Glory: Empires
Field of Glory: Empires comes from veteran strategy developer AGEod, who are partnered with also-veteran strategy publisher Slitherine. This one takes you to the Classical Age, into the Europe, the Middle-East, and North Africa. It’s a time of great empires, but also smaller tribes, each with their own culture. As you grow and expand your empire, you’ll have to deal with greater and greater challenges.
Jon Shafer’s At the Gates
If Jon Schafer’s At the Gates looks a little familiar to you, that might be because it’s from the designer of Sid Meier’s Civilization V (confusing, I know). In this one, you control European Dark Age tribes as they settle down in the aftermath of a crumbling Roman Empire. Survival is tough, as you’ll have to negotiate with other competing powers and also deal with the harsh European winters. Of special note is the game’s focus on developing and managing the individual clans that form your to-be kingdom.
Precipice puts you straight into the political intrigue and general all-round mess of the Cold War. You play as either the Soviet Union or the United States of America, and your job is to outmanoeuvre the other side—preferably without turning the entire world into a nuclear wasteland. Stealth, in a 4X strategy game? More likely than you think.
Aggressors: Ancient Rome
Another title published by Slitherine, Aggressors: Ancient Rome puts you in the Classical Age of the Meditarranean once more, where you can pick from 20 different factions—Roman or otherwise. You’ll have to balance the economy, the military, politics, and diplomacy, all in an attempt to make your mark on the world.
If you’re getting a bit tired of the whole Mediterranean thing, you can have Oriental Empires whisk you off into ancient China instead. You’ll start off as just another faction, but as you grow in might, you will command an empire in China. You even get to fight on-the-field battles, Total War-style. This one comes from indie developer Shining Pixel Studios, and is published by Iceberg Interactive.
Age of Civilizations II
If you’d like to zoom out and mess with all of history in all of the world, have a look at Łukasz Jakowski’s Age of Civilizations II. In this one, you can control factions from throughout world history, going from ancient times into the far future. The level of historical detail here calls Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games to mind. You can also create your own maps with the game’s in-built editor.
From Village to Empire
From Village to Empire is still in Early Access, but it absolutely demands your attention with its lavish illustration-like art style. It looks a lot like the strategy view from the Civilization games, but there’s plenty to differentiate it from that series. This underdog strategy game comes from indie dev Witch Laboratory, which is based in Estonia and Finland.
Egypt: Old Kingdom
Egypt: Old Kingdom from Clarus Victoria has a dogged eye for historical accuracy, seeing as it was created by consulting actual Egyptologists. Set in Egypt of the Old Kingdom era, this title has you worshipping the Egyptian pantheon and managing an ancient society along the banks of the Nile. And yes, you can build the Pyramids, right down to choosing the design and materials.
If you love strategy games, you might want to keep an eye on the newly-established strategy publisher Modern Wolf. If exploring history is more your thing, maybe you’ll be interested in Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders, which is a detective adventure game set in ancient China.