Seven Kingdoms
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Wednesday, 10 August 2005

If a country building sim doesn’t have the name of Civilization people immediately get suspicious and skeptical. Can Seven Kingdoms compete with Sid Meier’s successful series, read on to find out.


Most gamers have heard of Sid Meier but fewer have heard of Trevor Chan. Chan have worked in the shadows for years releasing games like Capitalism I and II. His games are very detailed but the sometimes tend to be a bit theoretical and lacking depth. So it was with some anticipation I installed Seven Kingdoms, maybe Chan finally got it right?

In Seven Kingdoms there are seven civilizations that you can play, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, Persians, Mayans, Normans and Vikings. Each civilization has it’s own colors and characteristics. First of all you have to develop your own city which includes recruiting soldiers, scientists, miners, factory workers and so on. Each city has a number of peasants that you can recruit from, if you recruit too many loyalty will fall and the population will riot. So going slow in the beginning is a solid advise.

The recruited persons should then be set in different buildings to work. Soldiers are put in a fort, scientists in some sort of lab and workers in a factory. It’s important o build up trade and technology as soon as possible since they are essential to win. You can’t just win by military might in this game, which I believe is good.

Mining minerals and selling on a market transporting them to customers using caravans achieve trade. You can also choose to produce different products in the factories and sell. It can be hard to keep track of trade if you have many caravans and producers since you actually have to go to each building and click to choose what they should pick up and where to go, it should have been a more simple system.

Military might is not essential but it’s important to have a strong army to be able to defend yourself. Aside from recruiting soldiers you also need the scientists to work on new weapons, such as catapults ballistas and much more.

It is clear however that battle is not that important. It’s quite hard to predict how the battles will play out, usually if the enemy is superior in numbers you loose. I would have wished for a more straightforward battle system.

A fun part of the game is all the diplomacy; it’s not as advanced as Alpha Centauri or the later versions of Civilization. But you can go into trade alliances, military pacts, peace treaties but you can also buy an empire directly, if you can afford it. Actually it’s a fun feature but not very realistic, after all who would sell their empire?

The graphics are not impressive at all, but they do the trick. But turn up the volume and listen to the music some because it doesn’t get much better, I absolutely love it. Unfortunately there are few tracks.

Seven Kingdoms has a lot of strengths though. The game is set on a more personal level than competing games. Each soldier, worker, peasant has a name and somehow you get more involved. The computer AI is great, it understands that going to war might cause it to loose important income from trade so engaging in trade can actually prevent wars, just as in the real world.

The game comes with several multiplayer option over TCP/IP, LAN, serial and modem play. We actually tried some multiplaying and yes it’s great fun, but it’s not much different from the singe player mode.

What I also like about Chan’s Seven Kingdoms is that there are so many elements that have to work together in order for the player to achieve victory. The trade, science, diplomacy and military all have to work at the same time. In Civilization you could easily just get science and the armed forces to work and yet win the game.

I really like Seven Kingdoms because it adds something new to the country building games. Sure it lacks nice graphics and the systems might be a bit too complicated or hard to learn, but once you get the grasp of things it’s a great game, an underdog if you will.


Related: Civilization, Civilization II , FreeCiv, Knights&Merchants
Developer: Enlight Software
Website for Game: http://www.enlight.com/uk/backcatalog.htm
Publisher: Interactive Magic
O/S: Win 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
Cost of Full Game: N/A
Year of Release: 1997

Requirements:
Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card




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