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MrFlibble

Eador - an oldschool Russian indie TBS/RPG

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Recently I found out that quite a remarkable Russian* indie fantasy turn-based strategy/role-playing game called Eador. Genesis had been finally translated into English (the game was released in 2009) and is available from GOG.com.

Eador is made in a distinct old-school style and adheres to the best of the turn-based strategy and role-playing game traditions, improving on the ideas and mechanics from such classic titles as Warlords, Master of Magic, Dominions, Age of Wonders and Heroes of Might and Magic, as well as Sid Meier's Civilization and Master of Orion. Despite its immediately familiar visuals, the game is neither a straightforward clone nor a simple mixture of any of those, but an independent, unique game, envisioned and designed by its author and project leader, Alexey Bokulev.

What makes Eador stand out is the complexity of the game world: it had been thought out to the tiniest detail, and everything is important. The players are given free hand in in the way they develop their armies, economy and politics, the alliances they make and the technologies they acquire. There is absolutely no railroading on the part of the game whatsoever. Want to build up an army comprising entirely of ranged units? You can do that. Want to become a powerful necromancer? Sure thing. You wish to become a goody-good lawful leader who is allied with Elves or Dryads? That is also possible.

In Eador, it's easy to grasp the basics but you'll spend quite some time learning the intricacies of the game, some of which are not immediately obvious. Thankfully the game has a very friendly and extensive tutorial that allows to learn playing essentials without having to suffer from natural mistakes.

Combat is quite an important aspect in Eador but it's not the only thing that matters. You'll also need to manage your provinces, expand your influence by means of diplomacy or good reputation, and deal with a huge variety of unique events that occur in your kingdom from time to time. Every decision matters as it affects the player's reputation and moral alignment.

The mainstay of gameplay are heroes, who can be also guided to become whatever a player desires. There are four basic classes (Warrior, Ranger, Commander and Mage), each with lots of unique skills and abilities, and the ability to multi-class once they had levelled up enough times, opening numerous paths of development. Each class serves its own purpose - thus a Ranger, for example, excels at diplomacy and province exploration, while a Commander can field the most number of units in his party at any time. Regular units also level up and can gain additional abilities as they grow in skill. Not all units and technologies are available from the start, as there is no fixed tech tree; some units can only be acquired by making alliances or visiting special locations.

Eador has too many features to be listed in their entirety without the list becoming an expansive strategy guide for the game. Much fun is in discovering them on your own. There's a Russian language demo available from the official site (I don't know if there is an English demo). There is also a screenshot gallery.

* Alexey Bokulev lives in Ukraine but the original release of the game is in Russian and Russian is his native language.

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