Tobold's Blog
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Building a village

I very much like games like the Settlers or Anno series, in which you build a village and balance a simple economy. As gaming has become increasingly mobile, this kind of game works well with game mechanics based on real time: You spend some minutes a few times per day taking care of your village, and crops grow or building get constructed while you are offline. This year I have been playing Anno Online, a browser game, and The Tribez on my iPad. Now I'm looking for something new.

Unfortunately that isn't all that easy. While there are many village building games, they often come with one of three major flaws: Either they are like Clash of Clans games in where you build a village only to get it destroyed in free-for-all PvP, or they are excessively "social" and require you to have a hundred friends to progress, or they are constantly begging you for money.

In a previous thread somebody recommended me Townsmen for Android, but I found that to be near unplayable due to excessive begging: There is a big advertising blocking a good part of the screen that you need to pay money to remove, and you playing is interrupted by more advertising which you need to pay money to remove. I checked some reviews of the game and found that apparently you can't even get very far without spending lots of money, so I don't think I'll be playing that. The Tribez is also Free2Play, but less aggressively so, and once a game lets me enjoy it for a while I might even be inclined to pay for some extra comfort.

I very much abandoned all games on Facebook and "unfriended" the hundreds of fake friends I had there. While I liked games like Castleville, I disliked the whole fake friends requirement. And I think Facebook is making a grave mistake by having a games platform that doesn't work on iOS and only badly on Android. Is anybody playing Facebook games on his tablet or mobile phone? That is where games are today, and I feel Facebook is missing out there.

So if you know of any good village / city building games which aren't about PvP or require lots of friends or money, I'd be interested. Especially on Android or iOS.

Lords and Knights for Android. It's basically a mobile version Stronghold Kingdoms online, both in gameplay and monetization.
Godus, is a Populous remake by the original developer.

I would prefer games that actually exist, not Kickstarter projects of games which might or might not come out next year, and might or might not be any good.
Check out venture towns by kairosoft. I think there is a free version you can try before you get the paid one.
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Someone has actually ported OpenTTD (A transport tycoon clone) to Android. I tried it and amazingly it works.
I am sorry that my recomendation ended up in your disappointment.

I have to admit that Townsmen advertising is a bit excessive (you can avoid periodic advertisements by going offline, but the banner could be smaller).

However, it requires no money to play normally. There is a currency that allows you to "cheat" (like building key buildings without using resources, very powerful if you build market with it), but it can be gained through quests in sufficient amounts.
but the banner could be smaller

I was wondering whether that was a problem of my 5" screen being too small, and it not being such a problem on a 10" tablet. I should try Townsmen on my iPad (there is an iOS version), and see whether that works better. On my phone the banner is two thirds the width of my screen, and about a quarter of the height. Plus it is cycling quickly, so the flashing gets annoying rather fast.
Not sure whether Tiny Deathstar fits your bill. I'm just checking it out now.
Google Play link, for your convenience:
I've been curious about this type of game, but haven't had any success finding exactly what you're looking for. Different, but sharing some attributes of town building/simulation/time management, all on iPod touch/iPad:

Rebuild - rebuilding a town during a zombie apocalypse
Pocket Trains - simple simulation, but more fun than Pocket Planes
Plague Inc - planning a disease outbreak to take over the world
Pixel People - building a town with lots of timers
I checked it and found that Townsmen was a lot more playable on a tablet than on a phone, with the ad banner in the free version being much smaller and the rest of the game and interface much bigger. Removing the ad banner costs as much as buying the premium version of the game, but appears to be a worse deal, as the premium version comes with 250 crowns which I'm not sure I'd get for the ad removal.

I'm not sure whether putting a big annoying ad banner in your game is the best way to persuade people to pay up. I would have been happier with the free version just letting me play the tutorial (without ads), and the game then asking for money for the full version.

Anyway, that isn't the reason why I won't pay for Townsmen. What I don't like about the gameplay is that certain actions take some time, and time doesn't advance if you aren't actively playing. You can't set up you build commands and go offline, while your villagers keep on building. In fact I would need to change the power saving settings on my iPad to be able to let the game run.
I know you are preferring Andriod/OS, but for Browser Management/buidling/(maybe some PVP)

You could try The West, Card Hunter(actually a hybrid boardgame/cardgame), Forge of Empires and Ministry of War

Forge of Empires seems to be only slightly nicer, but I think it, too, ultimately develops into a PvP structure and the West as well.

I've heavily researched and sought out Browser and App games. It's been a little while so I'm rusty.

But what I'd mark as "truly worthy" or unique are few and far between. Although there are others as well that will scratch a short-term itch, before turning into a "stock" game, so you may have a little bit of fun in the beginning of these games.

I'd also go off your preferred list for one browser game: Heroes of the Realm. Unfortunately to tell you the tale, is all too common in the world of gaming and Browser gaming - It had potential, was unique and "neat", but now the population is dead after a few months.

Heroes of the Realm is a card/building/strategy game that I really like for it's pre-strategy set-ups. fights are actually autopilot battles based on all the pre-setup you do in gathering and assigning cards(troops), slapping armor/weapons on them, adjusting strategy slider for each unit type and so on.

Mobile gaming can be quite sad in some respects. Perhaps the most refined, cookie-cutter, watery experience out there is in "city building-lite" mobile games and they are extremely refined into a cheap, broken experience that quickly thrusts players into mindless and endelss PvP battles, yet they are grossing millions. They are the top grossing game, while unique, fun games I seek out like WarMage Battlegrounds, Heroes of the Realm and other really fun, unique mobile/browser games can barely survive and are dying before they get started.
Pixel people don't have much strategy involved, but are fun and don't force IAP's on you. You can earn lots of the premium currency in game, and the most useful premium features are cheap. Don't mind the crazy 20€ ones, they an effect of strange dev policy "I don't ważny people to use them, but I was made to put them in by the publisher, so I'll make them absurdly expensive"
Pixel people don't have much strategy involved, but are fun and don't force IAP's on you. You can earn lots of the premium currency in game, and the most useful premium features are cheap. Don't mind the crazy 20€ ones, they an effect of strange dev policy "I don't ważny people to use them, but I was made to put them in by the publisher, so I'll make them absurdly expensive"
If you like tower defense games like Plants vs Zombies, there is a fun game that mixes it with town building: Little Empire by Camel Games - it is free to play game where friends and real money are completely optional, having no annoying ads. You can have friends for social interaction, you can pay money to speed up your progress, but everything is easily obtainable without too much of a grind, money are needed only if you want to be number one player in the world and can complete new content first, but you can not buy best stuff for money anyway.

The gameplay itself requires almost no agility or reflexes, only strategic thinking (differently from Plants vs Zombies, you do not need to aimlessly tap on the screen collecting suns), even patience is not required because you get items to boost your production for free by doing quests, so you can manage your time yourself.

P.S. If you want some boost at the beginning of the game you can use my invitation code EENWB, but again it is optional and unnecessary.
Tobold, if you're looking for "things get build while I'm not looking" game, there are many titles from Game Insight such as classic Paradise Island. There is no advertisement, game is running on sales of premium currency (and there are of course lots of things you can't do in the game without premium currency, like some building are available only for premium currency).
I was hoping to get a recommendation and look where I got - disappointed.

I milked my Anno 160X for all its worth a long time ago and none of the web games are done "right". Though I still haven't tried Anno online but I have a suspicion it will be in one of the three categories mentioned.
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