Manor Lords: A Game for the Battered Settler Soul + Vid
In medieval Franconia things were tranquil. The farmer tilled his field. Before the winter, the grain had to be hauled in and firewood cut. When you had ambitions, you made it your goal to save money for a warm coat. A time that many people like to mentally flee to escape the stressful everyday life of the social media era. The popularity of medieval-themed games is not surprising, but most of them aren’t particularly authentic. In the building strategy game Manor Lords it looks different. The King’s roads are not dead straight, if there is an obstacle in the way, the path must make a bend. There are no colorful houses here, which look nice but don’t really fit into the barren time. And most importantly, there are no fantastic elements like dragons roaming the Franconian hinterland.
Manor Lords is mostly done by a developer. Together with some colleagues, Slavic Magic has been building the simulation since mid-2017. His friends help him with things like motion capture, design, music and a keen eye for historical accuracy. You can tell that there is such a small team behind the game Manor Lords in no way. The game is very pretty, especially by build-strategy standards. The Unreal Engine 4 conjures up beautiful landscapes that not only look great when zoomed out. If you want, you can even stroll through the opulent settlement as a proud lord. Even some third-person games turn yellow with envy.
Construction strategy thought one step further
The basic framework of Manor Lords isn’t anything special yet, but the game differs in the way it’s implemented. You build lumberjack huts as usual to generate raw materials for the construction of your settlement. However, after the first build you will notice that things are different in this game. The heavy logs used for the medieval huts first had to be pulled to the construction site by oxen. Actually logical, because a tree trunk would be much too heavy for a human being. Nevertheless, other construction games often do not even think about such a detail. This fact is also strategically relevant, because at the start of the game you only have one animal. Until your settlement can trade and you have the opportunity to import more animals, your lonely ox has to transport all the logs. And is not just limited to transport to the construction sites. After your lumberjack has cut down a tree in the forest, it must first be brought to the camp.
Source: Slavic Magic
Buildings don’t just magically pop up when placed, or spawn within a few build stages. Each individual beam, from the supporting pillars, to the windows and roof battens, appear one after the other and in the right order. This creates the impression that something is really being built and not just a finished model planted in the landscape. Some building types are even more organic, such as your settlers’ homes. Every family needs its own home. With four points you determine a piece of land on which the hut is built. Waypoints are nestled along existing roads and additional objects such as a chicken coop or a vegetable patch can be created on large fields, which are then managed by the family of the house and whose products find their way into the village’s goods cycle.
Your residents have needs that you must satisfy. Some of them, like food, water or fuel, are essential for survival. Others ensure that you increase in the reputation of the population and that residential buildings can be further expanded. In our demo, the upgrade was just to change the look of the buildings and give us a goal to aim for. In the finished game, upgraded houses serve as dwellings for rich population groups. The distribution of buildings that is not tied to a grid and the roads that can be unlocked mean that your settlement grows more naturally than in other building games, whose path networks and blocks of flats are often reminiscent of the ruler-drawn layouts of large American cities. Manor Lords is for aquarium watchers who can enjoy their little village for minutes without performing a single action.