Lambs To The Slaughter: Civilizations Wars

By Alec Meer on January 26th, 2010 at 1:10 am.

Two hours! Two! Hours! Gone, lost to idly clicking on the first link I saw on Kongregate. I should be asleep now, dreaming about [CENSORED] with [CENSORED], wearing a top hat made of [CENSORED]. Two hours! Sigh. Well, at least I enjoyed them. I’m sure someone will be able to tell me Civilizations Wars (ouch – that hurts to say/type) is exactly like some obscure Spectrum title from 1986 that I’ve never heard of, but that doesn’t stop this wantonly wasteful of lives RTS from being a coldhearted delight.

It’s a game of tiny wee warriors tussling over land, the key difference from standard real-time strategy being that any building you grab automatically generates new units for you. (Well, apart from the towers and magic crystals, which instead boost your offensive and defensive abilities depending on how many of your chaps you’ve stowed away in there.) To grab a new building, all you need to do is send enough of your units over to it, hope/pray/maybe even plan that they outnumber the incumbent enemies by enough, and it’s yours. Optionally, you can soften it up with a lightning bolt, tornado or meteor strike first.

That’s about it. Except that sounds nothing like playing it feels. It goes more something like “ok send them there oh now that one’s empty oh god send them back there aaargh get some guys from other there and make them grab that tower and aaargh and now there and here and back there and oh I’ve done it.”

Buildings change hands between your and your AI enemies at incredible speeds, every side throwing and sacrificing their unprotesting warriors in horrific quantities in the name of territorial ownership. Not a single life matters here. Not a dozen lives matter. By the time you burn around 80 fruitlessly, they’ll matter a bit, but only because it’ll take a while to regenerate enough replacements. Your units are made to die; the only reason you’d keep any alive is so that they can die for something else later, taking just enough lives with them first that your next platoon of dead men walking can seize the scene of their demise.

It’s a throbbing, frantic race, but impressively it’s rather strategic with it – pushing enemy buildings into vulnerable clusters, keeping potential enemy strongholds in check with canny spellpower long before you make a grab for them, reinforcing weak buildings of your own rather than hurling everything you’ve got at the nearest unfriendly structure… As a lot of Kongregate games tend to be, there’s an extensive unlock system in there, but at least accessing new spells and buffing up your units fits the flow and learning curve of the game.

Could have done without the level eight or so boss that suddenly hurls unstoppable doom-bolts at me if take too long, mind. Other than that, it’s a raucously fast and happily callous strategy curio, with a refreshingly different control system and a barebones but wonderfully-suited art style. I suspect you’ll enjoy it.

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20 Comments »

  1. Fraser says:

    It sounds like Galcon.

    It also sounds like great fun.

  2. PixelCody says:

    I read “..the key difference from standard real-time strategy being that any building you grab automatically generates new units for you” and instantly pined for a new Bitmap Brothers Z game.

    And yeah, I previously saw a youtube video of someone playing Galcon (mentioned above) on the iPhone and thought “that’s a neat mechanic”. Little did I know there’s a flash version available that I no longer need thanks to this new find.

  3. Tater Po says:

    This plays like Populous: The Beginning on crack.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Oh, I bloody love Populous: The Beginning…gotta check this…and dig my Popoulous disc somewhere :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      Populous: The Beginning is filed firmly in the ‘Under-Appreciated Gem’ drawer in my brain. I still pull it out now and again. Actually, I’m due. Where’s my disk?

  4. caesarbear says:

    It unabashedly steals both from Galcon/Phage Wars and Gemcraft. Good choices.

    edit: overall though, meh

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      Phage Wars! That’s what I was reminded of, yes. Though the cute little hordes of spear-fodder are a bit more charming than microbes, I’ll say.

    • CMaster says:

      Actually, the original flash game like this (and still the best in my opinion) was Nano War
      The others all add extra crap on that takes away from the purity of the stratergy.

  5. Unaco says:

    It’s nearly 3am. I’m not going to click any links, for fear of losing 2 (or more) hours. I shouldn’t have even clicked on this story.

  6. gryffinp says:

    Actually it is a ripoff of two better flash games. The end result I found to be stupendously boring.

  7. army of none says:

    I rather liked this. Played through it a few days ago, got all the way to the ending. Had some Populus elements, some tower defense elements, some basic RTS elements. Enjoyable, even if the upgrade XP grinding was a bit tedious.

  8. Simon says:

    Great game, but too much XP grind to defeat that mutant turtle thing :)

  9. Simon says:

    Ok, first level with the different XP bonuses turned on takes about 20 seconds and gives ~10k exp. The few levels after the turtle level give less than 1k exp…

  10. Ziv says:

    It’s a rip off of phage wars which is a rip off cells. but it’s much better than both of them. I got hhoked and put in much more than two hours *shame* *shame*.

  11. Redd says:

    “I love you… more” :<

    • Redd says:

      Hmmm no, on a second listen they’re saying “I’m in love with you…” and then “again”. Memories not what it was.

  12. Ian says:

    I played this a few weeks back and it was really good fun while it lasted.

  13. CMaster says:

    A lot of people are saying this is like Phage Wars which it definitley is. But before even that came Nano War which is just the pure outnumbering idea without all this extra stuff on top – I certiabnly prefer it that way, although maybe all these stats and so on add lifetime to the game a little. There may have been precursors which inspired that, but not ones that I have played.