Sons Of The Desert: Legions Of Ashworld

By Adam Smith on June 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Over the weekend, I started writing a homage to the late Mike Singleton’s singular achievement, The Lords of Midnight. Released thirty years ago, the game and its sequel were first-person strategy-RPG hybrids before the foundation of either genre had been laid. A rare sunny day rudely interrupted my efforts to complete the article and I hadn’t even opened Word this morning before a reminder of the game slid into my browser. Legions Of Ashworld is the closest thing to Lords of Midnight that I’ve seen since Doomdark’s Revenge, the sequel to Lords of Midnight. Quite how I’ve managed to miss out on the entire four-year development process of Ashworld is a mystery but the game is out now and I’m keen to see more. Trailer below.

The developer has acknowledged the Lords of Midnight influence in a blog post, highlighting the most important differences between the two games:

In case you are a fan of The Lords of Midnight (or just played it), here are some of the biggest differences related to gameplay mechanics:
- Battles occur in the in-game time like other actions. In other words, a turn does not necessarily end upon entering a battle as it can finish before the night.
- Standard system of items with inventory and transferring.
- Item based food supplies with influence per “person” (not per “lord”) – bigger armies need more supplies.
- Animals move over the night. Beast can attack anyone they think can (b)eat not only the lords without armies. Join previous two sentences and you know what can happen over the night with your lone scouts :) .
- Wizards use the Lore powers (will write a post about that stuff in future)

For those who haven’t played The Lords of Midnight, the trailer gives a fairly good impression of what to expect. The world is divided into tiles and leaders navigate from a first-person perspective, moving armies into strong strategic positions, attempting to conquer, defend and intercept. Midnight is rich with its own lore, as is Ashworld, but I’ve always thought that the war that forms the backdrop to Frodo’s ring-bearing would be ideally suited to a game of this sort. Large, scattered groups on both sides of the war, high stakes and recognisable leaders in a complex world.

I’m tempted by Ashworld but I also want to spend a few days with the remake of Lords of Midnight. Dilemma. Ashworld is seeking votes on Greenlight. The game can be purchased direct from the developer for €9.99.

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13 Comments »

  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    A little lower… a little lower… a bit to the left… no, that’s too far… oh yeah, that’s the spot… scratch… scratch! … ahhhh yeah… I feel much relief.

  2. razgon says:

    I love Lords of Midnight. It was probably the first open-world game ever. I have spent COUNTLESS hours plotting the best way to get the armies I wanted.
    I would gather them all at the Lord of Dawns Citadel in the south, weather the attacks, and then move north, capturing the keeps on the way.

    This looks brilliant – thanks for mentioning it!

  3. slerbal says:

    Lovely! I am going to pick this up. I loved Doomdark’s Revenge and Lords of Midnight and have bought the remake for PC and Android, but what I really wanted was something new in a similar style, and this looks really nice.

    I spent many hundreds of hours in my youth working through Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge. Even now I cannot quite believe what they achieved for the time – certainly up there with Elite as a benchmark for awesome.

    Thanks for covering Ashlands!

  4. Michael Fogg says:

    FYI the original Lords of Midnight is available from GOG

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      That’s not the original, it’s the above mentioned remake by Chilli Hugger software.

      • jrodman says:

        Does it actually differ from the original in any meaningful way?

        • slerbal says:

          It is a straight remake built with the help of Mike Singleton before he sadly passed away. The only difference is that there is vector art now rather than simply the original art on the Spectrum. I bought it and love it :)

  5. Scrote says:

    Two (2) Spectrum 48k machines suffered heat-related deaths as a result of me playing Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge for too long in a hot Summer.

  6. iridescence says:

    So this is like a turn based lo-fi (but nice looking art) version of Mount and Blade mixed with some King of Dragon Pass? Color me interested. Too bad the only videos I can find are the dev playing the game without saying anything for a minute or two. can anyone who’s actually played it give some impressions?

    • slerbal says:

      I’ve played the tutorial now, and I would say it is so far incredibly similar in game type to Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge. You move, encounter beasts, visit towns, recruit armies and generally war on the enemy. The changes in the format are all good and seem to work and the artwork is nice and clean and inviting. If you loved LoM or DDR you will love this, if you have never tried those then I’m slightly struggling as they are my touchstones for comparison.

      Just bear in mind that it totally turn based, there are no animations – just transitions. I am going to dive into the main campaign and see what else is there as it does have a King of Dragon Pass vibe to it.

      I am really liking it so far, but I would agree that the website does a poor job of telling you what the game is! I would love to see an RPS WIT.

  7. dontnormally says:

    I know this sentiment is sinful here but this really seems ideal for a tablet interface and would get a lot of love if it were playable on one.

    • slerbal says:

      I agree, though I also love it on PC and the developer has more chance of making some money on PC.