Sim Hero is on Kickstarter! No, wait. Sim Hero was on Kickstarter, where it was successfully funded last year. Now the RPG management game – in which you tweak and send parties off on adventures, but don’t control those adventures yourself, like a kind of Football Manager for goblin fighters – is freely available to play in its beta form for backers and not-backers alike. I’ve been playing it after RedViv mentioned it in the comments, and it’s worth a try.
The story goes that you’re exiled to an island and must start a settlement, placing down a tent and expanding from there. Place down a second tent and you’ll attract (unseen) villagers, who can be set to forage and hunt for food or chop down trees. Place a Wayrest and you’ll attract heroes, who can be formed into parties, their equipment managed, and then sent off for adventures at nearby caves, dungeons and the like. They do the fighting out of sight, but when they return – assuming they survive – you can paw over their combat logs, see what they encountered and how far they reached, and then make tweaks before their next adventure.
This then creates a compelling loop: your adventures unlock new building types, which allow you to expand your little village, gather more resources and upgrade your buildings, and the increase of fame brought by success will attract more and more powerful heroes to your settlement.
I love games which let you make a few important decisions and then watch the action play out, either in real-time or after the fact. It’s tense to see whether you win or lose, as in Football Manager or Gratuitous Space Battles. It’s also exciting to imagine the unseen adventures as you read the combat logs; there’s sadly nothing as detailed here as Dwarf Fortress’s granular wounding systems, though the damage dealt stats and list of enemies met do enough to conjure scenes for anyone familiar with RPGs.
The current state of the game is significantly different from that first pitched in last year’s Kickstarter, where your character was active on the game map and so were villagers and heroes. Now all the management is done via interface, and the map controlled via a cursor. That old version is still available from the Sim Hero site, mind you.
I’m going to keep playing the game for now, and see what I can discover.