Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
The Guild 2 does one of the best things a game can do – it takes a genre not usually associated with roleplaying and slaps a life simulation on top of it. I might be the kind of nerd who’d happily play a 15th century economic strategy game even if it were made of spreadsheets and history lessons, but throw in a spot of family management and everything becomes more immediate and personal.
Looking back, The Guild 2 feels like a tiny version of Crusader Kings. Rather than attempting to navigate the treacherous waters of faith and fidelity on a grand strategy scale, you’re attempting to carve out a name for yourself and your family as local masters of business. Instead of plotting to have your bastard son locked in a tower and poking out your brother’s eyes, you’ll be following the exchange rates of a real-time economic simulation and attempting to put your rivals out of business. It might not sound thrilling but something about the presence of characters in the game world makes the dry trade management seem like a backdrop to a story about a family rather than a coffer-balancing simulation.
It’s not a great game but it’s one of those games that I always hope will spawn a great sequel. Time will tell.