F2P Total War Battles: Kingdom Trundles Out Of Beta

Y’know those free-to-play games where you build kingdoms and armies and have simple battles and spend a lot of time waiting for buildings to complete while the game gently but insistently urges you to spend real money to speed it all up? Total War Battles: Kingdom [official site] is very much one of them. After a year in open beta testing, The Creative Assembly have properly launched their Come-Play-My-Lord ’em up free-to-play on PC and all those pocket telephones. It’s not a Total War game at all, beyond the name, but maybe you enjoy that sort of playing discretely, my lord?

Right, so, I’ve had a bit of a play. Total War Battles: Kingdom will have you build and expand a kingdom across a hex-based landscape, raising buildings, constructing bridges, harvesting crops and resources, and all that – with real-time waits (running even if you close the game) that you can skip by paying a little real money for a little virtual ‘gold’. Yep, it’s one of those things where you can play relatively happily for free if you don’t mind waiting or visiting infrequently, but timers inevitably end up annoying if you want to sit there and play a lot. It’s the ever-present feeling that you’re missing out by not flashing a bit of gold to skip timers. Handily, the tutorial walks you through this. Several times. Just to make sure you understand. Sure, you can get a bit of gold by playing, but the game’s obviously designed to push players towards paying.

It also has simple battles, where your troops form up in three lanes and move towards the enemy and scrap. Placing units in lanes can counter enemies in a rock-paper-scissors way, and timing buffs and charges helps, but it’s certainly not Total War.

Ah, I don’t know. Am I over-explaining an obvious thing? It’s a game clearly made to be pulled out on pocket telephones and poked at every so often, following a rather worn and joyless model. Progress is shared across PC and pocket telephones, mind, so maybe this is better thought of as a companion app rather than a standalone game. Like these sorts of things? You might like this one. I don’t know. Don’t look at me.

Total War Battles: Kingdom is free-to-play on Steam for Windows and Mac, and on walkyscreens too.

Looks like the first Total War Battles game, Shogun, has been pulled from stores.


  1. Scrote says:

    Bleargh… bleeeeeaaaaaargh…

    That’s all I have to say about these types of games

  2. dsch says:

    Over the course of three years, CA have managed to turn me from a fanatical TW player to someone who cringes at the thought of the (three) new TW games.

    • Reapy says:

      Seriously… With the first shogun I was like “THIS IS IT, THIS IS A BIG ARMY GAME I’VE DREAMED OF MY WHOLE LIIIIIFEEEEEE”. Then I fanatically bought them on each release even though I ramped down playtime them, then empire happened, which was the nail in the coffin for me.

      I keep passing on shogun 2 for 7.50 and I probably should cave and try it again, and warhammer looks fun, its just… sigh.

      • ulix says:

        Shogun 2 is the best Total War game. Apparently the Fall of the Samurai campaign is even better, though I haven’t played it yet.

        • froz says:

          While I do agree it’s one of the best and it is best in some aspects, as like with all TW games, some changes were just bad.

          The good:
          – compact design, quite small map, not many factions, it’s all tight and well designed, AI is usually able to manage it both in battles and on the campaign map
          – map itself was a big step forward compared to any other TW game with 3D map, encouraging more non-siege battles, as it’s easier to block enemy moving around your army etc. I still prefer old 2D map that would just force field battles most of the time and would make that part of the game quicker
          – it’s one of the most climatic TW games. It literally soaks with atmosphere with everything, sounds, music, art style.

          The bad:
          – AI can be really stupid in some scenarios
          – Siege battles, although at first they felt fresh, are just not really that good, there are some glaring issues, as with all TW games. AI is helped thanks to the fact that all units can just walk over the walls, there are not that many pathfidning terrible issues, as known in all other TW games.
          – Overal managemant part is a little more complicated then earlier, but it doesn’t make it better really. It wasn’t that fun to me. I also hate gamey things like how reinforcement numbers depend on how many units (not as in individual soldiers, but flags) you have, which just doesn’t make any sense and forces you to not merge half-dead units. But I guess it’s better then having to move reinforcements from half the map away.

          The ugly:
          – battles are even more streamlined, infantry is running around like cavalry, lack of stamina is not really an issue, you (or enemy AI) can decide to switch left flank with the right flank of your whole army and it will happen in 5 seconds. Which makes preparation and manuevering less important then pausing every other second to adjust to what AI managed to change. Shogun 2 is really worse in that part then earlier games in the series. I don’t want to say the battles are not fun, but they are just too fast and not tactical enough for me. Unfortunatelly that has not changed in the newer games :/.

      • animal says:

        I’m a huge fan of the series; Shogun 2 is still pretty good, you can go for it. It’s definitely better than Rome 2 (which was at best between arghh and soso)

  3. Captain Joyless says:

    heh. trundled. heheh.

    always reminds of that masterpiece of American legal writing, Kirchoff v. Flynn, 786 F. 2d 320 (7th Cir. 1986).

    • froz says:

      I know, right? It’s almost like 908 G 5s 721 (12th Poop. 1987).

  4. Distec says:

    I’ll totally cop to having Game of War on my phone for the sheer thrill of initiating timers and breaking up the monotony of work.

    I don’t take much pride in it, and I certainly wouldn’t call the experiences “fun”. But I could probably play this a bit before getting bored. It’s not like I’d spend a dime on these games any way.

  5. Palindrome says:

    It was moderately enjoyable in the beta but it was hideously grindy, presumably this is still the case.

  6. xyzzy frobozz says:

    I’d estimate that this would be interesting to around 0% of the RPS readership.

  7. jonfitt says:

    Two questions:

    1) Does it block questlines unless you use premium currency, or is the premium currency just used to speed things up or for purely cosmetic things?

    2) Does it constantly pester you into inviting friends from Facebook etc, and limit your progress without their “help”.

    I really just want to know how abusive this one is.

    I must confess to having played two of these sort of games before. My Little Pony (I initially joined to ‘friend’ my daughter so she could get premium currency, but then got sucked in), and the Family Guy one.

    The Family Guy one was actually not abusive. It really pushed you to play all the time, but they had very frequent “events” and it was pretty easy to get most of the junk. They had cloud saving, and seemed to want to keep you “playing”.

    MLP on the other hand was plain abusive. It pushed you all the time to spend premium currency, and would gate quest lines until you had purchased premium currency items. You could win premium currency by performing occasional low drop rate tasks.
    Oh and at the time it had no online backup or cloud saving!
    The company for that one is Gameloft, and I suspect they loathe their “players” and want to make them miserable at all times.

    Where do CA fall on this spectrum?

    • GrinningD says:

      I played in the closed and for a short while in the open beta – it’s not actually that bad.

      I haven’t played in an age though but when last I looked:

      1. Nope, premium is purely for speeding stuff up and for unlocking different fields and icons for your banners. All progress and quests are perfectly playable without spending real cash.

      2. Not once was there a request to facebook anyone. Never. There was no request to sign up with facebook at all – it’s a Steam powered game.

      After the initial, fairly long, tutorial you are not pestered to spend or buy gold. No flashing icon anywhere that you click and it suggests ‘Why not buy some gold to speed things along?’ No pop ups telling you gold is on discount. None of that Clans or Kingdoms or War mentality.

      Your units gain xp and learn skills and upgrades in a limited number. The actual real time battles are simple but do have some nuance with positioning and flanking.

      Your towns are fun to build and you can (and often must) terraform the surrounding landscape to get the most out of them – constructing canals to keep your farms irrigated and draining lakes so you can plant more forests and get agaceny bonuses for buildings.

      You unlock new sections of the map by completing the boarder quest. This new area of the map may then have a fresh town built on it wherever you want. Bandits and barbarians will lay seige to your towns causing a resource drain until you whup their arses and the whole thing is really rather pretty.

      I’d say give it a go with an open mind – it’s free after all. I had fun with it and I detest games like Clash of Clans and it’s ilk.

  8. Fitzmogwai says:

    I had Shogun: Battles on my pocket telephone. It was a lot of fun until one mission where it was seemingly impossible to progress without spending hard cash. Uninstalled and never looked at it since. Creative Assembly have done a splendid job all round in the last few years of convincing me to avoid their recent games like the plague. Mediaeval 1 and Rome 1 get reinstalled pretty regularly though.

  9. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Not enough chainmail bikini-clad characters! *ahem*