Epic Manager [official site], now in Early Access, is a game about managing a party of adventurers in a fantasy world. There are several games of this sort now, the Football Managers to the typical RPG FIFA, but Epic Manager takes an unusual approach. Rather than operating like the majestic Majesty, which simulated a kingdom and had you manage its heroes indirectly, this game jumps straight into the competitive leagues of a sports game. You’re not just hiring and managing adventurers, you’re trying to recruit and direct the best questers in the whole world.
The backstory describes a world without war, now packed with soldiers who have no purpose. To give them ‘gainful’ employment and to entertain the masses, a league system is created, and parties of adventurers can earn fame and league titles by completing quests across the land.
In practice, the whole thing plays out a little like a boardgame. You have a certain number of actions per turn and can use those to build bases (in the form of portals that teleport goods and allow healing and party management), scout or advertise for new recruits, seek out new quests, and move parties around the map. When a party arrives at a quest location, there’s a tactical battle, which has more in common with JRPG combat menu systems than the grid I was expecting. There are random encounters in the form of text-based multiple choice scenarios, many of which can be resolved using class- and skill-specific abilities or knowledge.
I’ve only had a quick play and found a lot to keep track of, though a helpful tutorial introduces all of the core concepts. Whether I’ll return before a couple of updates are live, I couldn’t say for sure. It’s an intriguing concept but I’d like to be sure of plenty of variety in quests and encounters before continuing.