5: King of Dragon Pass (1999)
Developer: A Sharp, LLC
Publisher: A Sharp, LLC
King of Dragon Pass is a strategy game that fell into our current timeline from another dimension. There are very few games that seem to have spawned no imitators, or that appear to have been drawn from whole cloth. If you were to pick at King of Dragon Pass, you’d find threads that led elsewhere, but this game of tribal leadership is almost entirely unique.
Fundamentally, it’s a game about decisions. You’ll choose how to spend time and resources, and you’ll invent a history for your tribe. However, every decision appears to change the world and your own story, with consequences sometimes spinning out over years, leading to new decisions and events that are often unexpected but always comprehensible within the carefully simulated reality of the game. There are moral choices, military choices, economic choices, personal choices, spiritual choices – there are advisors to assist with those choices. They bicker, they exert influence, they age, they die. Everything in the game is utterly convincing and even years after release, the possibilities seem endless.
King of Dragon Pass is so complex and complete, and yet so staggeringly different to any other game on this list, that it might have been made by aliens. It doesn’t resemble any other strategy game, it doesn’t play like any other strategy game and it’s never been copied. Nobody else would know where to begin.
Notes: Members of the original team are now working on a spiritual successor, Six Ages.
What else should I be playing: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/17/king-of-dragon-pass-retro/
Read more: Remembering King of Dragon Pass