Hello your majesties. Crown and Council is the Mojang-made freebie that popped up unannounced last year, like a gatecrashing mole. I made a light snack of it plenty of times that week – a teeny weeny boardgamish strategy that felt like a single player version of Eight Minute Empire. Now I might be snacking on it again, because it has recently received an update, increasing the levels, generating new ones and tweaking some of the land-bashing mechanics to make it less frustratingly random.
It’s mostly unchanged. There’s still gold and towns and mines and universities and castles and ships, and you still pepper the map with your buildings and advance across the land as strategically as possible. But now there’s more maps. A generator will create a 99-map campaign which is “procedurally balanced” but there’s also some hand-made maps thrown in for good measure. The most important cog that’s been oiled, however, is the process of attacking and defending.
In the first version, you see, attacking an adjacent territory was often a roll of the dice, and you would throw wave after wave of “troops” at a castle only to face the same odds every time. Now, this has been changed to take away the annoying rando numbo vibe.
“I added the attrition mechanic,” says Henrik Pettersson, Mojang’s Councilman, “so that failed attacks wear down resistance for the next attack”. He’s also made a Mac and Linux version which are “not very tested” and added some “barely noticeable tweaks” to the AI. Hurrah!
So there you are. A decent mini war game that costs zero gold on Steam and is now slightly better than before. I hope this pleases your majesties.