10 Crowns is a historical 4X from Civ 4 designer’s studio

After blasting off to space for financial strategy action in their debut game, Offworld Trading Company, Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson’s studio, Mohawk Games, are coming back down to Earth for something more familiar in their second. 10 Crowns is its name, and historical turn-based 4X strategy is its game. Details are vague for now and 10 Crowns sounds early in development but publishers Starbreeze seem jolly excited so they announced the game today.

“10 Crowns is an epic-scale turn-based strategy game that lets players create the greatest dynasty in world history,” Starbreeze said in today’s announcement. As they don’t state otherwise, let’s assume that the objective is to collect and wear all ten crowns at once in a teetering tower.

Johnson isn’t the only Civ fella at Mohawk. Art director and fellow co-founder Dorian Newcomb was an artist on several Civs before becoming art lead on Civ V, and programmers Jason Winokur and Alex Mantzaris have worked on Firaxis’s series too.

“Everyone here at Mohawk is very excited to work with Starbreeze on 10 Crowns, going back to our game development roots to make a classic historical 4X strategy game with some important and radical innovations to the genre,” Soren Johnson said in today’s announcement. “I look forward to sharing more about the design with the strategy game community and involving them in development as early as possible”

Starbreeze don’t say when we should expect to play 10 Crown. They note that it “is currently in prototyping stages of development” and only show concept art, so probably quite a while.


  1. shinkshank says:

    See, where my mind went is “10 heads”, and I went all “4X game where you’re playing a Hydra, eh?”

    But then I remember that The Last Federation already exists, so that’s probably not gonna be the case. Wouldn’t wanna step on any toes.

  2. LewdPenguin says:

    So they’re making Civ but notCiv then. Well I’ve quite liked Civ so similar but slightly different sounds interesting enough, assuming the project survives lets see if they’ve made something interesting or just another vanilla clone in 3 years time.

    And of course you need to melt those crowns, into one big shiny crown to rule them all.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      Nine crowns for the N-P-Cs, doomed to die.

      One crown to rule them all, one crown to find them, one crown to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

  3. TheOx129 says:

    I’m kind of surprised at this. Civ tends to burn out designers, and I seem to recall Soren specifically saying he had zero interest in ever making a Civ or Civ-like game ever again on multiple occasions. I wonder if the game has another lead designer from Mohawk, or if Soren has just warmed up more to the idea of revisiting the 4X genre.

    • Son_of_Georg says:

      I’m intrigued. I remember Soren talking on “Three Moves Ahead” (episode 348, I believe), about Civ burning out developers, but also about how certain expectations of the series lock developers in. A totally new game built with some of those lessons in mind could be great.

      • Zorgulon says:

        I heartily agree with this – a Civ-but-not-Civ seems like a great idea.

    • ilitarist says:

      Pretty sure it won’t be Civ. Judging by the art it doesn’t go that far into history, maybe mostly reserved to pre-industrial era. Civ game has certain requirements like research tree, direct control over armies, focus on cities and populace, total control over all elements, random maps, linear growth over time and so on. It’s entirely possible this game will be about ancient era without reliance on the idea of progress or direct control over everything.

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        Malarious says:

        “let players create the greatest dynasty in world history”.

        Interesting choice of words. Should we expect CK2 style dynastic mechanics, with marriages, succession, and intrigue? If so, I’m far, far more interested than I would be with just another civ clone.

  4. Someoldguy says:

    I always get Soren mixed up with Johann Andersson because he sounds like he should be working for Swedish historical wargame afficionados Paradox, so making a historical 4x seems inevitable even if he works at his own studio :)

  5. Hunchback says:

    Hope they don’t pull a Molyneux on us!

  6. Dramund says:

    If this is just Civilization without the nauseating cartoon style, I’ll be very happy.

    • April March says:

      If this is just a thing that will compete with Civilization I’m happy.

    • Seafoam says:

      Yeah! Give me painting-like graphics and classical music anytime.
      You’re supposed to watch history unfold, the most important things ever are happening by your actions. The cartoon visuals really ruin that awesome mood.

  7. grimdanfango says:

    Hmm… well Civ 4 is still officially and unarguably The Best Civ (fact). So this is certainly an interesting development. I hope they steer away from Civ’s “a hundred different systems to keep you clicking until you win” approach.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      “Civ 4 is still officially and unarguably The Best Civ (fact)”

      But what about Civ Revolutions?

      • juan_h says:

        Well, I’d say that Revolution was clearly the best, as I could play it on a handheld gaming device–a Nintendo DS, as it happens–which is a feat no other Civilization has ever managed.

        • Aradalf says:

          I can play the full Civ 6 on my iPad Pro and it’s amazing.

    • RosalietheDog says:

      Isn’t life some game we play to “keep us breathing until we die”.

  8. melancholicthug says:

    Call me when Brian Reynolds makes another one. He lead the objectively best in the franchise (Civ 2 and Alpha Centauri).

    • MacTheGeek says:

      Unfortunately, Mr. Reynolds has been all about the mobile/microtransaction platform for the last decade or so (since his role at Zynga). Per his LinkedIn page:

      Principal Game Credits:
      2015 – DomiNations
      2012 – CityVille 2
      2011 – FrontierVille: Pioneer Trail
      2010 – FrontierVille

    • Jonesy26 says:

      Mr. Reynolds is washed up and has not been relevant for over a decade. Soren Johnson on the other hand has never stopped and will continue to make some of the best video games we have seen.

  9. April March says:

    As they don’t state otherwise, let’s assume that the objective is to collect and wear all ten crowns at once in a teetering tower.

    • oyog says:

      Damn, it’s good to see Felix Colgrave show up in the RPS comments.

      His newest animation is so calming.

    • onodera says:

      What’s the name of that thing when something starts appearing around you immediately after you’ve learned about it?

      I saw Double King last Sunday in the dentist’s office.

  10. racccoon says:

    I’d say 10 crowns = game of thrones