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Have You Played... Hammer Of The Gods?

Everything looks like a Njáll

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You haven’t, admit it.

Hotgod was unlike other strategy games. A turn-based map of a Norse fantasy world, unseen until explored (but rather than blacked out, unexplored areas were marked like an ancient map, with very rough approximations). You’d pick a race and send out armies on errands to please gods, working your way up the chain until the last quest, which changed depending on which side you chose in a familiar conflict. Humans wanted the most magical artifacts, dwarves wanted the most gold.

You didn’t technically have to conquer everyone, but in the process of reaching that goal you inevitably would. Settlements ranged from hamlet to city, and fights were turn-based tactical affairs. Skirmishes, really. Your standard fighters and archers were backed by special elf or orc or whatever units, and any magical creatures you’d discovered during exploration or fulfilling quests. It’s a shame it’s so obscure, especially in a genre that tends to play it very safe. I even liked the elves. In fact, they were the strongest faction, with nigh unstoppable archers and a win condition far easier than the others.

The context of trying to prove yourself to the gods made expanding and bashing everyone feel a bit less abstract than simply being the “best” civilisation, as decided by the game itself. It did suffer from the usual problem of the late-game becoming a foregone conclusion, though. Holistic Design really didn’t have the luck their unusual strategy games deserved, did they?

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Sin Vega

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