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Manor Lords is a gorgeous city builder with Total War-style battles

Good lord

It feels like medieval city builders are experiencing a resurgence, between early access games like Foundation and up-and-comers like Farthest Frontier. Manor Lords is another example. It's a medieval strategy game in which you do the usual thing of bossing tiny people to chop trees and tend farms, but what separates it from the others mentioned is that it's also got large-scale battles, Total War style.

There's a new trailer below that breaks down how those battles work, and it looks great - particularly considering it's the work of just one person.

Cover image for YouTube videoManor Lords - Battle Features | Medieval RTS/Citybuilder

Battles can feature hundreds of people fighting at once. The trailer shows the ways in which you can order your soldiers into different formations, and kit them out with different equipment. There's a slider, for example, where you can decide how many of your people you want to give helmets to (and how many people you hate and hope get beaned to death, I guess).

Honestly, there's a part of me that's waiting for the other shoe to drop. The game's Steam page says Manor Lords is the work of a solo developer, but there's no shortage of detail in every part of the video. Your units can have swords, spears, or bows; there are different melee stances, so you can order your people to stand their ground or retreat in formation; there are different weather types that will apparently impact on battles. There are horsies.

While the above video shows the latest work on the combat system, the video below gives an overview of the entire game - and there's a lot more going on. The game's map is split into regions, and the buildings you construct in a region allow you to specialise what it produces based on the resources present. You tax your population to raise funds, give money to the church to win influence, conduct diplomacy (ie. send insults) to rival lords, and your armies can grow from a peasant militia with improvised weaponry to a lord's retinue kitted out with the finest armour.

Cover image for YouTube videoManor Lords - Gameplay Overview | Medieval RTS/Citybuilder

Manor Lords has no current release date, though it'll launch in Steam Early Access first. It's currently being funded via Patreon.

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Graham Smith

Deputy Editorial Director

Rock Paper Shotgun's former editor-in-chief and current corporate dad. Also, he continues to write evening news posts for some reason.