Y'know those free-to-play games where you build kingdoms and armies and have simple battles and spend a lot of time waiting for buildings to complete while the game gently but insistently urges you to spend real money to speed it all up? Total War Battles: Kingdom [official site] is very much one of them. After a year in open beta testing, The Creative Assembly have properly launched their Come-Play-My-Lord 'em up free-to-play on PC and all those pocket telephones. It's not a Total War game at all, beyond the name, but maybe you enjoy that sort of playing discretely, my lord?
Right, so, I've had a bit of a play. Total War Battles: Kingdom will have you build and expand a kingdom across a hex-based landscape, raising buildings, constructing bridges, harvesting crops and resources, and all that - with real-time waits (running even if you close the game) that you can skip by paying a little real money for a little virtual 'gold'. Yep, it's one of those things where you can play relatively happily for free if you don't mind waiting or visiting infrequently, but timers inevitably end up annoying if you want to sit there and play a lot. It's the ever-present feeling that you're missing out by not flashing a bit of gold to skip timers. Handily, the tutorial walks you through this. Several times. Just to make sure you understand. Sure, you can get a bit of gold by playing, but the game's obviously designed to push players towards paying.
It also has simple battles, where your troops form up in three lanes and move towards the enemy and scrap. Placing units in lanes can counter enemies in a rock-paper-scissors way, and timing buffs and charges helps, but it's certainly not Total War.
Ah, I don't know. Am I over-explaining an obvious thing? It's a game clearly made to be pulled out on pocket telephones and poked at every so often, following a rather worn and joyless model. Progress is shared across PC and pocket telephones, mind, so maybe this is better thought of as a companion app rather than a standalone game. Like these sorts of things? You might like this one. I don't know. Don't look at me.
Total War Battles: Kingdom is free-to-play on Steam for Windows and Mac, and on walkyscreens too.
Looks like the first Total War Battles game, Shogun, has been pulled from stores.