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Author Topic: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)  (Read 859 times)

Biowraith

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So, Warhammer 40,000: Gladius Ė Relics of War released today.  Being a WH40K 4X game, I thought itíd probably be relevant to the interests of a number of people here.  The short and lazy way of describing it is Civ: 40K with a hint of Endless Legends.  There are some notable differences and departures from Civ though.


Slitherine product page
Steam Store page
GOG page
(GOG are bundling a free copy of WH40K: Rites of War until 26/7/18)

Before I go any further I should note Iíve only got half an hour or so in the game at this point (along with watching a couple youtube videos), so I canít really speak to whether itís actually good or not.  Itís a Slitherine game, from the dev team that did Pandora: First Contact, so adjust your expectations accordingly.   What I can and will speak about is a rundown of the mechanics and features of the game (disclaimer: Iím not great at brevity :p).

ABOUT THE GAME
First thing to note is that although itís billed as a 4X game, it focuses a lot more heavily on the eXterminate ĎXí (their marketing missed the opportunity to relabel this eXterminatus) than the other 3.  Most obviously they took the well known ďonly warĒ tagline to heart and so thereís no diplomacy of any kind in the game (well, you can assign players to teams during game setup, but theyíre fixed once the game starts).  Thereís also no trade, culture, religion, etc, which isnít super surprising for a 40K game but obviously it means fewer layers and options to the game.  Itís probably best to view it as a war game with 4X elements, rather than a straight up 4X game.

So, the other stuff:

FACTIONS
At launch the game has 4 factions to choose from: Astra Militarum (aka Imperial Guard), Space Marines (far as I can tell they donít specify which chapter, though I think the selection pic is Ultramarines), Orks, and in a somewhat unusual choice, the Necrons.  Thereís been rumblings that other factions will be added as DLC; presumably how many and how soon depending on how well the game sells.

The factions each have their own tech tree (well, more of a tech road, more on that later) and obviously their own set of units.
 
They also have some differences in their mechanics, strengths, weaknesses, etc.  The most obvious one being city building, with the Necrons limited to only building cities on tiles that contain a Necron Tomb and the Space Marines unable to build cities after their starting city (although they can drop single-tile fortresses to claim the bonuses from special resource tiles).  Astra Militarum and Orks get the standard build wherever options.  They also treat resources (Food, Ore, Energy, Influence) a little differently from each other, along with various bonuses and features specific to each faction.

Hereís some cropped screenshots of the faction selection screens to illustrate:


Spoiler: Astra Militarum (click to show/hide)
Spoiler: Space Marines (click to show/hide)
Spoiler: Orks (click to show/hide)
Spoiler: Necrons (click to show/hide)


CITIES
Cities work mostly the same as in other 4X games: you pick a location based on the resources of the surrounding tiles and then build improvements to generate more resources and construct units.  But there are some differences in the details.

First of all, cities donít start with any tiles under their control (besides the central one), you spend production time and resources to claim surrounding tiles.  Also, most tiles donít produce resources in and of themselves; there are scattered special resource tiles that will produce e.g. 2 food per turn (which can be captured by units as well as cities, although cities extract more of a bonus if you get them that way), but most tiles will just have a percentage bonus (or penalty) to one or more resource types e.g. an Arctic tile might be -20% food, +20% research. 

Unlike other 4X games, city pops arenít assigned jobs like farmer or miner and arenít placed to work tiles per se, rather each building you build has to be manned by 1 pop.  Actual resource production comes from the buildings themselves, modified by the bonuses of the tile theyíre placed on.  Each tile has a limited number of building slots, usually 2 or 3, and each building has to be placed on a tile with an available slot. 

When it comes to unit production, by default a city canít produce any units.  You first have to research and then build one of the unit production buildings Ė a barracks equivalent for infantry, a garage equivalent for vehicles, and another for heroes (there might be a couple more further into the tech tree, Iím not sure).  One thing I really like is that those buildings each have their own production queue, so your city can be building a new farm at the same time as you are training a unit of Guardsmen at the same time as youíre building a Leman Russ, all constructing in parallel (although if youíre building 2 Leman Russ, theyíd be the usual one after the other).  It costs resources as well as time to build/train units though, so you'll need a good economy to keep that much parallel construction going for any length of time.

Oh, and thereís no capturing cities, you just destroy them.

UNITS / COMBAT
As youíd probably hope from a 4X that dumps things like diplomacy, the units and combat are slightly more detailed than a lot of the 4X games that Gladius uses as its template (to a point anyway, no Age of Wonders style tactical battles or anything like that).  Units donít just have a power rating and hitpoints, they have an armour value, a morale value (losing morale reduces damage output), and one or more weapons each of which have damage, number of attacks, accuracy, armour penetration and a range (and apparently an ammo count for some weapons). 

For units that represent a squad thereíll be a number of weapons relating to the number of entities in the unit Ė as it takes damage the number of weapons available (and thus damage output of the unit) decreases.

One fairly big difference from other games is units donít trade blows when you attack Ė you only deal damage when you attack and donít take any damage while doing so.  So if you send your Ork Boyz unit into melee against e.g. a Catachan Devil, they can attack it without worrying about casualtiesÖ at least until itís the Devilís turn when itíll probably murder them.  The exception is Overwatch: if a unit doesnít attack on its turn and has a ranged attack it can be placed in Overwatch, wherein it will attack the first hostile unit that comes into range (at this point Iím unsure if that always triggers or is just a chance to).

So for example, a full unit of those Ork Boyz have 6 Choppas which each do 1.1. damage, 2 attacks, 0 armour penetration, accuracy 8 (67%) and range 0 (i.e. melee), but also have 6 Sluggas which do 1.5 damage, 1 attack, 0 armour penetration, accuracy 4 (33%) and range 1.  In Overwatch theyíll just shoot their Sluggas when an enemy moves next to them (range 1), but if they attack theyíll go into melee and use both their Sluggas as they run in along with their Choppas when they get there, doing much more damage.  Obviously a similar thing would apply with a unit that has multiple ranged weapons each with different ranges Ė only the weapons in range when you attack will fire.

Units also have a range of traits (e.g. most Ork units are scavengers and get Ore from kills) and most have one or more special abilities either to start with or which can be gained from research later (e.g. Guardsmen have techs that give them medpacks, frag grenades, and krak grenades).  Some abilities cost influence to use and most (all?) of them have a cooldown.

Units also level up as they get experience, and experience is shared when killing enemy units (unsure at this point if thatís shared between any that were nearby, or specifically any that did damage).
 Thereís also (generic) hero units you can recruit which get points to purchase/upgrade abilities as they level, and can also equip/buy items found in ruins or from the trader Resource tiles.

OTHER STUFF
Other misc stuff to know about:

Itís hex based, one unit per tile.

The gameís equivalent of Civís barbarians takes the form of wildlife and renegade units that roam the map, including some Ďnestí type buildings that spawn units periodically.  From what I can tell the early game is mostly spent battling them, before you ever see an enemy faction.  I donít think thereís anything special to be gained from killing them (besides levelling your units), but theyíll harass your units if you donít.

Settler type units are combat capable and usually have other abilities (possibly added via research) outside of settling cities to provide support in battle.

As I mentioned way back near the start, the research tree is more of a research road.  It comes in 10 tiers, with 5 or 6 techs per tier.  To unlock a tier you research any 2 techs from the previous tier.  For the most part thereís no prerequisites, besides practical things like you canít research the tech to produce a hero unit without first researching the tech to produce the hero-producing building.  I think I saw/heard someone say that each tech you research slightly increases the cost of all remaining techs, but Iím not sure about that.  Techs generally unlock new units and buildings, or upgrade existing ones with better stats or new abilities.

Thereís water, but no naval units (though there are air units).  Terrain can block passage to ground units (e.g. water, cliffs) and line of sight for ranged attacks (e.g. forests).  The game has the equivalent of alien fungus in the form of Wire Weed that damages units that end (start?) their turn there.

You can only move once per turn even if you didnít use up all your movement points Ė no edging forward 1 hex at a time to reveal enemies in the fog of war before committing to your full move (at least not without doing it over multiple turns).

The graphics are serviceable, but kind of dull and a bit washed out looking Ė a lot of greys and browns.  Some of the units look pretty cool though (e.g. the Canoptek Spider).  The UIís decent enough Ė pretty clear and well presented; nothingís annoyed or confused me with it so far.  Thereís no voiceovers outside of the intro cutscenes, though units do make comments in the form of floaty text above their heads.

Victory conditions are either to destroy all the other players, or complete your factionís quest line.  The quest line option tells a story for each faction, consisting of missions like ďResearch and build a ManufactorumĒ or ďgo kill these 3 unitsĒ (with a bunch of contextual fluff text of course), usually with a resource reward for completion of each step.



Well, thatís about everything I can think of, though Iíve probably missed some things.  Iíll likely do a much shorter post of my thoughts on how much Iím enjoying the game (or not) once Iíve got some real playtime under my belt, but in the meantime if anyone has any questions on game features and mechanics I can try to answer them.

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Levi

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 02:22:01 pm »

Quote
Iíll likely do a much shorter post of my thoughts on how much Iím enjoying the game (or not) once Iíve got some real playtime under my belt, but in the meantime if anyone has any questions on game features and mechanics I can try to answer them.

Looking forward to it.  I'm probably going to pick it up if there aren't any game breaking bugs & the reviews aren't terrible. 
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Folly

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 02:33:54 pm »

I read a review about a week ago, which basically said that this is a reskin of the developers earlier games with WH40K theme, and all of the bugs and gameplay flaws of the previous games intact. I never played the previous games, but this still sounds somewhat ominous. I want to be hopeful, but after the mess that was Inquisitor Martyr I'm very skeptical.
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nenjin

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 04:11:29 pm »

I was interested when this came across my field of view earlier. Visually it looks like more effort/money has gone in to it than Armageddon. And it's not just straight up Panzer Corps skinned 40k. (Or is it?) But I dunno. I think Sliterine games aren't really for me. Their games just seem so dry.
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JimboM12

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2018, 08:02:35 pm »

i'll probably buy this when it's on sale.

i'm a growing connoisseur of 40k, ive been reading Gaunt's Ghosts and the Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM books and im loving it. oh, sure, i was a fan of the dawn of war games when i was younger but that sent me to 1d4chan and lore-friendly mods and my local gamestore where i browsed the codexes and stuff, now im at the point i mentally compare or shoehorn 40k into stuff. like i'd be watching starwars and id wonder who would win out of a jedi or a space marine librarian. probably the librarian.
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ZebioLizard2

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 04:56:43 am »

It looks like a Warlock themed 40k.. I'm pretty down for that.
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LoSboccacc

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 08:18:19 am »

seen some let's play and combat is quite underwelming for a 40k title
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Biowraith

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2018, 10:35:39 am »

I've just won my first match on medium map, medium difficulty (3 opponents), after about 6 hours of play.

My initial impression is basically that my original speculation was about right - I'm enjoying the game and it's fairly competently done, but it's not really anything special. 

In those 8 hours I've only encountered one bug, where sometimes when a unit moves it leaves behind an image of itself in the tile it left.  These tend to disappear after a turn or so - it's purely a visual glitch, no effect on gameplay.  I see some people on the forums having crashing issues, but it's not crashed or been at all unstable for me.

I've also encountered a couple of questionable design choices in the storyline quest:

1) You lose the entire match if you fail an objective in the quest.  Now, *most* objectives can't really be failed (stuff like "research and build this" for example), but I did have an objective to defend a point, which I misunderstood slightly and allowed to be captured and got an immediate defeat screen.  Unfortunately it doesn't specify how/why you were defeated, and there's a degree of simultaneous movement and attacking going on during a turn to speed things up, so I didn't catch what was happening until I'd reloaded and replayed the autosave a few times (all my cities etc were intact).
2) Further down the quest line there's a point where you've to capture a human city.  Presumably since it's not a given that you'll have any human opponents, it spawns a city for you to capture, along with something like 40-50 units defending it.  Even in this game, that's quite a lot, at least on a medium map.  To make matters worse, it spawned them almost bang on top of my army, leaving a battlewagon containing 6 units unable to unload as it was suddenly completely surrounded and another portion of my force cut off from the rest (between the newly spawned horde and the remaining AI player).  I won in the end, but it was a bit of a bullshit move - I understand why it spawns them, but it should really have done some rudimentary checks to spawn them some distance from any active player units.

As for the rest of my impressions, I'll compare to Civ a lot since I imagine most people are familiar with it.

The graphics are definitely of the "does the job" variety rather than being anything impressive, which coupled with the lack of voiceovers etc means game doesn't have the same level of immersion and character and '40K feel' that a number of the higher budget (but often not any more expensive to buy) games do.  That said, once I was getting into the game I wasn't really consciously aware of that shortcoming anymore.

It's also definitely a wargame first and 4X game a distant second.  Although technically city building is about as involved as most 4X games (besides not placing individual pops to work tiles/resources) I didn't really find myself caring or being invested in the details of those cities half as much as I would in a game like Civ - they're just there to churn out units and balance your resources.  However, that's not necessarily a bad thing besides the effect it has on expectations - the other side of it is that I found it a lot easier to keep churning out units than most 4Xs so I was able to keep fighting pretty much continuously, rather than having spells of just hitting "End Turn" endlessly that I often find myself doing in all of the installments of Civ (and a few other 4Xs).

In terms of strategy and tactics, combat is about the same level of depth as a Civ game I think, maybe slightly more as there's unit abilities and a given unit can be more damaging at certain ranges (and some of the ranges are much higher - Basilisks can attack from 6 tiles away), and units have a sort of tackle zone that stops you just running past them, but for the most part it's just about using terrain to reduce incoming damage, lining up your army to ensure they're attacking the unit types they're best suited against, and focus firing so the target can't retreat and heal.  I want to say that units are a bit more durable in this game but it's been a while since I played another Civ-like so I may be wrong.

The AI seems about comparable to most of these games, i.e. not particularly great.  Looking at the score graphs of my two games (the premature defeat and the killed-everyone victory), it seemed to be keeping up with me just fine on all areas (research, economy, military) - pulling ahead for spells in some areas, falling behind slightly in others - but I didn't find it too tough to win, suggesting it's not doing so hot at the actual fighting.  I saw some outright dumb moves (e.g. moving a badly wounded unit out from where I couldn't fight it and it could have healed up, onto a wire weed tile that a) I could attack and b) was going to kill it even if I didn't), but it also did some stuff right (it at least had the initial sense to retreat that wounded unit to start with, it just should have kept it retreated).  Mostly I think it's just got the problem of not concentrating its forces the way a player would, so its comparable military was a lot more spread out and distracted by other players and the hostile wildlife.  You can set things up to be plenty more challenging than the games I played, though it'll be more down to volume and tier of units (through resource/research bonuses and/or teaming the AI's up against you) rather than smart play.

Balance may need a bit of work too - I was able to do some pretty crazy damage with certain units (especially melee ones, combined with a buff from the Weirdboy - I had a Warboss 2-shot a city, which in this game is insane) while others seemed pretty awful (e.g. Mek Gunz do really weak damage if they move due to accuracy penalties, but that just upgrades to fairly weak if they stay still).  It was mostly ok though, just the odd outlier here and there that made me think "that can't be right".  Plus I've only got 1.3 matches of experience and haven't played the other races, so my judgement of balance may be off. 


Now I know that all paints a very mediocre picture of the game so I will reiterate that I am actually enjoying it, but even so it's not going to be the next great Warhammer game or the next great 4X.  I'd say it's probably worth a shot, but more around the £20-£25 mark (I dunno what the pricing is like in other countries/currencies) depending how much you like 40K and wargames.  If you want an actual 4X you're probably better sticking with your preferred installment of Civ.  As for wargames, there may be better options out there, I dunno - I tend to verve more towards games with RPG or 4X elements, so I don't have any recent experiences to compare with (and I've not played most other Slitherine games for a reference point as I'm with nenjin in the assessment that their games seem very dry).

Hope that's helpful - I don't necessarily want to put anyone off and do think there's enjoyment to be had (and though I think it's a bit overpriced, I don't currently regret buying it), but I wouldn't want anyone going in with rosy 40K-tinted glasses and being disappointed by what it's not.

(so much for a much shorter post...)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 10:44:33 am by Biowraith »
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Levi

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Re: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War (aka Civ:40K, sorta)
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 12:23:00 pm »

Thanks!  Maybe I'll wait for a patch or two.
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