Builders of Egypt in the preview: building strategy in antiquity – Gamesaktuell

In the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a rather popular category of building games that revolved around ancient civilizations. Most of all, the games from Impression Games and Sierra Studios with titles like Caesar 1-3, Pharaoh and Zeus: Master of Olympus know. As rulers of the Romans, Egyptians or Greeks, these games were about building thriving ancient cities and making them economically successful. Builders of Egypt would like to follow in these footsteps this year.

Just looking at the first screenshots of the project, the inspiration for templates like Pharaoh becomes clear. The developer, Strategy Labs, is the only developer who has been working on the project for at least two years. For a few weeks now, the game has been available on the Steam gaming platform in early access. However, not as usual with a pre-available version of the game, but with a free so-called prologue. In it, a still very limited mission offers a first insight into the game.

Pretty Nile Valley

The developer has set ambitious goals for the finished game. Builders of Egypt is said to cover the entire story from the predynastic period of ancient Egypt to its demise with the death of Cleopatra VII – after all, a period of almost 4,000

Before we start building, we marvel at the chic landscapes.

Before we start building, we marvel at the chic landscapes.

Source: PC games

Years. The Unreal Engine is used to stage this in a visually modern way. It is usually played from an isometric view as usual, but the camera can be freely rotated and zoomed at any time.

At the start of the early access version, the chic Nile landscape with atmospheric light and shadow effects and pretty water animation catches our eye. The vegetation, which mainly consists of palm trees, swings gently. For the buildings, a few higher-resolution textures might not be bad. At least some of it looks a little blurry. But that may also be due to the fact that only a few rudimentary buildings made of clay are available in the demo. There are no elaborately decorated and painted buildings to admire.

Familiar city development

It starts with the usual first steps for the genre. We lay out a few streets, place houses for the first settlers and build a well for their water supply. We also serve the first requirement for upgrading the houses. Residential buildings can climb a dozen steps, increasing their capacity steadily. However, each level requires increasingly complex amenities. At first, if it is only water and food supply, residents expect access to temples at level three. However, these are not yet available to us in this version of the game.

Our farm is under water. Because only in the floodplains of the Nile is there fertile soil for our grain.

Our farm is under water. Because only in the floodplains of the Nile is there fertile soil for our grain.

Source: PC games

To supply our residents, we are building a fishing dock and a few grain farms on the coast. As is customary for Egypt, the latter must be created in the fertile floodplains of the Nile. These areas of the map are always under water for some time. The fields then yield good yields of grain and straw. While the grain is stored in a granary and distributed to the population via markets, the straw is moved to a warehouse.

We can use the hay in the only branch of production available in the prologue. It is all about the mining and processing of clay. We are building a clay pit in a suitable location and a brick factory right next to it. This then produces bricks from the clay and straw that is extracted. We can also build a pottery that makes ceramics out of clay. There is no real benefit for these goods during the demo, except for the mission goal, for which we have to produce a certain amount of ceramics, among other things.

Bread as salary

The bricks, on the other hand, serve us for export. In addition to the city we just played, the Egyptian empire naturally also consists of other settlements. In order to build relationships with these branches, we switch to an overview map. In the demo, the city of Abydos is available to us as a trading partner. To do this, we simply set up a trade agreement and define our bricks as export goods. As a result, a dealer regularly comes to our city and buys our bricks from our warehouses.

On an overview map of Egypt we set up trade routes to neighboring cities and specify goods for export.

On an overview map of Egypt we set up trade routes to neighboring cities and specify goods for export.

Source: PC games

In this way, we replenish our state treasury, which is burdened by construction projects and the salary of the workers. Now, however, the ancient Egyptians are not yet familiar with the concept of money. Instead, workers (and the associated construction of buildings) are paid for with bread and beer. On the one hand, this is historically accurate, but on the other hand it leads to certain logic problems. So we pay our subjects with bread, but strangely enough, it does not contribute to their food supply. As far as can be seen in the game, we can only get bread by trading. But we still grow cereals. It would only be logical to build a bakery. Here the developer should perhaps think again about how to solve the currency problem a little better without causing such inconsistencies.

However, the currently playable version is too limited to really be able to assess all the subtleties of the economic system of such a building game. What is playable so far is little more than the first steps. The game already shows a certain potential. The list of possible trade goods, which can already be seen in the warehouse or in the trade menu, indicates some interesting goods chains. We are excited to see what challenges await recreational pharaohs who want to tackle monumental buildings like pyramids. The developer promises the previous one Early access version to expand in the coming weeks and months. It is not yet known when the game will finally appear.

My opinion

"Pharaoh in a modern look? Always hand it over. "

I used to love playing Caesar 3 and Pharaoh, because they were refreshingly different from other titles at the time, such as The Settlers and Sim City. In addition, I have always had a great interest in the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially Rome and Egypt. I am therefore pleased that once again a developer dares to take up this topic and pour it into a modern building game, which is playfully but pleasantly based on the old classics. The early access version does not really have much informative value yet. After less than an hour you have exhausted the very limited possibilities. But what I have seen so far has certainly pleased. I'm curious to see what the developer will get out of this neat base in the future. And maybe he'll rethink the somewhat illogical currency system. The willingness to present historical details correctly is certainly commendable, but must not be at the expense of game design.

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