Old World by Mohawk Games and published by Hooded Horse was originally exclusive to the Epic Store. However, the good news now is that the game is due to come to Steam on the May 19th, 2022
At the same time that Old World is being released on Steam, an expansion is also being released simultaneously. Hooded horse very kindly sent us a code for the game and the expansion: Heroes of the Aegean.
CEO Leyla Johnson leads Mohawk Studio, the studio that developed Old World. The game was designed by Soren Johnson, a game designer and programmer who previously worked for Firaxis Games. Soren served as the lead designer for Civilization III & IV and helped design several of the company’s other popular games. You can read our interview with Soren and Leyla here.
Being a huge fan of Civilization, I jumped at the chance to preview the Old World – Heroes of the Aegean expansion as Old World is Mohawks Studios’ latest 4x historical turn-based strategy game where you have to survive and thrive in the Ancient World. It is similar to Civilization in some ways and different in many other ways. Your aims in the game are to found cities, explore the map, meet new civilisations, trade, wage war, build, research, grow, and manage your royal family, all while some family drama goes on.
Unlike other 4x strategy games, in Old World, you are not evolving through the ages till your cities are filled with modern machines and buildings. Instead, you’ll focus on the ancient era, discover everything it has to offer and look after the ruler and their family relationships and personnel such as councillors and ambassadors. Leaders in the Old world are mortal, and once they die, the dynasty’s future depends on their heir. So you’ll marry and have a child, who will one day become your heir and take over the reins of the kingdom after you die.
Orders and Legitimacy
The uniqueness of Old World strategy is the system of commands or Orders. Unlike other similar games where you don’t have a limit to the number of actions you can carry out when ordering units and developing your cities. This is because unit orders and character actions share a limited resource pool representing your nation’s ability to act in any given turn or year. I like this system as it makes you strategize your next move and think about what units you need to move in a turn and what orders you can save for a unit you want to move far across the map.
Your nation’s leaders will earn Legitimacy through their actions in the game. Legitimacy represents your leaders’ influence, power, and political capital. You can earn Legitimacy by discovering geographic landmarks, building city improvements, establishing powerful allied families, engaging in random events, and settling cities. The Legitimacy, your leader, directly ties in with Orders, so the higher your leader’s Legitimacy is, the more Orders you obtain each year of gameplay.
There are many other nuances to the game, too many to go into in this preview; examples of another one would be Events where you must make decisions that can have good or bad outcomes for your nation.
Never having played Old World before, I completed all the tutorials and then dived into a full game which, to my surprise, I won the first game I played. So I felt I had learned enough to try one of the scenarios from the expansion. Let me tell you that I failed miserably in the first expansion I played. But in my defence, Old World is not a game that you can pick up and know everything about instantly. There are so many concepts to discover that it will keep you scratching your head for quite a while before you feel like you’ve mastered them. I’m still learning the ropes, but I thoroughly enjoy the playthroughs while I’m learning about the game.
Heroes of the Aegean Expansion
Now let’s have a look at what the expansion is about. When the game is released on Steam, the expansion Heroes of the Aegean will be released on the same day and will be free to keep for all players who purchase the base game in the first two weeks after release.
The expansion pack adds scenarios to an already packed game. Heroes of the Aegean contains six historical scenarios which put players in control of Ancient Greece’s most famous generals and leaders, from Leonidas to Alexander the Great. In addition, you can put your own spin on famous historical scenarios such as the Battle of Marathon, the Wars of the Diadochi, and the Battle of Thermopylae.
Battle of Marathon
In the Battle of Marathon scenario, the date is 492 BCE, this short scenario is a prologue for the Heroes of Aegea. The Persians have seized much of Greece through combat; however, the cities of Athens and Sparta refuse to surrender to the Persians. The game begins as a large Persian army is headed for Athens, intending to capture the city and then proceed to Sparta.
Land & Sea
In the Land and Sea scenario, it is 480 BCE, and ten years after the Battle of Marathon, Persia invaded Greece again, this time led by King Xerxes I, son of King Darius. Xerxes intends to finish what his father couldn’t: subjugate Greece, Sparta and the rest of Greece. Playing as King Leonidas the Great, you must stop Persia from advancing on your cities at the historic battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea.
Rise of Macedon
In the Rise of Macedon scenario, you Lead Philip II and create the Macedonian Empire. The Thracians have been raiding Macedonia lands and pose an immediate threat. As the newly crowned King Philip, you begin this scenario facing hostile raids and a weak economy. Using diplomacy and warfare, you will greatly expand Macedonia and eventually dominate affairs in Greece.
You play as Queen Olympias, Philip’s widow and Alexander’s mother, in the Queen Olympias scenario. You will engage in politics and spy craft to keep your grip on power and support your son Alexander as you face opposition from Demosthenes and Antipater, a former friend with his own political ambitions. Although the scenario is focused heavily on events, your choices will significantly affect how the story develops.
In the Diadochi scenario, the year is 301 BCE, twenty-two years after Alexander the Great died in Babylon. Since there was no obvious successor, many generals and politicians from Alexander’s empire fought over the rights of his empire. In this scenario, you can choose one of the four successor kingdoms. The default choice is the Seleucid Empire, the largest of the four kingdoms and you are King Seleucus the Learned. Together with the Ptolemaic Kingdom, these are the easiest choices. Can you secure the future of your kingdom?
There is one more scenario, Alexander’s campaigns, which wasn’t in the preview version of the game, but it will be available in the game’s full release.
The Heroes of the Aegean Expansion scenarios, offer the player a good challenge. If you are new to the game like I am, my advice would be to play the main game first, so you get a good grasp of your tasks in the scenarios. I have played all the scenarios and won two of them and failed in the others. But it’s not about winning or losing; it’s how much you enjoy playing the game that counts. The game offers a fantastic new and fresh approach to the 4x strategy genre. Hopefully, nearer the game’s release on Steam in May, we will have a full review of Old World.
In the meantime, check out Old Wolrd’s Steam page and don’t forget to add it to your wishlist.