Build a civilization and go to war against other players or the AI in the Real Time Strategy game War Selection by Glyph Worlds. Though still in development and now in Early Access this game will give players many options on how to use their civilizations. Three scenarios are against the AI, a private match between two players, and multiplayer options with one for up to 62 players. Talk about a true test of building an army and fortifying a society. This provides a game that in my opinion stands on its own from other similar games. Though concepts, the gameplay, and environments may feel familiar to those who have played real time strategy games, notwithstanding the AI, War Selection is a game worthy of consideration.

As of this writing the game has only two functional modes with one experimental mode. This mode, Survival, is playable but has its faults. However, most of the time I spent exploring the sandbox mode. Here players can wistfully enjoy building up their civilization with only the more subdued AI to be concerned about. Though I only happened to come across another society they weren’t progressing at my rate and not attacking. It was a good chance to explore the various components of the game. Firstly, it isn’t an over complicated game.  Most of the time its resource gathering and researching new items to build a stronger society, armed forces, and fortifications in preparation for invasion and conquest. 

One thing to consider is exploration. Unexplored areas are hidden behind a mysterious thick fog. Progression gives options of opening more areas but it takes placing units and battlements to open the area and find the other civilization. Also, resources. Do not forget about resources. Building an army is important but to build said army and fortifications requires food, stone, wood, iron, and all kinds of resources. However, you can’t for some reason quarry stone in the Stone Age. Even though, your people and soldiers are equipped with stone tools and weapons and units are made from stone. As long as you gather enough wood and food, progressing is not an issue.

Building units require certain amount of resources and other units to build.  Units also have research available that opens up new units like specific soldiers, archers or cavalry men.  Researching tools also allow for better resource gathering from wood, agriculture, forging, and quarries. Fishing is also an option if near water and, if a pier is built, warships become an option.  As with other real time strategy games your initial units are low tech but eventually can reach the Industrial Revolution. If you can survive till then.

Let’s talk about upgrades. In Sandbox my civilization began in the Stone Age. This included simple technology with a very low-tech feel. There were a surprising number of options for units available from the start.  I had access to a warehouse for the storage of gathered wood and food, also a fight pit to train soldiers. Along with those units, a stonecutter and was available to research new technologies associated with gathering and weapons. Workshops come later and can be used to learn advanced military technologies, like cannons. When choosing a unit to place on the map the game let’s players know if additional units need to be built and how many of a certain resource is required.

When enough resources are gathered and a specific requirement of units met, the temple becomes available. Once a temple is built players can then move on to new ages. When the player reaches the Bronze Age the game provides at this time the option to develop as a European or Asian civilization. At the Middle Ages you can then develop further to be East or West Europe or East and West Asia.

This in my opinion makes this game special as players get choices. Although maps unfortunately are random in Sandbox. Therefore, you can build a western European society in a dessert oasis. Or have a Tiger show up in eastern Europe. Speaking of animals, they are difficult to hunt and can be elusive or as with boars hard to kill. At points I had my full armored knight come to the rescue. First, I do want to mention the fact you get a full armored knight from the beginning.  I can’t even quarry stone yet and my guardian has plates of armor and a horse.

I very much enjoy the quasi-historic feel of this game. Most of the progress with units and military technology is true to the time except for a few out of the ordinary units. 

When it comes to gameplay, War Selection plays like most real time strategy empire building games. Click a person and then click another spot on the map, unit, or resource to instruct movement. When producing new people or playable units they can be sent to a specific area on the map.

But what about fighting? this game after all is called War Selection. Soldiers are well equipped depending on the Age. Players also have research available to upgrade military units. In addition, as we progress archery and cavalry become available. This is also region specific and can either include armored horseman, elephants, or camels. We also get war machines and ballistic weapons. Once a player reaches the industrial age, machine guns and other weapons of destruction are available.

Fighting on the otherhand is player directed. I did find my units ignoring enemies unless directed to fight. Hope this is better at launch, but when they do find the enemy they fight to kill. There is not much more to say except keep enough population available and resources to develop many light infantry. Heavy infantry and mounted units take more resources and are less expendable. Fortifications also help and walls are available to build. This provides more opportunity to develop a mighty fighting force.

Graphics are good with the opportunity for aerial view or on the ground 3D view. As far as realism goes, units do represent graphically the time period and region. Architecture until the Industrial Age follows the general progression of the real-world region. In other words, you can tell a Western Europe society from an Eastern Europe or East Asia society. Also, agriculture is different.  Europe gets grain production, Asia poultry.  Though every civilization can have fishing boats. 

One interesting side note is placement of units.  The game will tell the player where a unit can be built.  Usually obstructions from the environment. Also, if there are not enough resources a building will show as yellow and workers can’t continue building. The game will also point out who is idle.

As you progress units get upgraded. At this stage I was able to mass upgrade units with enough resources. There is also the option of individual upgrades. All available units become open by the Middle Ages, mostly Bronze and Iron Age units just progress over to new Ages.  This allows players to focus on research and building to strengthen and fortify their society to prepare for invasion and conquest. Don’t forget houses to keep the population growing. 

The only opportunity so far for war was through the AI on survival mode or in a private match.  The survival mode is still experimental and hopefully gets tweaked over the course of development.  Playing against real players will be better as you at least have a chance to build units and upgrade.  I have yet to make it out of the Stone Age against the AI.  It is relentless, and there is no way of keeping up.  Units seem to be unlimited on the enemy side and even on normal and easy mode it was impossible to generate enough units to protect my workers and progress.  The AI also learned were my soldiers were and attacked from every opposite area. 

Other elements I found having some issues were the camera.  Though panning is possible it felt a bit sticky and can move out of range quickly despite changing the camera settings.  Music is good and has an empire building theme. 

In conclusion I found this game so far to be worth a sneak peek.  It has potential, especially with new regions and ages opening up.  At this time, I get some abstract county for the Industrial Age. It’s cool but every region ends up having the same industrial Europe feel. Playing against many players is going to be good and is in my opinion the highlight of this game.  As far as a real time strategy war game this definitely will hold its own.  I am looking forward to the future development of War Selection and playing against many real opponents.

So what do you think?

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