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Old World


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Picked this game up a few months ago, played a couple tutorials and then shelved it for a while. Picked it back up a couple weeks ago to give it a fair shake. Imagine you took three parts Civ, and one part Crusader Kings, and mixed them together, and you'd have Old World.


This game is made by Civ 4's lead designer, who started his own studio. Game play is very much 4X, but adds a CK-like dynastic layer, where you manage personalities and people ala Crusader Kings.


One of my main complaints with Civ 6 is how poor the AI is at warfare. They fail to build enough troops, instead relying on levies from their vassals. So after the initial clash you are essentially dealing with a single archer they pump out every few turns. It just doesn't work well, and presents minimal challenge to the player. But in Old World the AI is very war-minded and you had better be prepared. The AI builds armies an knows how to use them, relentlessly focusing down your units. The AI will also retreat, refit and come again rather than just continue to bash against you until they are all dead. Warfare here is more difficult, longer-lasting and has a certain ebb and flow to it until one side can get the upper hand and push forward. A massive improvement over how it works in Civ.


Old World doesn't stop there, with twists on virtually all of our time-honored traditions. It introduces a mechanic called 'orders'. Everything you do from building a new road segment, to training a new archer to building Hagia Sophia consumes orders from your finite pool. So everything you do each turn is taken as a whole, rather than down to each individual units or city's capability. In a big war for example, with many units to move, you can run out of orders, leaving some units stranded temporarily and maybe your city will have to build nothing this turn as a result.


City planning is great too. Adjacency bonuses are still a thing, but maybe not so critical as in Civ. There is no hex-limit for each city, and you can improve anything that falls within your expanding borders. One distinct difference is in Old World the map has pre-determined city sites, and they can only be placed on these. It does remove one of Civ's best things, the delightfully agonizing decisions over where to place your cities (do I put it on the riverside hill or the coastal plain?). But it also means the AI can not plop down a city right next to yours and gives every city much more room to breathe in the early game.


There's a lot more to it, but I won't go through it bit by bit. Upshot is, if you're a fan of Civ and 4X games, Old World has quietly become the Civ-killer that Humankind was expected to be. And it is especially well suited to Civ fans who wanted better combat and warfare.



Edited by smokeless6
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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh, I recently got into Old World too and honestly, the game is captivating! First off, that dynastic element with characters like in Crusader Kings really adds a lot of depth. You’re not just pushing your empire towards victory; you also have to strategize with heirs, choose alliances, and deal with tons of drama. Plus, the 'orders' system is just brilliant! Forget the pointless unit farming. Here, every move counts, and if you don't plan your actions well in advance, you can easily end up with nothing.

And yeah, the fact that the map already has predetermined places for cities initially seemed like a downside to me. But, you know, it reduces chaos and makes the strategy more thoughtful. You don't have to guess where to best place a city—you focus on how to best use these spots.

As for the AI... it’s a real challenge here. They don’t just blindly attack; they think, retreat, regroup. You need to be prepared for long and intense wars. Compared to Civ, where the AI often acted inadequately, here it's on point.

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You basically repeated what I wrote, which isn't a criticism, but rather confirmation of these things. We have similar impressions. I've since dropped about 100 hours in to Old World and I like it a lot. It is stark contrast, compared to Civ, with how well the AI plays, how much of a threat it is to your hegemony. They build big armies and use them. I've now won games on New, Able, Good and Strong difficulties and on all of them the AI can be strong and aggressive. I struggle most games to keep pace with the leading AI nation (especially if Egypt is on the map), so my games tend to be a race for military supremacy, and I look to take the AIs cities in the late game, flipping those points to me and nicking victories this way. Ambition victories give a good alternative and allow the player to win even when he isn't leading the race.


In many ways I prefer Old World to Civ 6. The one area where I find it might fall a little short is what I call "factionality", and that's the disparity between various nations and leaders abilities and traits. There's nothing here really that drives my plans, in other words I don't feel compelled to play a certain way given the nation I have chosen. Like in Civ if I play Victoria I will be looking to conquer on multiple continents as that is where the synergy is. In Old World, the leaders have their bonuses but they don't feel different enough to shape my run in any meaningful way. Which is fine, but it also means Old World is not likely to have the same level of replayability as Civ for me.


There was one exception. Two weeks ago I wanted to start a new game, and had a look at Egypt since they had stood out as the strongest nation when playing against me. I spotted Khufu as a leader and looked over his abilities and thought, this guy is OP! Played that game and got off to a fast start, actually pulling away from the AI. The day before I finished, an update was released nerfing him and his wonders discount. Got that run in just in time lol. That was easily the best run so far for me. Really strong start, but now he's been dialed back a bit.


What this game is great at is giving you a proper challenge. It is easier to lose in Old World than in Civ, and that is a good thing.

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