In my PC time, I will always remember a real-time strategy game saga in my heart: Settlers. I have long since lost hope of finding an iPhone and iPad to connect with. Until a few weeks ago I downloaded Outlanders from Apple Arcade.
A work by Pomelo Games that hooked me from the first minute, although it was a completely peaceful game. There are no weapons, metals or armies to recruit To attack other tribes, you just need to build your village and manage it until you reach the objectives of each map. It sounds simple, but Outlanders keeps you glued to your iPhone or iPad for hours at a time.
The Bread Equation in the Outlanders
If there’s anything I’ve learned from strategy games, it was to think about the future. See what I need to do before reaching a goal. The necessary steps before giving the last.
In Outlanders, you must master the art of anticipation. This is what I call the “bread equation”, a way of saying that if you want to feed your inhabitants with bread, there is a number of things you need before
- For bread you need flour.
- The flour is obtained from a mill which crushes the wheat.
- Harvesting wheat takes about 7-8 days from planting to harvest on a farm.
- To build a farm, you need wooden planks.
- The boards must be “transformed” in a sawmill, where the trunks of trees cut by a lumberjack arrive.
One of the fun parts is figuring out this requirements equation yourself. See how your variables work and they are related to each other. For example, a package of wheat contains a bag of flour, with which you can make three loaves.
Wheat takes an average time to produce, but it also has to go through two stages of processing before it can be consumed (it is also used to create beer and to entertain locals). At some point you may need to generate food faster and to do so you choose to plant lettuce or eggplant. They grow fast, but perform less well in the field.
Everything you need to consider. Otherwise, your population will starve in the blink of an eye.
People play a key role in managing bottlenecks
Hidden in the game is another hard-to-manage and unpredictable resource: people. A play of these characteristics shines when you combine enough difficulty with entertainment, without overwhelming the player in his failures. You often find yourself restarting a level because you have belittled the role of this or that aspect of the mission.
And this is where you realize that in addition to resources, you have to deal with the bottlenecks that occur along the value chain. The key to them is how you allocate your workforce: the workforce. People are essential to carry out the mission of each level because without them the work cannot be done.
You can remove and place workers in different tasks, themselves limited to a maximum number depending on their nature (4 on a farm, 3 in the sawmill, etc.). If you barely have a population you will have to rotate them along the chain so you can move forward and avoid a famine to destroy their poor souls. Because if you don’t produce enough food, men, women and children will die after a few days, causing irreparable damage to your plans.
It’s easy to see children as a nuisance that only depletes valuable foods, but they are also essential in keeping the workforce alive.
Population control is the most complex part of the game. The inhabitants who are really “worth” are those who can work and generate something, while children only consume resources. You can speed up or stop population growth with “decrees”, but you will soon find that you must have lots of children. Or you will when you see your adult population dying day after day without anyone taking over.
A good game complicated that requires your full attention
There are few moments of relaxation in the Outlanders. If you let the game run its course, your population will probably multiply so much they end up starving. Or that the severe application of certain decrees produces a deep depression in your inhabitants which leads them to death.
While I sometimes miss a warrior aspect like the original Settlers, Outlanders already offers enough entertainment in its “peaceful” version.
Balance is difficult because it is in constant movement and you have to adapt to it as well as possible. And this is where we have to try to orient our city towards its objectiveSometimes simple like building 4 farms and 3 mills on the island, and sometimes complex like demolishing half of your buildings to erect a gigantic statue in the center of a small island.
Outlanders is included in Apple Arcade as part of its catalog. If you already have this subscription and Do you like strategy games in real time, do not hesitate to download it. Entertainment is guaranteed.
Download | Outlanders in Apple Arcade.