A Seventh of its Potential Review

Seven Kingdoms Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 7

Publisher

  • Interactive Magic

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

A Seventh of its Potential

When I first saw Seven Kingdoms, I was excited by its potential. Here

was a real-time strategy game that reminded me both of Warcraft

II
and Civilization. It promised the ability to control research, diplomacy,

espionage, production, racial tension, and trade, while providing an exciting

and diverse real- time battle. All the ingredients for an excellent game were

there, the only thing that was yet to be seen was if the designers could pull

it all together into something fun to play.

It seems that in trying to make all the elements of a game like

Seven Kingdoms fit together, some compromises had to be

made. The first thing I noticed was that although there were

trees, they had no bearing on the game at all. There is no

sending lumberjacks to the forests to get wood for construction;

the trees just were for decoration, nothing else. I next noticed

that there are only 9 types of buildings. A

town generally consists of a town center, which is little more

than a repository for peasants, a fort, a mine, factory, and

marketplace.

The fort, which is the most important type of building in a real-

time strategy game, can produce only one type of soldier. If you

want to have any sort of combined-arms, you’ll need to build a

war-factory, which can produce up to five types of war machines.

One problem with the war factory is that it takes far too long to

construct a war machine, which is not overwhelmingly superior to

a well-trained soldier. I’d estimate that it takes several times

as long to build a cannon as it takes to build a war-factory in

the first place.

By now, you might be wondering

what assets does Seven Kingdoms have. The answer, dear reader, is supernatural

beings and espionage. Unlike Warcraft

II
, in which supernatural beings were summoned by the player after constructing

a wizard’s keep, Seven Kingdoms takes a different view. The first step

to summoning a supernatural being is to obtain the proper scroll. To do that,

you must battle a lair of Frythans (about 50), the boogie men of Seven Kingdoms.

Next, you must construct a temple using that scroll. Each scroll has a specific

ethnicity, and can only construct a temple of that ethnicity (no integration

in this game). You must then staff that temple with worshipers of the correct

ethnicity. After what seems like an eternity of prayer, you are able to summon

a god-like figure of that particular culture to do your bidding for a limited

time. The gods are very powerful and add to the fun of Seven Kingdoms,

but they are a very scarce resource.

The espionage model of Seven Kingdoms is very well

designed. You can train a spy and send him to settle in an

enemy village. He can then wait and gain experience, or begin to

decrease the loyalty of the townspeople. Your spy may also be drafted

into the enemy’s military. Once inside a fort, he can try to

bribe other soldiers, who then become spies. Your spy may even

bribe the fort’s general, or, failing that, assassinate him.

The computer makes good use of spies as well. There is little

worse than finding out that a general in an important fort has

been bribed, so it becomes important to keep your troops’ loyalty

high by giving them periodic ‘honors’ (cash bonuses).

Seven Kingdoms is very similar to Warcraft

II
. Unfortunately, in the ‘borrowing’, the designers forgot to add a good

variety of units, or interaction with the environment, such as trees and animals.

Despite some comparisons to Civilization on the box, Seven Kingdoms

is nowhere near as complex. As if to compensate for the dearth of unit choices,

the supernatural being/god component helps spice up the battles from time to

time. The excellent espionage system makes Seven Kingdoms very entertaining

for multiplayer, but for a single player game, I’d recommend either Warcraft

II
or Age

of Empires
.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4
Very similar to Warcraft II
Interesting espionage system
Terrain has little impact on the game
Not very original
Prone to crashing