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Subject: Fascinating Gameplay: A historical simulation in disguise rss

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Jordan Ackerman
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May I first offer a big "thank you" to the creators for designing this masterpiece.

I'll only be glossing over gameplay in this review, as other reviews have that covered by now.

Standing on it's own, Three Kingdoms Redux is a fantastic game. The true beauty in this masterpiece, however, is it's emulation of historical Chinese legend.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a classic piece of Chinese literature first published in the 1300's. The sweeping epic fully documents the unification of China from around 169-280 AD, including accounts of hundreds of generals through countless battles and political maneuvers. Below is a link to the wiki of the novel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_of_the_Three_Kingdoms


Three Kingdoms Redux faithfully recreates the struggles and stories of the era quite remarkably.

The obvious history is in the generals of each faction, who had value intellectually as well as militarily. Each general has a unique skill and taking advantage of these individual skills are key in succeeding. For example, the leader of the Wei, Cao Cao, has an ability to win all tiebreakers, even if he is placed as a bid last (which does not normally win a bid, ties default to who bid first). The perfect timing of Cao Cao's tactics won him many victories quite easily.

Some generals are good for growing and training your army, while others are best at developing rice and gold to pay for these armies. Three Kingdoms Redux has also structured the skills and pure numbers of the generals to represent the structure and evolution of the three factions during that time period. Shu has fewer generals to start, but their abilities are strongest overall, while Wei is powerful at the start of the game, but only has a few very talented generals, while Wu is average across the board. Employing the strengths of your individual generals was the true secret to victory in ancient China and it is no different in the game.

Balance is also key in Three Kingdoms Redux. You cannot go to war unless you have prepared, which means developing infrastructure, amassing food and gold reserves, building weapons, training and drafting troops, and diversifying the makeup of your armies. These mechanics reflect strongly from the excellent strategy video game series by Koei and were certainly necessary for managing such large expanses of land and people in that time period (and now, as well, I would be inclined to think).

The final mechanism of the game worth mentioning is the alliance system. On every turn, the two lower factions are automatically aligned, with the faction in last place choosing which area of the board to actually enable the alliance in order to share resources against the current leading faction. It is with this mechanic that we see the push and pull of the three rival factions, their turbulent relationships aligning at certain instances when it was beneficial for enemies to work together, only to turn on each other when it became convenient.

As a result of the alliance system, game outcomes are also reflections of history, as the Wei can win easily if left unchecked early on, the Shu are ever the underdogs, but always with a fighting chance, and the Wu, which ultimately succeeded historically, does so in the game when Wei and Shu become preoccupied with each other, as the annals claim.

I hope many of you will have a chance to enjoy Three Kingdoms Redux one day and, for those that do, may your game be enhanced with the rich Chinese history woven into this gem.
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John Herrera
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Great overview, this is one of my favorites...and as I continue to play, I enjoy it more and more.
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Neil Helmer
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This game is pure brilliance. It is (and likely always will be) one of my top ten games of all time.
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Anders Olin
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Justice for the 96!
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An utterly fantastic game !meeple
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