Q: What's the deal? There's a ton of awesome 4X fantasy strategy games to play. How is your game different?
A: This game assumes you’ve already played those games. And lost.
Q: Wait, what? I already lost? I haven’t even loaded up your game.
A: Yea, sorry about that.
Q: What the hell happened?
A: So to recap, in games like Fallen Enchantress, Age of Wonders, Worlds of Magic, Master of Magic, Warlock, Endless Legends, etc. you are trying to build an empire from the ground up. You compete against multiple kingdoms trying to do the same thing and win through a variety of means. Right?
Q: Right. And you’re saying Sorcerer King isn’t about that?
A: Exactly. All those things happened *before* Sorcerer King. And I have some bad news. The Sorcerer King won.
Q: So I don’t play as the Sorcerer King?
A: No. The Sorcerer King was the guy who won the previous game. He already conquered everyone.
Q: So what’s the object of your game then?
A: Well, having already built his empire and defeated everyone, the Sorcerer King wants outright Godhood and to do that, he must destroy the handful of remaining magical shards to capture their essence so that he can cast the Spell of Making.
Q: I’m familiar with that fantasy trope. So he’s capturing—
A: No, he’s destroying the shards. He’s not playing the same game you’re playing. We call that Asymmetrical 4X.
Q: Asymmetrical 4X? Is that even a thing? Sounds like a marketing thing.
A: Yea, probably. But it means that the player’s goals are very different than that of the other players.
Q: So in this game it’s not about a bunch of players building empires?
A: Right. Everyone already had their shot to build their empire. This game is what happens after the bad guy won.
Q: So what are you, the player, supposed to do?
A: Keep the Sorcerer King from destroying the shards and becoming a god.
Q: How do you do that?
A: First, you must build up and fortify your last remaining city.
Second, train new units to go out and protect the shards.
Third, you need to build up new cities to ensure you have the logistical capability of even taking on the Sorcerer King.
Fourth, find the remnants of the empires that were already defeated by the Sorcerer King and see if they can help you or at least keep them from totally surrendering to the Sorcerer King.
Fifth, go on quests, kill monsters to gather ingredients and items to use for crafting.
Q: Well that sounds like a 4X to me.
A: It is a 4X. It’s an asymmetrical one. The other players aren’t building up empires, going up some tech tree, negotiating treaties. They are all doing different things. Some are just trying to survive. Others want revenge. Some are just jerks. Seriously. Hate those guys. And the Sorcerer King himself wants to be a god. He’s already got an empire. Your job is to stop him by trying to convince the remnant empires that there’s still hope, building new cities, going on quests, finding ingredients for crafting, etc.
Q: Ah, so this game has crafting?
A: Sure does. You possess the Forge of the Overlord and can use recipes and ingredients to craft powerful equipment to give to your units.
Q: So what are the victory conditions?
A: Kill the Sorcerer King.
A: That’s it. The fun is in how you go about doing that. Your means and strategy will differ from game to game based on map size, which quests come up, which minor factions are in there, what environments are available, which of the 6 different sovereigns you choose, which heroes you find, what resources are available, what spells the Sorcerer King learns, etc.
Q: What about Diplomacy? Can’t you ally with the other players and win that way?
A: Allying is indeed a victory condition – for the Sorcerer King. He will try to get you to ally with him.
Q: Wait? You can ally with the Sorcerer King?
A: Sure! Remember, he’s the one playing the traditional 4X game. He’s the one sending out settlers and building cities and conquering and trying to cast the spell of making or allying with the other races to win.
Q: What happens if you do ally with him?
A: You die.
Q: So why would I do that?
A: I don’t know. People like victory conditions.
Q: But it’s a victory condition for the Sorcerer King!
A: Well yea, it’s his game. I mean, it’s his name on the box. It’s not like the game is called Bob’s game.
Q: My name isn’t Bob.
A: And it never will be with that attitude.