Game Detectives ResultsThanks for all the excellent responses to the Game Detectives post! Here are the answers you sent. When a game gets mentioned, I bold it.
Oh, and a blast from the past--Moonbase Commander--gets mentioned. That was an absolutely stellar game.
From Jim Riegel:
Honestly, you’ve mentioned it before and I know it’s not precisely what he wants, but Last Federation may well scratch the itch he wants, given the relationship building, minimal queue management, etc. I’d argue King of Dragon Pass should also be one he really take a look at. Neither is quite the 4x he’s looking for, but both have enough components of the genre combined with how to spends assets (time in TLF, magic in KoDP) as well as management relations, gaining influence, etc.
From C. Lee:
No exact matches, but Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries sounds pretty close:
On Steam, some possibilities are Shogun 2, Crusader Kings 2, and Sengoku:
As for games with the individual traits he described:
In terms of limited commands per turn, King of Dragon Pass:
In terms of the board game/computer game mix, Chaos Overlords:
In this vein, there’s also the wonderful Culdcept Saga for Xbox 360:
Also a version for PS2:
In terms of the fantasy setting, Dragon Force, which appeared on the Sega Saturn. Sadly,
this is insanely expensive now:
He could also try Ogre Battle, which is on the Wii’s Virtual Console:
Follow-up from C. Lee:
Actually, I can think of one game that has the wealth of strategic possibilities, lack of busywork, and limited commands that Chris was talking about -- Fate of the World:
It even features the same dynamic of being able to execute more actions the more your influence grows. No fantasy background, however.
It's probably not exactly what he's looking for, but the board game Magic Realm has a lot of Alamaze-like elements, and there is a java client that enforces the rules for you, so you can play it. You're an adventurer looking to get treasure and kill monsters in Magic Realm, instead of running
an empire, so if he's specifically looking for an empire game, it may not fit. But it does have the "limited actions per turn" thing he was talking about.
It's not really a "computer game" per se, but the board game is pretty complex (though not as much as Alamaze), and you really need the Java client to manage it. I don't know that I'd personally want to play a face to face game, having to keep track of all of the tiny rules.
The page is here:
They say you need a copy of the game, but I think if you just have a copy of the rules (available on that page) you can muddle through. I know that I basically learned how to play the phsyical game by playing RealmSpeak and then looking in the rules to see why things happened.
There's also the Magic Realm wiki:
One game I would recommend would be Endless Legend; although it does have the build queue issue that he mentions not liking, I find the city automation takes care of it sufficiently and the game also has a very similar influence mechanic which he may like.
He might also want to check out Neptune's Pride (and/or Neptune's Pride 2), it has a similar feel to Vic Davis' games but writ large and with more player against player scheming and machinations. Biggest drawback might be the multiplayer nature of it.
Job One would be to point Chris toward Amplitude, developers of the Endless 4Xes and allied trades. They concentrate so hard on making each faction in their games have some paradigmatic gonzo rule that I wouldn't be surprised if there were one that followed that exact system. There's bound to be something close, in any case, and they're also amazing games in general.
He may also want to check out Warlock II, which didn't make much of a splash and I haven't played - but it's supposed to be quite good and features, at least, an active cities cap that sort of mimics the orders mechanic that's common in wargames.
The next tier out is Arcen/Chris Park's stuff. I'm thinking in particular of AI War's constant juggling of whether the next target is worth the wrath it'll unleash upon you, and The Last Federation, a 4X played from the POV of a single powerful unit within it, where you literally earn and decide where and when to spend Influence with a couple of the races.
Finally, a bit more of a reach but logically connected at the other end of the spectrum are the 4Xes in which you only get to move one unit per turn, so priority becomes all and time is literally money. I think I had another that's unfortunately slipped my mind, but anyway the one that most occupies my brain is Moonbase Commander, a fast-paced turn-based artillery 4X yes you read all that right from 2002. that nobody played. The purity of its design interactions is just beyond anything else I've seen, and it's great fun to boot.
And finally finally, to answer your query rather than his, not having played Alamaze it sounds like nothing so much as Chaos by Julian Gollop, now in the process of being reborn as Chaos Reborn.
From Dennis Bond:
Haven't heard of anything exactly like Alamaze. The closest I've seen to the "influence" mechanism described is the board game Eclipse, which is a fantastic 4X game:
It's currently rated #8 in the world, and is well worth a play. In the game, influence is used up as territory expands and as actions are taken in a turn. Actions also cause the cost of running your empire to go up.