Well, this game only has one notable flaw, the fact that the combat keeps freezing up when fighting Callisites. It doesn't always do it, and everything else keeps flowing just fine (I can even save the game and reload the page without losing anything aside from progress on killing that Callisite), but it is definitely a significant flaw as it essentially stops you from continuing to level if you leave the game idling away overnight.
Hmmm......the game needs some tweaks to the difficulty as well. I just did a Blitzkrieg run in 9 Turns. My starting choices were Holland, +2 Maps, and Hard difficulty. I focused my research on acquiring Galleons (although all of my territories adjacent to the last 2 enemy territories had 6 ships at the start of the final turn, so I didn't get to use them in the turn I got them) and only built war ships, specifically the biggest and baddest I had the gold for until every territory adjacent to the enemy had 6 war ships or I didn't have enough gold for even a Sloop. I did lose one battle, which might be the reason it took 9 Turns instead of 8, maybe. The higher difficulty needs tweaked more to better encourage building forts and merchant ships (yes, it takes 6 turns for them to pay themselves off, but if it's expected to take 20 or 30 turns on Hard difficulty they'd be a vital investment).
Tenth: To repeat what chunkymonkey99 said, there needs to be a means of getting rid of lesser tier ships (retire, sell off, 'give to [your nation]'s pirates', destroy) so they can be replaced with higher tier ships other than suiciding them against the enemy.
Ninth (continued):...but 1 Frigate only needs to get a single attack in on one of those 6 Sloops to successfully board all 6 of them, even with the moral penalties, if both either do or do not have the extra crew tech (of course to attempt that boarding endeavor the Frigate needs the enhanced movement tech but the Sloops can't have it, otherwise it'll never get close enough with the difference in speed and the square attack ranges of the ships). Heck, it takes at least 3 Sloops, if not a full 4 or 5 if any of them have taken an attack, for Sloops to capture a Brigantine, and that ratio never really changes through the ship ranks.
Ninth: The crew values between the different ships don't seem very well balanced. It is nearly impossible for a lower 'rank' ship to successfully board a higher 'rank' ship, unless there have already been a few failed boarding attempts, and the greater the difference in 'rank' the more pointless it is. Yes, a group of 6 Sloops can be a pain in the ass for a group of 6 Galleons to deal with, what with a difference of 3 in base speed (if the Sloops use good hit-and-run tactics they can actually take out a Galleon or two before they get eliminated, maybe even three if there is a sizable tech imbalance in their favor)...
Eighth: Why is the Attack (or Cannon) stat displayed as 10/10? Unless you're planning an update where as a ship takes battle damage it looses cannons, and thus has its offense strength decreased, it doesn't need to be displayed in such a manner. This almost looks like you copied code from somewhere else and forgot to clean it up before using it first (which might explain the error mentioned in the Fifth improvement suggested as well). If you are planning on doing such an upgrade then I am greatly looking forward to it, as it'll greatly alter the way combat feels and works (it'll give players an incentive to focus on using their stronger ships to weaken enemy ships instead of focusing on eliminating enemy ships, not to mention it'll make it easier for the weaker ships to be of use in the late game).
Seventh: You have a significant 'crew' stat for the Fortresses, but the player can't send in a landing party to assault the Fortresses. Again I label that a significant flaw, as I haven't seen a single attack in the game do more crew damage than 'structural integrity' damage. Yes, I can understand some crew, most likely because you have it coded so that all of the direct combat elements have to have some crew, but you could probably drop it to 75, or even 60, and not be in any danger of it running out of crew. Not to mention it could be highly beneficial to capture a fortress so you don't have to build a new one from scratch after the battle.
Sixth: The critical hits need to be better balanced. Yes, if you hit the powder room in those old ships you have a good chance of blowing it sky high, but unless the wood was extremely weak no shot is going to make it that far through a Galleon that hasn't already taken battle damage, and Frigates aren't that much more vulnerable to it either. Not to mention, a properly designed fort typically had walls nearly as heavy as the outer seaward walls around the powder shed, and it was still standing off by itself, to make it as close to absolutely impossible for that to happen as possible.
Fifth: Tweak the movement display in the ship info panel, because once you get the movement bonus tech it starts to read things like 6/51, instead of 6/6 or 6/5+1. Yeah, unless you focus on getting that tech as fast as possible it doesn't have a significant impact on the gameplay, but it does look rather messed up. Personally I'm more in favor of the second correction there, but again this isn't something that is necessary for the game to make 5 Stars.
Fourth: If possible tweak the game code so instead of having a square range to target you cut out the corners. I don't know if that change is doable or not, and the game can still make 5 Stars without it.
Third: Include an option to have ships retreat. It doesn't make any sense at all to sit there and just fight it out to the bitter end when you attack with 6 Brigantines and the enemy has 2 Galleons, 2 Frigates, 1 Brigantine, and 1 Sloop (not to mention 3 Merchants and 3 Fortresses that are actually well placed). Obviously your ships don't stand a realist chance (well, they might be able to play keep-away with the Galleons until the cows come home, and if the enemy doesn't have the mobility upgrade for their ships but you do possibly even take them down with hit-and-run tactics, but those Frigates have your number and then some, and all they have to do is pin you in a corner with the Galleons closing in and you're ass just got served up on a silver platter).
Second: When pirates attack you in a region you should get a full battle sequence so you can attempt to defeat the pirates. Loosing 4 Brigantines to a single pirate attack, in a region with 5 Brigantines and a Sloop, on only the 5th or 6th turn is more than a little extreme. Unless those pirates had a pair of Galleons, about 4 Frigates, or some combination thereof they shouldn't be able to pull that off unless you're making the claim that the ships were ambushed on patrol, and what commander worth they're salt would send out single ships to patrol when they're region is at max capacity?
Okay, there are a few things I've noticed that could really be improved upon in the game. As it is I give it a 4 Star rating, but with these improvements it's easily a 5 Star game.
First: A successful boarding action should allow you to capture the ship, instead of just destroying it, and at the end of the battle you get to choose which ships to keep and which ships to sell/release to pirates (do remember, the start of the Age of Piracy was governments giving Letters of Marque to ship captains, essentially giving them free reign to attack ships of foreign nations on behalf of their nations navy, and to keep most of the spoils for themselves).
(Rest to follow, the comment was to big.)
@Desideri0: The biggest benefit of the higher speed on the smaller ships is that it allows them to perform hit and run attacks against fortresses. The fortresses have a base range of 4, while all ships have a range of 3, so if used right a single Sloop can actually defeat three fortresses. It'll be a really long battle without some of those astronomically high crits, but anything with a speed of 4 or more can use the tactic (of course a Frigate is essentially a floating fortress to start with, so against a single fortress it can actually just go for a straight up slug match and expect to win if it gets the first hit). One thing to remember is that the dev used square ranges, so it's 4 vert and horz, not 4 vert plus horz.
My best suggestion for your next game? Let the player choose between Weapon Attack, Magic Attack, or Flee in battle (sorta like the Princess Maker games and their close relatives), with the stats gaining experience for each use after battle. So if you just used Magic Attack your Magic stat gets all of the experience, allowing it to level faster. Or you could go with a mixed experience system, where some of what is gained is based on the attack the player used and some is based on the attack the enemy used (since you're using the same stat for both offense and defense). That way if the player comes across a boss that is hard to defeat (because of an extremely high Strength stat when mostly encountering Magic using enemies) they can train the appropriate stat to defeat them without needing to rely as much on luck when training.
For what it is it's a great game. There's only one problem I see with it, and it's more of an annoyance than a true problem. You don't have a pair of 'dedicated training areas' (or maybe colosseums) each focused towards a specific stat to aid in training for the final boss. With how low of relative stats are needed it isn't a true flaw, but by the time I had a 26 Magic to defeat him I had a 28 Strength. Yeah, I went through his first form with ease, but you can do that with a 20 or 21 Strength as well, the extra 10 minutes to encounter enough Magic enemies to get my Magic trained up to a 26 so I could beat his second form (I didn't make it with a 25 Magic) was somewhat annoying in a short game, I don't expect them to have a 'required' power leveling stretch just before the final boss.
I have to agree with ibhi that including the option to shift the values of the 'bulk purchase' buttons would be helpful, especially for Investments in Wealth.
Also, add in a warning on structures that reduce core wealth that decreasing it can cause you to loose included systems. I just had my Footprint spike slightly above my Land from doing a large 'bulk purchase' of Natural Truth Foundations (although with having 332 of them I'll be able to have a few M, or maybe B, Active Truth fairly quickly for doing my next unfold tomorrow. I'm so glad there's an option for exporting the save files.
@zethrindor: They are maxing out there because that is the decimal value of the hex value FFFFFFFF, which is a two byte integer. The developer forgot to set a hex cap, to create a point at which the value stops increasing so that the problem wouldn't happen. Probably figured that no-one would ever hit that point.
Also, in the Summary tab you have two areas listed as 'Core Empire Strength'. I think the second one should be listed as 'Other Systems' or something along those lines since it is purely focused on the other systems that you have discovered, whether they are Known, Occupied, Connected, or Included. As it is when first looking over the Summary tab it's a tad confusing.
Normally I'm not into idle games, but this one has actually managed to grab my attention. The only significant change I can think of to make to it would be to allow the Active Truth to provide modifiers to more than just Wealth, maybe have the player select the 'balance' of how it affects things for the next cycle when you end the current cycle. Don't get me wrong, the wealth bonus is wonderful, but being able to get some type of bonus on Science, Availability, Joy, or Identity (if not all of them) as well would be nice as well, as once you start to get significant ratios of land being used to keep your Core Wealth up the best thing for boosting the Core Empire Stats is the various Technologies from the Science, and once the additional systems get over a certain distance from you it becomes extremely hard to boost Culture enough to get them included, even with the tech bonuses.
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