Launched earlier this week on Facebook by Plarium, Stormfall: Age of War is an incredibly polished social empire builder with lots of depth, sharp production values (voice overs!) and plenty of opportunities to interact with your Facebook friends both positively and negatively. If only I had the patience.
Empire building is one of my gaming blind spots. Some players revel in creating and positioning buildings, gathering resources, researching technology trees and amassing armies large enough to defend their kingdom while invading others. I toss down a couple buildings, gather enough troops to make a brief nuisance of myself, and play until those troops die horribly at the hands of their inept overlord.
Stormfall kept me going longer than most, thanks in no small part to the spoken dialogue of the game's tutorial-delivering regent lord. I am not used to Facebook games talking to me. When I first launched the game and the lord's gruff voice rumbled from my speakers I started scanning the 200 Chrome tabs I had open to see what was making the noise.
He's a pal now. I kind of want him to be my dad.
The regent lord guided me through building my fortress, placing resource-harvesting buildings in their assigned spaces, making allies of neighbouring castles and then sending my troops to spy or assault those castles when I grew bored of those allegiances. He helped me build walls and fortifications. He showed me how to research new troops and technologies in the game's Lost Arts tree. He showed me how to be a better leader.
And I let him down.
There are no units at my keep now — they've all been killed. I've let my people down, but my farms and mines keep producing despite the constant raids by my more disciplined neighbours, so I don't see why I need to maintain a military force. I imagine my character sitting in a high tower of Castle Kotaku, reading comics and munching on cheese and stale bread. When the invaders come he hides in his wardrobe. Maybe he winds up in Narnia and lets them down too.
Stormfall: Age of War [Facebook]