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At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

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At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Daehawk » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:12 pm

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At the Gates is an indie strategy game from Jon Shafer, designer of Civilization 5. You are a dark age lord building a kingdom to replace the crumbling Roman Empire. Manage your clans, explore the landscape around you, harvest its resources, and build a mighty economic and military machine.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by jztemple2 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:31 pm

I've wishlisted it, but wow, those graphics look pretty dated. I'm hoping there is some deeper gameplay under the hood.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbt1949 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:54 pm

I don't care about the graphics but as the guy designed Civ5 it looks like he's playing it safe with more of the same.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbemont » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:20 am

I supported this through Kickstarter back in 2013. Played some early builds and it was totally unlike Civ. Very focused on specific clans (basically characters with personality traits) in your tribe. A MUCH more granular approach to a year's activities.

I eventually decided I was ruining the game for myself, playing these builds and have not looked at it for quite some time, and I know he had health and other problems in the meantime, leading a lot of people to think the whole project was doomed.

But from the description of the game, I do not believe gameplay has reverted to Civ-like. My guess, piecing things together, is that it will be stronger in its depiction of nomadic tribe travails, but maybe less so in the interactions with Rome?

A Let's Play of early gameplay from very early in the game (and early in development)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do-RQpQ3rDI

A recent German discussion of the game, which includes the game trailer (in English) and a longer German discussion to jump through for the screens in the background
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDh1x6hBx1o
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Sepiche » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:03 pm

Yeah, I kickstarted this as well, but I've been pretty much just ignoring it until it was done with the exception of reading some of his early discussions of mechanics.

I'm looking forward to trying it, just to see how different it is from normal 4x games and try out some of the mechnics, but I'm honestly not sure it will be a game to my tastes.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Moat_Man » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:23 am

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:22 pm

The game just released on Steam, for those who are interested.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Baroquen » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:24 pm

Started playing a game. Very early stages.

From what I can gather, you have one settlement, and work on specializing your clans(citizens). Each clan has can have a profession and a discipline. You can send them out to work the area, or keep them in the settlement to different bonuses. They also stress early that you need to make sure you have enough food to last through the winter.

I had a nice little setup where I had a forager working the nearby wheat tile so my food supply looked good. I sent a woodsman guy (forget his profession atm) to work the nearby timber tile. And had an explorer doing his exploring thing. All was great until my forager decided he desired to be a crafter. So I was in the process of juggling my clans to make everyone happy and productive.

But now it's time for dinner. I might go back to that first game (if there's an auto-save), but more likely to try a new game and to see what's different.

I had kickstarted this, so compared to some projects, at least it's something to play. And it's a 4x game, so I always enjoy digging around with those. We'll see how things progress with this.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by naednek » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm

jztemple2 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:22 pm
The game just released on Steam, for those who are interested.
and?
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbemont » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:54 pm

I played for a few hours today, and had a generally positive impression.

So far, it has all been about my clans, their strengths and frailties, and training them for jobs to deal with a random mix of resources in the area. Quite engaging and complicated, matching up the training and the seasons and the personalities and the resources (which deplete).

I have had only slight contact with other barbarian tribes, and from what I have read they are quite passive. And from what I have read, that has outraged a lot of players. I suspect that there will be some friction with neighbors, but that that is simply not what the game is about. You are trying to overcome the elements to become enough of a power to eventually subvert or attack Rome. As the buzz words go, this is an asymmetrical game, those neighbors are not other people playing the same game you are, trying to get there first.

Not to say that military plays no role, I am seeing bandit groups growing around me, and no doubt this will make demands upon my manpower and other resources to deal with them. But it is not primarily a war game, at least that is how it is looking to me so far.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by jztemple2 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:51 pm

naednek wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm
jztemple2 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:22 pm
The game just released on Steam, for those who are interested.
and?
and... well, I think it's pretty self-explanatory :D
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Baroquen » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:12 pm

I've started and restarted almost a half dozen times, because I like to see the different starting locations, and clan combinations. I'm really struggling to grasp with depleting resources, and moving your settlement to new locations. Maybe not struggling, but just not used to dealing with those game mechanics. My latest start was solid enough that I lasted through the first winter. I had about a dozen clan members, a bard cranking out fame (which increases the recruitment rate of new clans), iron was being mined, a trapper was producing cloth and parchment. Then my wood collector decided he wanted to go into agriculture. Two rival "players"/civs?/tribes? whatever they're called, were hemming me in, and a mountain range cut off most of my eastern expansion/exploration.

So.. long story short - I may start over again. :) But I'm enjoying it so far.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbemont » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:30 pm

Interesting. My strategy has been to avoid fame for a while, because it got too tough to provide enough food for a quickly growing group. But maybe that's just a difference in the mix of resources I had close to hand.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Baroquen » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:43 pm

Well, I think I had a clan guy who had traits insisting he be a Discovery profession, and stay in town during winter or something. Hence the bard. And that attempt, I had a lot of food going early, so the extra recruits from fame weren't a problem. At least not yet, but i can see how that could get out of hand. I'll have to be more careful going forward.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Moat_Man » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:43 am

Bought on day one. After spending about an hour and half reading the in-game manual and going down the rabbit hole of tool tips I'm about a year into my first game. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before in this thread but the first three maps/games you play are not on random seeds. They are played on seeds that Jon Shafer picked out by hand so the terrain and clans that come in are a little easier to handle. After that though it's rando city.

I put an early guy on the Knowledge production job, Lorekeeper. I am flying through the professions now, probably too fast as I don't have the clans to make use of them. I should probably flip him to a Bard to help recruitment.

The game definately has it's rough edges but I :wub: the exploration, profession system, and the resource gathering mechanics. It might be more simulator than game but so far it's glorious. I think people will either really love this game or be instantly bored and think it's dumb. There won't be much middle ground.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Jolor » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:23 pm

Is it like a turn-based, early stage Age of Empires where you're collecting resources, growing your village, and exploring the world around you?
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Moat_Man » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:16 am

Kind of, but the tech tree is made up of professions that you research and then assign to your clans (worker units). The clans level up doing the job but you only have a limited number of clans so you often reassign them professions you've researched. If you keep them within one of the six major areas they keep their level and can progress, but sometime you just have to switch to a job in another major area so they start over.

The clans also have traits that push them in certain directions and sometimes cause you to pull your hair out. They can feud with other clans, get tired and moody, etc. They really have a character of their own that you get invested in.

That's really the beauty of the game. You get invested in the clans because they have character. The rest is explore, expand, exploit, with a little bit of exterminate. I have't done very much battling. I've been too consumed with expanding the resource chains and keeping everyone alive through the damn winters.

Oh yeah, the maps are awesome and the weather events make everything come alive. There is the "winter" which comes, but there is also heavy rain in areas, flooding, and heat waves that can scorch areas to name few. Blizzards SUX. It's tough life in the Roman era. Sign me up!
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Baroquen » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:50 pm

Ok... so I'm pretty good at getting started with the first 12 or so clan members, and making it through the first winter without much problem. But I'm struggling with what to do next. Should I focus on transitioning to structures rather than foragers? Or processing resources (into tools and weapons, etc.)? Or looking to move the city to a new "prime" location as I continue to advance? Or work toward more fame/more food/more clan?

I'm feeling a little lost after the starting period...

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbemont » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:10 pm

Baroquen wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:50 pm
Ok... so I'm pretty good at getting started with the first 12 or so clan members, and making it through the first winter without much problem. But I'm struggling with what to do next. Should I focus on transitioning to structures rather than foragers? Or processing resources (into tools and weapons, etc.)? Or looking to move the city to a new "prime" location as I continue to advance? Or work toward more fame/more food/more clan?

I'm feeling a little lost after the starting period...
I think this depends on the map and your circumstances. I figure it's
1) Secure a solid food supply, and build up a buffer.
2) Secure a solid wood supply.
3) Attend to any security risks.
4) At that point, expanding the economy is going to involve lots of different things, and you probably won't have enough resources or people. So it's a matter of developing what you have so as to be able to sell the excess and buy what you need for other purposes. But always with an eye to the many multipliers -- upgrades in the professions and also the settle professions that multiply production. If there is a way to get an iron to tools and weapons pipeline going, that is ideal.
5) All the while hoping to either by mining or buying acquire stone blocks and make some of the best resource productions permanent.

I see moving the settlement as an ongoing thing. Move a few tiles one way to grab one good resource, then a few tiles again to grab another. Maybe I have just been lucky but I have had very little need for armed production buildings or for watchtowers to expand territory. The production buildings I added as I moved my settlement around pretty much have done that for me.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Lorini » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:18 pm

Keep in mind that the starts that you begin with as you start the game are pre-done, they aren't random. You can actually change when you want the truly random ones in the file the options screen shows.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Baroquen » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:17 pm

dbemont wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:10 pm
I see moving the settlement as an ongoing thing. Move a few tiles one way to grab one good resource, then a few tiles again to grab another. Maybe I have just been lucky but I have had very little need for armed production buildings or for watchtowers to expand territory. The production buildings I added as I moved my settlement around pretty much have done that for me.
So when you say to grab a resource, are you saying to prevent others from getting it? Because we can harvest resources in netural territory, with the only benefit for us (other than ownership) being a supply thing, yes?

And yes, I'd heard about the non-random starting maps. But I've fiddled with new games so many times, I think I definitely missed that boat.

My current game has a good iron -> tools pipeline going. And I just trained the blacksmith into the weapon-making profession to build up a weapon surplus. From what I can tell, switching professions doesn't have any huge drawback (whereas, switching disciplines resets it to zero each time).

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbemont » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:06 pm

I believe resources last longer if you build a structure. And if the structure is stone blocks, then the resource does not run out at all. And you avoid a lot of problems with the cold if the clan is in a structure. And structures expand your territory, so more area is in supply all winter.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Jolor » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:46 pm

Bought. Just starting a new game and I have no idea what is going on. A manual would be very helpful.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Lorini » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:26 am

They expect you to watch let’s plays on YouTube nowadays.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by dbt1949 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:32 am

How's the learning curve and do you all think you're going to get your money's worth from the game?
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Lorini » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:20 am

dbt1949 wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:32 am
How's the learning curve and do you all think you're going to get your money's worth from the game?
The learning curve is pretty easy, ie I could even figure it out :). The biggest issue is that there is no ai basically. There's supposed to be ai, but it's totally passive and does not compete. The game says it's 4x, but it's really a base building crafting style game at the moment.
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by LordMortis » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:54 pm

Bought this yesterday and I'm having a crazy hard time with it. If it's not my clans infighting, it's the barbarians, or it's surviving the first winner. I think it will get much easier when I get the hang of it but right now surviving the first year is very hard.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by LordMortis » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:37 am

Two days in to the game and I can get through a couple of winters. Some of finer points of control have settled in my mind. I still find the game to brutally hard, even if I restart and restart and restart to find a good start (such as one with with spring water near my home which is by far the biggest starting bonus I've found. where two archers can now effectively eliminate all bandit threats. Otherwise healing is just another impossible early game task to manage)

My problem may be that I don't know how to take to heart that you shouldn't be rooted in your starting position as even when I get that perfect starting area I can't keep food going. I can only assume that if I get to stone blocks then I my farms and apiaries and livestock etc... will become more permanent because wood farms don't cut it and food needs grow so quickly even if you don't jump past your starting 12 clans to 18 clans. 18 clans actually provide some relief as they have small families doing most of the work as large families so you deplete even *more* resources faster.

I will say if there are no difficulty levels and so many seem to think it's not that hard then I'm feeling like it's a challenge I'm stepping up to figure out the difference between impossibly hard and I'm missing obvious thing is obvious to make the game simplistic. The best I can figure is that I'm not grasping being an early nomad, though I don't see how you can be a nomad as the world is very crowded.

I'm somewhere between enjoying, obsessed and frustrated as hell with this game. For me so far, it's been various exercises in Ishmael.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by LordMortis » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:31 pm

Made it 81 turns in this game before giving up by being surrounded by wood having several fish near my shore but two farms and a fishing boat couldn't support 14 clans by turn 81 and there was not stone to be found for more permanent structures.

I'm trying to figure out if it's time to call it impossible for my skill level. It's one brick wall or another.

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Moat_Man » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:33 am

In the most recent v1.1 patch Jon made the game much tougher. He even recommends that people wait until v1.2 before jumping back in if they haven't played since the launch (that's me). Some people have complained that he made it so tough that it's not enjoyable and he said on the steam forums that he will be dialing it back a bit in the next patch.

As for tips, apparently you have to get fishing going pretty early on to have a chance at survival. That's all I got.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/241000/d ... 108808367/
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by LordMortis » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:10 am

I had read that... After I bought the game and had my ass handed to me again and again even after cherry picking my starts. It makes me a bit sad for waiting for six months after release to pay the same price as everyone else did to get a game that's was patched to a sadistic state two weeks before I bought it (and is buggy is hell. The amount of corrupted save files and memory reference errors is insane). This is why I quit buying pre-release games.

It was enjoyable if enjoyable means I played pretty obsessively to try and learn what I was missing. So no. It was a time sync with no relaxation or payoff before I got frustrated. I'd ask for a steam refund if it weren't for me having put in so much time trying to "get it."

Much like Clockwork Empires the concept is good. The game, for me, is a slow realization that it's not really playable. (In this case unless the goal is to see how efficient you can be with food depletion vs growth while avoiding bandits or finding mineral spring)

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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by Moat_Man » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:59 am

v1.2 dropped today. Jon dialed back the difficulty level, added some more Roman stuff, and a clan management screen. Release notes:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/241000/d ... 253285951/
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Re: At the Gates ...end of the Roman Empire strategy

Post by LordMortis » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:42 pm

After a second try, it is no longer impossibly hard but now it doesn't feel like much is going on. As mentioned before (and by him for his next patch) the AI is dead, so the game feels pointless once you are settled in, or at least it does at right now at populace of about 25 clans for me. And it's still too buggy. It crashes way too much and then you have to go back autosave after autosave to find an iteration that wasn't somehow affected the thing that crashed your game so many turns later.

If still feels like a game with a lot of promise but it feels like a late stage alpha/early stage beta game. Nowhere ready for release.

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