This trial isn’t exactly new, but it’s still the latest snapshot players have of EasyGameStation’s beautiful work-in-progress turn based strategy game. Which brings me to a very important point – Territoire is literally unfinished. This isn’t a trial in the “here’s a demo, have a play of our game” sense, in this case trial means “does this stuff work?”. Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t appear as polished as any other EGS game, just that pretty much everything you find within should be considered subject to change.
If the character art and company name tickle some forgotten corner of your mind it’s because Territoire is by the lovely people that made Carpe Fulgur's Steam darling Recettear as well as Gunner’s Heart and Chantelise; and while those games are without doubt the work that’s got them the most attention overseas they’ve released several other games before and after those in Japan.
When you first start playing Territoire’s scenario mode you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s some sort of SRPG as you move your band of students about a grid-based map and beat slimes over the head with swords and fireballs, but over the course of the short scenario quests (or by jumping straight into the full-fat free mode) it opens up into something completely different – a rather interesting resource gathering, base building, territory expanding strategy game. A little like Alpha Centauri, if that game had an anime magic school setting. Sort of.
I’ll be talking about free mode from here on out as at this point bar the final quest scenario mode is a set of deliberately feature-limited tutorials: The basic aim of the game is to own more of the map than your opponents and if you can’t do that then you need to out score them in the end of match points tally (by having lots of tech, base features, etc). You have two “leader” type characters per team – these are the most important units as they are the only ones that can build bases (cities) and expand your control on the map. Bases can create a whole variety of units and enhancements; gnomes to go mining, magicians to defend your city, or new facilities to strengthen your base or provide other benefits. All of these take a certain amount of turns to produce, so prioritisation is important but luckily anything in progress can be cancelled and changed out for something else if that colosseum you wanted to build turns out to not be the most sensible choice at this point.
Turn count is also a vital consideration when going through the tech tree too; new resources can be gathered (for example, fish) and new facilities or even items can be made, you just have to find the best path through that works for you.
Not only are your opponents busy trying to push back the monsters and take a slice of countryside for themselves but they have their eyes on you too – start aggressively muscling in on their patch and you might find yourself at war! It’s not all bad though; friendly and neutral teams are keen to trade tech (just be wary about refusing!) and allies are even prepared to fight others on your behalf if the bonds between you are strong enough. You don’t have to wait for another team to ask you either – once you’ve met you have the opportunity to smooth relations/beg for tech/start a fight once per turn.
At this point there’s not a lot else I can say, other than I’ve had my eye on this game since I first heard about it and I can’t wait for the full release! If the finished goods turn out anything like this trial then we’ll have an original, thoughtful and fun (not to mention non-Touhou, non-shmup) doujin game on our hands, and you really can’t ask for more than that.
The official website and trial version of the game can be found here - http://egs.cug.net/circle/territoire/index.html