Bronze

Review

posted 12/9/2010 by Tom Bitterman
other articles by Tom Bitterman
One Page Platforms: PC
Bronze bills itself as a historical strategy game.  You are put in charge of a series of Bronze Age civilizations in Mesopotamia and must survive a series of challenges.  Lex talonis is definitely the law around here.  There is no negotiation, there will be no trades, you will make no alliances.  There can be only one.

Sounds great, no?  Right now the reader probably has visions of thundering chariot charges and hordes of raging Hittites screaming across the screen in full 3D.  Enemies will be crushed underfoot while their women lament their fate!


Well, no.  Bronze is a turn-based strategy game that would be equally at home as a board game.  The primary game mechanic is placement of tiles on a game board.  Even the historical character is largely incidental, mostly shaping the terrain types of the historical map.  It is nice to know that the Assyrians settled in Place X where there were a lot of hills, but the game could easily be “Settlers of Mars” and that would have no effect on play.

So what is Bronze, exactly?  The best way to describe it is to go through the game mechanics so we can see it better.  First we will take a brief look at the strategic map, then a longer look at the tactical map, where most of the action happens.


The strategic map is a map of ancient Mesopotamia, divided into squares.  Some of the squares are special in that they offer the potential for combat on the tactical map.  All other squares are non-playable and one can ignore them.  The player can choose to engage in battle in any square on which they have an entry point.  Winning a tactical battle in a square rewards the player with entry points on all squares adjacent to that square.  The more entry points the better, so sometimes one can make hard battles easier by winning nearby battles, thereby surrounding the troublesome square.  In the campaign, your civilization wins its phase by winning all the available tactical battles.

The tactical map is where most of the action happens.  The map is a square grid.  Each square has three properties: terrain, ownership, and building type.  At the beginning of a battle the terrain for each square is set, each side owns one square per entry point (max 3 per side, 4 total) and no other squares are owned..
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