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Aeon of Discovery for Pocket PC review
Posted on 6-Jul-2004 23:58 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Ok, this is not the most PC game in the world. To win the game you'll create colonies in the New World, subdue the natives, create an army and navy, trade slaves and perhaps even eliminate rebels by force. But it's a fun game. 125590 Aeon of Discovery by Trysistech LLC, is a turn based game for Windows Mobile Pocket PC, where you can only perform one action on your turn (with one exception). It's so interesting that I had to finish it - even though it meant running to 5% of the battery on my h4150 three times. Yes, it took me three days to play the full game and dominate all countries in the New World, eliminating the enemies of the crown, sending merchant ships to unknown oceans, and fighting epidemics. And that was with all AI (Artificial Inteligence) opponents set to "weak". I wonder how long a game would last with all opponents set to "strong".

Selecting your country and strength of adversaries

As you probably have noticed three days is quite long. I'd say that a couple of days is long enough for a good game, but I had no idea on how to move the pieces around. And it's pretty much like a chess game, where you have to think what can happen if you settle a land here, move an army there. But after you learn the moves, and establish some tactics, everything make sense.

The objective is to make sure you dominate the whole New World, represented in the game by a map with the form of North, Central and South America, playing against three other countries, played by your Pocket PC. Each country has a different strength and you have to choose yours depending on your tactics.

You start with a square representing one explored territory with natives, out of thirty one territories. You tap on this square, and a scroll unrolls, with some actions. The only one you have at the beginning is "Colonize". You can try to establish a colony by placing some settlers there. You'll also have a couple of merchant ships and war ships. You can tap one of the squares in each of the oceans around your map and use the "Sail" command to send these to that ocean.

Starting with the new colony

You can only place nine of each type (settlers, army or slaves) in each colony, and nine of each merchant ship, war ship, pirate ships in each ocean. You can only colonize a state that you or your enemies have explored first. You have to prepare an expedition to explore unknown colonies. If you're successful you can then create a colony. You'll find that these colonies will have natives. You can place nine settlers and nine army men there, but you can't place slaves until the natives are gone. And the natives can only go if they rebel against you, and your army terminates the rebellion. Quite non-PC...

You'll need money to hire these resources

Once you play your turn, the display will show what the other players (another three countries, controlled by an AI) are doing. You can tap your colony and perform some actions like Develop, Coerce, Gift or Garrison. The only action that will not give your turn is Hire. You'll need money to hire settlers, army, slaves and more ships. Depending on the number of natives and settlers in your colonies, you'll be awarded a certain amount of money on each turn.

Actions to perform in my colony

Develop will enhance the conditions on your colonies, and will make it generate more money, and create better conditions to survive to epidemics. Only colonies after a certain level can collect spices, for example. Coerce will force the natives or slaves to work harder, generating more money. Gift can be used when you check the colony's status and see that the natives are not happy with your administration. You can then give some money and they'll be a little happy for a while. Garrison will allow you to move unit types to this colony, always limited to nine of each type.

Of course it's not always receiving all money. From time to time the King will ask for your contribution in form of a tax. This will come out of your pocket. If you have enough, you'll be rewarded with three settlers, three army, merchant ship and war ship. If you don't have enough you don't receive any help from your King.

When the natives are gone, you can "hire" slaves, which is more like a trade.You'll buy them and post in the colonies you want. Make sure you always have lots of settlers and slaves in each colony with the maximum development possible, to generate the most possible income. But beware. Slaves can rebel, and from time to time you'll see a notice with the number of rebels and army that lost their lives in combat. Again, non-PC.

Once you have enough money to create more armies, you can raid enemy colonies. Tap the colony and select "Raid". You'll then be able to select one of a list of famous Conquistadores to lead your army, each with more or less experience. If you win the colony, the flag will turn to yours, and one settler will be put there automatically. It's up to you to move more settlers there and army to defend the colony. You only have a choice of two Conquistadores each time, so if don't win the battle, you'll not have another change for a few rounds.

Preparing my army for the next combat

Navy battles are similar. Tap the enemy flag and select Engage. You'll now the result on the next turn. The more merchant ships you have on the sea, more money you'll generate with commerce.

Moving my navy

When you manage to conquer all colonies the game ends, and a statistics dialog shows important information, like how uch food was collected, money generated, settlers and army hired, ships seized, etc.

How we performed this time

The graphics are very well done, and the music and sounds are excellent, produced to create a cool atmosphere for the game. With options to Save and Load the current game you can go on for days until the final stroke is performed. I found that sometimes the micro-management was a little too much, mainly when the raid to conquer an enemy colony required three expeditions. In the meantime a rebellion was happening somewhere else, where you had to deploy more army or settlers, etc. But this is an exercise in resource management, and at the end it was lots of fun. As I said I couldn't just let it go without finishing my mission.

One thing that I missed was a better understanding of the whole gameplay, but I found that Trisystech provides a good support forum, where I found a .pfd with a basic introduction guide. I also found some comments on tactics. For example if you have merchant ships, make sure you also have the colony (port) close to that ocean, otherwise you'll not make money from the commerce. I'll stop here, because I believe you'll want to develop your own game!

PS. You'll noticed the screenshots here are the ones available from the official web site. I couldn't grab any screenshot with my current programs, so I had to use these.

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