Saturday, November 28, 2009

Strenth and Honor 2 plumbs the chaos of 292 BCE

This game spans most of the civilizations of the known world of the eastern hemisphere at a very interesting point in history. I recently wrote an article about the Han dynasty and the rise of Liu Bang, the dynasty's first emperor, for Heritage Key. I found the political and military maneuvers of Liu Bang to be fascinating and in many ways similar to the intrigues in the late Roman Republic. This game gives you the opportunity to explore both!

[Image: Character Qing Bu, a former prisoner of the Qin who escaped and eventually became a key general of the Han. Image courtesy of game developer "Magitek".]

"In 232BC, many great empires have risen to power on the world stage. In the West, the nations that once made up Alexander the Great's mighty empire are crumbling and conflicts and political differences are plaguing the region. Carthage and Rome are bitter rivals fighting to dominant and eliminate each other from the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, the typically peaceful Egyptian Empire is at war with the Selecuid Empire as an act of revenge against a murder plot by the Selecuid king that secured his claim to the throne. In the Northeast, the Huns threaten the northern Chinese states as the Qin dynasty fights to unify China and in Southeast Asia, the death of the great ruler Ashoka has left the nation in a state of flux. The world is chaotic and full of heroes, dreamers and deceivers. What path will you choose to raise a mighty empire?"


Each character in SNH2 has an archetype which will affect their personality attributes score ranges. These scores include such traits as a character's openness, intelligence, morals, charm and ambition. Depending on their attributes they may be loyal and effective warriors and negotiators for your cause or they may seek to rebel and bring an end to your reign. There are fourteen archetypes in the game which are:
  • Caregivers: A Caregiver is always concerned for the well-being of others. Caregivers like to be in roles that give them a chance to nuture and help—often to the point of neglecting their own needs. On the flipside, less scrupulous Caregivers can be manipulative & demanding—using love as a weapon.
  • Berserker:The Berserker craves thrills and excitement, is always the first to charge into battle, the last to leave, and the first to get drunk afterward. A Berserker may meet a quick end, but will at least have the priviledge of a glorious death.
  • Rogue: The Rogue is the classic risk taker and scoundrel. In the constant quest for big wins and good times, the Rogue tends to get by on charm, preferring to improvise and not think too much about rules or morality.
  • Curmudgeon: The Curmudgeon is the eternal crotchety old fart. Deep down, this character is loyal, sensitive, and true, but also recognizes the dangers of trusting too easily. As a result, the character is skeptical, jaded, quick to find fault with things, and not afraid to speak up about it.
  • Lone Wolf: The Lone Wolf is ruthless, detached, and cunning. A Lone Wolf always does what it takes to get the job done, but is guided by a sense of internal logic that often translates into a rigid code of personal honor. The Lone Wolf is the perfect scientist, assassin, or effective (if harsh) leader.
  • Schemer: A Schemer is sly and resourceful, but generally anxious. As a result, the Schemer prefers to stay in the background and manipulate a situation to gain power and position, rather than take what he wants by force.
  • Dreamer: The Dreamer is the classic visionary, explorer, artist, mystic, or philospher. A dreamer is intensely curious and imaginative, with a passion for exploration and making the world a better place.
  • Pragmatist: Pragmatists are the neighborly, down to earth sort. They like to get right to the point, do what they have to do, and go home. Pragmatists avoid complication—they can be thoughtful, but aren’t grandiose about it like Dreamers can often be.
  • Tyrant: The Tyrant craves nothing but power and control—the ability to shape the world in his or her own image. A Tyrant will stop at nothing—other people, nations, and philosophies are merely obstacles to be overcome.
  • Champion: The Champion is obsessed with justice, honour, and fighting evil (real or imagined). The Champion can be bossy, but always protects the innocent and those he or she is responsible for.
  • Fanatic: The Fanatic lives for the cause, and is loyal to beliefs and duty above all else. This person will stop at nothing—even if it means bending the rules. Fanatics make good career soldiers or religious zealots.
  • Engineer: The world is disordered, chaotic, and imperfect. The Engineer is determined to correct this—to establish a perfect and true order, even if it means taking the world apart in order to build it better than it was before.
  • Peacock: The Peacock is obsessed with being the center of attention. Highly concerned with status, a Peacock constantly demands rank, rewards, and accolades (whether these are deserved or not).
  • Achiever: Friendly, gregarious, and outgoing, the Achiever is always looking for a way to sweeten the deal in order to make the big score.

  • Personality Attributes

    As stated above, a character's archetype impacts their personality attributes score. Here is a list of the attributes each character has which will change how they react to your commands and your rule and makes each character unique.

  • Ambition: Ambition determines how easily a person will be satisfied or dis-satisfied about an issue. It also determines a person's level of interest in political parties.
  • Charm: Charm determines how easily the person gets approved for marriage and how easily the person corrupts a target. It also determines the likelihood they will promote the Pacifist party.
  • Confidence: Confidence determines the preference for self-governing and the likelihood of promoting the Warmonger party.
  • Honour: Honour determines how difficult it is for a person's loyalty to change. It also determines their likelihood of promoting the Warmonger Party.
  • Intelligence: Intelligence determines the succes rate of treaty signing and emissary jobs.
  • Morality: Morals determines how difficult it is lose loyalty to the Empire when governed citizens are not happy. This might lead the person to rebel when the city is rioting. It also determines the likelihood of not promoting the Warmonger party.
  • Openness: Openness determines the likelihood of not losing loyalty when a party agenda is not reached and how well the person gets along with people of different civilizations. It also determines the likelihood of promoting the Pacifist party

  • Battle System:

  • 3D terrains allow you to watch the battle from many angles.

  • 4 unit types with historical uniforms, weapons, flags, and accessories for each civilization to enrich the cultural backdrop. The unit types are Heavy Infantry, Light Infantry, Archers and Cavalry.

  • Several unique city layouts and landcape backdrops including forests and deserts for variety and realism in battles that take place across the globe.

  • Weather effects like fog, rain, and snow influence the outcome of the battle. Heavy fog can have a "fog of war" effect in battle mode, so that an army would have little or no intelligence about the enemy army’s numbers, strength, and position.

  • Choose the attack time: Attacking at dawn increases the chance of fog, which can be used to cover your charging cavalry. Natural lighting changes corresponding to the time of day.

  • Soldiers act human. Fear, fatigue, and morale affect their performance in battle.

  • Chain of Command effect means the leader influences the performance of his subordinates.

  • Battle replay allows the player to review their success or failure.

  • Multiplayer option lets the player to compete against a friend.

  • A free download of a demo of the game is available.