The title I have given this review pretty much sums it up, at least as it was for me. It's been several years since I played this game, so I'm not able to tell you too much about the newer versions of it (I suppose it would have gotten even better since). If you enjoy thinking strategically (and like to someday build an empire of your own :-D ), you may really enjoy playing this game. However, be warned, if you end up liking it you just may get obsessed with it, and your hobby of writing reviews on dooyoo may take a nose-dive and be replaced by something even more addictive!
I was never one who was in to any sort of gaming. This was until one of my siblings got this game on a CD as a birthday gift. Finding it was of no interest to the intended person, I thought of checking it out. Before long I was spending days (without exaggeration) in front of the computer deeply engrossed in running towns and civilizations!
****About the game****
* In case you have not played strategy games before, here's a general idea.
* You're presented with a map of a particular region. In the case of the version I used, it was the middle-east.
* You are also given the ownership of few villages/towns.
*You also get a certain amount of wealth.
* You can use your wealth to do whatever you want in your towns. You can for example create food plantations (to make sure your population does not go hungry), build temples (to keep troublemakers from fostering unrest), build universities (to have an educated public, hence better development and inventions/discoveries) or build barracks to train soldiers. Note that these are just a few of the possibilities. There are many more interesting things you can do, and need to do within the area you rule to keep things tidy and in control
* The objective is to maintain a happy and healthy civilization within your villages, prevent hostile forces from taking over your villages and expand your empire by capturing other neighboring regions.
* How you do it is by maintaining a balance of the elements needed to keep your civilization healthy and content, while building your army (can be archers, battle-carts, chariots, foot-soldiers, etc...) strong enough to battle out hostile forces that try to invade your territory, and invade other villages, hence expanding your empire. The different types of soldiers fare differently depending on the territory. For example, battle carts do well in open areas such as deserts, but fare terribly in forests or rocky terrain. So you need to plan out your battleground accordingly depending on the forces you have built up.
* There are also places on the map that have natural resources (such as gold, copper, iron etc...) which you would want to acquire to increase your wealth, which can in turn be used to improve the quality of life of your people, and also help build bigger, stronger and better equipped forces.
There are other similar strategy games to this (Age of Empires is one of them, and is more popular), some of which you can play in a networked environment. That is, you can have friends who own other regions and you can battle it out with them to see who will ultimately be the ruler of the entire region of play.
* Extremely fun and can keep you engrossed for hours, or even days.
* Easy to play, rules are simple and graphics are pretty good. The version I played did not have 3D graphics, but was good enough for the purpose.
* Takes too long to complete (become over-all ruler) and can keep you away from other duties once you get hooked.
Do I recommend it? YES! I personally really enjoyed playing it.
Will I buy it for myself again? Probably not, unless someone gives it to me (like it happened the last time), because I'm pretty sure I'll get so addicted and do nothing but that all day. But that is not to say you'll get as much caught on as I did.
So if you feel you're the type of person who might enjoy something like what is described, you should give it a shot. Or else, if you're trying to think of a good birthday gift for a young teenager (who say likes playing chess...), this might be a good pick. It's also likely that this type of game will attract more of a male fan base than the ladies.