The Boomlands, Free Castle Conquest Game
A game in which you must rally troops, employ villagers, gather resources, build defenses and generally kill the heck out of your enemy using the powers of forethought and planning, The Boomlands is a charmingly hand illustrated indie game that you should probably play if you care about your own happiness in the slightest.
This is one of the good indie browser games, one of the games where some serious effort has been put into not just making something that looks quirky and plays passably, but in which there are some real mechanics and strategy in place behind the scenes (assuming that 'spamming villiagers and soldiers whilst making cannons as often as possible' can be considered a strategy, I don't know, I'm not a chess grandmaster.)
There is a great deal of humor in this game. Soldiers cry 'we could have been friends!' when they die, which sounds rather tragic now that I type it out here in solemn text, away from the context of the game, so I'll just have to assure you that it really was funny really. (It totally was.)
In The Boomlands states go to war just because they can, which is pretty much equivalent to real life without the need to pretend that anyone has weapons of mass destruction, because if they did have weapons of mass destruction, the round would be over very quickly, which in The Boomlands, it very rarely is.
There's a nice touch after every round in the form of a trophy room in which you can review your performance. I discovered that in my very first game I'd taken almost 10 minutes to finish the level, collected 3,100 units of wood. hired 100 villagers (40 of whom did nothing), 128 soldiers and 8 archers. So there you go. Statistics for the statistically minded.
Art wise you won't be blown away, but in spite of the simplicity of the graphics there's actually a fair bit of cusomization available. You can choose your skin color, your hair color and your crown size and shape, which is more than I can say for a great many other games.
My final verdict therefore is this: play The Boomlands, it's got enough substance to engage you without being boring, it will teach you the true nature of being a king (sending people to die for you) and it will reaffirm your faith in the power of the humble cannon.
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