It’s one heck of a challenge making a decent turn-based strategy game. The pacing needs to be just right and its imperative to balance strategy and tactics with enough reward to motivate continued play. For many gamers, turn-based strategy games feel too slow to be enjoyable and this results in a limited market for the games. Blood, Grain and Steel attempts to overcome these hurdles with a game reminiscent of chess and Total War.
You’ll be greeted with a comprehensive tutorial when you begin Blood, Grain and Steel. This will guide you through the basics and, in about ten minutes, you’ll know everything you need to know to start playing.
The game takes place over two arenas: one is a big campaign map with provinces occupying squares on the grid. You’re given a stronghold and begin to makes new armies and control your resources as well as moving our army to occupy spaces on the grid. There is, naturally, an opposing team to battle against too.
The second arena is smaller than the first though similar looking. The difference with this arena is that the components of the armies are in the form of units.
With the campaign arena, your main resource is grain. The more grain your army has the more you can spend on your units. Each unit has a price and an upkeep cost that needs to be paid on a –turn-by-turn basis, meaning you need to be mindful of your spending.
The units themselves could do with a little bit of spicing up. There’s the paladin, the soldier, the Rider, Infiltrator and Catapult, each of which is good in different ranges and on different terrain. The units are fun to play though perhaps could have been made better with specific unit abilities.
One of the best aspects of Blood, Grain and Steel’s gameplay is the ability to deposit grain into a tile, fortifying the tile against invasion. The fact that grain is the only resource you have to manage, however, is an obvious limitation.
All in all, Blood Grain and Steel is a solid concept and an enjoyable game, but it does have limitations and could be made significantly better with a lick of paint. There’s potential here and given more resource management and decision making this could be a truly great turn-based strategy game.
Blood Grain and Steel Overall: 7 out of 10