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I've already sunk 40 hours in 4 days

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The new strategy game “Millennia” has been on Steam since March 26th. MeinMMO's strategy expert, Schuhmann, says: “I can't get away from it,” but the game is everything but round.

What kind of game is Millennia? Millennia can be seen in two ways:

  • Either it is a civilization, but without fixed peoples, you build your own nation over the course of the game
  • Or it is a city building simulation that has been scaled up to “Civilization” level out of necessity

Both views were represented in a GameStar talk by content creators Writing Bull and Steinwallen. Both are true at the same time.

Announcement teaser trailer for Millennia

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Every time I lose, I understand what I did wrong

What fascinates me so much about the game? The great thing about Millennia is that it is as understandable and logical as a game of “Mühle”.

Every time you run into problems, you can trace the difficulty back to mistakes you made 10 or 20 moves earlier.

The mechanics in the game are complex, but very clear. Everything has cause and effect. It is important to consider various priorities at the same time:

  • It is important that cities grow quickly, and for this you have to use the given resources. Forests bring production but little food. Resources like olives only become valuable with additional buildings like a press
  • However, you also need a large army so that enemies don't immediately attack you or barbarians annoy you on the narrow standard map (8 games share a medium-sized world).
  • But you also have to expand the technology and ideally be a technology leader in order to determine which era you lead people into. Otherwise you'll suddenly have the plague on your hands and waste time and resources cleaning up outbreaks
  • But if things go well, a glorious “Age of Heroes” will begin for humanity and the whole game will be much easier and friendlier
Millennia_ages-4
A plague age like this is just annoying and makes playing bumpier.

High replayability thanks to the modular principle

This is what makes it so special: Normally, 4x strategy games always follow the same pattern: you learn a formula and perfect it. Over time, you'll rewind through the first few hours of a game as if you were in a trance. They no longer require the player to make decisions, but rather to play according to a blueprint.

If you know Stellaris, you could play blind for the first 2 or 3 hours of a game. It's like the opening in chess: over time you memorize certain patterns.

However, Millennia has clever mechanics that ensure that the “basic rules” of the game constantly change. Because with 4 ages in the game you have the opportunity to specialize your people. The first decision comes early

  • If you want to play aggressively and subdue your opponents early, choose “Raider” or “Warrior” and get powerful units. I did that at the beginning
  • Now I like playing as a hunter, because there are great bonuses hidden further in the tree that you can use to expand your area significantly
  • But now I read on reddit that even other of the first 8 options, which I never considered, also work great. So even when I'm not playing, I'm thinking about playing Millennia

The starting position of the first city and what resources you have available change the basic conditions and how you have to react to them.

The feeling of “I understood something” is addictive

This is what makes it addictive: Millennia has an incredibly satisfying learning curve because the game constantly presents you with puzzles that you solve and then have the feeling: I've understood something, I've really gotten better.

So the question is: “Where do I build my cities and how do I best expand them?” already a central game decision in which you understand something new and make a leap every 10 hours.

You can feel real progress here.

Even those who think it's stupid can still fall for the fascination of Millennia

What do others say? I'm not the only one who has already spent 40 hours with Millennia in just a few days:

On Steam a user says after 36 hours: “Good game. A surprising number of ideas for a Civ-like game. I love the extensive construction part.”

Also interesting: There are several people who rate Millennia negatively on Steam after a few hours, but just can't get rid of it

  • A user wrote a negative review after 6 hours of play because Millennia was still so unpolished and had major problems with performance and AI. Despite the negative rating, the user continued playing and played for 34 hours in the 4 days after the negative review.
  • Another user criticized the game after 4 hours for “lots of small bugs and that it wasn’t ready for the release yet”. But he also hung on for 39 hours in 4 days.
millennia review
Typical pattern: A negative review after 6 hours, then play 34 hours in 4 days.

Is the game fun? Yes, of course it's fun. But you can also see at every corner how raw the game is and that it would have needed a few more months of development.

Graphically, the game is weak, the fights are almost a joke, the user interface is so crumbly that you can only recognize a lot of important information when you know exactly where to look for the information: So I was puzzled as to why During a military passage my units simply disappeared.

millennia
Already 44 hours into the game, but I wouldn't recommend it at the moment.

Only when I realized that my financial balance sheet (a tiny display at the top right) was in the red did I solve the puzzle.

Nevertheless, Millennia has now grabbed me like a strategy game has rarely done in recent months. But I wouldn't recommend anyone to get it on Steam for just €40. It's probably a game that will be significantly better in 6 or 12 months than it is now. Especially since the developers have cheekily announced two expansion packages that are scheduled to appear in 2024.

Because of all the problems, Millennia was punished by testers and both user reviews on Steam:

Strategy geniuses fail again – new alternative to Civilization is panned in tests on Steam

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