Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

“Drums of War” - is a turn-based tactical strategy game boasting well developed combat system and interactive environment, providing wide opportunities for tactics.

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Fysh
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Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Fysh » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:59 am

I recently picked up Drums of War and have to say it is an amazing game. I might be wrong, but my perception from this forum is that the game is not selling particularly well, and certainly not getting the recognition it deserves.

I nearly didn't buy the game myself; I downloaded the demo, played the first (trivial) scenario, and then promptly uninstalled it! Only a niggling feeling that I might be missing out made me go back the next day and give the demo another try.

It is a game that is difficult to appreciate. I read the description; I can chop down trees or set them on fire - 'so what' I thought! Only as I began to get deeper into the game did I appreciate what this can actually mean. I am about one third of the way into the first campaign and have just completed the scenario where my band is attacked at night by undead. What is not immediately obvious is that undead gain bonuses from attacking from darkened hexes, whereas my orc band gain bonuses from attacking in well lit areas. So we huddled around the campfire as the undead approached, just like the hobbits and Strider at Weathertop in Lord of the Rings. Then I got Zavoy to set fire to one of the trees, which burned for several turns holding back the darkness.

In another scenario, one of my units was kicking their heels at the back, not able to do much. I moved them up to a catapult which was just lying around, and found that they could actually fire it and make themselves useful! These are just two simple examples of the types of things you can do. In short, this game is innovative.

One of the things that initially held me back from purchasing was the size of the hexes, and the difficulty of interpenetrating the visual data. For example I find it very difficult to see the chance-to-hit percentages, and especially for a new player it is really important to learn which factors influence success. So I found myself squinting at the screen, which is a shame because these to-hit percentages only show while you hover a mouse over an enemy, so they could in fact be drawn much bigger without clogging up the screen as it doesn't matter if they are temporarily drawn over another hex. Facing was another issue which I found difficult, even after switching on the little arrows on the option screen. My eyesight is pretty good; I don't wear glasses, but I do find myself playing using the Microsoft Magnifier accessibility tool so I can see what's going on more comfortably.

To be fair the graphics are very good, and a lot of thought has gone into making the UI easy to use, and trying to display everything in a visually useful way. I personally believe the game would be 10 times more appealing if the screen was slightly zoomed in so that the individual hexes were slightly bigger. This would mean you would need to scroll around the map, but players are used to this as it happens in almost every other turn-based strategy game out there. Also having a scrollable map would mean that the map size could vary from scenario to scenario, which can only be a good thing, especially given the built in campaign editor.

I am only one third of the way through first campaign, but already I can see that there is great variety in the unit types, and how each race will play. I have almost unlocked all of the green skin army, and can't wait to try playing as one of the other armies in the second campaign.

I personally hope this game achieves the recognition it truly deserves. I would like to see an active player base as I can see myself eventually creating my own campaigns to share with the community, and would hope others feel the same way.

EDIT: hmm I was wrong with my assertion that to-hit percentages are only displayed when you hover over them... probably because I generally hover over them with the magnifier to read them accurately!

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:41 pm

Thank you, guy. Yes, unfortunately, sales are not very high ...

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by sirgilbert » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:37 pm

I downloaded the demo, then promptly uninstalled as well, as it didn't 'click' with me at the time. But couldn't resist buying the game during the sale, and I'm pleased I did. Great Game, much undervalued....

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by mbrosco » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:13 pm

I picked this title up on a whim when it was recently a deal of the week. I didn't expect much given the screen shots but since its Slitherine I gave it a shot and I'm glad I did. Underneath its rough exterior lurks a wonderfully deep and impressive game engine. I love all of the unit special abilities. They really enhance to the theme of the game and add a very nice RPG element to the experience. As mentioned above the interactivity with the world and items also caught me off guard. I was instantly hooked in what continues to be a superbly immersive tactical game. Seriously. This one really surprised me. It is far better then it looks. I agree with Fysh that this game deserves a much larger audience.

This game would be a fantastic candidate for iPad. It probably looks very dated for todays PC gamers but mobile gamers seem to be much more appreciative of the retro look. I wish you would consider an iPad port. I think you might find a much more appreciative audience in the mobile arena. This would be an instabuy for me and many of my gaming buddies. I hope you can generate more sales because now I'm really looking forward to a sequel.

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Herode_2 » Fri May 08, 2015 11:01 am

Agreed. I bought the game out of curiosity and soon found it's mechanisms both subtle and fun.
It is, IMHO, one of the best indies small games I ever played.
I hope we will see sequels sooner or later, the game definitely deserves to last.

I don't know why it is selling so low.
I saw some players comparing it to (free) Westnoth, and that's just nonsense : these two games are so different.
I guess it's a marketing issue : the cover pics look too "amateur" I guess. The text presenting the game may miss some iportant details about internal mechanics. Obviously, there is something to be done because has a true potential.

I'm curious, could you tell us approximately how many licences have been sold ?

Vladimir1979
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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Tue May 12, 2015 8:37 am

Thank you.
Number of copies sold, I can not tell (trade secrets). They were smaller than I had hoped.
I am currently working on a new game - "Raging Axes". This is also a turn-based tactical strategy:
Image

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Froles » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:38 am

Thank you for this really nice game! I generally do love you guys´s stuff, keep up the good work!

Vladimir1979
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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:05 am

Froles wrote:Thank you for this really nice game! I generally do love you guys´s stuff, keep up the good work!
Thank you!

vicklemos
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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by vicklemos » Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:58 am

Vladimir1979 wrote:
Froles wrote:Thank you for this really nice game! I generally do love you guys´s stuff, keep up the good work!
Thank you!
Just wanna say that today I called in sick at work and spent aprox. 15h with this masterpiece.
No joke: to me, DoW is already one of those "oldschool" favorite ones, alongside Dominions IV, Crusader Kings II, Sovereignty, Anno games, Settlers, Last Days (still on EA but already a great game!) Warlords, Magnifico, Qvadriga, Bulge, Alea Jacta Est...
Slitherine's games are amazing - and they're re-shaping me as a "new gamer", whoa!- and your game, sir, is among the most enjoyable ones, that's for sure.
I've read lots of threads in here praising your work and I can't say I'm not pleased with it. Actually, got this during the Matrix xmas sale and just can't stop playing it.

Personally, there's place for it on Steam and, even better, on GOG.com; you (and Slitherine!) should at least consider putting the game there. I know that woul've been the case, the game didn't sell ok et al. But deep inside there will always be folks will enjoy it, much like I did today.

Thank you so much, for both being humble and delivering a charming and well crafted game!! :D

edit: and better luck, in terms of profit, with your next game. Judging by its screenshots it's already looking fine :)

generalgonzo
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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by generalgonzo » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:17 am

Vladimir1979 wrote:Thank you.
Number of copies sold, I can not tell (trade secrets). They were smaller than I had hoped.
I am currently working on a new game - "Raging Axes". This is also a turn-based tactical strategy:
Image
Hey, I like Drums of War. What happened to your other project "raging axes" ? Couldn´t find anything regarding this on google....

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:34 pm

generalgonzo wrote:
Vladimir1979 wrote:Thank you.
Number of copies sold, I can not tell (trade secrets). They were smaller than I had hoped.
I am currently working on a new game - "Raging Axes". This is also a turn-based tactical strategy:
Image
Hey, I like Drums of War. What happened to your other project "raging axes" ? Couldn´t find anything regarding this on google....
Ah... "Raging Axes" is frozen... Maybe, dead ((((. Now I'm developing the game named "Warbanners":
http://www.moddb.com/games/warbanners
...or follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vlad_Konung

Image

generalgonzo
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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by generalgonzo » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:08 am

Looks great! As I have no account on twitter, I keep an eye on the homepage you mentioned :-)
Will this one be distributed by Slitherine also if it´s finished some day?

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:27 am

generalgonzo wrote:Looks great! As I have no account on twitter, I keep an eye on the homepage you mentioned :-)
Will this one be distributed by Slitherine also if it´s finished some day?
Thank you! I do not know, will be published with the Slitherine or independently. Warbanners will be released 100% ))). Already made all the game mechanics. Most of the graphics ready.

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by zakblood » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:29 am

well if you need anything testing, i'm more than happy to lend a hand, as testing in all i do now :wink:

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:35 am

zakblood_slith wrote:well if you need anything testing, i'm more than happy to lend a hand, as testing in all i do now :wink:
Thank you! I look forward to your help :)

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by zakblood » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:36 am

well as soon as your ready, pm me and i'll help out in any way i can

generalgonzo
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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by generalgonzo » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:00 am

zakblood_slith wrote:well as soon as your ready, pm me and i'll help out in any way i can
same here! Game looks promising and I already appreciated your Drums of War ! Great work for a single developer....

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:48 am

Thank you. Very inspiring! But now the two of us - join 3D-modeler (Drums of War fan).

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by vicklemos » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:17 am

Vladimir1979 wrote:Thank you. Very inspiring! But now the two of us - join 3D-modeler (Drums of War fan).
I liked your game a lot. Bought it on whim after checking it in action through some youtube videos.
Heck, I'm not that hex/wargame expert and have way too little practice on these but DoW seems very appealling and competent for such a small (?) project.
Keep up the good work and let us know if you release your next projects on Steam, GOG and so on!

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Re: Review and thoughts for making the game more appealing

Post by Vladimir1979 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:27 pm

vicklemos wrote:
Vladimir1979 wrote:Thank you. Very inspiring! But now the two of us - join 3D-modeler (Drums of War fan).
I liked your game a lot. Bought it on whim after checking it in action through some youtube videos.
Heck, I'm not that hex/wargame expert and have way too little practice on these but DoW seems very appealling and competent for such a small (?) project.
Keep up the good work and let us know if you release your next projects on Steam, GOG and so on!
Thank you. Be sure to tell! Every player who liked "Drums of War" for me is very important.

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