Gladius Relics of Debate Tbs After My Own Heart

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One of my goals this year is to write at least something about every strategy game I play. Since my peak in 2015-2016, I have really decreased in terms of the volume of writing and I am trying to get back into practice. Fortunately for me, this means that in some matters I have the perfect opportunity to talk about some games that I have been playing for years. One of these games is Warhammer 40,000: Gladius. And in fact, the Timing works anyway, because a new faction has just come into play: the t’au landed on Gladius Prime about a week ago.

First of all: you must forgive me for some of my prejudices here. Because I like Necrons. I only have a really positive fondness for these metallic skeletal robots that teleport and regenerate, and this could affect my perception of the game a little. Fortunately, the game is pretty damn good in itself. It’s definitely not for everyone, but as an action-oriented TBS with a Warhammer 40K flavor, it does a lot of admirable (although sometimes a little frustrating).

Broad Strokes

In many ways, Gladius looks like a 4X. you have cities that occupy several tiles on the game map: each tile can house 1 to 3 structures. If you expand your city to one of the different objects on the map (we will cover them in the same way), the object will occupy the entire tile and will not be available for faction buildings.

Cities increase in population over time when they receive adequate amounts of what their faction eats (some factions do not use food as a Resource, such as Necrons who consume ore). And every building needs a population unit to function properly: too many buildings and too little population, things quickly become inefficient. Anyway, the city/building interface is somewhat similar to Total debate or the way some 4X space games treat planetary populations. It is a game with symbols and requirements.

There is not too much to manage your cities, so if you are looking for detailed economic simulations, you should look elsewhere. Cities are mainly a limiting factor in the size of an army that you can train, line up and control at the same time: each force you line up has maintenance costs, so more troops than you can afford to stay active take a toll on your income and cause problems down the line.

The game focuses mainly on action.

Earlier I said that the game is a bit like a 4x. It’s true. But in terms of “exploitation”, there is really only one Option and that Option is the “extermination” of your opponents. There is no Diplomacy in Gladius. They form an army, action for the territory and erase their opponents from the map. It’s brutally simple.

Well, maybe it’s not for anyone. But personally, the diplomatic options in games like Total debate don’t seem really good to me: they are blunt instruments anyway. So doing without it works well for me. I’m not a Diplomacy guy in strategy games, and I don’t miss that in Gladius.

Anyway: above I mention capturable map objects. Spread across the map are relics, merchant warehouses, distilleries, etc. these can be captured by moving a squad on them: they usually deliver a drop of one of the game’s resources every turn. Incorporation into a city will put you under your control until the city is finished, but will bring little additional benefit. In addition, putting a squad on them will provide healing over time until the squad reaches maximum health.

Units and action

As I said, the game really focuses on action. That’s kind of the biggest strength of the game, but there are some rough edges thathave frustrated me from time to time.

First of all: each unit is a unique “game piece” of about 1 to 10 squad members. Each squad member affects the squad’s total HP and the squad’s total damage. When squads lose HP, they lose members: it’s not like Company of Heroes, where it’s possible to have a squad with the 4 soldiers with 10% health each. In Gladius, if a squad has 4 models and takes 25% of its HP of damage, it loses a model. Conversely, if he recovers this health, the model will reappear.

No two squads can occupy the same tile. Again, these are analogous to the body figures on a board game. It’s not like some big strategy games where the armies are a single piece on the board/map representing the combined strength of all the units they contain. Each team is one thing and takes up space on the map.

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