You’d think it would have been easier to create a classic fantasy variation on Civilization. Substitute spell research for technology, Elves for Russians, and the same things that make Civ work should work in another world, right? Well, it hasn’t quite been that easy. Several games have made the attempt, starting with 1994’s Master of Magic, still considered the high point of the genre. Don’t forget the ambitious failures, like Elemental: War of Magic, and solid, if not quite stunning games like Elemental’s sequel, Fallen Enchantress. Fitting firmly in the latter category of those was the Age of Wonders series, three fantasy strategy games released from 1999-2003 which were solid enough to build a house on but rarely extraordinary. A decade later, Age of Wonders III is attempting to resurrect the franchise. (It’s the fourth game in the group, but can take the suffix of “III” since the previous title was simply “Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.”) This installment seems to be entirely aligned with its predecessors, offering a dependable combination of tactics and strategy.
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