February 21, 2012

[Game 014] Genghis Khan (NES - 1989)

The good people at Koei just can't get enough period strategy games and neither can I.  This time we're heading back to the year 1175 and helping a young Temujin try to unite the tribal clans and then conquer the known world (of course!).  For the unification scenario, the player is only allowed to play as Temujin and so we are assured a strong leader will be ruling territory #1 (also the only choice).

Genghis Khan keeps most of the standard Koei elements but sprinkles in a few new additions.  Rice (which requires one to stay put to cultivate it) is replaced by the more generic food, which is symbolized by a beef bone.  Perhaps it's all that meat that made them so aggressive.  A nice bowl of brown rice will balance that yang out and maybe oh god I'm so hungry now.

aaah.  The biggest addition comes in the form of a specialty goods trading screen.  Each territory can produce a single type of special good which can then be sold to the various traders when the prices are high.  Temujin starts with sheep which is one of the cheapest goods available.  So far the only purpose of having these goods is to wait until the price is high and then sell them off.  It adds an extra dynamic to just waiting for taxes to come in or sell off precious food so I'm all for it.

Combat is similar to previous titles with three possible units to choose from: cavalry, infantry, and archers.  Archers can shoot from two squares away and infantry have the ability to hide and ambush incoming units.  Since this is the Mongols we're talking about here, I've opted for a cavalry-heavy swarm.


After defeating a clan, it can be a tough job to secure the new holding.  Adjacent neighbours are always on the lookout for a sign of weakness.  In addition, the newly conquered peoples have to be mollified with some foods or golds else rebellions will be inevitable.  A captured lord can either be freed, recruited, or executed.  Hmmm, what would Genghis do?

And on my face, the wall, the new carpet...

Another fairly big difference is in the labour management system.  There are four jobs that people can be assigned to: town (for golds), mason (for defense), food (for foods), and artisan (for specialty goods).  These can be shuffled around at any time but what is nifty about it is that the troops can also easily be shifted into the mix.  This leads to always having to balance having a strong enough standing army to defend the territory versus making effective use of the available workforce.

As in other Koei games, the beginning is the most difficult.  After several attempts, the most Temujin has been able to conquer is three regions.  They are fairly well defended but don't have enough troops to threaten any of the neighbours.  For now, Temmy must bide his time and wait for either a major conflict or sickness to reduce the strength of those around him.