As well as Thea, I've recently been playing another turn-based strategy game - Conquest of Elysium 4. It is not much more expensive than Thea, but it has a especially high focus on strategy as opposed to tactics. It can seem hard at the start (a bit like Thea) but the classes are very distinct and it's a lot of fun to get good at one or a few.
There are huge battles, but apart from determining what spells your spellcasters can cast (so you don't choose battlefield wide spells unless you are mostly immune to the effects or, in desperate times, you want that army to do lots of damage before they are defeated) and precisely WHEN you go into a battle and what troops you take in, battles don't have an adjustable tactical layer. However they are generally pretty fun to watch, and even with the same units, no two battles will turn out exactly the same, especially when siege engines and spells are involved. The important thing is to be prepared when you go into battle (hence the strategy, because apart from a few exceptions, when units die, they are dead for good).
At game setup you can choose the map size, player types, class types and any teams you want, as well as number of players and the Society (era of Elysium history). There can be up to 16 different players, although most maps will prefer significantly lower player numbers. The default is three players including the human player. Any player can be left as random class, and there is an option for Random players to be different from all preset players.
There are multiple eras to choose from, called Societies, which influence the placement of map sites, including farms, settlements of various sizes and types, forests, mines, battlefields, castles and what the capital consists of. All players collect gold and iron, but different spellcasters allow the collection of different resources, and some classes do better in some Societies than others. But generally it is possible to win in each Society (at least in single player) but some classes definitely prefer the resource distribution of some Societies.
Apart from the main Elysium plane, there are other planes which can interact with the Elysium plane, depending on class and random events in-game. There is Hades, Inferno, Agartha, the Void and the Elemental Planes. Some of them are conquerable in the right circumstances, but the Void isn't really. Also, if you spend too much of your efforts away from Elysium, you can lose the ability to beat the other players. There is no unit upkeep, so the longer the game goes on, the bigger are the armies you'll have to face (unless you have a powerful AI as preset ally, which lowers the overall difficulty of that match). Higher level AIs get income advantages and can build bigger armies quicker, but all AI players have the capability of building big armies.
It is a relatively quick game compared to their other major release, Dominions 4, and has a different focus. There are some good modding commands that have been added to the COE4 game, and I have posted my mod link below and the explanation of those mods in the Steam Community thread.
I have released a few mods that are available at:
http://www.stevenaus.fastmail.com.au/Co ... fElysium4/
See this thread for an explanation of my mods:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/403950/di ... 181572503/
Because we play other games too.
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