Old World is a new Native Linux historical strategy game from Soren Johnson, Lead Designer of Civilization IV and Offworld Trading Company and Mohawk Games.

This was originally an exclusive for Epic Games, and back when it released there in 2021 it gained some rather high praise from the wider bigger PC gaming websites. Since then though, the game has expanded dramatically with hundreds of new narrative events, a brand new DLC that also just released, lots of bug fixes, balance changes and various other improvements.

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Note: the publisher, Hooded Horse, was kind enough to pass along a review key for this.

Given the designer on this, it's safe to say this is like a spiritual successor to Civilization. It's much more than that though, and there's been a few attempts from others to do the same, but this is more like a slick evolution on it. Much more character-driven, so it's a little bit closer to Crusader Kings in that way too and honestly, I'm not sure I can see myself going back to any current Civilization title after playing Old World.

One of the major ways it mixes things up is the new Orders system. Instead of only moving units once per turn, you have an overall Orders currency to use each turn. Units still have limits and can get fatigued but this expands what's possible in such a strategy game making it just feel so much more open. It does mean you need to do a lot more planning too, and at times completely rethink what you're doing, as using up all your orders might leave you too open for an attack, as just one small example.

Did you screw up? Good news, you can undo moves repeatedly, and that alone makes me really love this.

An absolutely gorgeous looking game too. The artists did some truly fantastic work on all aspects of the design here. Even the fog of war clouds excited me when playing it for the first time, the way they gently caress the map, it's really something to look at.

The amount of info you're being given the first few times can feel a little daunting though. There's quite a bit of depth to various parts of the game, even just founding a city needs you to be careful because of the family system. When you go to found a city, you pick which family will be the founders and they each come with different bonuses so you're choosing your focus very early on. You also have to keep them all happy too, to ensure you keep various bonuses and don't lose out. Even though there's plenty going on, it's surprisingly accessible thanks to the clear UI.

Research is another area that's quite different here too with it being more random, and a bit more like Stellaris in fact. You are given a few cards to pick from, and those not picked go into a discard pile. Once your pile to draw from is empty, the discard pile comes back shuffled up for you to continue on. You still get access to a tech-tree but you don't get the direct planning to go through it like other games. (although you can target specific research to remind yourself when it comes up). This presents some difficult decisions when you're going through the game but does spice things up a bit.

One aspect of it that some will love and some will hate, is how much shorter it is compared to other similar games. It's a race to 200 turns, which for me is actually great. Games don't feel like they drag on forever! I continue to be quite amazed with Old World and it has firmly scratched the itch I wanted after burning out with Civilization.

With all the events though, of which the developer said there's at least 2,500 of them now, there's never a dull moment in any part of the game. So many choices.

I quite liked how the tutorials were done too, as there's a fair bit to learn. You can go through dedicated tutorial missions that carefully guide you on the same map each time but you can also just play a normal game, with plenty of tutorial prompts and explanations as you go along. Best of both worlds and a nice touch.

When it comes to the fresh Native Linux port, I have to say that I'm very impressed. It works out of the box with no issues on Fedora 36, and performance is absolutely fantastic. It's even playable on Steam Deck. Turning down a few settings and upping the built-in scaling actually worked quite nicely but some text was still a bit too small. No obvious issues in my notes on it to tell you of, so it's a solid recommendation from me. A simply must have for strategy fans.

Later in June they plan to add in localizations for Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, French and German. If you buy it before May 25th, you get the Heroes of the Aegean DLC free.

Available for Linux on Steam. For GOG it does not have the Linux build.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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34 comments
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jens 20 May
  • Supporter
Alright, I could not resist :)... Impressions from first 10 minutes are really good.
(The native Linux version starts just fine for me.)
omer666 20 May
Quoting: tohur
Quoting: Raaben
Quoting: Mountain ManIt should be obvious by now that GoG simply doesn't care if Linux users buy from them or not.

I know but I can always hope.

why would you want to give anyone your money that lacks the care in the world about you. they don't want your money so why fight to give it to them thats insanity
Linux users in general tend to agree with the basic foundations of GOG, which is no DRM and owning your copy of the game. That's why Linux gamers keep hoping that they change their strategy.
Considering the dire economical situation at GOG it wouldn't hurt to be at least a bit more attractive to Linux gamers, but they simply don't give a damn about it.
That's what is so infuriating about this: the missed opportunity.
levellord 20 May
Can anyone advise how many different nations in the game? I'd appreciate your response!
jens 20 May
  • Supporter
Quoting: levellordCan anyone advise how many different nations in the game? I'd appreciate your response!

See https://oldworld.fandom.com/wiki/Civilizations
Kalua 20 May
Quoting: tohur
Quoting: Raaben
Quoting: Mountain ManIt should be obvious by now that GoG simply doesn't care if Linux users buy from them or not.

I know but I can always hope.

why would you want to give anyone your money that lacks the care in the world about you. they don't want your money so why fight to give it to them thats insanity

The other thing is why would you want to give your money to a company which can shutdown their servers overnight and you lose all of your rented games? On gog I can buy the games and download them to my hdd and if gog goes bankrupt I still have access to the stuff I paid for and can install and play all the games (even if gog is long gone).
tohur 20 May
Quoting: Kalua
Quoting: tohur
Quoting: Raaben
Quoting: Mountain ManIt should be obvious by now that GoG simply doesn't care if Linux users buy from them or not.

I know but I can always hope.

why would you want to give anyone your money that lacks the care in the world about you. they don't want your money so why fight to give it to them thats insanity

The other thing is why would you want to give your money to a company which can shutdown their servers overnight and you lose all of your rented games? On gog I can buy the games and download them to my hdd and if gog goes bankrupt I still have access to the stuff I paid for and can install and play all the games (even if gog is long gone).

still doesn't matter because regardless of drm or not if you don't have all your games downloaded you still lose them. and to be frank the likely hood of some of these companies going out is pretty low and if you are referring to Steam they have said a many times they would work to let you get your games and they continue to work if they did go under. so my point is why fight to give companies your money that don't want to support linux and actively fight it.. yea Valve deserves our money more so then GOG
Quoting: Kalua
Quoting: tohur
Quoting: Raaben
Quoting: Mountain ManIt should be obvious by now that GoG simply doesn't care if Linux users buy from them or not.

I know but I can always hope.

why would you want to give anyone your money that lacks the care in the world about you. they don't want your money so why fight to give it to them thats insanity

The other thing is why would you want to give your money to a company which can shutdown their servers overnight and you lose all of your rented games? On gog I can buy the games and download them to my hdd and if gog goes bankrupt I still have access to the stuff I paid for and can install and play all the games (even if gog is long gone).
That is mostly true of Steam as well, though. If I try to play a Steam game while I'm offline, Steam bitches a little and then I play the game. I'm pretty sure there's ways around even the bitching a little, or use of the Steam client at all. I understand there are games for which this is not the case, but I've never actually experienced it.
Kalua 20 May
Quoting: tohurstill doesn't matter because regardless of drm or not if you don't have all your games downloaded you still lose them.

True. You have to make sure to backup your games.

Quoting: tohurand to be frank the likely hood of some of these companies going out is pretty low

The chance might be low, but not impossible. I saw a lot of companies going out in the last 30 years which were big players in their industry. They made a few bad decisions and ... well they are gone now.

Quoting: tohurand if you are referring to Steam they have said a many times they would work to let you get your games and they continue to work if they did go under. so my point is why fight to give companies your money that don't want to support linux and actively fight it.. yea Valve deserves our money more so then GOG

It would be awesome if someone found the actual reference of that promise. From an official Steam source like on their website, twitter, facebook or wheresoever. But until now this is an urban legend in the gaming industry. There is no official statement where Gabe, Head of PR, or someone else in higher positions said the your games would be updated to not require Steam to run anymore. And how they would do that anyway? Steam is maybe able to patch their own games like Half-Life, Portal etc. but not the majority of the other games. This all comes down to one thing: licensing. I don't think that Bethesda, EA, Square Enix and all the other publisher and developer are being cool that the DRM being stripped from their games.

You're not own any games on steam.

From their Steam Subscriber Agreement:
The Content and Services are licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Content and Services.

Even Steam itself doesn't own most of the games they "sell" on their platform. So they wont provide a patch for all the games to run without the launcher. Because they can't.

Quoting: tohurso my point is why fight to give companies your money that don't want to support linux and actively fight it.. yea Valve deserves our money more so then GOG

Just out of curiosity: Where is GOG actively fighting Linux? I am just asking because most games I own on GOG have a native Linux version. If GOG don't provide a native Linux version of the game it's (again) probably most of the time a licensing thing. Or is it because they don't provide their Galaxy thing for Linux? Why another game launcher if it still possible to download the binary from their website.
Iggi 20 May
Quoting: tohurif you are referring to Steam they have said a many times they would work to let you get your games and they continue to work if they did go under.

Believe me: If a company really gets into such financial struggles they have other worries than caring about their promise to eliminate the DRM system.

Apart from that I doubt that would work anyway: What should be the replacement for all the centrally provided services (e.g. the networking layer) if the company doesn't exist any more? In the end the only thing they could do is remove the requirement to connect to Steam every few weeks, so you can play pure offline games at least. If they are not using advances services.

Granted: The likelihood of Steam going out of business soon is quite low. On the other hand I just bought a few games from 1992 recently - and I can still play them. Will it also be possible with games you buy on Steam today to play them in 30 years? (Or even better: Sell them to someone else?)

In the end I just want to emphasize: That promise is most certainly an empty promise. No sane company would just throw away one of their last assets (the gagged player base) in difficult times.

Sorry for being mostly off-topic regarding the original article, but that statement is so wrong I just had to say something ;-) (But who knows, maybe I'm wrong and the management really would be so morally upright to keep that promise? I just don't believe it. Just think about Humble Bundle that promised to always offer Linux versions.)
levellord 21 May
Quoting: jensSee https://oldworld.fandom.com/wiki/Civilizations
Thanks! I guess I am going blind, I was looking there earlier!
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