Continuing to be a favourite indie game I keep a close eye on, The Fertile Crescent is a Bronze Age real-time strategy game that's currently entirely free to play.
Set in the Ancient Near East, with a retro flavour thanks to a pixel-art style it's quite impressive. With a single-player AI to fight against, and you can also play online against others. LincRead have continued to bring in big improvements recently.
One of the big changes is a tutorial. Not only are traditional RTS games difficult to get into for some, The Fertile Crescent also has plenty of uniqueness that needs some attention. In the game Food is a truly vital resource and you need to have a good setup, otherwise you will starve and quickly lose so having a brief tutorial is actually a really good idea.
As food is so vital, they've also tweaked the map generation to prevent unfairness with the amount of fertile land to farm. This would be especially bad in FFA (Free For All) games as a poor start would ruin it but now it should be a lot more balanced. On top of that, since it has a research system which can give you a big boost it also now draws you attention to it (it was easy to miss). This system was balanced too so that they cost more, making research choices more important than ever.
To make it more fun, defeated players are now made into spectators too and they can chat with other spectators with the entire map now visible. Quite a few more changes have been made and released for The Fertile Crescent over the last month including making sure you connect to the region with the best ping by default for online play.
Overall, The Fertile Crescent is truly shaping up to be a seriously cool indie RTS. They're now asking for your thoughts on where to go with it too. The survey is a single question about what to add in. Will be interesting to see what the results are. Walls and Siege units sound like fun, that would be a pretty huge addition.
Find out more and play free on itch.io.