First Impressions:

Great Houses of Calderia

DeveloperResistance Games

Release DateTo Be Announced

Platform: Windows

Genre: Simulation

By Chris Picone, 13 August 2023


Great Houses of Calderia is a grand strategy simulation in the vein of King of Dragon Pass / Six Ages.  I had the pleasure of playing a very early version (the release date hasn't even been announced yet), and I'm happy to say the game's been fun to play and it's in a very promising state already.   

Great Houses pushes a sort of pseudo-narrative from the outset, providing back story for your house (along with some starting affiliations) as you choose your faction and starting area.  The game has a lot of moving parts and can seem overwhelming at first (there are stats and numbers everywhere) but it does feature a tutorial that at least runs you through the basics and the rest is either intuitive or probably not stressing over. There are two main aspects to Great Houses; intra-kingdom management and foreign affairs, athough there is certainly some overlap.  Your first job is to look after your domain, ensuring your people are happy and fed, and plenty of resources are rolling in. This is managed by allocating your population into each industry, over which your noble family preside as overseers. As you grow, you will be able to upgrade your domain, erecting new buildings, which in turn provides bonuses, provides new units, and opens new industries.  Your starting area limits resources available, so trade is necessary for success, which brings us to foreign affairs.  Allies are valuable as you attempt to gain favour and climb the ranks of nobility.  To this end, you can send your children off to other states as wards and later as squires, to help their development while also building relationships with your neighbours.  These enterprises can also be used to gather intrigue or military knowledge. Unsurprisingly, courtship and marriage is used in the same manner.  As time passes the game will throw events at you, some to do with your actions (for example, trade agreements or decision making while courting an ally), others are very much about the lives of your nobles (marital troubles feature prominently).  This is the game's weakest aspect at the moment - not the quality, but the quantity, the lack of variety leading to repetition although I have no doubt that will be addressed and new events added as the game moves closer to release.  Sometimes your actions will lead to social conflict with other states, played out in a strange real-time boardgame, but I found myself auto-resolving these battles.  

The verdict?  Even in its current early development state, Great Houses of Calderia has a lot to offer.  It's well-presented, although a little tweaking might still be needed, and the addition of pseudo-narrative that guides  and entertains you throughout the decision-making processes are engaging. Grand strategies like this one are a niche genre so you'll definitely want to keep an eye on this one if that's your thing.