A friend bought us all HOARD this weekend, as a 4-pack on Steam.  Yay! 🙂

HOARD is a mix of action and strategy, developed by indie team Big Sandwich Games, where each player takes on the role of a dragon in a table-top style medieval kingdom with farms, towns, princesses and knights..

Every dragon needs treasure, and this is obtained through burning down farms or towns, intercepting wagons full of tithes, and capturing and ransoming princesses.

The game has a co-op mode, which allows friends to work together to gather as much treasure as possible in one shared hoard, but you can also play competitively.. this can mean racing them to the treasure, or actively trying to get in their way or kill them!  Killing another dragon forces them to drop their treasure and flee straight back to their hoard, where they are unable to move while they regenerate health.. a great opportunity to steal the dropped treasure 😉

At the beginning of each game, your dragon only has weak abilities, but as you gather more treasure you are able to spend points and upgrade your dragon’s speed, fire-breathing capability, carrying capacity and damage resistance.  I prefer to improve the speed of my dragon, as well as fire-breathing, but I think this could change depending on the map and game mode.

Upgrades cost more at each level, so you need to gather more and more gold to keep upgrading.  The kingdom also improves over time, with towns becoming larger and producing archers, who will fire on you.  If you do enough damage to a town you can scare them enough that they ‘belong’ to you, and send you tithes.. a nice way of gathering money automatically 🙂

During a competitive game, you will need to keep an eye on ‘your’ towns, as other dragons will want to take them over.. either by damaging the town enough to turn its loyalty to them, or by destroying the town centre and resetting the town’s loyalty.  Giants also appear in the kingdom.. they will attack towns they come across unless suitably distracted.. say with some fiery breath.. 😉

There are also small towers around the map, which spawn knights.  The knights will attack you if you pass by, and if you capture a princess, all the knights in the vicinity will come to try and rescue her!  I found the knights were best avoided until you had levelled up a little, as they are rather strong and can kill you easily if you stray too close.  As the kingdom grows, the towers become keeps, with more knights being spawned.. increasing the danger but also the reward, as the ransom value goes up with the level of the keep!

Another danger comes from the mage towers, which fire bolts at nearby dragons: destroying one of these reveals a large gem which is worth a lot of gold, but slows the dragon and makes you vulnerable to attack while carrying it.  I found the upgraded towers harder to destroy, as one mistake in avoiding the bolts means death.. and as the bolts can travel a long way, I sometimes got killed by a bolt set off by another dragon!

On all the maps, there are a variety of power-ups, which appear at regular intervals.  These can give you stronger firebreath, icy breath, or allow you to shoot fireballs.. another increases your speed, while the last is maybe a little evil, allowing a player to steal from another dragon’s hoard.. aside from the obvious exchange of gold, this has the added advantage of resetting the victim’s score multiplier!

As well as the Treasure game modes, there is “Princess Rush”, where you need to capture the most princesses to win, and a survival mode, which I’ve not tried yet.

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