I have a confession to make. Over the past several weeks, I have devoted a lot of time, and some money, to Battle Nations, a game by Z2Live, Inc. The game is a combat strategy game, but you also have to build and maintain an outpost; this game scratches the Civilization itch without having to spend $6.99 for Civilization Revolution and its many in-app purchases.
Battle Nations has a funny premise: you are in charge of an outpost run by the Empire with the goal of expanding the Empire and crushing all enemies, including the rebels. Adding to the humor are the characters and their reactions to situations. Lt. Morgan runs the outpost; he loves whiskey and tries to work as little as possible. He is confused as to why a lady raider wants to marry him, but he continually defeats every raider who challenges him to a duel. Sgt. Ramsey trains the troops, and he is fearless, but has a soft spot for his cat, Mr. Purrface. Floyd is the scientist who tries to bring reason into the fold, but reason escapes Lt. Morgan, so Morgan ends up making others do silly things like killing animals that need to be trapped. Only after Morgan realizes his first attempt was wrong does he relent to trying something else. The one who has to go out and do the risky things Morgan doesn’t want to do is Perkins. Poor Perkins has been the lure for raptors, boars and sandworms. The last member of the team is Zoey, the resident mechanic and inventor who blows up as many things as she invents.
A big part of the game is managing your resources and money. Resources like coal, iron, wood and stone are used for everything. You build homes for your people, mines to get resources, farms, tools, vehicles, and a lot of other things. Resources and money are needed to upgrade building and train troops. You need to pace how fast you expand the outpost, and you need to choose carefully what you need to build, what you need to be repaired, and what you need to upgrade. Some items can’t be built unless you upgrade a building. Your resources are limited because how much you can harvest is based on your storage capacity, so you have to build warehouses and vaults. If you’re not careful, you can burn through your money and resources quickly.
To help you are nanopods. Nanopods can give you access to certain troops and buildings, speed up activities, and help you when you are short on resources or money (or both). While the game is free, you can use your money to buy nanopods. You get a nanopod every time you level up, and you can earn nanopods by watching videos, which are usually ads for other games, and by completing offers. Many of the offers involve signing up for something (with a credit card) or applying for a credit card with the nanopods delivered when you’re approved. Since a lot of the offers involve sharing personal information, I buy nanopods through the app, using my stored information in iTunes.
Combat is turn-based. You’re only allowed a certain number of troops during each battle, and once a fighter is out, you cannot replace the soldier, so if all of your soldiers become incapacitated, then you lose. Your soldiers don’t die. You have to use resources and money to heal your soldiers in the hospital and fix your vehicles in the repair bay.
Battle Nations does have a story, and the tasks listed on the left side advance the plot. Most of the story involves battling raiders, raptors, boars, sandworms, and other enemies. Troops need to be trained and promoted to win the battles later in the game, and constructing vehicles and weapons help as well. You can be social if you want too. You can make friends and form a guild, and you can participate in player-versus-player battles. The game’s visuals are good too. The buildings of the outposts are detailed and colorful, and the trucks and troops are animated. Battle Nations blends strategy and resource management well all while not taking itself too seriously, which is why I have been enjoying the game on a daily basis.
Battle Nations is rated 12+, is compatible with the iPhone and iPad (I play on the iPad because it is easier to see everything and to navigate), and is free.