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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Fabledom: This fairytale building game could be a balm for Settlers fans

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If you”re still disappointed with The Settlers, hear me out. From distant lands rushes a wonderfully fairytale alternative.

Once there was an ancient kingdom, very fine. There lived The Settlers, so industrious, so pure. But building is long gone from what it was. Today there is more fighting and the kingdom lies fallow. This makes for vexation, it”s almost hilarious. Luckily, Fabledom could fill that space very soon!

Here, two people are bringing a fairy tale to life. And the inhabitants want to strive for greater things. So no need to be creeped out by The Settlers any longer. Today we show you a place to scurry. Are you really going to rhyme the whole text like that? Good question, reader, but I can only answer in the negative.

And so welcome back to the usual use of language. Even if I can”t prevent myself from abusing this text to rhyme in this fairytale-like build-up game … oh, enough now!

And again in plain English, I present to you today Fabledom. A pretty two-man project that was heavily inspired by Settlers. However, there are also a few completely new ideas hidden in this possible building jewel. Which ones? One of the developers told me in a personal conversation and showed me in the game.

Once upon a time there was a fairytale land

You get the idea, Fabledom rides the fairy tale theme until the donkey pukes gold. But it”s also a thoroughly fitting approach to an often sedate genre. It doesn”t always have to be hardcore survival like in Frostpunk. And especially the proximity to Settlers suggests such a contemplative fairytale world, which itself always seemed bright and friendly. In Settlers 7 we even ruled over an entirely fictitious kingdom.

Fabledom, on the other hand, has no prescribed story. At least not in the true sense of the word. In its current form, each game is a procedurally generated endless game where you set your own goals. Right at the beginning, you open a world map in the pretty main menu, which consists of several land masses and an ocean and is divided into individual sectors.

(The geographical features of your empire are completely procedurally generated. Whether this also applies to the winged pigs is not clear.)
(The geographical features of your empire are completely procedurally generated. Whether this also applies to the winged pigs is not clear.)

You will then choose one of these sectors to become your new kingdom. Visible geographical features such as mountains, forests or coastlines play a role here, as they appear accordingly in the game.

What you then have to choose seems strange. You choose what you are: prince or princess? Cute. This all becomes interesting when you also choose what you are looking for. Because then you can choose again: prince or princess. Why this choice? I”ll come to that.

First, you enter your fairy-tale world and a likeable fairy-tale uncle with a grumpy voice reads from a beautifully illustrated book. He asks us the question: How do you want to rule your kingdom? Will you build a monument? Will you conquer the world with a sword? Or will you search for true love?

(Visually, Fabledom presents itself very stylishly and provides a relaxed ambience.)
(Visually, Fabledom presents itself very stylishly and provides a relaxed ambience.)

Four settlers on a greenfield site

When you finally get into the game, you are faced with humble beginnings. A loaded cart is waiting on a green meadow, surrounded by four bustling residents. They are indeed rather chubby and cute, again strongly reminiscent of the early settler parts.

From here on, Fabledom follows the layout standard. Which, from this point of view, doesn”t have to be a bad thing. The main thing is that it motivates, and Fabledom already does that because of its really coherent visuals. It is already fun to watch how the inhabitants begin to place buildings and roads in the landscape. A work camp is being built there, a lumberjack here, a first homestead over there.

(The settlers start small and don''t have much more with them than a few boxes and a cart.)
(The settlers start small and don”t have much more with them than a few boxes and a cart.)

The houses are really put together piece by piece after the necessary resources have been carried to the construction site. The homesteads even work a little bit special. Here you don”t just build a hut on a meadow. You can drag and drop a frame around the house, which creates a correspondingly large courtyard. You can then fill it with some decorative elements.

There are also independent ornaments with which the settlement can be embellished. At the moment, this appeals purely to the personal sense of beauty. However, the developer duo is planning a mechanism later on that will give your realm a beauty value. Once per in-game year, you will then compete against other kingdoms in a beauty contest. The winners will receive valuable prizes. Now that”s a creative idea to promote beauty building!

(Using flower beds and ornaments to beautify the city)
(Using flower beds and ornaments to beautify the city)

Invite to relax

In general, Fabledom should always invite you to just relax and build. Commodity chains can be multi-level (wheat -☻ flour -☻ bread), but it is not overly complicated. At least there is a forester to replenish your forests.

As the game progresses, the complexity increases a little, but it never becomes overwhelming. At least at the moment you can obtain 14 resources. Be it bread, fish, wood, leather, iron, vegetables or coal. The new resources then help to fulfil the needs of advanced inhabitants, who in turn exercise certain professions, just like in Anno.

(It can also be relaxing to watch the inhabitants scurry around a bit.)
(It can also be relaxing to watch the inhabitants scurry around a bit.)

In addition to the farmers who live in huts, there are also townspeople and nobles. What”s cool about this is that each dwelling house functions according to different laws. The peasants have their small courtyard, the townspeople live in larger, Mediterranean-inspired, colourful building complexes, while each nobleman has his own palace, which you can design yourself with towers and walls.

Hacks for Love

Flour your empire, it”s time to put out feelers. For the world map that is generated at the beginning is home to other empires. You can contact these NPC peoples, or they can send you a letter and ask for an audience. The usual diplomacy options are available during the conversation. You decide whether you want to trade, need a mission, spy on them or declare war. Or … whether you want to court them.

In fact, you can also find your true love in Fabledom. In this sense, the building game is almost a small dating simulation. The different characters can be wooed in very different ways. Each one has different missions and demands on you. Ramone the bard prince, for example, might demand theatre and good food, while Arborthea the harvest princess naturally values fields above all. Depending on your preferences, your realm will always look a little different in each round. Sometimes there are taverns everywhere, sometimes life thrives.

(Such small stages ensure that our inhabitants are happy. They don''t mind the cardboard standees as audience either.)
(Such small stages ensure that our inhabitants are happy. They don”t mind the cardboard standees as audience either.)

There is even a Black Knight whom you seduce with war. He finds it particularly stimulating when you reduce the other kingdoms around you to ashes.

War and battle should always remain completely optional. No one will attack you or declare war on you if you don”t do it first. This is to guarantee that you can concentrate completely on building.

Once you are at war, you do not have to leave your realm to attack. Instead, the warring party will attack you and you can fight them back. The units are commanded directly. You can also level up your hero by fighting legendary creatures such as ogres, giants or witches in the surrounding countryside. A bit like Warcraft 3.

(You always have a hero who may also challenge other heroes. Or lead an army.)
(You always have a hero who may also challenge other heroes. Or lead an army.)

And they lived happily

If your advances are successful and a grand wedding is celebrated, you have reached the narrative end of Fabledom. You can either start a new realm or continue to build until the motivation wears off.

It is not yet possible to estimate how long this will take. It will take at least another year until the full release. Before that, an early access phase is planned for spring 2023. Over the course of twelve months, new content will be added and the balance will be straightened out as best as possible.

(In Early Access, the number of buildings and resources is still limited. The game will continue to grow as it progresses).
(In Early Access, the number of buildings and resources is still limited. The game will continue to grow as it progresses).

The studio definitely doesn”t want Fabledom to be one of those games that lingers in Early Access until doomsday. But that would be too bad for such a fairytale project, after all, the heroes of these stories usually live happily ever after.

Oh damn, there it goes again.

Editor”s verdict

Meanwhile, I”m trying not to give The Settlers too much of a hard time. Because the game hasn”t even been released yet and at some point enough is enough. But I couldn”t think of anything else when Fabledom was presented than how much this game might be able to fill the Settlers-shaped gap in the genre. There are certainly other contenders, such as Manor Lords. But in terms of style, that is a whole lot more serious than The Settlers ever was. Fabledom, on the other hand, has exactly the fairytale-like Settlers charm that belongs to the series.

However, the comparison is perhaps a little exaggerated. Because Fabledom will probably not be quite as complex as the old Settlers. After all, it”s all about relaxed building, not about really sprawling chains of goods. Nevertheless, I”m already very excited to try out this building game. And yes, I am somewhat looking forward to designing my entire kingdom in honour of a sympathetic princess or prince. That”s just something new in the building genre!

Age: 24 Origin: Germany Hobbies: gaming, football, table tennis Profession: Online editor, student


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