New player's questions


The meat and potatoes of CR are the matches, which are turn battles in a tabletop. The metagame/RPG experience of the realms is an excuse to chain and it is not extremely complex, rather a mild or light strategy set up. It could have been and offer a richer experience ofc, but then we would have seen another game.

It could be compared somehow to the X-COM franchise where the tactical battles are the core while the strategy comes from the global map where you do management and air battles: in that case you could even skip some tactical skirmishes and play in the map for a larger amount of time. It was more balanced between both aspects.

This is not the case of CR, where as in other simple games (simple not meaning dumb) it’s the game itself what is worth and not the story behind or the global management in a map.

The opposite extreme to this I can think of is Master of Orion, where you can play, specially in 2, tactic battles between spacecrafts but the game itself are turns in a bigger map with a global strategy. I think the franchise of Heroes of Might and Magic (which I haven’t played) consists of the same. The difference with the realms is that in those games you were always wanting to play one more turn (spending hours) to make further progress in your strategy and the battles were events which you could dedicate time or skip without losing nothing specially relevant. In CR battles can’t be missed that way and in Realms you are playing turns just to advance to the next battle. As I said above, it would be a different game and in particular, I wouldn’t have dug it so much as it is currently.

Anyway I am biased negatively to RPG narrative elements in games, which are not my cup of tea. Said so, I appreciate the effort of the developers to provide the lore and a context to set the game and the imagination of the realm makers.


I think the problem is that Realms as they are hurt the game rather than help it. Rather than adding some simple strategy layer, they add mediocrity to an excellent game, thus diluting its quality. This means a new player could start off with the realms, become convinced that CR sucks, and stop playing it, whereas had they been funneled purely into the battles with a simple yet interesting story, they could have seen the genius of the game.

I think turning CR into a game connected by a strategy layer is a difficult task, as CR battles consist of all the necessary strategy ingredients already, including army creation. Imagine trying to create a wrapper strategy layer for Starcraft – you’d have a similar problem. Because you don’t really bring troops into a ‘classic’ CR battle, and in fact doing so biases the game too strongly, you don’t have the main tool that games like X-Com use for making battles connect to the strategic layer. What the game needed instead is probably something similar to what Starcraft does and other RTSs do: a string of missions consisting of battles, connected by strong narrative, where the rules are tweaked in each mission to make them unique and interesting (e.g. battle a series of wizards while protecting a few elves, travel across the map safely – you can come up with unique goals and mission-specific rules that further a story and make each mission feel different).


The strategic appeal of CR was watered down or tamed at best. I agree that missions and campaigns could have more appeal, although I am not quite keen on the RTS campaigns myself.

The first example of RTS I can think with a global strategic layer was Rise of Nations (and Rise of Legends), with a Risk-like map which decided the battles. Later on, Dawn of War Dark Crusade and Soulstorm also did that.

And Total War series also are about this but they are another kind of game.


I feel like although this is a perfect summation of the game (the dynamic of trying to wrap a strategy game around a strategy game), there’s this dissonance that doesn’t quite let me leave it at that.

There’s just something really cool about the concept of:

  1. Having a strategic fair, that contains the whole arc of a match (if that’s the right way to put it) the starting out with nothing —> establishing initial resources (creatures/structures/growths as well as mana from burned cards or failed casts) -----> establishing strategic targets (including vantage points, chokes, mana sprites for extra resources, etc.) -----> and the play out the end.


2)Having a super super light strategy fair, in which the decisions are more light and just allow you to mozy around, taking in the world building, customize your loadout/party, etc.

Realms mode in this game never really capitalizes on it due to the disconnect between the 2 layers, but it just makes me crave for some kind of game that could manage it just right.

When playing XCOM 2 (with the war of chosen expansion), I found the battles particularly engrossing/captivating/immersive/etc. and found that the strategy layer tended to just bog things down with minutia. I feel like chaos’ realms was this ‘almost’ answer to having a explorable world thing that was dialed down just enough to add some flavor inbetween the battles (as opposed to having a chain of missions with cutscenes/dialogue between them)

That said, as much as I could mull on the potential, the idea of what they could’ve done instead (as in all of the features that could’ve been designed in a mission to mission setup) is impossible to deny.

All i can say is, I really hope someone can try to capture that thing that chaos’ realms was going for!


That’s funny – I was going to mention RoN but stopped short. RoN I believe played with the concept of the different eras to lend a different feel to battles. You’d have to essentially fight the same kind of battle over and over, since it would unbalance the game to bring in troops, but because the full game takes place over all of human history, they could instead limit a particular battle to a ‘world locale’ and a specific era, as well as a specific enemy.

I don’t know about the other games, but Total War is more like X-Com in that you are meant to bring in your troops and that’s the main interaction point between the strategic and tactical layer.

Again, I’m not sure where those ‘levers’ or interaction points are in CR. Mercenaries certainly don’t seem to be it.


I think the key is finding the variables where the strategy and tactical layer can communicate. If Realms CR allowed you to build up a deck, for example, that would be a great way to build up a power curve. Suppose you started a realm with a deck of goblins and dwarfs fighting weak wizards, but then you could go to settlements and add some paladins or manticores to your deck. Now we’re talking about a much more powerful and interesting interaction point, though it wouldn’t be consistent with the multiplayer version – and I think that’s fine. Certain talismans could also be realms-exclusive and give you gradually bigger bonuses.

In a sense, the desire to keep the single-player game fully consistent with the multiplayer matches kept the equipment weak (ie. balanced) and the points of contact between the layers boring. Had they been willing to separate the 2 tracks more fully, they could have enriched the Realms experience rather easily.