Quick Look – Simmiland

Not being a person who makes games myself, I have no idea why there are so few good god games. Black & White is ancient (and hard to get one’s hands on nowadays), and many of the newer attempts either miss the mark entirely or are unsatisfying on multiple levels.

I don’t expect much from a god game anymore.

So I am delighted to tell you that Simmiland does a lot of what makes god games appealing very well, even if it does do it in a very bite sized package.

You’re given a random map to place humanity on, and then a handful of cards with which to affect them. In theory, it’s very simple – put down a plant, a mineral node, a creature and see what the tiny humans do with them. In practice, there’s definitely some strategy going on here. The same card – say “tree” – will make a completely different type of tree depending on the type of terrain you put it on. Put it in the desert, and you get a palm tree. Drop it on the plains, and it will turn the land into woods. Drop it on a snow covered tile, and you get a pine tree.

Sure, you could just drop stuff willy-nilly, but your tiny humans will wish for stuff. It starts out easy – maybe they want rain. Before you know it, they’ll be asking for polar bears.

You’ll want to fulfill wishes when you can, because not doing so costs you faith, and without faith, you can’t play out any of your cards. When you first start out, you don’t have a whole lot of cards, and you are likely to run out, if your people don’t die from stupid first.

Each round you play will award you stars, which you can use in the card shop to buy more cards. The more cards you own, the bigger your hand is at any given time, making it easier to grant wishes and terraform deliberately. You can’t directly control your people, but you can use sample and inspect cards to help them learn new things. Before you know it, they’ll be setting up farms and building boats and becoming – more or less – self-sufficient.

Simmiland is not a particularly deep game, but it’s solid for what it is, and you can easily play it for 15 minutes or for hours, once you get into the groove of things. Sure, you have to go hunting for information, and it plays a little frenetically, but I’m betting being a god doesn’t exactly come with a guidebook either. It’s not a game I’m likely to spend hundreds of hours on, but it’s priced right for a more reasonably sized diversion.

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