Noble Fates is a colony building simulation game similar to RimWorld and Going Medieval, currently in Early Access on Steam. I recently bought it and despite liking “Lords and Villeins” more in the beginning, I have so far paused that one to explore Noble Fates further. Still, I haven’t been playing Noble Fates for that long yet, so I am going to share my early impressions with you here without being able to go into every detail of the game.
I have, however, been playing long enough to see a beloved noble of my kingdom die while defending the crown. Poor Thrall. I was actually sitting here contemplating to reload to an earlier save game in order to “revive” Thrall. But this is how the story is unfolding, isn’t it? Poor Thrall was killed by raiders. Another kingdom we’re at war with.
What sets Noble Fates apart from RimWorld and Going Medieval is that it is set in a fantasy world. When I started playing, I only had four orcs to choose from (you can click “none of them” to get four others). Since I had wanted an orc leader, I didn’t mind that at all. My orc was “nonbinary” which I think is a nice touch. So you get female, male and nonbinary humans or orcs. In the end, other than the orcs, I also had one human noble and two more humans that we captured. I had no idea what to do with captured people at that point. By now, I know that I can release them (why did I capture them in the first place then?) or I can try to get them to accept serfdom.
I decided to start a second run then. Not because the first one had been bad – apart from poor Thrall – but because I had learned a bit about the game and figured that the start would go smoother when I did it all again. On that second run, I tried to get my captured human to like me (I was a female orc) so that maybe they will agree to serfdom. I started talking to them but we disagreed on almost every single topic. The only agreement we had? We disliked cooked human (I liked them raw… but I didn’t tell him that, of course).
I am now on my third run because the game got an update which made previous save games incompatible. Thankfully, there is a beta branch you can use that still lets you play these otherwise outdated save games, so that you can finish your game. The developers added the ability to build an inn and a tavern to help entertain your visitors (mostly traders that you can also get to join your kingdom if you meet their expectations) and form good relations with them.
This is the first time that I am playing a human – not that this actually matters. I haven’t found any differences between humans and orcs so far. During one of the first nights, an imp suddenly appeared and attacked us. Our visitor was the first to defend the kingdom and unfortunately, died during the attack. We buried him properly (after looting him, of course). I figured butchering him for orc meat would be tasteless seeing how he gave his life for my nobles! We will, however, have imp meat some time in the future… I think. I am not sure we have learned yet how to prepare it and I don’t know if any of my nobles like raw imp meat. But we do have imp leather to work with!
So, this has been my experience story-wise. Below, I’m going to list some of my thoughts about the game – both positive and negative. Keep in mind that this game is in Early Access and only entered this state on December 14, 2021.
What I don’t like (much/yet):
Your leader speaks with others to make them like them. That is also how to convince others to join your kingdom. But I also had somebody ask to join without engaging in long conversations with them. The point is, I think, that they have to like you. And your kingdom needs a certain prestige. The conversations are a fun pastime sometimes, but I can also see them becoming tedious. The characters tell you what they like or dislike that way. Sometimes you also learn of other kingdoms which reveals them on the map. If a character likes you, trading with them also gives you slightly better prices. Basically, the conversations are an interesting feature. The only thing I do not like is that it can be tedious and keep you from focusing on other aspects like building.
There are no settings (yet) to choose like difficulty. You can choose not to have the first group of adventurers, though, and get a new random group. I have gone with the first group the first two times that I started a new game. On my second run, I got a female orc – finally! She calls herself “Count”, though. No idea if that is a bug or a feature. You also can’t directly name your kingdom, but you can click for the next randomly generated one until you find something you like!
What I like/find interesting:
Visitors help you store your items. I don’t know if that one is a bug or if visitors are just very nice and try to be helpful! Speaking of items: When you click and drag your mouse on the screen, you get a selection window with all grouped items that you can select. For example: 3 trees or 2 inhabitants that are within the drawn square. So you don’t need to click on everything one after the other but you can mass-select the same kind that way. Very nice for gathering wood or berries.
There is no research. Instead, your nobles take some time to learn the item you want them to build next or the kind of animal you want them to tame, etc. (if it is within their range of ability). Crafting items doesn’t result in the same quality items. I have straw beds that give the owner 2 prestige or 3 prestige. It probably depends on the crafting level of the one who built it. Weapons can have different random suffixes (I have one that gives farming +1). Your inhabitants don’t just like or dislike certain jobs. They also have high to low potential with learning said jobs. This also gives rather unfortunate combinations like the leader of my second colony, Limpy, disliking cooking while showing a high potential for it. Same with items: some like hammers more than axes, so they gain more prestige when they have a hammer.
Altogether, this could become one of my favourite games of 2022. It already is entertaining to play and not too easy (considering I have lost a visitor and one of my inhabitants in one of my short runs!). I really love the setting, like the graphics and it comes with a few new ideas that make it different enough from RimWorld and Going Medieval to justify buying it even though I already own the other two and haven’t nearly played these enough yet either.
“Quick impressions” are what the title implies: Not a fully grown review. I just want to share my thoughts about a game quickly. So there will often be more pictures than text. Please also note that I did not get paid by the developer nor am I affiliated with them in any way. I bought the game from my own money and my opinion is my own – subjective, as always. So please take everything here with a grain of salt!