Empires & Dungeons is a medieval fantasy game that combines elements of Heroes of Might and Magic-type turn-based strategy games and dungeon-crawling RPGs. The player takes on the role of one of several medieval lords who strive for control of a kingdom after the ruling king died without leaving an heir. To defeat the rivalling lords, the player's alter ego must raise an army and eventually conquer enemy castles. However, to obtain the necessary resources it is not enough to collect raw materials and collect taxes from allied cities. The player needs to venture into dungeons, alone, to get gold, items, honour and experience, without which, victory is impossible.
The gameplay of Empires & Dungeons consists of the strategy part where the player controls the lord's army, builds up the castle and collects resources, and the dungeon crawling role-playing part, where the lord must explore randomly generated dungeons in order to get gold which is needed to maintain the army, and honour points which are required for certain special actions, items and advanced structures. During dungeon crawling the lord gains experience and advances through levels, becoming more strong and powerful, and may also find better weapons and equipment to increase the fighting power even more. While the players' movement in the game is turn-based, all fights - dungeon encounters, army battles, sieges and army leader duels - happen in real time, although the player can only choose one of several available actions and then wait for the outcome; army battles can be paused to allow the player to pick a strategy.
Each lord can only own one castle, and if it is captured by the enemy, the game is lost. On the other hand, being defeated by a monster during dungeon crawling simply means that the player will lose all gold and honour points collected in the dungeon that was not completed. All dungeons are randomly generated, both in terms of their layout and their position on the strategic map. Most of the items and events (dungeons, resource piles, wandering merchants) are generated randomly only stay on the map for a few turns, after which they disappear. Neutral cities, on the other hand, are permanent objects, and conquered cities generate income at a constant rate, although the player must personally visit a friendly city in order to collect taxes. Cities may also sell items to be equipped by the lord, although the Adventurer's Guild must be constructed in the player's castle first.
The game does not have a campaign mode, but consists of a total of twelve scenarios, each of which has a certain theme, unique special events and types of monsters that may be encountered. Scenarios also vary by the number of participating players, and are arranged so that the difficulty level increases progressively. Additionally, the difficulty level can be adjusted separately for each game session.
- "Dungeon: The Crown Wars" -- working title
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