I’ve been playing DQ Builders alongside They Are Billions, which weirdly share a common theme of building a safe zone against hordes of monsters. They are obviously worlds apart, but the way they handle this one thing is kind of interesting to compare.
DQ Builders is, as should be obvious from being part of the DQ series, a relatively safe and easy game. Monsters don’t really have a chance to damage your structures, unless you build everything out of dirt, and for the most part they don’t attack on their own. You have to trigger the fights yourself. Still, the sieges are at least attempting to have high stakes, and I like the idea that you can spend a lot of time building things that are useful in terms of village life, aesthetics, etc, but don’t actually add to your defensive capabilities. Of course, since it’s all very structured, you don’t really have to choose between the two, you just do both.
They Are Billions really puts the conflict of building out vs. defending your existing terrain into sharp relief. Your economy can only grow with expansion of space, but the more you expand the more difficult it is to defend that space. But if you don’t grow your economy, you will not be able to build the more advanced defensive structures and offensive units. On harder difficulties this becomes less of a balancing act and more of a “walking the tightrope as people throw sharp objects at you and scream profanities, and also you’re drunk” act.
The real killer is that most of the game is actually pretty safe. As long as you can defend from the wandering zombies, you’re okay, which leads to a false sense of security. When the horde comes, your defenses will be put to the test, and even one little zombie making it through will kill everyone. It’s easy to think that you are safe when you are definitely not.
Playing They Are Billions gave me a sort of anxiety in DQ Builders about this balancing act, even though there’s nothing actually pressuring you in the latter game.
So uh yeah just thought that was interesting.