Merchants & Mercenaries is a real-time strategy cross-platform multiplayer game where players compete against each other or the computer for space and resources. Players will need speed, smarts and constant vigilance as they expand their settlement, lead bands of merchants and mercenaries, design their defences and play the open market. There’s no one way to play Merchants & Mercenaries, or even to win, so everyone will be able to use their personal strategies and strengths during gameplay.
We were inspired by timeless classics, like Age of Empires and Civilisation, but also board games we love such as Settlers of Catan. But ultimately, we wanted to create something new which would be available to anyone, anytime, using any device. While lots of great games are available exclusively for PC users, Apple users or Android users, it’s unlikely that all your friends and family use the same operating system on their computers, phones and tablet devices. Merchants & Mercenaries will work on all of these platforms, allowing Windows, OS X, Linux, Android and IOS gamers to play together on all their PCs and personal devices.
The board is a giant hexagonal grid of Resource Tiles, which can be developed by players, and Barrier Tiles, which cannot.
There are four different Resource Tiles. Field Tiles can be farmed for food, Forest Tiles can be cut down for wood, Rocky Hill Tiles can be quarried for stone and Cave Tiles can be mined for iron. Any of these tiles can be turned into a Mercenary Camp, or Attack Tower.
There are also four different Barrier Tiles. Desert and Swamp Tiles can be crossed by units, but the Mountain and Water Tiles cannot.
DEVELOPMENTS and UPGRADES
The Village is the heart of your settlement and the place you must upgrade before upgrading other developments. The Village is also the place where merchants are created. If you are the first person to upgrade your village to a castle, all other players will be given a set number of rounds to destroy it. If your village is destroyed at any point during the game you lose.
Resource Tiles can only be developed if they are adjacent to a tile you have already developed on.
Farms, lumber-yards, mines and quarries can be upgraded for better defence and resource acquisition.
Any Resource Tile can be turned into a Mercenary Camp or Attack Tower. Mercenary camps are used to hire mercenaries and attack towers are used to shoot enemy units or tiles.
Merchants are used to capture chests that contain bonus resources. Merchants, used well, can give a player a nice boost in the game. However, they’re not free and are vulnerable to attack.
The Sellswords have a limited range, but are strong and armoured.
The Archer is vulnerable to attack, but can shoot from afar.
Cavalry have average attack and armour, but can quickly get around the map.
The four resources (food, wood, stone and iron) can be bought and sold on the open market, so selling a resource gradually lowers its value in gold, and buying a resource gradually makes that resource more expensive. These fluctuations can be seen by players in real-time on the market screen.
When you start a game you are given a randomly generated map ensuring every game is different. Players receive resources for their developments when the timer reaches zero or when all players are ready. This is known as a round. Every round, players’ units are given the opportunity to move a certain distance and attack in real-time. Players beginning the game will wrestle with one another for chests and deal with barbarians that wander the map looting as they please. Expanding your settlement and cutting other players off from the map is a big part of the game, however players who play the market and lead huge armies may have powerful settlements, despite their small size. Mercenaries, barbarians and attack towers have the ability to destroy developments, allowing the tile to be redeveloped by another player. This is also your means of escape if another player cuts you off or encircles you.
Players develop tiles, expand and attack in real time. The game can quickly be lost if you allow your village to be destroyed or are not aware of how close your opponents are to building their castle. Keeping an eye on the market is important too, or you might suddenly be in possession of resources that have been devalued by adversaries who have strategically flooded the market. If you’re good at trading, strategic expansion, or military victories, then there is a way in Merchants & Mercenaries for you to play and win.