The question connected to this update is, why would you want to pay to play an Early Access title?
Grand Tactician State of The Early Access Game
At the moment the game is somewhat playable. This is a grand strategy title, where you guide either the Union or the CSA through the civil war. You control finances, politics, the armies and the logistics. But what is the state of the game when it comes to all of those?
Politics and Policies
Right now the political side of the game is experienced through policies. These are something that you enact in order to change the form of the country. In effect, they mean more recruits, more money, and a chance to influence European Intervention levels.
Different policies unlock depending on time or previous policies, but unfortunately, the only course of action at the moment is to simply enact all policies as soon as possible. Most of the policies come with some sort of negative modifiers, but they don’t really affect the gameplay in a significant way. For example, enacting longer contracts makes you lose a certain per cent of state support, but in the short and the long term the longer contracts are way more beneficial.
Likewise, policies that affect the economy come with a drawback, but all you want is better bond ratings and more money. The percentage reductions in available manpower or other effects are completely negligible.
In other words, politics and policies need a lot of balancing and work to be done. They do guide the war and the build-up of armies in the game…but as it is in Grand Tactician, there is no other option but to rush through them as fast as possible.
Military and the armies
You can recruit and equip your troops, and as it stands in Grand Tactician: The Civil War Early Access you should do so. Here the balance mechanics are flawed as well, as there is no real drawback to just recruiting every last volunteer you’ll find. Of course, recruiting conscripts does come with a drawback in the form of loss of state support. So you simply recruit all volunteers possible and let the conscripts reinforce casualties without a drawback.
There are some interface issues when it comes to moving units, retreating units going the wrong way, and other minor issues like this, but mostly the strategic gameplay with armies functions quite well.
So if you’re looking to invade the North or the South, your experience with Grant Tactician will be great. The armies more or less fall under your command, and the AI can do a bit of this and that as long as it has supreme number. But there’s a bit of an issue with all of this…
Performance and Optimization Issues
If you have the latest of the latest? You’ll run the game just fine. One, two or three-year-old computers, not to mention gaming laptops are going to have issues. As the armies expand, so does the economy and the data and information that the game runs with. This starts to cause issues, which naturally shows up as lag and staggering.
Many of these issues have to do with optimization. Even a novice can notice that there’s just too much going on, and plenty of issues that could be fixed with a bit more precise coding. For example, an army that has several corps is enough to bring the interface to a standstill. Upgrade weapons, and the bigger the army the longer the wait between going back and forth with the different screens. Clearly, the system loads way too much data, when I just want to see single brigade at a time.
So if you’re working with a bit older computer it’s best to wait until things get updated a bit more. Naturally, this all applies to the battles as well. Prepare to get a lot of jitter as your battles expand from 40k vs 40k men to 100k vs 100k. Did I say fixes are needed? They are, and hopefully they are coming.
Interface And How to Do Things
The interface is starting to be ok, although there are things that make little sense, and plenty of things that could be easier to do. Optimization or improvements or whatever you want to happen would be a big plus, but as things stand you can do what you need to do in Grant Tactician: The Civil War as it stands…albeit with a few unnecessary clicks.
How would I put this…don’t exist? In theory and on the screen there are numbers here and there, but nothing seems to be connected at the moment. It’s generally accepted that everything as regards to this is under work.
That said, one significant recent change was the amount of fatigue untrained vs. trained troops can take. This alone made the whole game feel completely different. So just because some parts are lacking, doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been a great deal of work done in other parts.
Funding an Army in Time of War
Just set everything to maximum and enable all policies to get more money. Because you need that money to support the army. Though, I am not entirely sure if there are any serious disadvantages to not having the money.
If your bond level drops too low you can’t recruit any new units. But by the time that happens you’ve already recruited everyone, and there are few easy policies to get it back up.
In other words, the economy is a bit broken. Not to mention that the AI doesn’t seem to care at all about it either.
Final Word – Is Grand Tactician Early Access Worth Buying?
Yes. It’s not gonna get any cheaper, and if US Civil War grand strategy titles are what you’re after, you won’t be finding anything better. Even at its current early access state.
So, the reason not to buy now is to wait for the product to be complete. The reason to buy is to perhaps have a say in what that complete product looks like. All the basics are there, and you can even play through the whole campaign. Optimisation and updates are still needed before the game will play out great every time. We do like what we see so far, and the next update is most likely to improve things even further.