Six Ages, Sequel to King of Dragon Pass - Cow Economies


#1

EDIT: Six Ages is out on the iOS app store.

For those of you not in the know, King of Dragon Pass is a cult classic town management/roleplaying/diplomacy/cow management simulator game from the far off year of 1999, set in the venerable fantasy world of Glorantha, once (and now again) the setting for RuneQuest, it’s a mythical Bronze Age world where the sky is an actual dome and the sun is a jerk and also dies and is reborn everyday and spells have names like “Dig a Hole Very Fast and Get in It.”

The original game was very unique. You lead a clan of Orlanthi hill barbarians who are settling in the land of Dragon Pass. You appoint a clan ring, conduct religious rituals, build temples, trade cows, deal with the politics of Dragon Pass and other clans as well as those of your own. Sue ghosts, divine the nature of talking rocks, find some ugly guy a wife, raise dinosaurs, do community rituals to send local heroes to the Godtime to bring back divine knowledge and magic for your people!

One of the most unique features of the game are the scenarios. Every few turns a scenario will occur, usually something to do with what I mentioned above. In these you are given multiple options to deal with a number of problems. You can consult your clan Ring, appointed by you (though you are not actually a character and all decisions are framed as consensus, one of the Ring members is the clan chief), in these (and all other) affairs, and they all have their own skillsets and personalities to take into account when considering their input.

A sequel, Six Ages, has been in development since late 2014. It is finally coming close to completion and a short trailer was released not long ago.

Hey look Waypoint’s own editor-in-chief follows their account on twitter!

You can find the original game on Steam, IOS/Android, and GOG. Both the original 1999 release and the Android/IOS update with additional scenes and cleaner UI are on GOG. The updated PC versions have some minor gameplay differences, namely some information that you would otherwise have to work for is given to you from the start. I can’t speak to how much that changes the gameplay experience for a first timer.

The original game did an excellent job of immersing you in this world. When you make decisions you will get immediate reactions if it makes sense, but you are never given a chart of pluses and minuses that show what values changed. You can gauge the mood but otherwise the raw numbers you track make sense: food, goods, cattle, sheep and pigs, pasturage, farmland, woodland, population. You have to put yourself in the shoes of someone from this culture, though that’s less rigid than it sounds. Generally you have to think like a person of influence in a decentralized society of hillfolk who’s primary object of trade and measure of wealth is cattle, and who practice seasonal raiding of one another as a matter of fact. Orlanth says “Violence is always an option,” Ernalda says “There is always another way.”


#2

Very, very excited for this!

If people are curious about King of Dragon Pass, I actually streamed it with Vinny back in my GB days:

Also, I haven’t read it in like 9 years but, I loved this written LP of the game when I first read it. If I had the time to drop everything and reread it, I would.


#3

Well I know what I’m doing for the next week. I’ve had the itch to read a good written LP recently and this sounds absolutely up my alley.


#4

In terms of content, iOS, Android, Steam, and GOG editions of KoDP are the same.


#5

I would honestly argue that the mobile version that was then ported back to PC is worse because as Austin points out at the 29 minute mark of his video they kind of just give you all the information about the myths without making you work for them. For those that care Gog includes the original version in addition to the newer version.


#6

This was actually what I heard about the Steam version now that you mention it. Still well worth playing if for whatever reason you don’t wanna get it on anything else. I never actually payed attention to the extra bits of myths you could reveal myself, I always just winged it based on the personality of the god the myth was about, which was a lot of fun.

I’ve actually never played the IOS/Android update, I don’t think it was on GOG back then, or else I just missed it.

Additionally if anyone wants to play it, I highly highly recommend reading the manual. It will make your life a lot easier; I didn’t and I had several clans disband before I got in the swing of things, it didn’t bother me but I also had a lot of free time when I was playing. On top of that there’s all kinds of little tips that will help you out without spoiling the experience, like:

-DON’T RAID IN EARTH SEASON.

-Explore your tula, as in go to the exploration map and just click on your clan’s name

-Keep priests of 7 different gods on your ring and a priest of your prime deity as the chieftan, even if they have lower Leadership than another option.

Updating the OP with correct information.


#7

The iOS version was ahead of Steam at one point, so you did hear correctly.

I think what @Wazanator refers to is a hint button that shows up only after you have revealed the necessary info, and which has only limited use. I considered it a way to play without having to take notes (like the Saga).


#8

I’m told that the myth reveal might have been a bug in the Steam version. Yeah, that would be bad.


#9

I figure it’s been long enough that I can just talk about Glorantha in this thread now without feeling bad, so I’m gonna do that once I have the chance. For now here’s some art.


#10

I’m bumping this in honor of King of Dragon Pass not only getting talked about on the podcast but having the honor of being the thumbnail - which is maybe the second time that has happened for this game (see the Three Moves Ahead episode,) and am resolving to complete this post about Glorantha I said I’d do months ago and have worked on irregularly over the past couple weeks.


#11

Bump is much appreciated, I had totally missed this coming onto the radar.

King of Dragon Pass is absolutely a game I love to see streamed and played, but is so open-ended that I can never find heads or tails with it. The immersion is so deep that it can be hard to find the surface at times, but I’m very curious about what a version of that game developed for 2018 will look like. I don’t think the original really shows it age (particularly in the newer versions) when it is such a unique thing.

Plus, my, ahem, ecownimics is rather poor…


#12

Kodp is one of the best RPGs ever made don’t @ me


#13

So I am finally in a place where I feel like sitting down and writing about Glorantha and what I love about it. King of Dragon Pass introduced me to the setting so I feel it’s very relevant here.

Some part of me wants to start off with the more high concept reasons I love the thing. What the process of engaging with all the writing out there for it is like, how the story of the world is never dictated, experienced instead through the perspectives of the people and peoples within it, as well as created by you, the player/reader, in your own interpretation and creation of history. There’s the devotion to it’s own mythology, enough at times to inspire something like religious awe in me, the kind of thing that could only be written by someone who had an idea of mythology and the sacred being intensely important in their own life and the world at large.

But on some level that’d be dishonest! That’s not the sort of stuff that can be noticed at first blush, and it’s not what initially hooked me. What got me interested in the first place was just how different it was, drawing more from mid-century anthropology especially WRT to ritual, comparative religion, 70s California stoner humor, New Age paganism, The Ulster Cycle, the Vedas, and The Epic of Gilgamesh etc. than Tolkien’s mix of Fallen-Earth Catholicism, medieval/early modern pastorals, and Beowulf or Gygax’s much more American world fueled by colonial ideology, owing so much to R.E. Howard’s racial fantasy and Jack Vance, as far as big old settings with lots and lots of material go. It draws from some of those wells too but to different conclusions that fit within it’s mytho-historical, participatory framework.

The importance of the humor here as an early thing to appreciate can really not be understated, there’s some amount of levity to be found even in the driest and/or most heady breakdowns of histories and beliefs. The writing for Glorantha in general is pretty humorous, though not in a sardonic sense so much as that the bombast and (to us) illogic that you get by pulling from ancient epics lends itself to humor now as it did then. I don’t want to talk in specifics too much, if Waypoint plays KODP. Best to experience some things first hand.

[This post will get longer over the course of this week]


#14

I’m always pleased to see that KoDP is making new Glorantha fans!


#15

We’re still working on the web site, but https://sixages.com/ now has a release trailer.


#16

I picked up King of Dragon Pass back during a Humble sale, and I really wanted to sink my teeth in, but I haven’t really understood how the game works. Can anyone recommend some basic guides or something? I might see if I can find a manual PDF online, too.


#17

http://a-sharp.com/kodp/tips.html might help.


#18

I’d be happy to answer what questions I can you might still have about it, though it’s a game that has more than a few broad strategies that work and I only ever really used one.

I came back here to post a couple images of the game released recently that I thought were pretty - may as well link the articles too.

I also want to officially denounce that post about Glorantha a little further up as pretentious Godlearnerism - I kinda fell into the trap that I see people do all the time of starting off from a point where I basically just have to say “take my word for it,” because that’s not something you can easily illustrate, and I wouldn’t blame anybody for rolling their eyes at the grandiose language there, if that was how someone tried to get me into anything I would too. So I’m gonna try again…sometime. Later.


#19

Six Ages is out on iOS! I don’t own a phone that can play it rn but I’m kinda trying to figure out how long it’d take me to save up for one now.

Apparently the game takes place in the Dawn Age, over 2000 years before KODP does. That’s a big deal for a lot of reasons in Glorantha, reasons which I will elaborate on when my brain is not cooked by 98 degree NC weather.


#20

If I can jump in, it’s the Storm Age. (You would have known this but for 98°F.)