There are few puzzle-strategy games that can hold my interest, other than Pong, Breakout, and Bubble Bobble. Yet, War Party has caught my interest with its branching meta-campaign, random encounters, and strategy RPG approach to Tetris-like gameplay.
The rule system is simple enough. There are three unit types: horses, spears, and bows. At the beginning of each turn, both players move their units forward one space. When units meet, they go through a rock-paper-scissors battle where spear beats horse, horse beats bow, and bow beats spear.
The winner takes the spot where the opponent once stood.
To keep things strategic, on each turn players are given two “moves” that lets them shift a unit left or right, which can swap them with a friendly unit. The players can also use powerups, one that gives them four “moves” instead of two, and another that lets them spy on what their opponent is cooking up.
According to the developer’s page, “I want it to play something between a puzzle and a strategy game. If the enemy reorganised itself too much, strategies that run multiple turns would be nullified by what is essentially an RNG.”
The worldmap adds a new dimension to the game. The map is endless, and it’s made of cards that can shuffle. There are randomized settlements on the map, and the players themselves can also advance on the map.
War Party won’t be anything too serious, but so far it sounds fun. According to the developer’s website, “It’s intended as a bus trip or coffee break game.”