Frogmen are no match for Knights. Dragon Warriors obliterate Magic Hunters. Demon Knights are decimated by Magicians, but those same mages are absolutely shredded by musket-wielding Buccaneers. Oh, and watch out. Wild armies of Wyverns, Skeletons or Forest Elementals could ambush you at any time.
These are the kind of lessons one learns when playing Generation of Chaos. Fancy-pants armchair generals would describe it as a fantasy-based, tactical warfare simulation. Normal folks would say it’s basically the board game Risk, but with armies made up of dragons, wizards, knights and so on. You’re a general/ruler sort of person and your whole world is just entering into a massive, Lord of the Rings -scale global war. Your objective is to basically win it.
On a board game-style world map, you shuffle your armies of beasts, men and in-betweens around, buy new killing gear, fortify castles, recruit new forces and so on. Whatever you do, it costs you activity points. When you’ve used all your points, other generals on the map take a turn.
Amid this tactical maneuvering is the warfare itself. Each battalion has 29 units, all of the same type, and one leader. The strategy comes from the rock-paper-scissors relationship that the unit types have with one another, the formations and tactics you choose, and each leaders’ super-human special powers. These abilities actually often break the balance of the game - the power to trigger an avalanche or rain hellfire down upon enemy forces tends to overshadow any decisions about formation, unit type match-ups or aggressiveness.
Another problem is the vague and basic manual. It's nice that the game is deep and tactical, but the manual's lack of detail makes it bewildering and overwhelming as well. Finally, you’ll be dealing with a lethargic pace - everything seems to take forever, from loading to spell effects - and also with units who often lack the brains to navigate around one another on a flat, empty battlefield.
The art itself is gorgeous, and the concept of a fantasy war game rocks - hardcore players would think us uninformed if we didn’t name-check the awesome Sega Saturn game Dragon Force as an example of this idea done right. But Generation of Chaos is too chaotic and takes an entire generation to play. Most folks will opt for something faster and easier to love.