Update #1: Tilted Mill released a patch for Hinterland tonight. Steam should auto-update your copy. Changes follow:
* Pet dragons now move at the proper speed
* Score modifiers for the difficulty setting have been rebalanced
* When playing on easy, the maximum difficulty level of an encounter has been lowered
* When playing on difficult or hardcore, enemies will work together more frequently when they fight you
* Fixed several issues relating to random chests, the way they were distributed in the world, and King’s requests for items in chests
* Audio loading moved from pre-game to scenario creation (may fix some audio driver conflicts, improves game start time)
* Fixed an issue with some versions of direct 9.0c in particular installations of Vista and DirectX 10 that would cause crashes on start-up or when loading
* Switched to starting in windowed mode by default (may fix some crashes on start-up)
* Fixed minimap corruption at higher resolutions
* Fixed a rare infinite loop in scenario creation that caused a lock-up on starting a new character
* Fixed an issue with the game resizing fonts more than necessary (may fix some crashes, particularly upon changing to full-screen mode)
Update #2: I finished my first game tonight. So that’s what? Three evenings of playing probably 60-90 minutes to finish a game on Easy (I think I chose Easy…maybe it was Normal).
Overall I’d give the game an 8 out of 10. A replay might change that score: it’d be interesting to see how the experience differs with bigger or hard games. Most of my gripes ended up being user error, and I thank the folks who commented here and set me straight on those.
My remaining gripes have to do with the end game. There were times when I just had to let the game run to generate gold. There were almost no enemies left on the map (so no raiders) but the ones that were left were too tough for me to kill, so I need to do some upgrading, which meant I needed gold, which meant just twiddling my thumbs waiting for my coffers to fill. By the end of the game I had two rows of Craftsman at various levels of upgrade just generating gold.
It’d be nice if I could sell excess food, or just turn a farm or herder over to generating coin; that’d just make for some variety. You can order Craftsmen to do Research, but I never found a way to see what they’d discovered, other than switching them back to creating items and seeing what popped out. And if there’s a way to “level up” your townspeople, I didn’t find it. Maybe they level up by adventuring with you, but I left that until late in the game, so I was level 6 or so, the things I was fighting were 6 or 7, and my townsfolk were 3. In those circumstances, 3 is very squishy!
My town had a dragonmaster by the endgame, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to take the dragon out adventuring without also taking the dragon herder, who was a very low level person, so I just left ’em both back in town. So that’s another puzzle.
But these are all pretty minor concerns/questions and overall, I’m quite pleased. It’s worth keeping in mind the game was $20, and I already feel like I got my money’s worth. It’s one of these games that gives you a score when you’re done, and I’m looking forward to going back and trying to beat that score next time.
It’s an interesting combination. I’ll be crossing my fingers for expansions or a Hinterland 2, because they could really expand the game in many interesting ways.