City Wars is like Risk but without all the strategy
City Wars is like Risk, but without the same level of strategy. It’s a game about domination, taking over city after city, one hexagon at a time. But the frequent battles are so automatic, and so little feedback is given about why you won or lost, that there’s virtually no strategy involved other than ensuring you’re at a high enough level and stocked up with strong units. It’s still fun, but far from satisfying.
The ultimate goal in City Wars is to take over each of the world’s major cities, starting with London. Each city is divided up into a series of hexagons, and to take control of each section you’ll need to fight for it. The combat in City Wars is entirely simulated, so you simply click on a hex tile to see who you’re up against, comparing experience level and units, and then decide whether or not to fight. If you do fight, in a few seconds you’ll learn whether you won or lost and by how much. That’s how it goes for most tiles, but you’ll also come across “dictators,” more powerful foes that need to be removed from power, so to speak.
And this is one of the more frustrating aspects of the game. Unlike regular enemies, you don’t know anything about dictators. Their experience level, what units are at their disposal, it’s all a secret. Which is fine when you’re winning, but when you can’t defeat a dictator and have no idea why, it’s incredibly frustrating. I spent nearly as much time beating the final dictator in London as I did clearing out the rest of the map all together, and I still don’t know what it was I was doing wrong the whole time.
In addition to the city conquest portion of the game, there’s also a city building section. And it’s pretty standard stuff. You build different businesses and homes, which will dole out rent money every so often. Sometimes you’ll enter the city only to find parts of it up in flames, which happens when another player attacks you. This is also where your barracks are located, which is where troops are trained before being used in combat.
The social elements are pretty sparse. You can visit friends to “fix” randomly broken buildings in their city, and sometimes your city will be attacked by a random stranger who you can then attack in kind, but that’s about all there is to it.
In spite of its simplicity and occasionally frustrating battles, City Wars is surprisingly addictive. Even though it doesn’t take all that much thought or skill to win battles and steadily start taking over the world, it’s still a fun distraction. But it doesn’t have that same level of satisfaction that other strategy games do. Taking over a city feels more like an inevitability than anything else, which makes conquest a touch less sweet.