is great fun, once you get to the point that you can actually win a mission. The gist of the game is that you take on the persona of the ruler of a kingdom; one of four available. There is the Empire, which is much like a human empire of the past, the Mountain Clans, with their dwarves and not-quite-halflings, the Legions of the Damned, with their demonic beasts, and the Undead Hordes, with the requisite, ah, undead. Each race plays completely differently and requires different strategies to master. Although the unit selection is not huge, the utter variety of battles that youíll get into makes up for it. A group that can completely maul one type of enemy will get its ass kicked by another. This game requires lots of careful planning and thought -- unsurprising, considering that it IS a Turn-Based Strategy game.
As the characters fight in battles and hopefully survive, they gain experience. Enough experience, and they gain levels and become considerably more powerful. This makes for the RPG element -- you can decide just who you want to get to fight and what they learn when they level up. This makes for a varying game even with the same race. Itís great fun to experiment with different groups of units, and Iíve found myself making suicide squads just to see how much damage a group could do.
One of the interesting features of Disciples is that as you take over more and more land, the land itself shifts to match your race. And as your land surrounds certain things on the map -- gold, mana, etc. -- you start to gain whatever that point has. It makes for interesting strategy, as you may go out of your way to take over a city simply because they have lots of nice stuff around it. And certain characters can drop Rods that turn the land around them slowly to your terrain as well -- a quick way to get some mana. Itís hard to describe, but the organic flow of your terrain versus an enemyís is just great to watch.
The battle system isnít the best Iíve ever seen, but it certainly does its job. And you wonít really notice because youíll be sweating out each battle in the hopes that your prized powerful units actually survive. This game is a whole lot of fun, damnably hard though it is, and Iíve found myself playing it a lot in my spare time just to watch myself die and die again. I love it, though.