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Video Game / Clockwork Empires

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A management game from the creators of Dungeons of Dredmor.

The player takes on the role of the overseer of a colony of the Clockwork Empire, setting out to distant lands in search of fortune, fame, and fortune. The game can described as Steampunk Dwarf Fortress meets H. P. Lovecraft.

Compare Stonehearth, a Lighter and Softer, more straight-up fantasy and a good deal less Lovecraftian game in the same vein as Empires.

Provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: In order to prevent your citizens from going crazy you can build them taverns and provide them with booze. They also have a social action "Drink due to sadness."
  • Artifact of Doom: you find those if you dig too deep. Analyzing it in a laboratory may drive the enterprising scientist crazy or turn them into a fishperson.
  • Burn the Witch!: If you let the word get out that you've found something occult, you might get a visit from the Anti-Paranormal Investigators. They do less investigating than purging.
  • The Computer Is Your Friend: Le Republique Mechanique is headed by l'Auto-Dictateur—an Analytical Engine that actually has an AI. The Empire's technocrats must be seething with jealousy as we speak.
  • Cool Train: the Czar of Novyrus is mentioned as constantly traveling in a "fortress-train".
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of the Holy Cog, effectively the Empire's state religion. And as the name suggests, clockwork and industry—not merely to make life demonstrably easier, but for their own sake—are practically sacraments. There's a dark(er) side, though—some of Gaslamp's usual extra-long weblog tags are suggesting that the Cog itself is a facet of some sort of Eldritch Abomination. One guess what this could presage.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Expect to see a lot of Victorian era-style classism and jingoism (not Victorian era-style racism or sexism, though); in fact, one weblog entry stated that the game was not going to play down most of Dickensian England's vices. Not to mention that phrenology is not considered pseudoscience in this setting.
  • Dug Too Deep: Very possible. Even if you're breaking up rocks on the surface.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Can show up if you're not careful in dealing with your citizens' antics.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Due to Deliberate Values Dissonance of the game's pseudo-Victorian values, classes are highly stratified to the point each classes (Lower, Middle, and Upperclasses) would require separate facilities and accommodations with providing them that are beneath (and sometimes above) their station would cause negative moods. Also no ascension of social ladders exists in-game as of now.
  • Fell Off the Back of a Truck: some of your citizens (those with criminal background, like convicts or defecting bandits) will offer you "perfectly legitimate" goods that "fell off the back of an airship". Accepting them will not escape the attention of particularly upstanding (or nosy) citizens, which may lead to some dire consequences, like your Prestige taking a huge hit or the would-be snitch offed for knowing too much.
  • Fish People: These sometimes come out of the water and attack your colony. If you kill them or harvest their eggs for caviar, they get angry and attack more frequently.
  • Firewood Resources: basic wood resource is depicted as a pile of three logs.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: There's rumors that the Queen has gone some sort of insane, forcing her ministers to keep her penned up within the palace and issuing orders on her behalf.
  • Hegemonic Empire: This is certainly how the Empire sees itself.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: "long pork". The fishpeople (and your starving colonists of particularly low moral fibre) will eat it raw, but you can order your colonists to cook it. Or bake it into a pie with a cartoon "dead" face on it.
  • Just Think of the Potential!: The Times (implied to be secretly run by Eldritch Abominations right under the Ministers' noses) has a habit of browbeating colonies into using questionable technological gadgets that have a bad habit of digging into the wrong places and causing other kinds of quandaries. As the description of the rivers' barely-water-at-all mouths in Polluted Wasteland below suggests, the greater part of the populace has become conditioned to regard the existence of these side-effects as an inherent sign of something good. If you only get this from the highest technology imaginable, you'd better believe the results will be worth a few dream-corrupted homicidal maniacs.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Subverted. While a usual Lovecraft Lite scenario involves taking the basics of a Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror Story and making something more optimistic out of it, Clockwork Empires goes the opposite route by building most of its appeal out of the many ways one's colony can fail as a result of circumstances usually related to Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Those droplets of what looks like blood are actually gibs, as the mouseover will tell you. Quite a feat for a flintlock musket, to say the least. In practice, it's just another thing to clean up.
    Always remember to dispose of errant viscera in a safe and sanitary manner
  • Metagame: When something happens to your first colony, you can keep the same character to start up the next one, retaining all the titles, fame and connections you earned in the first.
  • Polluted Wasteland: To give you an idea of how thoroughly immersed the Empire's homeland is in Industrial Revolution-style excesses, the mouths of the rivers have been described in one in-universe newspaper article as "beloved scarlet effluvia". Yes, it's been confirmed that this means that the rivers are saturated with all manner of pollutants by the time the water gets that far. It doesn't help that official Empire doctrine is along the lines of chopping down every tree, leveling all the land (gorge-filling and mountain-abolishing included), and covering the world with Progress.
  • Sea Monster: Confirmed to attack citizens at docks.
  • Spiritual Successor: Wanted to do for Dwarf Fortress what Dredmor did for Nethack.
  • Starfish Aliens: Obleskians, who are sentient floating stones crossed with squid. The Empire isn't sure if they're a sentient race in their own right or creations of something eldritch, particularly given how they appear in Assemblages. Frequently summoned by cultists of Quag'garoth, their king.
  • Steampunk
  • Stepford Smiler: Why you may want to let the cults be-said variant faith actually cheers up the cult members significantly, leading to better reviews from your employers back in the Empire and a generally better-functioning colony. They also think murdering people they dislike is a perfectly acceptable act, and regularly cause occult troubles with their experiments and rituals.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: There will be an in-game newspaper, complete with angry letters from your citizens (and/or from people back in the homeland who won't suffer anything less than total adherence to the technocratic party line, without any firsthand knowledge of your colony) about anything you do.
  • Succession Game: The game has special support for this.
  • Take That!: Their advertising takes a humorous sideswipe at always-online DRM.
    No always-online DRM requirement, unlike certain other games we don’t want to mention. You know who you are and your mothers are very disappointed.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Nobles, Capitalists and Poets. They demand expensive accommodations and don't do any work. And judging by their counterparts from Dwarf Fortress, further updates will come up with new ideas for those to ruin an enterprising bureaucrat's life.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: But of course. It's simply another element inherited from its spiritual predecessor, Dwarf Fortress. Not only you can have yourself a nice caviar snack from fishperson eggs, but also butcher and eat any fishperson that gets in your way. The latter is fine, as the fishpeople can do the same thing to your colonists.