Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile is a Simulation Game developed by Tilted Mill Entertainment for PC in 2004 as part of their City-Building Series. It also received an Expansion Pack called Alexandria.
Like its spiritual predecessor, Pharaoh, the game is set in ancient Egypt, and in campaign and scenarios it follows the exploits of several dynasties throughout history. You'll get the chance to construct massive Mastabas and Pyramids, battle against other tribes and neighbours, and cultivate the fertile banks of the Nile, to provide places to worship the many Egyptian gods and to give a safe passage to the afterlife to your citizens and Pharaoh.
Children of the Nile radically breaks with established concepts from previous games (such as walkers, apartment blocks for workers or active gods). It was also the first in the series to go fully 3D, but the graphics were found to be a bit lacking. It remains something of an odd one out in the series, but was still appreciated enough to retain an official website until 2020.
This game provides examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: You can incur this if you don't tend to your citizens' demands and needs properly, motivating them to go on strike, protest in front of your palace, and finally leave your city. The loss of your educated workforce can send your city into a spiral, so this is best avoided.
- Ancient Egypt: The main campaign covers the time period from the Old Kingdom to the New Kingdom. The expansion adds an element of Ancient Greece, as Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great.
- Build Like an Egyptian: Often the goal of a campaign includes building certain pyramids for nobles or royals to be buried in. You can also enhance your prestige score by building sphinx statues.
- City Guards: You can employ a force of City Guards separate from your main army. They're less combat-capable than soldiers and mostly go around stopping vagrants, thieves, and protesters.
- Command & Conquer Economy:
- Present regarding construction but minimized when it comes to logistics, the citizens must personally attend to their own needs as opposed to previous games in the series where things were delivered to their doors.
- There is a kind of dual economy as your civil servants get food (money) directly from your distribution facilities, but the rest of the citizens are a private group that have to trade and sell their wares in order to get it. They can scavenge for food if there is not enough, but this makes them quite unhappy.
- A Commander Is You: As in previous games you are the administrator behind the recrutiment, training and composition of the army, but you only get to (tactically) command your troops if your city is invaded. You can strategically decide to invade other cities in the world map, but those battles happen offscreen.
- Dual Mode Unit: Educated professionals can switch between several tasks. Commanders can train the army or lead the army, the navy, or the local militia. Priests have four social roles and scribes and overseers have various censual and construction related modes available.
- Due to the Dead: The afterlife is a fundamental aspect of the Egyptian culture, so your citizens get very upset if there are not mortuary facilities available and your prestige suffers a big hit if a recently dead Pharaoh does not have a magnificent burial site.
- Eye of Horus Means Egypt: The Eye is the game's logo and is prominently featured on the cover.
- Founder of the Kingdom: You found the Old Kingdom in the campaign. Founder of Alexandria too in the expansion.
- Generational Saga: You play as a member of the Royal Family, as a dynasty; when your current Pharaoh dies you keep playing as his heir and have to bury the dead one. Every time a new ruler rises to the throne your prestige takes a hit as your new character is not renowned yet.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Subverted in a major departure from the rest of the series, the gods are not supernatural beings but mere symbols. That's all, no help, no curses, just indirect results; the people get angsty if they can't worship them properly. Some gods are more important than others and their demand is dynamic (e.g people will want to worship Osiris a lot if a flood is expected to be poor).
- Medieval Stasis: The game represents three thousand years of egyptian history exactly the same. The pyramids you're building throughout the game are 500 years in the future in the first campaign mission and 1000 years in the past in the last.
- Mythology Gag: The citizens can occasionally be heard speaking of a golden age when a market lady brought pottery and linen right to your doorstep, as they do in earlier games in the series.
- Non-Entity General: Averted, your character, the Pharaoh is another inhabitant of the city and moves around carried on a litter. He is buried in a specifically designated tomb when he dies.
- Oddball in the Series: The game breaks from City-Building Series conventions like instant construction, active gods, resource-delivering walkers, and Global Currency; limits the city's educated workforce with the Prestige mechanic; and makes the Video Game 3D Leap.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: In a way: Inmortal Cities Children of the Nile, Spiritual Successor of Pharaoh.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The priests provide healthcare, teach students at schools, tend the gods at worship facilities, and provide funerary services.
- Rags to Riches: Most of your citizens are farmers and some even vagrants or muggers, but their families can and eventually will climb up the social ladder if jobs and education opportunities are available.
- Real Is Brown: The game departs from the bright yellow tones and cartoony aesthetic of Pharaoh in favour of a brown environment and lots of brown buildings.
- Ridiculously Fast Construction: Averted in a major departure from the rest of the series. Buildings need bricks and a constructor to be physically present, while monuments need a lot of special resources, workers, and an overseer coordinating everything to have any work done. Then it realistically takes a huge amount of time to build huge structures.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Pharaoh or his heir usually preside over the courtroom and move around inspecting the buildings. The wife and her entourage buys household goods.
- Space-Management Game: Commodity game sub-genre.
- Top God: There are over a dozen gods, but some, depending on the scenario, are more important than others and require greater buildings and complex temples accordingly.
- Urban Segregation: Optional. Ideally, to minimize walking time farmer houses would be placed near the river. The Palace and upper class houses are larger structures usually placed inland over a flat expanse. Shopkeepers and middle class services can be located between the two or placed where needed. Military camps, faraway resources, and construction sites usually need to be supported with a new small neighbourhoods to maximize efficiency.
- Video Game Caring Potential: It is possible to make all your citizens happy. Have your granaries full of food, give them jobs, have good medical and mortuary coverage, keep the city safe with your soldiers and full of places to worship their favourite gods. Add lavish houses for the elite, fancy tombs for the nobles and a courtroom to solve disputes, and they will worship you.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Just reverse some of the above. Strikes, emigration and starvation will ensue, and your city will quickly spiral into ruin as educated workers aren't easy to replace once they are gone.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you neglect your citizens' needs and desires, they'll leave or turn to banditry, bringing your city to a grinding halt and potentially even ending your dynasty.
- What Have You Done for Me Lately?: Your prestige score naturally degrades over time, requiring a steady stream of exploits and monuments to keep your educated elite from packing up and leaving.
- You Require More Vespene Gas:
- Food is the actual currency, and it's very seasonal and erratic at first as it comes from the harvests and the flooding cylce of the Nile. Other resources are gathered locally or traded.
- Prestige is the other main resource as it allows you to employ more educated citizens. It's obtained via monuments, beautifications and glorious achievements.