Seven Kingdoms is a Real-Time Strategy game, published in 1997 by Enlight. This game puts you into the role of a king of one of originally seven civilizations: Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Norman, Vikings, Mayans or Persians. You build your army, mine and manufacture goods, secure trade routes, expand your kingdom, research technologies... and send spies to your rivals to get information on your enemies or other benefits. There are also monsters named Fryhtans which roam through the lands, who can be attacked to gain money. And sometimes, it gives out the Scroll of Power, which you can use to call forth your civilization's God/Greater Being.
Later on, a patch added another three civilizations, the Egyptians, Mughuls and Zulus, which was later bundled with the game as Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries.
There's also a 1999 sequel named Seven Kingdoms 2: Fryhtan Wars. Gone are the Mayans, Mughuls and Zulus... and the naval option that was available in the first game. Enter new Civilizations in the Celts, Romans, Carthaginians, Indians and Mongols, as well as civilization-specific units (such as Shaolin Monks for Chinese, Ninja for Japanese, etc) and more close-to-myth Greater Beings (such as Amaterasu for the Japanese instead of the generic 'Mind Turner'). The biggest feature, however, is the ability to play as the Fryhtans themselves, giving a new gaming experience.
The last part of the series, called Seven Kingdoms: Conquest, came out in 2008. It vastly simplified both the distinct features of the series such as spying and diplomacy, essentially removing the ability to win diplomatically, for instance. Moreover, the regular RTS gameplay was primitive as well, and so the game tanked, ending the series. However, the first and second game can still be played via Steam and GOG.com. An HD edition of Fryhtan Wars was later released in 2015.
This video game provides the following examples:
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Played with a twist: Cities can hold up to 99 people (60 in the original), forts can hold up to 18 units (whether Infantry or War Machines, also 8 in the original), but once you reach the capacity, you can just send people off to build a new city or promote a soldier into a General, and begin anew with more forces.
- Artifact Title: The game started with seven playable Kingdoms, but a patch added three more. SK2 ends with 12 in total, but subverts the trope by claiming that there are now seven kingdoms... of Fryhtans.
- Charged Attack: In the first game, the Japanese, Vikings and Mughuls have power attacks that only occur after a certain amount of time constantly attacking.
- Crossover Cosmology: Qi Lin, Isis, Mithra, Amaterasu, Thor... to name a few of the Greater Beings.
- Thor already appeared in the first game. Kukulkan (spelled as Kukulcan) was the Mayan Greater Being in the original game, and when the Egyptians debuted in Ancient Adversaries, they also had Isis.
- Deus ex Machina: By the second game, the Greater Beings can give you unpredictable miracles.
- Excuse Plot: Basically, your empire has been ravaged by civil war and the Frythans, and you must reconquer everything.
- Scenarios mostly work like this. You were given the background of what caused your current condition (like why you start out with super low reputation, or how your King is fighting his last stand alone), but that has no bearing to the gameplay. Just go conquer the region or fulfill the winning condition from that.
- Fake Difficulty: In the second game, human kingdoms need money to build buildings and war machines, train enemy troops, pay workers, pay maintenance costs for war machines buildings, and hire mercenaries at inns. The only three ways to make money are to tax your towns (which gets you a few pennies), have a mine and factory to manufacture goods to sell, or kill things. Thus if you can't find a clay, iron or copper deposit to build a mine on, you're going to constantly have to send your troops into combat to make money to keep building up your forces.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: How to get the Greater Beings' help.
- Historical-Domain Character: Oda Nobunaga is one generic Japanese hero unit. So are Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Achilles, Alexander the Great, Minamoto no Yoritomo, Cu Chulainn, Guan Yu, Ramesees II, Genghis Khan, etc for their respective civilizations. The catch is that some of them had different spellings that either makes sense or a result of "Blind Idiot" Translation (Guan Yu becoming 'Kuan Yu' actually felt like how he's actually spelt, but Tokugawa Ieyasu becoming 'Tokugawa Leyasu' is... well...)
- Horny Vikings: As usual, the Vikings, they also have a special boat for their own, and in-game, you'll be doing a lot of plunders.
- Ninja: In Fryhtan Wars, the Japanese's special unit take form of these.
- Karma Meter: The reputation meter.
- Living Lie Detector: The Phoenix in the first game (Greek's Greater Being), it'll let you know the true selves and potentials of the enemy, including their status as a spy, and it does that by merely existing. Amaterasu in the second game is a toned down version. She can reveal and kill spies, but you have to make her use her ability.
- Luck-Based Mission: A lot of missions are randomly generated, so victory boils down to being fortunate enough to spawn in the right spot with resources or towns nearby.
- The Mole: You can train and send them in.
- Pragmatic Hero: The game is designed to make the player feel as such. You're given a lot of dishonorable methods to win your game. Use them wisely instead of clinging of silly honors, or you'll lose. If you don't send spies, you won't be able to have an advantage in technological advancement or knowing what your enemies are up to, or when facing enemies far greater than you in number, you could've used your spies to turn them against your enemy kingdom. You can tax your people and it will lower their loyalty, but if you don't tax your people at all instead of just moderately, you will lack funds and people would turn against you when you ran out of golds to pay them anyway. Take all those, and the computer will happily throw all those unsavory tactics at your face. The game's winner is usually the one who'd use everything at their disposal to win.
- Samurai: The Japanese units take form of these.
- Save Scumming: Oh yes, you can also abuse this in single player game as anti-Spy maneuver. Dismissing a unit also means executing the spy, if it is a spy. If you are notified that a villager is joining you, there's a chance that he's a spy. If you dismissed it, but he's not a spy, you can reload and not do that, it'll save you from throwing a senseless waste of human life. If a spy suddenly took over your fort, just reload, execute that spy before he does any more harm.
- Another way to abuse this is 'Bribery/Assassination'. If a Bribe fails at a certain price, reload, try a lower price. If an Assassination failed, reload.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: You send spies to enemy forts and you can bribe their generals so they join you. And with enough funds, you can actually purchase an entire enemy kingdom in the second game.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: A failed bribe, though (as in, trying to bribe a loyal general with insufficient money) will result in your spy getting executed.
- Stock Scream: Humans' death scream used the death screams from Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn in the first game. The second game used Starcraft's Marine death screams.
- Superpowered Mooks: Demon hunters and Tanebrae in Conquest. The former hunt demons and cleanse their taint, the latter seek to exploit their infernal magic instead. In practice, though, they're effectively identical on the battlefield.
- This Is Unforgivable!: The computer is set to believe that taking over a fort via a spy is a Moral Event Horizon, so if you take over a fort this way, they will declare war.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: You can make goods from three different resources (Clay, Iron and Copper), and these resources are finite.
- Zerg Rush: In the second game, most missions against Fryhtans give you a few minutes breathing room to take your army and settlers, found your opening town or two and build your first couple of forts, before the Fryhtans send almost all their forces down your throat. Survive the opening onslaught and the rest of the mission will be much less hectic.
- The Bregma Fryhtans in particular are built for this trope, having cheaper and more quickly-trained Crouls (soldiers) than the other types of Fryhtans.