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Video Game / Slay

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A knight's tale

Slay! is a 2016 Turn-Based Strategy game by Sean O' Connor, available for Windows and mobile platforms. As the commander of a faction on a Balkanized medieval island, your goal is to either conquer or fight into submission the five other factions on the island through capturing hexes on the board.

Each game takes place on an island, with each hex allocated at seeming random (though predetermined) to one of the six factions. The player always plays as the same faction. When more than one hex owned by a faction are connected into a territory, that territory gains gold based on the number of free hexes in their territory. You cannot share gold between territories, so connecting territories is an important strategy.

Territories spend their gold on four classes of men, as well as castles. Each class of man has an initial cost and an upkeep cost; if a territory runs out of gold and is unable to pay their men's upkeep, all men in the territory perish.


Each territory has a hut, which serves as a base. It provides minimal defense and also represents your hoard of gold — if the territory's hut is captured, any stored gold is also captured, and a new hut is constructed. When two territories join, the smaller territory's hut is removed. If a territory is divided or reduced such that one hex remains in a territory, that territory loses its hut and stops collecting gold.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Area of Effect: Sort of. Your units and buildings provide defense to the hexes surrounding their square equal to their own power. To take over a square next to, say, a spearman, you must use (at least) a knight — which is also the unit that can take over a square with a spearman on it.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each faction is a distinct color, so you can identify each faction's territory hexes. Somewhat inverted in the (recent) default color scheme, in which every territory is a maddeningly subtly different shade of green. The previous default scheme, which is still available, gives each faction a very-distinct ROYGBV color.
  • Combining Mecha: Basically the unit upgrade mechanic. To create a spearman, you must combine two peasants. To create a knight, you combine a spearman and two peasants, or three peasants. To create a baron, you combine a knight and a peasant, or two spearmen, or what have you.
  • Faction Calculus: Averted. All factions have equal ability. Map difficulties seem to be based on a better AI.
  • Game Over: Effectively when you have no more territories — remember, individual hexes alone do not count — but the game won't admit it until you have been brutally quashed to extinction. Then it will offer to let you watch the rest of the factions duke it out to the Final Death.
  • Global Currency: Everybody loves gold.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Subverted; while your warriors do gain strength linearly, their upkeep cost are exponential. This makes it hard to maintain a very powerful faction without going broke and losing everything.
  • Not the Intended Use: Castles are very useful at stopping the potentially resource-strangling spread of palm trees. Normally putting a castle on the coast would be a waste.
  • Not Playing Fair With Resources: Downplayed. The map difficulties are partly based on smarter UI and partly based on superior opponent start placement, although each faction starts with an equal number of tiles, not every faction starts with an equal number or size of territories.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: While it's tempting to go straight for powerful units, you will find it much easier to defend territory and be able to sustain such units if you churn out peasants (and later castles or spearmen) just to hold onto land, to collect more gold.
  • Random Number God: Averted. All combat is plainly rank-based. A spearman always beats a peasant, etc. Units of the same rank cannot attack each other.
  • Surprise Checkmate: Because all moves can be taken each turn, including just-built units, it's altogether possible to decimate an opponent in one fell swoop, providing the circumstances are right. Although this doesn't end the game, it can make it fairly inevitable.


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