Fallen Enchantress might be considered something of an apology letter as much as a game. Stardock Entertainment's strategy/fantasy role-playing game mash-up attempts to make up for the disaster that was 2010's
At its heart, Fallen Enchantress is a turn-based 4X game in the tradition of the fondly remembered
You can safely ignore most of the lore, however, and concentrate on the gameplay. Everything breaks down to lingering enmities between the good-guy Kingdoms of Men and the bad-guy Empires of the Fallen in a post-cataclysmic world most distinguished by elemental shards that serve as generators for magic. So: good, bad, spells, swords, cities, monsters. You don't really need to know anything else.
There are two ways to play. You can either choose the story-heavy Fallen Enchantress scenario that sets up the gameworld with a look at all the factions and main players, or go for sandbox challenges. The latter is the real meat of the game, where you pick a pre-rolled sovereign or whip up one of your own, and then sally forth on a custom map with selected opponents and general game conditions. The complexity can be overwhelming at first. While there is a tutorial, it skimps on a lot of details and leaves you with more questions than answers, so you need to play the scenario first.
The scenario is quite different from the sandbox mode of play, but it's invaluable because it leads you by the hand for a good while by cutting down your options and giving you a tight focus with simplified quest objectives and a well-written story to follow. It's just too bad that this isn't outlined more clearly in the main menu; there are no clues that this scenario features so much on-the-job training. Jumping from the inadequate tutorial straight into a custom game without checking out the scenario first leads to a fair bit of frustration as you immediately encounter all sorts of options that the tutorial never touches on.
Starting slowly is necessary, largely because the game has a tremendous amount of depth. The scope isn't quite the same, but there is a lot of
From these early beginnings with one city, you expand across the land with outposts and satellite cities. Each new city can be established with a different purpose. You might have a town that comes with a bonus to the area of control it establishes, a conclave all about scholarly pursuits that buffs research, or a fortress that gives a level to all troops trained there.