Goblins of Elderstoneby Aethyna Feb 23, 2023 | 1 Votes | 73 Played | 0 Reviews
People Also Played
Goblins of Elderstone is a strategic village builder where you’re in charge of managing, defending, and developing your goblin clan’s newly-established village. Customize your game the way you like and do your best to make sure your goblins survive to see the next year. Develop your goblin civilization by unlocking new advancements, protect them from hostiles, and take care of any challenges that may come their way.
There isn’t a fixed story in this game. Instead, you get to create the origin story for your goblin tribe on yourself by answering a series of questions using one of the three beautifully drawn cards given. From there, you’ll then continue furthering the story until your tribe’s final demise or lack thereof.
The game also has plenty of encounters that come with mini-stories you can enjoy. These usually pop up pretty randomly as you play.
Before you start any game, you’ll get to create your goblin tribe’s origin story first. To create the story, you’ll need to answer a series of questions (alignment, path, magic, and enemy) by choosing one of the three beautifully drawn cards given. Every decision you make, at least for the first three questions, will also add a specific Deity to your Pantheon. You will end up having three Deities in total that your tribe can and must eventually worship at the temples you build to gain nice perks and to avoid being penalized for losing faith.
You’ll also get to randomly generate the map you’ll be playing on – there’s no way to individually adjust the parameters of the map, except for the size – as well as the name of your village. There are three map sizes in this game, namely small, medium, and large. Once that’s done, you’ll move on to setting up your clan and fill it with “starter goblins”. From the list of 16 goblins of varying traits and stats, you’ll need to pick a minimum of 4 goblins (the maximum is 10) before you can start playing.
Out of the minimum of 4, one will become your clan’s leader and another one will become the clan’s breeder a.k.a. the leader’s wife (has to have the opposite gender). Note that the game allows the leader to have up to two breeders to really bump up the birth rate, but if you don’t have a lot of goblins to start with, you simply can’t afford to have two breeders. This leaves only 2 goblins to do most of the heavy lifting around the camp which would make things a lot harder for you right from the start. Personally, I’d recommend starting with a full troupe of 10 and if the game feels too easy for you, you could always start a new game with fewer starters.
Of course, when choosing the goblins, you’ll want to go with the youngest – goblins can only live up to the ripe old age of 35 – just so they would stick around long enough for your clan to have enough new babies and eventually workers to replace the deceased ones. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for goblins with positive traits and avoid those with negative ones.
Lastly, in terms of stats, it mostly depends on which alignment or path you chose. If your clan is more War-inclined, then you might want to have a bit more goblins with a higher combative stat (red color). If Trading (or anything commerce/production-related) is your thing, then you’ll want goblins with a high yellow bar. Lastly, if your clan is more Faith-aligned, then the white-colored Faith stat is what you should be focusing on.
That being said though, I’d recommend getting goblins with mostly higher “Trading” stat (yellow bar) for start with a few goblins with high combative and faith stats respectively. This is because as with any village builders, you’ll need to set up a self-sustaining village first before you can really do anything else – this means having enough food and supplies to fuel your people as well as the growth of your village and its population. Goblins with the “trading” stat works best here since most production-based buildings prefer these types of goblins, allowing them to perform more efficiently.
The last step before getting into the game proper is to customize your clan’s banner and to place your village center. There is quite a palette of colors available here. You also have plenty of choices in terms of the insignia you’ll add to your banner.
Placing your village center is very important in this game since it’ll affect how easy the start of the game would be as well. You’ll want to choose a place where it’s easy enough for your goblins to access and harvest three of the main resources you’ll need at the start, namely food (berries), trees, and stone. Naturally, you’ll also want to avoid setting up right next to danger spots like graveyards or worg dens.
In this game, there are these “elder” resource nodes that will spawn their respective resource nodes around the “elder”. This, in essence, guarantees an unlimited amount of those resources for your villagers to collect. However, the spawns do take some time to refresh and your needs may eventually outpace the rate of resource regeneration. What this usually means that it’s probably time to find new nodes to collect from. Some resources, such as berries, can even be affected by the season. For instance, berry bushes will not produce any berries during winter, so you’d better have a whole lot of them stocked up before the chill hits.
As mentioned before, the main way for you to get new goblin peons to staff your buildings and work is by increasing the birth rate. As long as your birth rate is more than 1, your village’s population should grow. However, if you’d like to have more goblins faster, you’d want to consider having two breeders and trying to get the birth rate over the 2.0 threshold.
There are other ways that could help, including worshipping certain Deities whose perk includes higher birth rates, though this depends which three Deities you already have in your Pantheon and which of them you’ve decided to worship at your temple. The goal here is to eventually worship all of them, but it’s best to start with just the one. Note that you can have your priest perform a variety of rituals and ceremonies at the temple to bolster your clan’s Faith rating, but since each action is tied to a chance of success, with the maximum being 70%, it’s best to wait until the chance of success increased to a high enough percentage before attempting a Faith-boost.
Who you choose as your breeders and leader will determine the stats your clan’s offspring will have. Having both a breeder and leader with high Trading stats will typically mean that you can mostly expect babies with a high-ish Trading stats as well, but of course, there are still outliers. Traits, on the other hand, are completely random and don’t seem to be inheritable.
As your population expands, your people’s needs will become increasingly complex. From wanting delicacies like frogs to needing proper clothes, if you do manage to supply your people with what they request for, you’ll be able to increase, or at least maintain, your people’s happiness. Happier goblins translate into more productive workers, so this is something you’d want to bear in mind.
The cycle of life doesn’t just applies to babies – as you already know, goblins can only live until they are 35. Deceased goblins will need to be taken care of by the priests at the temple or they will return as zombie goblins in the winter and attack your living goblins. The jobs previously held by the deceased will also need to be filled, manually by you, but it may take you awhile, especially once you have a pretty sizeable village, to find that specific job vacancy.
Goblins of Elderstone isn’t a cozy, relaxing village builder though! The game features enemies and you’ll be required to assign at least some goblins to defend your growing village. Depending on the difficulty chosen (note the Threat level when you’re choosing your map), the game will spawn enemies, mostly reanimated dead goblins from gravestones at first, every few days usually at night. These spawned enemies will then make a beeline towards your village. There are also portals that may let in various enemies once you’ve progressed far enough.
There are ways you can reduce the number of spawned enemies eventually, such as training shamans to purify gravestones, but enemies will still be spawned even if not from these typical enemy-spawning markers.
It's also interesting to note that each of your goblins have their respective reputations and the reputation they get is linked to the jobs they are assigned to. For instance, a peon who does most of the scavenging and building work has zero reputation while a town watch (a.k.a. the village’s guard) will have a reputation of 30. Changing a goblin’s position from a high reputation job to a lower one will result in lower happiness. The goblin in question will complain about it too.
Besides managing and safeguarding your growing village, the game will also hurl some challenges as well as aid your way. In terms of challenges, there will be the occasional Encounters where you’ll be given a scenario and several decisions to choose from. Thankfully, the consequences of your decision are clearly indicated, albeit in percentages so there’s still a chance you might end up with an undesirable consequence.
In case you have an excess of one resource and urgently needed another, the traveling merchant is definitely a lifesaver. You can sell off your excess stock for gold and then use that gold to buy what you need. That being said, the merchant won’t always be visiting your village so you can only make use of his services if he’s present.
Now, as fun as Goblins of Elderstone may be, the game is still in early access and hence, there are still plenty of room to improve. For starters, the AI pathing can be further optimized since at the moment, scavengers will travel insane distances to gather frogs or other resources, even if it meant putting themselves in danger. This can be easily fixed by giving the player an option to select work areas for scavengers so the goblins won’t venture too far.
As your village developed into a sprawling fantasy-styled “metropolitan”, the cracks in the game’s current design will become increasingly more prominent. For example, replacing the deceased every few days may not feel like much of a chore when your village is smaller, but when your population is big enough, you’ll start getting deaths – yes, multiple of them - every single day. Having to manually replace each deceased goblin every day start to feel a lot like micromanagement.
The graphics in this game look cartoonish and the colors used for both the buildings and the environment are quite vibrant. The day light cycle and the various seasons in the game are also done well, letting you know what time of the day and which season it is without having you to check the little clock-calendar device in the top-middle part of the screen. The goblins look mostly unique from each other and they are so adorable too!
In terms of sound, the game opts to focus more on the more realistic ambiance rather than having a background music for most of the village-building gameplay. However, that is not to say that the game has absolutely no music or sound effects. To the contrary, the game features a fun little tune whenever an encounter pops up, and the thumps of some drums whenever there is a notification worth your attention. Besides sounds of the various activities that are happening around the village, you’ll also get to enjoy the unintelligible chatter of your goblins as they go about their daily lives.
All in all, Goblins of Elderstone is a very promising early access title that offers a fairly refreshing village-building experience. The game is designed to be rather challenging, with the expectation that you’ll want to restart a new game once you’re familiar enough with the gameplay to not lead your clan into ruins. However, that is not to say that this game is entirely flawless. As an early access game, Goblins of Elderstone still has plenty of room to improve, including its AI pathing, the lack of important information and tooltips, an easier way to have available goblins replace deceased ones, and more.
So, if you love cutesy village builders that offer some amount of challenge, Goblins of Elderstone might just be a game you’ll want to keep an eye on!