50 Years Game Review

50 Years is a turn based strategy game that is quick to pick up and play. Players choose from one of the 11 factions and then have 50 turns (years) to try to survive by building up gold and resource income while balancing an army. Armies can consist of a variety of unit combinations and can be buffed by buildings and religions.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 30 minutes
Play time so far: 2 hours

50 Years main game screen. currently at year 18, with 16 out of 20 peasants, 3 out of 3 archers, 1 out of 1 druid, and 4 out of 4 swordsmen.
Released May 26th, 2017 by Aleksandr Golovkin

Quick Overview

Major Pros:

  • Quick matches
  • 11 factions
Major Cons:

  • No tutorial
Minor Pros:

  • Variety of build paths
  • 5 difficulties
Minor Cons:

  • No control of unit placement
Victory screen saying you survived for 50 years. daily special, normal, egyptians. daily battles completed 1.
The Egyptian faction replaces the scouting mechanic with the ability to build using faith instead of gold

In-depth Review

Playing a round of 50 Years can easily be accomplished in 30 minutes. There are 5 difficulties, with higher difficulties taking slightly long only because they requiring more thinking. On each turn the player selects units and buildings to buy with their resources (primarily gold, but also wood and faith). Buildings cap the number of allowed units of each type, while food caps the overall number of units. Peasant units produce gold while all other units fight in the battles that occur every few turns. Battles are played out automatically, following the same unit movement and attack patterns for both enemies and allies.

Automatic combat being carried out between two factions. The battle is about mirrored with 9 different types of units in action.
Melee units moving automatically get stuck on each other and don’t target the enemy’s back line

There are 11 factions to choose from, each with a special effect. My favorite was the French, whose units do not fight to the death but instead retreat if they get low on health. I found this most useful with some of the healing units, such as paladins and the health buffing religion options. In a normal game it’s unlikely the player will get more than half of the building and religion options, meaning players can replay with the same faction but a different build. I enjoyed the variety of options, particularly the zombie chicken religion, but I felt that some of the factions were better than others.

Choose a new belief screen. One option is highlighted saying: Zombie chickens. each year a zombie chicken is summoned. the quantity of summoned chicken can be increased for points of faith. also plus one scroll of transformation that can turn enemies into chickens.
There are 5 religions with 5 tiers each, they can be mixed for fun combinations

My biggest problem with 50 Years was that it completely lacked a tutorial. While there were good hover text descriptions for each unit and building, I found it hard to evaluate my choices on my first playthrough. The game is picked up quickly, given its simplicity, but on my first run I’d have really appreciated some text boxes letting me know what to expect for each resource and what units would do and cost before I invested in a building for them.

50 Years scouting map showing 6 points of interest, 3 are revealed and now marked empty. They are poacher's camp, foggy swamp, and minotaurs' arena.
It took my a while to understand what scouting was

I was a little disappointed that there was no in-combat user interaction. Combat is played out automatically with the computer choosing where units are placed and how they move. There are some options before the battle starts if the player possesses a few specific items or units, but these didn’t have quite the strategy I wanted. It certainly makes playing a full run of the game go faster though, which seems to be what the developer was going for.

After battle screen specifiying losses for each side. Our losses: 2 archers, 1 hydra, 2 mini hyrdras, 3 knights, 3 exorcists, 3 chicken devils, 12 zombie chickens, and 1 angel. Enemy losses: 6 archers, 3 druids, 16 swordsmen, 1 unicorn, and 3 zombie chickens.
Even some basic tactics, such as targeting ranged units, could minimize casualties

Recommendation

Overall I found 50 Years to be an enjoyable turn-based strategy game. It has a ton of replay value and gameplay is quick. There are also a number of special modes, though not all of them differ greatly from the normal gameplay. Once players find their way around their first game, they can have fun experimenting with all the different build and faction combinations. I recommend 50 Years for players looking for a quick turn-based strategy game with a lot of replay value.

Follow Cthulhu’s Critiques and receive notifications of new reviews by email!