Founder’s Fortune Review

Train and raise colonists, build and customize a base, and trade or fight with other factions in Founder’s Fortune.

Format: PC via Steam
Play time so far: 27 hours

Founder's Fortune. Viewing a 7 person colony in the springtime. Colonist Viola Hansen is currently selected and her relationships with the other colonists are displayed. Including her natural tendency to dislike colonist Archibald Ziegler.

Released Dec 18th, 2020 by Oachkatzlschwoaf Interactive

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Train, gather, build
Major Cons:
  • Late-game grind
  • Weak replayability
Minor Pros:
  • Colonist lifecycle
  • Skill trees
Minor Cons:
  • Minor glitches
  • Lacks some polish
Founder's Fortune. Professions information for colonist Maria Luther. The only skill she has levels in is Doctor for which she is level 6. She has unlocked the skill tree abilities for Medical Potions, Flu Treatment, Applying Splints, and Master Outfit, although Better Flu Treatment and Splint Master are still locked. Other skills visible are Farmer, Forester, Miner, Craftsman, Scholar, Soldier, and the level-less Builder profession.

Skill tree for the Doctor skill

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In-Depth Review

Founder’s Fortune is a colony-based simulation game. Players train their colonists, build a base, and manage resources, all while trying to keep their colonists happy. There are 7 skills in the game that colonists can gain experience in over time. Instead of merely gaining levels and getting faster at the related tasks, colonists unlock skill points in a skill that can be used to unlock related abilities, such as using better equipment, new resources they can produce, or improved success chances. Using these skills colonists will gather a number of resources to use for feeding the colony, building the base, and trading with other factions.

Founder's Fortune. Marvin Wagner and Karin Jacobs have had a son, the player is prompted to accept the name Kilian Jacobs or choose a new name. In the background, the winter snow is visible as are the portraits of 10 colonists including the new Kilian.

Heterosexual couples can have children

As time passes in Founder’s Fortune, colonists age and will eventually die. Over their lifetime they can form relationships with each other, including fall in love and have children. Children do not take on the traits or skills of their parents, these are instead determined by their childhood experiences. Keeping them happier during their childhood leads to more positive traits in adulthood than negative ones (although these are still randomized) and having them study leads to gaining special skill points that can be spent on any skills when they grow up.

Founder's Fortune. 7 colonists bunched up attacking two goblins using basic tools such as pickaxes and axes.

Combat can be difficult to control because of a lack of clarity of whose being clicked on to attack

Founder’s Fortune has some minor glitches and missing polish. For example, colonist and enemy ragdolls can get glitched into buildings or furniture items may fail to place in a crowded workshop after completing a quest (which loses the item). There are also some missing activity icons (particularly for interacting with animals), inconsistencies between what shows a timer and what doesn’t, and no ability to build over or otherwise bulldoze tree saplings. Many of these can become rather frustrating. For example, when trying to build a house near the woods, chopping down a tree in the way may instantly allow new saplings to spawn, causing the player to have to wait until they’re large enough to chop down so they can finish building. Others are merely annoying, such as explicit timers being available for how long until a colonist passes into their next phase of life, but no timers are displayed for how long until thoughts or quests expire and the progress through the current season is only a visual bar (FYI there are 5 days in each season).

Founder's Fortune. Research tree showing woodworking and farming as the first two research options. Other research includes weaponry, gardening, writing, watering, decoration, masonry, architecture, stone weapons, furniture, and brewery. Colony settings are also displayed in another section of the overlay, showing options for limiting what resources colonists can gather, or letting them freely gather whatever is closest.

Farming has to be researched before the first winter or colonists are essentially guaranteed to starve

After about 15 hours into my second colony (my first one failed in a little more than an hour because I didn’t understand what foods could be eaten raw), I reached what I’d consider the late-game. At this point, the game becomes pretty grindy. Research takes a huge amount of time because all new projects require scrolls which must be acquired from traders. Traders arrive randomly and it’s random if they have any scrolls, and if they do they’re pretty expensive. The colony’s main researcher will probably also be getting fairly old, so it’ll be necessary to train a new one that won’t start with the ability to use the scrolls at all. Keeping colonists happy also becomes time-consuming as their wishes take longer and longer to complete, but don’t make them any happier than easier ones. There are also few activities that make colonists happy and many negative thoughts are random and unavoidable (ex. negative socializing, bad dreams, etc). This makes children very difficult to raise and even if they aren’t made to study or perform any tasks, they will fail to keep themselves happy and develop negative traits. There also aren’t a lot of traits to make colonists feel unique, or different quests or research paths to provide variety to runs, thus limiting replayability.

Founder's Fortune. A nighttime overview of a walled-in base with 9 rectangular buildings, 7 growing areas, and two orchards. Building options include walls, fortifications, floors, doors, windows, and stairs.

A fortified single-story base

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Recommendation

Overall, I enjoyed training my colonists and building up my colony in Founder’s Fortune. I liked being able to see my colonists mature and develop unique skill sets to contribute. However, the late-game became a grind and it didn’t feel like there was enough variety in the run for me to want to play again. There were also some issues with polish and glitches that became annoying. All that said, I feel I got value out of the time I put in and enjoyed discovering all the content. I recommend Founder’s Fortune for colony sim players looking to control and build their colony and willing to forgive some of the game’s roughness.

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