Strategy games used to be on the frontline of multiplayer PC gaming. Way back in 1995, CivNet laid the foundations for multiplayer in Civilization, which remain mostly unchanged even to this day, while the original Command & Conquer came with two copies of the game to facilitate LAN play. These series have always let you form alliances, but what if they let you have multiple players controlling the exact same team.
Just picture it: a married couple squabbling over childrens’ claims in Crusader Kings 3; players controlling different states or regions within a single empire in Civilization; or splitting players into agricultural, construction, and military duties in Age of Empires. This kind of untethered, unguided co-op play would force players to constantly communicate and self-manage – a bit like Overcooked, but instead of juggling tomatoes and dirty dishes you’re dealing with entire empires.
The game that’s recently introduced me to the joys – and indeed the frustrations – of same-team multiplayer is Rimworld, or more specifically Zetrith’s multiplayer mod for it. The premise is simple: every player has equal control over the colony, and you just see the faded mouse cursors of other players moving around the screen. Crucially, there’s nothing in the UI to indicate what other players are doing, which means you’ll need to talk constantly to stay in sync and not tread on each other’s toes.
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