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Warhammer 40000: Gladius – Relics of War

Gladius Prime was known to Imperial scholars as a planet of archeological interest. During its colonization ancient relics were found, revealing hints of a shrouded past. But it was more than relics. Something awakened, an unspeakable horror from an ancient past, and the citizens of Gladius found themselves trapped in a terrible war for survival. Gladius Prime was once a planet of peace. Now there is only war. Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War brings you to a world of terror and violence with the first turn-based 4X strategy game set in the Warhammer universe. Face challenging AI or cooperate or compete with friends and strangers across the globe. Play as one of four iconic Warhammer factions (Astra Militarum, Space Marines, Orks or Necrons), each with their own unique playstyle and technology tree. Explore a randomly generated world filled with special features and threatening wildlife that can crush your troop's morale.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Cons: cost.
Pros: everything else. This is THE BEST 4X combat game. No diplomacy, simpler than in Civ city management, and huge variety of units and sides with real tactical options and paths. The combat mechanics is interesting and more complex than in any 4X game.
But! While the base game is good, the game shines with all the expansions. And it becomes costly to buy all of them. Therefore, we come back with the biggest drawback: Cost. But in some sense you get what you paid for. If they release one more DLC, I would buy it without thinking. I love this game that much.
I play it periodically - play couple of games - break for couple of month to play other games. Then I always come back to this game.

Review from Steam

This game in my opinion deserves better reviews, but at the same time it doesn't.
Here's why this makes sense: if you like this game or not, depends entirely on how you like your tactics/strategy games. Gladius often gets compared to grand titles like civilization, which enjoys a much larger budget and manpower behind it and hence offers more refined UI, nicer graphics and lots of bells and whistles.
This comparison is half right, half wrong. Because the focus of gladius is different. It's the warhammer 40k setting, so no diplomacy, duh. This is a total war game, meaning that anything that is not considered on your side from game start onwards, is an enemy. All you do in this game, and you might hate or love it, is recruit stuff and position it, hopefully smartly, on the map, ever slowly advancing cautiously in hopes of capturing more resource nodes which you oh so badly need to upgrade your settlements and/or build units and of course trying to push back the other human/AI players that creep up on you steadily.
This is NOT a grand strategy game like civilization with combat sprinkled in or like hearts of iron where you make decisions in the grand scheme of things. It's more like an attrition war game where strategic decisions melt into tactics and back again. If you overextend your superior forces and get sorrounded with no cover, you will not find victory today. You first have to carefully plan which "theatres of war" to reinforce and then how to smartly advance. Because the AI is luckily smart enough to punish any weak advance.
If you like that kind of stuff, you'll love it. It's slow paced tactical combat where strategic decisions play a deciding role, mainly because you will need reinforcements and because you have to pick the right battles on the right front. If you're careless, you will absolutely get sandwiched between two factions who, if you had played it right, could have been battling each other with you left to pick off the survivors. You could battle a rival on no-mans land over nothing while you might have pushed into empty territory with precious resources.
The graphics are not great and the UI gets the job done but nothing more. You will not like this game if you're not looking for that special itch to be scratched. But if you got that certain itch, you will feel right at home. The AI is punishing and will not be a goofy very often. Whenever it is, you will be glad.
To loop back to the beginning: this is for you if you like hex-based tactics with overlapping strategy in the sense of research, settlement positioning, unit reinforcements. You can choose between many factions (if you count the DLC) which play quite differently, from orcs which have to constantly rush enemy positions to keep their spirits up to empire guard which rely heavily on ranged vehicles and artillery.
This is not for you if you expect latest graphics, polished UI and lots of different gameplay options like anno 1800 or civ 5 offer. This is a niche game and 4,5/5 stars if you love that niche, and 3/5 if you don't. Still, the game might surprise you.

Review from Steam

I don't review too many games, even ones I probably liked more than this one, yet my experience with Gladius was unique enough I felt like sharing. The core things that set Gladius apart from a lot of 4x games is 1) it's 40k, and 2) it's all about combat. No diplomacy, no truces, just constant all out wars of annihilation. As fun as I find this mechanic now, it frustrated the hell out of me for hours.
During my first few games of Gladius, I restarted within 20 turns. I'd make a wrong move and lose my starting units, or misprioritize research, or found a second city too early, etc. Because the core mechanic is combat, mistakes like that can be SEVERELY punishing, especially when you are new. I would be lying if I said Gladius did not frustrate to the point of near uninstall a number of times before I "got it." But once you "get it," its honestly a really fun game.
With all that being said, here is some advice for new players to avoid my same frustrations:
1. Gladius Prime hates you. Neutral (but very hostile) units are out there and they constitute some pretty serious firepower from time to time. Isolated and beaten up units can pretty easily get swarmed, and the AI is good at prioritizing attacks on weakened units. Avoid separating your starting units and don't try to expand too fast too soon. It is generally better to do a controlled expansion you can hold than a rapid one at the cost of fighting power. Also, neutral entities may not attack you, even if they are in range, but if you attack them first, they will not hesitate to retaliate. Keep that in mind when setting overwatch orders.
2. Resource management is just going to take a few games to get right. Every faction has a different resources they must prioritize, but all have the same general avenue to get them. Cities produce the bulk of your resources so city management and resource management go hand in hand. City management is fairly simple but its difficult to know what to be building. This wouldn't usually be an issue, but the all-combat nature of this game means a few poor turns of resources can be bad-news-bears for your frontlines. Just don't be afraid to restart and learn from mistakes.
3. Research is sort of the same level as resource management. The system is really simple, but it is hard to know which techs to take and when. Again, this just comes down to playing the game, and really a specific faction a few times. Which leads me to...
4. Space Marines. Play the Space Marines. For your first time, there is no better option. They only have one city, which makes resource management a tad easier, as well as having one major resource to deal with (most factions have two). Their units are also generally resilient and powerful, and their ability to use orbital operations makes them a pretty major threat with a lot of flexibility in the late game. For new players I'd recommend playing all of your first games with the Astartes. Feel free to restart if you feel like you are in a bad place, and you'll learn what to do pretty quickly.
A final note is to be wary of the Chapter 1, 2, 3 etc. objectives. While they do give rewards, they tend to spawn a ton of neutral units in your territory which you may not be prepared for. It screwed me up once really bad.
And that's it. After a few successful campaigns and a couple factions I've come to really enjoy this game for all the reasons others have reviewed it for. I found myself, however, quite annoyed by its punishing nature early on, and hope this review will help new players avoid (or at least be aware) of those pitfalls so they don't give up too soon.

Review from Steam

TL;DR mixed review, decent 4X game but a pretty awesome 40K game, feels kind of incomplete without DLC
+ Great combat that relies heavily on terrain
+ Good amount of unit types
+ Mod support
+ Exploration is really fun; lots to discover and lots of danger
+/- Pretty simple in every aspect besides combat, not the greatest 4X out there
+/- The simplicity could be nice for 40K fans unfamiliar with 4X's, but 4X vets may not like this
+/- Strange UI choices
+/- No diplomacy
- VERY pricey, I only recommend this if you're a big 40K fan
- Lots of the cool stuff locked behind DLC, likely the majority of the cool stuff
Would not recommend at full price; If you're on the fence make sure to look into level of simplicity in the research tree, city-building, and resource management. This may make or break it for you, but personally speaking the great combat makes up for it and it's refreshing to be able to focus on the exploration and extermination while only making a few clicks to manage your empire. Just keep in mind you're paying for the setting here as there are a ton of 4X games that are much better than this one, this is a decent 4X game that you likely would not enjoy unless you're into 40K
Buying the game on sale with all the DLC is the best route unfortunately, but once you have all that content it's a solid game. You can get the complete edition on sale for a reasonable price

Review from Steam

It's Civ + Panzer General in 40k. It removes the superfluous fluff of Civilization games and goes straight into war. No alliances. No tech victory. Just war. Effectively, it's a turn-based, hex-based, RTS, which doesn't make much sense until you play it. Games are typically much shorter than civilization and I've actually finished multiple, which I think is a testament to the game.

Review from Steam

This is a great game for everybody who loves Warhammer 40 000.
For everybody else, it gives more combat than Civilization, but nothing special.
It is a combination of Command & Conquer, Dawn of War and Civilization.
On a map of hexagons, with varied terrain, you build and expand a city.
The city can expand it´s territories and can create buildings that produce various units.
The city also can create buildings that collect resources that is vital for creating and maintaining units.
With units you wage war on "neutral" units and enemy units.
Waging war is the central element, but there is also bonus missions that unlocks and gives rewards.
You also research upgrades, special abilities, new building and new units.
The drawback of this games is that you NEED to get it on a sale or else it will be very costly, since a lot of the game is hidden in costly DLC:s
The DLC:s makes you feel like you are playing a game made by Games Workshop, since they are notorius for overpricing all of their products.

Review from Steam

Best ratio of complexity/fun for war 4x for me (dad gamer). I almost never finished Civilization game, because standard civ game requires multiple sessions to finish and it's getting very complex by the end - so I don't remember how to continue, whne I return after few days/week. But I'm able to complete this game on multiple sessions without any problems, because the situation can be quickly assessed after letting game running even for multiple weeks. And it's fun - all those guns and w40k stuff.