So, you’ve either just purchased Massive Chalice or are contemplating giving it a shot. Great! Despite only being in Early Access right now, this Double Fine production is already a pretty darn engaging turn-based strategy game. Right now the biggest let down is a lack of tutorial. You do get some information at the beginning but most of it feels rather unsubstantial. Most players should be able to pick up tricks along the way. However, start off on the wrong foot and it might be centuries before realizing you’ve doomed yourself. This issue was quite common for me and my hope is to guide other Massive Chalice players off my path to self-inflicted defeat! Otherwise known as, What Not To Do in Massive Chalice.
Ignore Fertility Traits of Prospective Regents
Regents are characters who will chill out in a castle and have children together to give you new heroes. Heroes, rather than money or time, are the biggest limited resource in the game. That’s why it is imperative to create a compatible partnership to yield young, high quality newer heroes to replace the old. The game instructs you to keep an eye out on their traits and personality to ensure that you don’t pass down less than ideal traits (slow, sickly) through the ages. Because of this hint, I carefully read through each item before selecting two characters.
I forgot to look at their fertility ratings. Only after this Keep failed to produce children for years on end did I realize that I had selected someone who was completely infertile. Had this been explained too and simply been ignored by me? Who knows now, but the case remains that you can stick basically anyone into regent status – including folks who cannot yield children. While cool in theory you basically never want to sabotage yourself like this. While selecting the perfect team, please ensure that they might actually be able to bear children or those heroes should best remain on the battlefield with you!
Only Create New Buildings
Early on, Massive Chalice explains the basic building types that can be placed in your kingdom. This is great and all, but once you’ve got one of each type your next goal should be researching for years on end. Research of items will yield new equipment for your party and can help in other ways too. As new heroes are so scarce, you’ll definitely want to invest money in researching adoption. Even when you don’t make the silly mistake of appointing infertile Regents they’re still harder than they should be to come by.
Instead of investing in anything the first time around I simply built buildings whenever possible. As the years wore on, my very powerful cast of heroes were growing old. Seemingly all at once, my grey-haired team died off within the span of a few years. Then I was down to two very weak newer heroes – but they were also pretty old! Could they survive until my first batch of children would finally be old enough from a recent Keep? Nope, but it certainly made me realize that research is integral to late game play.
Rush Your Battles
Every so often you’ll have to fight off the Cadence with a cast of up to five heroes. As with many turn-based strategy games, you’re meant to take your time and plan out steps before initiating them. Some (i.e., me) may find things a bit too slow for their liking at the beginning and try to speed things up. This is the worst idea. You see, every stage is filled with fog of war which only recedes once a hero is close enough to see through it. Of course, if you’re close enough (and an enemy happens to be present) they’ll likely be close enough to lash out.
In the span of one Cadence attack I went from a team of 5 fresh heroes to 0. Instead of planning I sent everyone ahead, all clustered up a space apart. There’s strength in numbers, right? Oh no, not as far as exploding enemies are concerned. One of those fellas simply lunged from the darkness on the right and detonated itself so everyone got hit. One Ranger survived the explosion – only to die from standing in corruptive explodey goo the next turn. Stay aware of the battlefield and never cluster your teammates close together. Also, don’t rush out miles ahead or you might get one too many enemy eyes locked on you.
Be Afraid to Start Over
Even with a host of starter guides and information on your side, Massive Chalice may still deal you a bunk hand to begin with. There may be too many heroes with problematic traits, or ones that simply aren’t generating as many new heroes as you’ll need. Other times, upon the start of a battle there may simply be too many enemies who’ve already spotted you at the start. There are many instances where things can go wrong, so of course every so often they actually will.
When played through to completion, you’ll have to survive some 300 in-game years. This means you cannot keep one cast of heroes throughout, or even usually keep the same unchanging strategy all the way through. You must consider all options, many types of research, and always keep an eye on the end goal. If things aren’t working out correctly then recognize that starting over may yield a far better hand. In any case, you should be far better prepared the second (or third, or fourth, or…) time around.
Massive Chalice is well named. This game provides a massive strategic experience to players who enjoy it. One thing it could definitely use right now is a truly in depth tutorial or included starter guide. Thankfully, the playerbase is always willing to help new players get their bearings. Here’s hoping that you don’t follow in the same misguided footsteps as me! Humans learn from their mistakes (and in my case, it took many mistakes). If this guide helped you in any way, feel free to say thanks in the comments!