A little backstory first. Jason Rohrer's Diamond Trust of London
was first revealed in 2009, and we were later told
that it would be released during the summer of 2010.
Unfortunately, that release window came and went. It later came to light that publisher Majesco wasn't really playing ball with the developer, and the two eventually parted ways, leaving the game to gather dust.
Jump to the present and indie-friendly publisher Zoo Entertainment has decided to pick up the title, bringing the project back to life. Now it's finally getting a release on Nintendo DS
after two years of uncertainty.
We were fortunate enough to get a length play of the game this week, and from what we've seen it's very good news indeed that the game has survived.Put your trust in Rohrer
Anyone who has played any of Jason Rohrer's previous games, such as Passage, Sleep is Death,
and Inside a Star-filled Sky
, will know that they're usually a bit 'out there'.Diamond Trust of London
is perhaps one of his more down-to-earth offerings - but that's not saying much. It's a strategy title that revolves around diamond smugglers getting their business done before the UN's Kimberley Process is passed.
Played against either an AI opponent or a friend, the game presents you with a map of Angola, separated into regions with numbered diamonds in them. Your goal is to gather as many diamonds as you can before a specific number of rounds are over.
The action is turn-based, and begins with you dealing your available cash out to your three smugglers. Whatever 'salary' you pay to your guys is important, as it determines whether they'll stay loyal to you or be easily bribed by the other team.Wrap your head around this gem
This is where things get tricky. You can now choose to fly your guys out to Angola, landing in areas where the diamonds are.
You need to also give cash to your men for them to buy the diamonds with. However, if an enemy smuggler also flies out to the same area as your guy, whoever has the most cash on him will bag the goods.
It's not all guesswork. When you have a guy in the same area as an opponent smuggler, you can bribe him for information, such as where his buddies are planning to fly and how many diamonds they currently have.
This is where the salaries come in. If you pay an opponent more than his salary, he'll become a double agent. Of course, your guys can also be bribed, so even when you have secret information you can't be entirely sure that your opponent doesn't have it too.Stay sharpDiamond Trust
keeps you on your toes. A UN inspector always sits in one area of Angola, and either player can bribe him to move somewhere else. Wherever he is, he'll confiscate all diamonds from any players there, and stop players from taking new diamonds too.
To make sure you keep as many diamonds as possible, you can move your men back to England to deposit whatever they've collected, and also stop them from being bribed - however, this takes up a valuable turn.Diamond Trust of London
is incredibly complex and had us scratching our heads several times, but once you begin to get the hang of the game it's wonderfully tense stuff.
It still doesn't have a release date, but we should be seeing a launch some time in the next few months.
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