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If the likes of card-based strategy games such as El Grande float your boat, then this clever and inventive little title will definitely be of interest to you. It mixes an intriguing concept with some elegant mechanics to excellent effect and is sure to have any card fan hooked from the get-go. The idea here is that the player is pitted against three AI opponents, with the background being that of two factions battling for control of a Renaissance city. A game plays out over eight rounds, with the aim being to control various parts of the city, and while you start out belonging to one faction, your allegiances are likely to change throughout the course of the game (hence the name). Each turn gives you various choices to make, such as adding soldiers, cardinals or merchants, each of which has an impact on your overall fortune, while other mechanics are introduced and which add to the complexity. It's the use of these choices which brings in the strategy as your overall goal is to be part of the winning faction and you're really going to have to think hard if you want to emerge victorious. Turncoat might sound a little complicated to start with, and indeed it might take a little while to get your head around the various elements, but it's here that the real appeal lies. There's plenty of replay value as there's a huge amount of depth on display here, thanks partly to the smart AI but also to the range of options. The visuals and presentation are simple but effective and overall, this is a fine game.
Turncoat (pc game)
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  • Courtesy of Home of the Underdogs revival.