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Hinterland: Orc Lords combines the city-building elements of a strategy title with the fantasy-themed combat and leveling of an action RPG to form a gameplay mechanic that developer Tilted Mill Entertainment simply calls "Loot, Level, Build." Players begin in a tiny hamlet, located randomly in a fantasy world, and attempt to develop a thriving town by attracting a diverse cast of settlers. Gamers must be wise when choosing villagers, however, because settlers not only help with basic production of goods and services, but they can also be drafted into battle and aid in exploration.
Attracting villagers is wholly dependent upon fame, which players can earn by completing quests for the local monarch, securing resources and magical items, and battling mythical creatures, such as orcs, goblins, and elves. The cyclical gameplay finds players looting and battling in order to gain fame and attract stronger and more productive villagers, who can then help build up the town and aid in future battles. The player character and the AI villagers also level up through battles, meaning simple farmers or blacksmiths can eventually develop into mighty warriors. The ultimate goal is to build a prosperous town and wipe out every enemy settlement on the map. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide