You start off with a few people on an island. They build huts, and start to believe in you. Their belief shows up as a purple ball floating over their hut.
You click on the purple balls to accumulate points (the number in the lower left corner).
You use your points on powers (the list on the left side). Reshaping the terrain to help your people cross to new land costs a few points.
As your tribe expands you uncover treasure – cards which help your people’s civilization grow. Cards like “Flint” or “Felt”. Find 3 Felt, 2 Flint and 2 Wax cards and you can unlock the “Felt tent” advance, which means your people now build bigger houses, with more people, thus more belief.
You click more to drag out land to help your people build more houses, so you can get more people and more belief, so you can expand.
Soon you have so many people that you have filled up the blue population bar at the top of the screen. A heartbeat announces the near imminent transition, and with a ding and a new card your civilization advances further. You’ve unlocked “Wood Huts”. Bigger houses, more people, more belief.
Collect belief by clicking the big purple balls floating all over the houses. Watch your belief score grow into the thousands. Instead of going up by 5 or 25 it’s now going up by 250 or 500 points.
Now you have enough points to use bigger powers than before. Do more stuff, move more land. Click more stuff.
Clear some land of rocks. Click click click.Belief points +35
Chop down some trees. Click click click. Belief points +15.
Your people are now numerous enough to refurbish an altar they found in the woods. They work on it and polish it up, and after some time a fanfare, a new card appears and a new area of the map opens up for more reshaping, more clicking and hopefully settlement by your people, who can build and multiply, giving you more belief points (click “bing” click “bong” click “beng” click “bing”).
The fact that clicking the purple belief bubbles plays Beethoven one note per click is just icing on the cake. The disappointed raspberry the game blows at you when you fail to play the complete sonata (all 458 notes of it) is a tiny bit annoying at first. Aggravating after a few hours.
The scary thing is that the clicking drives multiple reward systems:
- Clicking purple belief bubbles drives the Belief score
- Clicking the land uses Belief, but drives expansion
- Expansion drives new settlements
- Settlements drives more belief bubbles
Soon you are expanding the map in multiple places at once, so if you are bored with clicking on a stubborn cliff-face, you can move over to the old temple you have found and dig it out of the forest so that your people can refurbish it in your honor.
And then a new fanfare announces a new expansion, and you are off clicking in a newly opened area, looking for easy settlements and suitable paths for migration.
The game feeds you new things to click on at a rate that is just enough to keep you clicking. You can see the nearby areas just waiting to be opened up. You just need a few more people to settle before they can start fixing up the altar to trigger the next expansion.
It is frighteningly easy to lose an hour clicking away. The urge to click a few more times before quitting is always there. A click is such a small thing. It doesn’t take much, and then there’s a few more things to click nearby, and that won’t take long.
The coming update should reduce the amount of clicking needed, but I’m afraid my wife will find my desiccated husk still clicking the mouse button if I try it.