What is Ravenmark?

Ravenmark Mercenaries is the free to play multiplayer turn based strategy game that is the brainchild of Ian Gregory and development team Witching Hour Studios. It is based on the turn-based strategy game Ravenmark Scourge of Estellion, and if the title sounds familiar to you that's because the game has been around on iOS for some time. In fact the original Ravanemark Scourge of Estellion was released back in November 2011. Ravenmark Mercenaries is the sequel to the original. Now arm-chair generals in the know have been waiting on this title to hit Android devices for quite some time, and in terms of multiplayer strategy Mercenaries brings more to the table than your average mobile strategy game.

As the article's title insinuates, Ravenmark has its roots in actual tabletop strategy gaming that so many geeks are fond of. That being said, it adds a level of depth that rarely translates from the table to pixels (see Warhammer). The leap works so well mostly because Ravenmark has stayed true to its roots with its digital equivalent playing much like you would expect a miniature-based war game to play. Ravenmark: Mercenaries also features tons of brigades for players to choose from, each with their own strategies, capabilities, and back story. A game with this much depth could end up being overcomplicated but I can tell you this is not the case. It's one of those games that you can pick up and play in a manner of minutes but spend years discovering the strategy play style and brigade combinations that work best for you. So what's Ravenmark all about?



Ravenmark is tells the story of Estellion, a dominant empire on a world called Eclisse, which loses its Emperor Sergius Corvius. If you know anything about history, the death of monarchs often bring chaotic power struggles and that's exactly what happens with Estellion. Ravaging mystics known as the Kaysani decide to take advantage of the great empire's situation and invade the territories of Estellion. After the events of the Scourge of Estellion, Mercenaries picks up with three major nations battling in a huge conflict with various other factions and smaller nations. It's storyline covers a tripartite war between the aforementioned Empire of the Raven: Estellion, The federation of Varishah and the Commonwealth of Esotre.


As you would expect there are several parts that make a strategy game complete and Mercenaries has all those basic pieces.

Each turn in the game is divided into two separate phases. Players issue up to six command points during their Command Phase. Once these commands have been issued, the Battle Phase occurs and this is what makes the game interesting, as all commands are issued in real-time according to initiative. During this phase, all units and formations make their moves as assigned by the player and the AI. The order in which units move is decided by their initiative value. The higher the initiative, the higher the command's priority during the Battle Phase. Faster units, such as the cavalry, move first on the table of units. A tiebreaker roll decides which of similar units move first. When all units have completed their commands and the smoke clears the results are calculated, the turn ends, and the next Command Phase commences. Rinse, repeat.

The units are what make the game interesting. I will tell you from experience there is a lot to be said for positioning and actual placement and movement of said units. Each unit is assigned an element - either infantry, ranged, cavalry, pole arms or support, and each element has a different strength or weakness against another. These units go together to comprise the game's brigades. Units with similar elements can be combined (and separated), and there are tons of strategic options to win the battle. Some brigades come with a commander who has special abilities and each player is given control of a standard-bearer who moves about the field buffing his respective units. The standard-bearer's survival can be key to the battles as well. If he's killed it drops the morale of your forces. As you advance through the ranks both you and your units can be upgraded and customized with various upgrades. These upgrades increase the attack, defense etc. for each of the units and unit types under your command.

All in all Ravenmark: Mercenaries is one of the deepest strategy experiences you can get on Android. The game is free to to play (ad-supported) and allows you to use IAPs to purchase some content. No worries - spending cash is not something that has to be done to progress through the game and gain the service of the various brigades, and the ads can be removed by spending a little coin. The IAPs have balance. In fact, Mercenaries is so well balanced that pay-to-win isn't really an option and that's a good thing. Anyone who researches the individual brigades' capabilities and practices is on virtual equal footing. The Asynchronous PVP works really well but the game also has a campaign where players can complete contracts (some through battle and some through sending brigades to deal with menial tasks across the empire) and earn coin for brigades and rank up their commanders.



Community is important to the survival of almost any multiplayer game and Ravenmark Mercenaries has it in spades. I've been playing the game as a tester for quite some time and I can tell you the players (virtually all on iOS at the time) are friendly, helpful and welcome Android players with open arms. The development team, whom I've developed a good relationship with, are friendly and responsive and the tournaments are competitive and rewarding. To learn more about this game and its community head over to the Ravenmark Mercenaries Forum. Hopefully my ramblings have sparked your interest. If so you can find Ravenmark: Mercenaries on Google Play for the price of zero. Feel free to tell them I sent you. Also be on the lookout for the first game in the series Scourge of Escellion which will also be heading to Android. Stay tuned for more from Witching Hour studios. I hope to sit them down for an interview soon.

Google Play Logo
Ravenmark Mercenaries is available for free in the Play Store​