Patron PC Review

The town of Patron wasn’t built in a day, and may not be complete in even a century.

By Fragnarok, Posted 19 Aug 2021

Patron is a medieval town building simulator from Overseer Games. Unlike other titles in the genre that focus on the day-to-day lives of villagers, Patron instead zooms out on a macro level and has players plan for decades, centuries, and maybe even further. This means a settlement will easily grow from a small hovel to a sprawling metropolitan city center - or collapse into decay somewhere along the way. Backed by a larger kingdom, the fledgling town will need to survive harsh weather, random circumstances, and a growing population.
 

Patron|Overseer Games|City Builder
 

When starting off a new game players can freely customize a map’s size and potential terrain. This can include presets like valleys, archipelagos, or even building near a volcano. Each map type has different resource ratios; a heavily forested zone may have trees, but perhaps less access to waterways. On the other hand, a mountain set will have plenty of rock and iron, but not much plant life. Where a village starts will dictate general strategy, or if a settlement simply won’t make it through the seasons.

Once arriving at the destination, players will start with a simple townhouse and ragtag group of citizens, some adults, and others children. Immediately, the village will need three key resources: food, shelter, and firewood. Players will have some reserves of these, but the rest will need to be produced. Buildings like gathering shelters and lumber mills only have a set radius of how far of a distance employee will work the land. If say a quarry is built around trees and water but no stone then it will produce nothing. Likewise, if workers collect all of the available resources in an area then one will need to wait months or years for those to regrow naturally. This makes it very important to position buildings to have 100% or even higher efficiency.
 

Patron|Overseer Games|City Builder
 

It is also key to select job positions, as unstaffed buildings will not produce anything. This requires both posting jobs for specific roles like carpenter, fisherman, herbalist, and more; along with assigning where in town the jobs are located. For example, even if there is a need for five guardsmen throughout the settlement, without selecting the specific towers these citizen patrols might all cram into one building instead of spreading out. Additionally, outside of specific professions, Patron highly suggests keeping at least four generic “workers” who will freely construct buildings and haul goods. In fact, without this minimum amount, the game will continually ping an annoying warning message to assign more.

While all of this may seem urgent for building a successful town, Patron is instead an incredibly slow and easy-going game. At the default speed setting, it may almost seem like the game isn’t moving, as workers will traverse at a snail’s pace and not seem to produce anything. This is because game time is mostly measured in months and trying to observe at an hourly or daily pace can feel like poured molasses. There is a function to quickly speed up to times two, times five, or times ten speeds. Those looking to actually experience the fruits of their labor may find themselves in the quicker speeds often.
 

Patron|Overseer Games|City Builder
 

One downside of the initial slow speed is it can be hard to realize one has made a huge error or fell into a trap dozens of hours ago. For example, the game urges new settlements to quickly build up tents to protect citizens from the elements. However, these tents lack almost all of the benefits a sturdy house has: upgrades like more space, heat insulation, and more overall taxes coming back to players. Other times it can be poor planning for upcoming seasons. One might decide to use a surplus of lumber to make more luxurious buildings, only a year later for the population to freeze to death from lack of firewood.

As the years pass, players will also unlock access to greater systems that help define the village. First is the extensive research tree. By spending different resources like gold or tools, new skills like ice fishing or budgeting can be gained. Research is also how new buildings are gained, ranging from markets, churches, bakeries, and more. Additionally, players can issue decrees from the townhouse, such as social changes, tariffs, or government propaganda.
 

Patron|Overseer Games|City Builder
 

There is also the factor of random events. The country’s king may provide free supplies or demand extra reparations for a period of time. With a more prosperous village, newcomers will arrive to visit or live. But, not all immigrants will be perfect; some may cause negative effects like lowered safety, changes in the town’s religion, or added expenses. Additionally, private homes occupied by both adult men and women are likely to eventually produce more children (this seems to not trigger with shared public living spaces). At this point, players will need to have good schools and means of raising these youth, or the next generation of workers may be lackluster.

Patron’s aesthetic goes for a natural and authentic look, but that can often make it hard to parse what is happening in the world. Blankets of snow, muddy roads, and other harsh weather can easily obscure surroundings and make it very difficult to spot landmarks. Buildings and villagers also don’t stand out, which can make it hard to gain any attachment to the town. Additionally, many of the game interface visuals blend in too well with the terrain, such as building blueprints camouflaging among a forest or lush field.
 

Patron|Overseer Games|City Builder
 

Patron is great for city builder fans that absolutely like the planning and early elements of starting a town. The feel is naturally geared towards lots of paused and slow gameplay. However, those that are more likely to play simulations in fast-forward mode will find Patron agonizing to wait through. Regardless, the first few actions in Patron will typically cement the fate of the potential town.
 

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Patron

70/100

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Overseer Games
Developer(s): Overseer Games
Genres: Simluation
Themes: City Builder, Medieval, Government, Survival
Release Date: 2021-08-10

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