Fear Equation is a turn-based horror strategy game where you play the engineer of a modified freight train, built to protect its occupants from a deadly fog that brings their nightmares to life. Survival depends on analysing passengers' dreams, crafting defenses, upgrading, scavenging and resource management.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (42 reviews) - 76% of the 42 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 15, 2016

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Includes 3 items: Zafehouse: Diaries, Deadnaut, Fear Equation


Recent updates View all (9)

August 17

Fear Equation v2.0.2 - Custom passenger improvements and Linux build

As of this update, Linux players can now experience the nightmarish joys of driving through the fog-filled apocalypse of Fear Equation! Plus, a special treat for custom passengers.

Fear Equation has been updated to version 2.0.2! This patch marks the release of the Linux version of the game.

While we can only officially support Ubuntu 12.04, the game should run on a variety of distributions. A Linux technical demo is available if you'd like to check if the game is compatible with your setup: https://forums.screwflystudios.com/index.php/topic,890.0.html

We've received a number of requests from players asking for a full, customised allotment of passengers and as of 2.0.2, this is now possible! The custom game screen has been tweaked to support up to 150 player-made passengers.

Finally, we've added five achievements based on the mysterious Wanderers. Time to harness the power of the fog for your own ends...

The changelog for 2.0.2 can be found below:
  • Added: Fear Equation is now available on Linux. Please note the game is only officially supported on Ubuntu 12.04.
  • Added: It is now possible to have up to 150 custom passengers. The passenger tabs have been replaced with a list that can be sorted by name, occupation and priority.
  • Added: (Steam only) Five new achievements based on Wanderer interactions.
  • Fixed: A typo in the beacon report.
  • Fixed: An issue with Wanderers as carriage leaders.
  • Fixed: An issue with passengers being killed while attacking a Wanderer.
  • Performance: Optimisations to SMAA (anti-aliasing).
  • Performance: Small optimisation to bloom effect.
It is recommended (but not required) you start a new game after updating, as saved games may not be compatible between versions.

4 comments Read more

June 6

The Screwfly Collection - get all our games for 15% off!

Love Fear Equation? Why not grab The Screwfly Collection containing our other games, Zafehouse Diaries and Deadnaut? Complete the set and save 15%!

We've just released a special discounted Steam bundle containing all three of Screwfly Studios' strategy titles - Fear Equation, Zafehouse Diaries and Deadnaut.

About Zafehouse Diaries: Stuck in a remote, abandoned town, you must lead five survivors with conflicting motivations, fragile relationships and fiery prejudices to safety from the roving undead.

About Deadnaut: Lead a squad of Deadnauts as they explore, investigate and fight their way through the derelict ships of dead civilisations. Every mission is unique and no two locations are the same.

If you enjoyed one, there's a great chance you'll love our other games and there's no better way to own them all. In addition, you'll save 15% compared to buying them individually.

Interested? Check out The Screwfly Collection here!

1 comments Read more


“It works brilliantly as a train simulator. It's a great roguelike. It's a fantastic real-time strategic action game. This game is better at multiple genres than many games dedicated to just one genre are. I cannot recommend this highly enough.”
Many A True Nerd

“Fear Equation is easy to understand from a mechanical point of view but very hard to master, a video game that can evoke a lot of ideas with a few screens and plenty of data while giving players the freedom to solve challenges via trial and error.”

About This Game

The world is covered in fog. Most who enter the fog disappear, and those who survive say it brings their nightmares to life.

No-one knows where it came from, but they all have ideas. Some say it's an experiment gone wrong, others believe it's divine judgement. And you? All you know is that the Sun is rumoured to shine just over the horizon.

You are The Engineer. You have designed the perfect system: a train, sealed off from the fog, ready to rescue survivors and take them to salvation.

If only they'd listen...

Fear Equation is a turn-based strategy with rogue-like elements where you must take control of a modified freight train in an end-of-the-world scenario. The landscape has been overrun by a thick, deadly fog that manifests the nightmares of those inside it. Your survival depends on tactical planning and careful resource management.

As the Engineer, you'll need to rescue survivors, analyse their dreams and build defenses to protect them from their own imaginations. Complicating matters, passengers have their own theories as to how the fog was created and will form inter-carriage factions based on their beliefs.

Every game is unique and you can customise your Engineer to dramatically change how the game is played.

Your passengers bring their nightmares with them. When the fog attacks, it will make their worst fears come alive. Read your passengers’ dream logs to help prepare defenses.

The train needs resources and there's only one way to get them: send your passengers back out into the fog. Listen to radio broadcasts for hints and equip your scavengers well. But don’t stay too long because they’ll disappear into the fog.

Passengers will group into four factions based on where they think the fog came from. Different factions are associated with different nightmares, skills and concerns. You’ll need to maximise their talents, handle their disputes and meet their needs.

Create your own Engineer with special modifiers - both good and bad - that determine your individual train's starting conditions, overall difficulty and the different courses the game can take. Personalise your Engineer further by importing photos of yourself (or others) for use with your character.

Populate your train with passengers of your own design using the custom passenger creator. Name, vital statistics, occupation, factional tendencies and influence can all be modified. As with Engineer customisation, you can import photos from outside the game to give each passenger a life of their own.

Explore a richly detailed 3D cabin and interact with computers, train controls, maps and consoles. All interaction points feature an in-game manual so you’ll never get lost.

With squabbling passengers, limited resources and wandering foes including the cult-like "Fearless" and powerful military, the fog might be the least of your concerns...

About Screwfly Studios

We're a two-man developer based in Australia, dedicated to creating deep, innovative strategy games for PC. Fear Equation is Screwfly's third title; its previous games Zafehouse: Diaries and Deadnaut are also available on Steam.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 or 10
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 / RADEON R7 250X with 1GB
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 950 MB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Mid-to-high performance NVIDIA or AMD graphics card with 1GB RAM
    • Storage: 950 MB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Mid-to-high performance NVIDIA or AMD graphics card with 1GB RAM
    • Storage: 950 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Other Linux distributions should work, however they are not officially supported.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mostly Positive (42 reviews)
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37 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
72 of 76 people (95%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
9.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
Fear Equation is excellent - one of the finest roguelikes I've ever played, and an early contender of one of my Top 10 Games of 2016. The biggest thing worthy of praise is the depth of this game - I still feel like I've barely scratched the surface. Between micro-managing supply raids, fuel consumption calculation, monitoring radio chatter, social engineering in the carriages, tense diplomacy between factions, monitoring dreams, and power management, this game is huge. If you like deep strategic games, you should get this.

It's also a spectacular example of story-telling and atmosphere - throughout the game, you stand in 3 spots in 1 room, and the world feels big and epic and real. You feel terrified for the fate of little blobs on a radar. You feel scared because people you never see might not like you - or like you a bit too much.

It works brilliantly as a train simulator. It's a great roguelike. It's a fantastic real-time strategic action game. This game is better at multiple genres than many games dedicated to just one genre are.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.

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45 of 58 people (78%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
After about an hour of playing this game I can safetly say I know how the game is going to progress.

So what is Fear Equation? Fear Equation is a horror game set aboard a train, what role do you play? You are the engineer! Or well I guess the guy who runs the entire train aswell, you are given certain areas to view things and interact such as the notebook which is where you will decide who does what via a lottery (Which I believe you can rig so only certain people get chosen) and upgrades, Defence building and Dream Logs. There is a computer which you do all the scavenging from and listening to comms. The front is where you man the train and decide where to go, if you stop the train and turn of the Throttle the battery will drain and if it runs out the entire train will go dark and depending on how long it's out for will depend on how many people disapear and never return, you however are completely safe. The back of the train is where you sleep and hope everything will be Okay!

One part you have to study dream logs and then counter possible threats depending on how many people are having said things in their dreams with defences such as barricades, heat etc, you have no other control over what they do. You can increase power to their carridges though I haven't found a use or problem for doing so as the tutorial seemed to just stop abruptly which in a sense is good as what's scary about a game when you know how to do everything. On the computer you will do scavenging which is similar to Dreadnaught except you only plan what they do and how long and then sit back and watch, make sure you have enough time as if the fog rolls in and they are in there then people will start disapearing and never been again. You use resources from that time in the next day where you build the defences and upgrades etc.

--Is it Scary?--
I'd say there's more tension than actual horror in this game, there are some creepy scenes you will see at night through visions of sorts but nothing that will make you jump out for your seat (Though I haven't died or hopefully not seen all the scenes yet).

--Custom Game--
This is a mode where you can choose from either preset cards with their own settings or create your own Engineer with custom or preset profile picture, you decide how hard or how easy the game will be, think the fog gets dense to fast? Choose the slow fog modifier. Think getting upgrades for something is too hard? Get it full upgraded. Think upgrading make the game to easy? Block the ability to upgrade. You can choose multiple ones to properly define your experience.

I'd say for the Current price it's worth it, there's a lot of content and even custom which I haven't checked out yet but I will and update this review later. I give it a 9.5/10 For being a very unique and fun experience.

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27 of 30 people (90%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 17
I have to say, Fear Equation is my favorite of Screwfly's games. It blends the people management from Zafehouse: Diaries and the mission systemd from Deadnaut, without being super sophisticated. The learning curve is small, and you get the hang of things very quickly. It is very difficult, even with some of the easier engineers (engineers are the person you play as). I was a little hesitant at the beginning worrying that it would be too complicated and I would want to stop, but worked through my first few days on the train, got the hang of it, and was sucked into it for hours (And then died, customized the passengers as my friends, and started again.)

As usual with Screwfly games there is a cool customization feature, where you can create your friends, family, and yourself as the engineer of the train and see them all show up. When creating a passenger it is pretty simple and straightforward, and includes ways to increase stats like choosing their occupation. There is also a pretty wide variety of portraits the game comes with for faces of your custom passengers, or if you're really into it you can put your friends' actual faces into the game folder and use it in-game. Lastly on the custom passengers there is a three question sheet that determines what faction that passenger will usually be in, and how influenciual they will be to other passengers in their carriage.
You can also customize you engineer, the portraits are the same and you can choose different atributes for your engineer that will make the game easier/harder.

I would recommend this game to most everyone, and I hope you enjoy playing.
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27 of 32 people (84%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 17
I didn't take a shine to Fear Equation straight away. It seemed relatively simple and I wondered where the "game" was.

However, I wanted to give it a chance, if for no other reason than being sick to death of games that focus on the "immediate" attention grab at the expense of depth and longevity.

I'm glad I did! I makes me think of things like FTL or Magic: The Gathering, where it's not about a big single thing that takes you to victory, but small advantages over the long run that get you over the line.

Kudos to the dev. In this day and age where most games are all about "Get their attention, get them to spend money then who gives a ♥♥♥♥ if they like it long term" Fear Equation is unique and refreshing.
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26 of 32 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 17
Sure its a bit annoying that they dont have a save function for this game yet. But then again. Still in development.

Honsetly this game brings out the inner tactician in you, Plannin every move you make and always valuing risk and reward. Things can get nasty. FAST.

I only recommend this game to patient people who like a bit of micromanaging.
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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
28.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
Complex, Intriguing, Frustrating yet Addicting to those who enjoy a mental challenge involving psychological and tactical aspects! A unique take on survival strategy simulation games, Fear Equation blends micromanagement and turn-based strategy into a challenging and enjoyable game. There are a few issues that I have found, but it hasn't detracted from the overall experience; I would recommend this to those who enjoyed the Myst series, enjoy micromanagement and tactical planning as well as the thrill of horror themed gameplay.
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15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 16
This game is on to something fantastic. All the base concepts and ideas of it are rock solid, new, and refreshing. But for all the fresh and fantastic ideas, the game falls short in execution.

You own a train in a world plagued by a hellish fog that causes peoples nightmares to become deadly reality. You are chugging your way from place to place finding survivors and trying to reach a final destination point. You are in the engine room of the train, and have outfitted it to be perfectly immune to the fog and the hellish things that come out of it. Sensibly, you never leave your room.

You are tasked with a number of duties. You are the god of this little salvation train, and as such, call absolutely all of the shots. You need fuel to keep it running, food for all the passengers, and upgrades to the train to make it more efficient and well defended from attacks. All of these things require supplies. And you certainly aren't going out there to retrieve them. Your passengers are. You decide who goes out, and you decide how they approach their smash and grab tactics of looting places of everything useful before the pseudo-sentient fog gets too thick and swallows them up. In addition to this, the game has a reasonably in depth citizen management element. Your passengers will form cliques and factions with other likeminded passengers, and you need to keep them happy enough that they don't come smash through the door of your cabin and kill you. On the other hand, you could be such a benevolent and skillfull leader that they start more or less worshipping you, and will outright murder other passengers that don't share their fanatical devotion to you.

Where the game falls short is a simple lack of involvement and lack of true choices. Most "days" in game feel exactly the same as the one before, and very dull. You direct passengers on what to upgrade, and then go to sleep and see if the ship gets attacked. If it does, you do absolutely nothing about it. It's just a matter of how many defenses against that type of attack you have constructed in the past that factors in to the results. You wake up, read the report on how the attack went, and repeat the same steps. choose upgrades. Go to sleep and see if you are attacked.

You do plot the course of the train on a map though. And make informed decissions based on things you're hearing over the radio. However, you rarely have much in the way of any real choice. A track is a straight line, so you only really have two ways to go. And back tracking is virtually never worth it, as the fog is always worse behind you, your fuel is limited, and you've probably sacked the locations behind you already. So you go forwards. The tracks branch here and there, but even if you make an effort to upgrade your radio heavily to improve your intel on the map, your choices are still pretty much nill. At any given branch, it's almost always a dead obvious choice. One route is clearly superior to the other. Even if by some miracle, the options are almost equal in details, the obvious route is the shorter one, since your fuel is a limited commodity.

The most interactive and intriguing part of the game is the loot and rescue operations you perform at stops. You direct your team of 5 passengers that you hand picked yourself, based on their skills at smashing and grabbing, on whether to be a guard or a looter. and on the floorplan of the building you mysteriously have on hand, you direct them where to go guard or loot. You have estimated amounts of time it will take them to do it. And you know how long you have before the fog rolls in and starts eating people (you got a degree in engineering AND occult weather phenomena apparently). So there's some risk/reward here, where you can choose to really push those time estimations tight for longer looting time, or make a clean safe run where they have a good bit of breathing room, but possibly less loot. There's definitely some thought to go in to this. It's almost overwhelming your first time, though that is largely due to an obnoxious UI. But like the rest of the game, it quickly becomes extremely obvious. And this is largely due to lack of details and lack of involvement. All you know is the layout of the building, the names of the rooms (kitchen, bathroom, storeroom, etc.), and how long it will take when you send person X to do their job. Generally what you will find in a room is obvious where applicable, like a kitchen containing food. But the vast majority of rooms are basically a piniata you whack at and see what comes out. Storeroom of a bank? Ok? Bathrooms? Lounges? who knows what you'll turn up from those places. The worst oversight of the game, in my opinion, is that once you finish planning and begin the operation, you are nothing but a spectator. You watch on your radar as your team moves in and does their jobs, and they radio updates in to you in real time, letting you know if they find things, survivors, etc. But you yourself do nothing at all. Unexpected issues basically don't exist. Occasionally "The Fearless" will be on the map and wander it trying to attack your team. But ultimately, there is no point watching any of it. Because you can't do anything. Despite the radio beside you, you can't call out a change of plan. You can't call Billy back and tell him to abort because there's a fearless wandering right in to his room. Billy just stays in there and loots mindlessly until eaten. And you just sit and watch on your radar like a sick weirdo.

This part of the game was really its chance to shine. But it falls short. This was a chance to get some solid gameplay in that had actual decission making that wasn't obvious. You shouldn't know everything about these buildings that you do. And at the same time, you should get more details as the operation proceeds. If it was a bit more like a RTS mini game, where you are revealing more of the map as you direct your team through the building, searching for useful items, telling them how to attack things if they are a threat, etc. it would be extremely cool. But as implemented, it's a pretty dull experience after your first couple missions.

The citizen management aspect is equally lacking. They did a great job with the presentation of your passengers, having a sizeable random pool of photos, a good random name generator, and important statstical and idealogical differences between them that will make you want to remember their names and faces when making decissions. Each carriage even elects a leader, and the leader can impact the mindset of the others in the cabin. It's really neat. But that great presentation only really makes it more disapointing that you have so little involvement or interaction with any of them. You can't discuss anything with anyone. Choices over social issues do exist, but I've only seen one in a lets play video. I've only played 5 hours, but thats 5 hours with NEVER encountering one of those choices. It would almost be better if they hadn't put so much effort in to making your passengers feel so individualized. It's like dangling a carrot in front of you that you can never actually get.

5/10. Fantastic ideas. Truly fantastic. But every last one of them felt woefully shallow in developement. If these ideas were developed more deeply, and the player had more involvement and more interesting decissions to make, this game would be something very special. But alas, I can't recommend it.

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18 of 23 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
14.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 16
Very "different" and relaxing game. you never have to react to something. i enjoy this the most when doing short sessions. i could imagine it might become repetetive if played for couple of hours in a row.

its the 3. game of this dev studio, and all 3 games are very unique and hard to compare to other games.
while they definitly not a "must have for every gamer", but hidden gems and one of a kind

a must have if your looking for fresh ideas
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19 of 27 people (70%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 21
First off let me be clear that Fear Equation is an interesting idea, but I’m just not happy with its execution. I wish there was a better system in steam then just yay or nay? Because this game kind of leans closer to the middle then being outright bad.

That said it has some problems that need to be ironed out but can, and probably will, be fixed.

1. Mrjihun pointed out the save problem has been explained. Thanks Mrjihun!

2. After the fog attacks give me a summary of the damage that occurred. Lack of information isn’t just damaging to gameplay, it’s also boring in a game that is all about information and the decisions you make.

3. Fuel needs to be much more common because a “Hail Mary” should be a last resort when the random number generator really messed you up, not something you do regularly.

4. I understand the limitation to only sending five passengers out at once to scavenge for both technical and story based reasons. That said what I don’t understand is the mission team not bringing everyone you meet onboard the train, or as the “driver” my having the option to revisit a location to grab supplies they skipped out on the first trip. I admit I may have missed key details about how missions work but I remind you of the tutorial problem for any error on my part with this criticism.

5. The game feels generally vague and brief about everything it tries to explain. That said at the same time much of what I little I actually do feels like it’s largely out of my hands, and decided by the random number generator.

This game like previous Screwfly Studios games is all about information and decisions. The problem is the information I am given regularly doesn’t feel exciting or interesting, which the same goes for the defences/upgrades I am building, or the passengers I am managing. The first exciting thing to have happened to me was when the train was attacked by the fog, but a lack of details about what happened made it very anti-climactic. The next exciting thing was reaching a town after six long days of skipping time, ended up being significantly less interesting then searching a house in Zafehouse diaries, when it should have been at least as interesting.

I suspect it gets better when you have a larger train population so you can actually get faction intrigue. But the trip to get there is too boring and devoid of interesting things for me to do to be worthwhile. However considering Zafehouse Diaries again, I didn’t particularly enjoy that game when it was first released either but the developers made significant strides to improve it afterwards. So this review maybe entirely useless in six months, but for now I can’t recommend this game.
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17 of 25 people (68%) found this review helpful
17.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 15
Overall, a visually beautiful, slower-paced game that reqiures you to manage the resources on the train, assign passengers to carriages based on their factions to prevent internal conflicts, and build defenses against the fog. Once you reach a destination, you can send passengers out to search for items/food/fuel, either through a random lottery or by rigging the lottery to send your stronger passengers.

It's not a reactive game, like Deadnaut, instead you plan ahead and then watch it executed. Personally I prefer this style, but I tend to like management games anyway.

For few tips from my few hours playing:
*Pressing TAB skips to the next phase (Lottery, Orders, Work, Guard), and also helps you fall asleep quicker after you've clicked on the bed.
*If the train is moving don't bother doing the lottery, just keep an eye on which day you're planning on arriving at the next town and only use the lottery then. Just TAB passed it to Orders.
*Don't allocate too many orders. I was confused at first, but the greyed-out boxes in each carriage page are the orders they are working on. Too many ongoing orders increases your chaos level, so stick to one or two until they're done.
*When scavaging, you attract less fog if the engine is off. Turn the engine off by taking the throttle down to zero (to the left). But beware: if you run out of battery power when scavaging you might find some of your passengers that weren't scavaging have died.
*Increasing the power to a carriage seems to make them work faster/more efficiently.
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Recently Posted
16.1 hrs
Posted: August 22
I. Love. This. Game.

It's one of the few games that can truly be called "eerie" - it's not a "horror" game, but it's gentle pace has fear riddled throughout. It's difficult enough to have you trying again and again to reach that final destination.

Screwfly has made a ton of great games (Zafehouse Diaries is fantastic), and this game is no exception to that... dare I say it... train. ;) All I can hope is that this wonderful studio gets more and more recognition as time goes on! Thanks, Screwfly!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.4 hrs
Posted: July 31
this game is broken. every single time i send some out to scavenge, (if you even get that far) they die and theres absolutly noting you can do about it. this game is not worth the money, trust me this game should be worth 5 bucks. its not just this game, zafehouse is terrible too (you cant even save in zafehouse) they make cheap games and drive up the price. ive seen better flash games. dont buy.
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17.0 hrs
Posted: July 4
Frustrating, especially because you cannot save during the day. And a day can be long.

The immersion is low because multiple generated persons can have the same photo and there is no interaction between the people other than some random chatting at the end of a scavenger run.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.3 hrs
Posted: June 29
Fun game, in depth!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.8 hrs
Posted: June 26
Good game if you like to be in control but still run a risk of lossing it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
24.9 hrs
Posted: June 18
Fantastic game. Even though you never leave your compartment at the front of the train, it maintains a sense of tension throughout. While I'll admit it gets repetitive towards the end of a game, the moderate to high difficulty means that decisions can make or break an otherwise great run.
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Paladin ELFethari
9.5 hrs
Posted: June 18
Scroll back up now and press add to cart
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6teSLR | The Canadian Raven
15.5 hrs
Posted: May 19
This game is really good. I've played Zafehouse Diaries, which is made by the same people but this game is much more refined. I recommend this game to anyone that likes strategy games.
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The Bush pyro
6.9 hrs
Posted: March 31
Choo Choo
Helpful? Yes No Funny