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If you want to understand Massive Chalice, you need to understand XCOM. I don’t mean that lightly. Double Fine’s Massive Chalice has been hugely influenced by Julian Gallop’s seminal 1994 strategy game. It exists as its own game in as much as it has a different name, and you’re controlling people with bows instead of people with guns.
There are differences, of course, and I’ll get to them later, but Massive Chalice’s adoration for XCOMneeds to be kept in the centre of the frame the entire time you’re discussing the newer game. Like XCOM, Massive Chalice focuses on both up-close tactical gameplay and big-picture strategy. It handles the former exceptionally well, far better than it handles the latter.