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Stripped of your lands and exiled by the King, it's going to take careful management of your limited resources to defeat the monstrous minions of the Dark Lord Sabellian. Expand your population, increase your lands, wipe out all the opposition and look forward to being crowned King Mildew I.
  • 30 missions to challenge both your combat strategy and resource management skills.
  • Construct buildings, increase the population and make certain that every field yields a bumper crop.
  • Make certain your troops are ever watchful to ensure that your sorry peasants are safe and secure.
  • Protect your villagers, especially the womenfolk from wandering beasts and nocturnal zombie attacks.
  • Use the arsenal of spells at the finger-tips of your wizards and priests to give you the edge in battle.
~ from the back of the box

Peasants must have had it hard in the middle ages. Warring kingdoms, deadly plagues and zombie hoards are but a few of the dangers they would've faces, at least if Electronic Arts' Beasts & Bumpkins is anything to go by. This classic real-time-strategy from Worldweaver Productions was lost in the crowded glut of such games back when it came out for the European markets in 1997.

It was a busy year for the genre. We had Total Annihilation, Seven Kingdoms and Age of Empires taking up shelf space not to mention the Command & Conquer juggernaut was still going strong with a number of Red Alert add-ons. Even with the might of EA behind it, Beasts & Bumpkins had no chance. And yet, the demo stuck in my mind. It had a decidedly British sense of humour those others did not have, being closer in tone to something Bullfrog might've put out than anything else.

As an exiled Lord named Mildew, you have to restore your reputation and build a kingdom you can be proud of. After a few training missions, you'll receive word that the old King has died leaving a power vacuum in his wake. Now's your chance to take power, but first you need the support of your people. Build up villages, towns and cities from scratch. Feed, protect and train the peasants so that they're happy enough to procreate and increase in size. A size perfect for an army.

You'll periodically get letters which will offer up plot points,
new objectives or hints in how to play the game.

This is done in the usual RTS fashion. Build different structures to alter the abilities of the people while managing resources such as food, water and money. It's a tight balance to get right, and I did find it a little unclear what was wanted of me. I failed a fair few times in the first few missions and my biggest issue was the lack of men. For whatever reason, the farmhands just wouldn't f**k, even with cries of "I need a woman!" or "ooh, naughty!". And with no hanky-panky, there'll be no pregnancies. No pregnancies, no new people. My closest guess is that I tired them all out planting too many crops for them to harvest or buying too many houses for them to build. Yet, if I did not do this, they would complain about the lack of food before dying en masse sleeping under the stars.

It doesn't help that the years flies past obscenely fast. Time is tracked by the seasons and if you manage to satisfy the conditions needed for sex, only one of them will pass before a new-born pops out, growing to a fully grown human by this time next year. Springtime is when you'd want to plant crops to be harvested in the autumn. Summer is just hot, but you can get some building work done. Autumn is harvest season while Winter brings about snow, changing the graphical landscape killing any remaining crops in the process. While the townsfolk will do some tasks on their own merit such as harvest wheat, milk cows or engage in a fight with a giant wasp, they cannot seed their field. You'll have to remember each spring, or store up enough to see you through some light seasons.

The world map will reveal itself as you complete the stages (left).
You can keep an eye on your villagers and resources in the stats screen (right).

Once you have the basics of farming and fornication under your belt, it's time to learn about guilds. There are several factions of which you can assign men to. Only men, mind. Women are left to toil the land and tend their children. The first guild you'll have access to is the Builder's Guild from which members will build a lot faster. Later on, the Footman's Guild will train up basic medieval hard men. With a pike in hand, they will attack any adversary should they come too near.

Footmen aren't your only offensive guild. Archers, Knights and Cavaliers can all join your settlement in later levels. There are also other non-offensive jobs. Mages can cast defensive spells and Priests can heal as well as tidy up the dead bodies and bury them in a cemetery. Should you want more money coming in, the Tax Collector can do so, though he may cause a little unrest if the poor cannot afford to buy bread. No worries if they turn to thievery, the Pikeman will whisk them away to prison.

Some quests are not as straigh forward as they might seem (left).
This challace, for example, is not the one you're looking for (right).

There's a lot to consider keeping your town in harmony, but you will have to step outside and explore the stages to complete a mission. Some have nice, if minor puzzle elements too. One of the earlier stages tasks you with finding the Holy Grail, but you'll first need a key to open up the path through the mountains. When you do, a band of zombies attack and even if you survive, the magic cup itself is booby trapped. Working through them is quite fun, but they do offer a fair amount of trial and error to get right.

Like most other real-time-strategy games, Beasts and Bumpkins can be something of a time sink. You can spend ages setting up a village only for a plague to kill off all your child-bearing women spelling out doom for the town's future. Waiting around for more babies to sprout up takes its time, as does scouting the large map mostly hidden behind the fog of war. While winning conditions are perfectly spelled out for each of the 30 missions, obtaining them isn't so clear. When you struggle to increase your numbers, you do begin to wonder if there's a bug in there somewhere. Alas, there is not. It's just poor decision making.

While Beasts & Bumpkins won't surpass other games of its time, I did find a lot to enjoy about it. It's entertainingly humorous in a British "how's your father" sort of way. I might've scoffed had I paid £30 on it back in the day, but at a budget price - or using the abandonware discount - it's a worthy addition to the collection.

To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses  DxWind and dgVoodoo to run on modern systems. Manual included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 218 Mb.  Install Size: 252 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


Beasts & Bumpkins is © Electronic Arts
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. This is a very unique and fun game to play, it didn't stand a chance in 1997, and even worse no one in the USA knows about it, it was bundled in many demo discs in European and Australian markets.
    We played that demo quite a bit in our house.

    1. It was a packed year for the genre. I think it's undeservedly overlooked.

  2. Awesome old classic.It seems to complain about no CD in drive but thats fine i can select continue but when you select first mission it crashes out and says it has stopped working.Might be because im trying it on Win 7 and not Win 10 ? .Thanks again for all the uploads : )

  3. I realize this is an old thread but this won't work for me. After the Main Menu and selecting 'New Game' it plays a short FMV of the map. After this the screen goes blank and the game just crashes. Any idea how to fix this please?

  4. Unfortunately I am having the same problem. After starting a new game and seeing the island FMV the game shuts down. I used to play this game all the time as a kid :'(

    1. Correction, I just changed the compatibility settings to Win 7 in the Properties menu