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Age of Wonders: Planetfall's new faction is a bunch of angry, sneaky lizards

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Lizards get a pretty bum rap in sci-fi and fantasy. They're almost always angry, bloodthirsty, conniving arseholes, suggesting that a lot of writers have had some really bad experiences with scaly critters. Age of Wonders: Planetfall (opens in new tab) isn't bucking this trend, introducing a new faction of unpleasant lizardmen, the shakarn, in the just-announced Invasion expansion. 

While Planetfall's other factions are just getting their bearings on a new world in a changing galaxy, the shakarn are established conquerors ready to ruin everyone's fun. They want to take over everything, mostly by destroying all the other factions that might get in their way. They're also joined in the expansion by some new NPC aliens, the therians, who  splice their DNA with animals to direct their evolution. 

Along with more aliens to play as or fight, Invasions throws a pair of new campaign maps into the mix, along with a new game mode that tasks players with joining forces so they can take on another player who already dominates the world. Other campaigns and modes will be affected by new features, too, like pirate invasions, superstorms, solar flares and, in the late-game, the threat of a transdimensional army of invaders known as the voidbringers.

In our Age of Wonders: Planetfall review (opens in new tab), Ian Boudreau called it one of the most entertaining 4X games he's played in years, and while I've only played a couple of campaigns myself, I'm still inclined to agree. The tactical combat is great, the units are delightfully weird and massively customisable, and it sports some of the genre's most compelling maps, full of diversions and interesting things to explore. 

You won't have to wait long for Invasions, as the expansion is due out on May 26.  

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.