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This page collects recent reports on my gaming activities. This complements the GameReviews with some empirical evidence. Which games am I actually playing? Something I have been wondering myself. Right now it seems that I’m not playing much, anyway. RSS Search
A game idea about the First World War. We start with a simple variant without diplomacy. Every country produces a number of soldiers, and a number of guns. Every year you give orders, sending troops here or there. When armies meet, the weaker one falls back automatically until it reaches mountains, woods or a river. There it digs in, increasing its defense significantly.
Instead of moving, armies can dig in, further increasing their defensive advantage.
Losses are computed every year depending on the ratio of attacking and defensive power. Additionally, in winter, losses happen everywhere. Winter losses are grave for any army in foreign territory or any army that has recently moved.
I envision the game being about the decision to send millions to their grave. At the beginning there will e nice and colorful pictures of cavalry and breastplates and sabers. At end, there will be pictures of corpses and trenches and victims of poison gas.
The game will also be about making it hard to quit and about the hope of finding a breakthrough. As defense is always better than offense in these times, it will be an atrocious grind.
Once the basic game play stands, I would like to add details such as “taking Istanbul” (and the Dardanelles and Gallipoli) and theaters outside of Europe and add fleet combat.
More importantly I would like to write a “story generator” that takes these events and archive material and generates news reports and letters home and a rotation of generals and politicians to make it more immersive. There will be joy in reading about Armageddon.
Ideally every year will consist of one or two turns by the player and the game will end after six to ten turns. An ever increasing weariness of war will result in countries giving up and signing a separate peace.
The question will be—and I’d like the story generator to support this: what if? And then you try again and again. Go for Africa, first. Next time, use the fleet. Next time, push the Western Front.
Perhaps long term it will be possible to add technology like early tanks and bombers and we can release more and more upgrades to push the question. Would you have won the war if you had fire bombs? What about poison gas?
It’s terrible, I agree. I wonder whether there’s a little market for the morbid obsession about war. I think tapping into the alternate history via the story generator is important to differentiate the game from a strategy game.
I just stumbled over EVE Travel, with pictures and stories from the EVE Online world. What a wall of text. But the pictures! Never having played EVE, I keep getting reminded of my days as a kid playing Wing Commander 1 & 2 on a computer that would be unfit to be my phone’s audio processor, I guess. I’ve seen blogs with photographs of virtual worlds before, and it just keeps amazing me. How far we have come!
Today I’ve bought Borderlands. I don’t know why, exactly. I switched on the Xbox, fully expecting to be playing some The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Then I saw the ad for some Borderlands 2 stuff, and I thought that I hadn’t played a good shooter in a long time. The old game was available for download and cheap ($19), and I had been thinking of Jet Set Radio for a while. The cell shading mesmerized me. Now that I’ve played it for a bit, I’m sensing boredom around the corner because of the repeated “get quest, move there, fight, move back…” (I must admit that I have the flu, so that might explain it all.)
I really enjoyed playing Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2. What would you recommend? The review I read about Future Soldier basically said that the best part was mutliplayer online gameplay – something I’m not planning to engage in.
Back in the days I also liked Medal of Honor: Frontline. There was a mission on a train, however, that proved to be too much for me. I was frustrated and never finished it.
I guess I’m spoiled!
I’m just happy that Borderlands doesn’t keep spewing forth enemies like the Call of Duty games. I hate it when the game forces me to advance instead of letting me pick off enemies from a distance before moving in.
One thing I really like right now is the soundtrack.
I want to play all these games – except when I’m at home there’s table top role-playing games prepare and run and play and when I finally have some time off there’s also blogs to read, books to read, DVDs to watch, and sunny weather and coffee houses and bike rides and all the rest of it.
Thus, the current state of affairs is this:
This is hopeless!
“Die Playstation 3 legt zu, […] bei Links zu Schwarzkopien von Spielen. […] Zwar wurden weniger Konsolen verkauft, aber die Spielenachfrage für die PS3 zog an.”
Wem fällt etwas auf?
How was 2009? MJ Harnish’s gaming in 2009 inspired this post.
Hagfish Tavern – the Rise of the Runelords campaign started in December 2008 and was going strongly in 2009. We had an intermezzo with Secret of Smuggler’s Cove, continued the campaign until some players complained that it was too tough and they felt they didn’t really have an in-character motivation to fight ogres. So we had a second intermezzo written for a party two levels below current party average with Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale. We’re slowly returning to the campaign, however. This is my Monday game and it’s firmly in Paizo’s hand. It went from weekly to biweekly at some point because some of the players didn’t want to play every single week. In a way that relieves me of some reading pressure, but on the other hand it also takes out some of the drive. We replaced two players: One had started a family, the other spent weeks and months visiting his girlfriend in the states. And there’s still a player on the waiting list. Amazing!
Campaign:CityoftheSpiderQueen City of the Spider Queen – when Hagfish Tavern went biweekly, one of the players volunteered to run City of the Spider Queen by James Wyatt which he didn’t like since it was a big combat fest and we moved into the Silver Marches by Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (both adventures by Wizards of the Coast). It was a fun romp from level 10 up to 13, but then a little kid arrived on the scene and the DM had to drop a game…
Montags in Zürich – when City of the Spider Queen was canceled I had a second biweekly Monday slot to fill and decided to give all the small games a chance. I was ashamed of all the unused rule-books on my shelf. I started looking for people interested in one-shots and two-session games. And surprisingly, I found some! We really liked Spirit of the Century; I didn’t like how Blossoms are Falling (and Burning Wheel) went; I liked Western City; the others tell me that My Life With Master and Legends of Middle Earth are very cool. Legends of Middle Earth will in fact replace Rolemaster in our Middle Earth game! We also playtested Death Frost Doom using Labyrinth Lord which was ok but not mind blowing. I’m looking forward to some Warhammer RPG 2nd edition and many more strange and weird games. We have a long list of systems we want to try.
Mouse Guard – we played a few sessions and it just didn’t quite work for us. It felt passionless and dry. I think I need to see some actual play or sit at an awesome table in order to find the missing link. I think I’m not alone in this “want to like Luke Crane games” camp.
Echoes of Heaven – the campaign ended prematurely. Some players left and we never really managed to recruit new ones. The DM was afraid of cat piss men and method actors – the two of us having been bitten before – and when we needed to reschedule, it didn’t work out and nobody was unhappy about it. Luckily all four of us still play in other campaigns together, so all is good.
Alder King – still my favorite game on two Sundays every month. We use D&D 3.5 and the Lenap map of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. There’s hex crawling, players setting goals, Entourage Approach, and soon we’ll have a mass battle. The success of this campaign is giving me thoughts regarding the Monday game and all the Paizo material I’m subscribed to. I love having the Pathfinder Adventure Paths and Modules, but if I’m not reading them (because I might end up playing them), and I’m not running them (there’s not enough time!), and I’m not liking them as much as the organic campaign I’m running in my Sunday game – then perhaps I should consider canceling my subscriptions? I don’t want to do that. But the seed of doubt has been sown.
Golden Lanterns – we’re still playing in the Shackled City adventure path! It’s a monthly Sunday game, so it’s crawls along at a snail’s pace. We’re approaching the end, however. I don’t know what James is planning to run for us in 2010. He’s a big Paizo fan, so I expect Second Darkness or Legacy of Fire.
Kaylash – I started a (Mongoose) Traveler game. I’m still not sure I whether I like it. I think my main problem is that I lack role-models for good science fiction adventures. I’m improvising a lot. We also treat trade and routine skill checks for hyper jumps as part of the regular game. We’ll see where that goes.
Grenzmarken – the West Marches style game I’m in will end in a few sessions. It has been great fun and it has shown me that you can run a campaign with more than ten players. You just need to make sure that there are never more than a handful of players at the table. In this campaign sessions often went as follows: players come together, get a mission from the DM, small fight, big fight, loot, and return to base. Somehow the campaign was never really player driven. We’ll see what Peter has in store for us next. I heard it was going to be Warhammer RPG 2nd edition with a strong online/wiki component.
I also played some Battle Lore, some Iron Tide, some Pandemic, and some Bang! I’m looking forward to some Race for the Galaxy and Dominion: Intrigue. I was unable to convince a friend to try De Bellis Antiquitatis.
I didn’t play through Fable 2, didn’t play through Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, bought Dragon Age: Origins and played it a lot at the end of the year.
My wishes for 2010:
My interest in roleplaying games was rekindled three years ago, and it hasn’t collapsed, yet!
Following the link chain from Erol Otus Interview to An interview with fantasy artist Erol Otus to The Ur-Quan Masters I ended up wasting a few hours playing this game. Multi-platform (Windows, Mac OSX, various GNU/Linux and BSD variants) awesome using astroid-like navigation when in combat (turn you ship clockwise or counter-clockwise, thrust, and shoot) with lots of weird aliens that you need to convince of an alliance.
The Ultronomicon is the Ur-Quon Master wiki. Go to the non-spoiler hints and look at the First Things To Do page.
Squad Leader is nicely abstract, but the rules concerning the carrying around of machine guns, the huge stacks of units, and monolithical turns are a bummer.
Battle Lore is nice and simple, but simulating hit points using little plastic miniatures is a mess to set up, and the cards introduce a strong element of chance that is sometimes aggravating.
Tide of Iron seems inspired by all the wrong ideas. Not only do we have even smaller and finicky plastic miniatures to simulate unit strength, now attack values depend on unit strength and various miniature types can be combined into units, further complicating things.
Somehow it seems that it should be possible to assemble the best of the various ideas into the “perfect” game.
I think I’d like something that plays like Advance Wars. That would be simple and cool. Does something like that exist?
I also faintly remember there being a turn-based squad fighting game on the C64 that we used to play – each side gives commands to a squad of ten people. People had names such as Garret and Mario. I remember there being a garrote to use, a church to defend or blow up, and so on. I wonder what it was called.
Hat heute wieder Spass gemacht. Mittwoch ist ja mein “Joker” Tag – entweder spielen ich in Peters Grenzmarken Kampagne, oder ich spiele Battle Lore mit Marcel, oder ich arbeite bis spät in die Nacht (auch das ist leider möglich) – oder ich gehe an den Spielabend im Quartiertreff Zentralstrasse, der von Beat Liechti organisiert wird. Heute haben wir Comuni gespielt. Die Spielregeln waren kompliziert und nicht schnell zu begreifen, aber nach der zweiten Runde hat es dann doch Spass gemacht und Claudia hat gewonnen.
So, Zeno and I have been playing the new version for quite a while. My fingers are about to fall off.
In other news, GreyWulf mentioned De Bellis Antiquitatis in his blog  – now I want to own the rules and play some. But I still have Battle Lore and Tide of Iron at home, and they’re not seeing much play either. Aaargh.
Define external redirect: De Bellis Antiquitatis