Rob Zacny

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Everything posted by Rob Zacny

  1. Three Moves Ahead 484: Unity of Command 2 Rob and Troy are joined by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett to discuss Unity of Command 2, the long-awaited sequel to on of Three Moves Ahead's favorite wargames. How does the new setting change the game, and what's with all these new buttons? Unity of Command 2 Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  2. Three Moves Ahead 479: Age of Wonders: Planetfall Rob, TJ, Ian Boudreau, and US Gamer editor Mike Williams discuss the very pleasant surprise that is Age of Wonders: Planetfall. From initial skepticism over the fantasy series' pivot to science fiction, the gang are slowly won over by Planetfall's novel solutions to expansion and city management, diplomacy with minor factions, and glorious tactical combat. Age of Wonders: Planetfall Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  3. Three Moves Ahead 483: Planet Zoo T.J. and Fraser are joined by Bruno Dias (@NotBrunoAgain) to talk about Planet Zoo, Frontier's spiritual successor to zoo tycoon. Animals are great, but is managing everything around keeping them happy? Why are there 30-50 feral hogs on my trade screen? Zoo-ne in to find out! Planet Zoo Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  4. Three Moves Ahead 482: Radio Commander Troy, Jon, and Rob have been to The Nam and deep in "The Shit" this week as they play Serious Sim's narrative wargame, Radio Commander. To what extent is Radio Commander an actual wargame versus a cleverly disguised RTS choose-your-own-adventure? Does the distinction matter? What are the game's politics, and how do they affect Radio Commander's portrayal of contemporary politics? Most confoundingly, the crew wrestle with whether this is a good game that people should play, or merely an interesting experiment. Radio Commander Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  5. Three Moves Ahead 481: Close Combat: The Bloody First Rob and Troy play the new, 3D Close Combat: The Bloody First and see how it measures up to the series' history. Close Combat: The Bloody First Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  6. Three Moves Ahead 480: 1999 Rob, Rowan, and Sean welcome Jeff Green to discuss what might be the greatest year in gaming. Looking down the release slate for that year, it was obviously stacked with brilliant games like Alpha Centauri, Freespace 2, and Jagged Alliance 2 (to name just a few). But did people know it was special at the time? And did anyone realize how fleeting that moment would prove to be, just before Microsoft entered the console wars and began to bridge the gap between console and PC? Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  7. Three Moves Ahead 476: Pericles Rob, Troy, and Bruce get together to discuss Mark Herman's epic wargame of the Peloponnesian Wars, Pericles. How does it capture the sweep of a vast historical subject that was only sometimes decided through military conquest? Pericles, Hegemony Gold Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  8. Three Moves Ahead 478: Oxygen Not Included Nicole Clark joins Rowan and Rob to talk about Klei's Oxygen Not Included and its punishing model of offworld colonizaiton.Learn how everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and how well the game communicates excruciating detail about why your colony is dying. Oxygen Not Included Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  9. Three Moves Ahead 477: Fire Emblem: Three Houses Rowan, Fraser, and Rob are joined by Kotaku's Gita Jackson to discuss their tenure as teachers at Garreg Mach Monastery. The gang talk about the really thougthful politics and characterizations that define Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Aside from that, is it a good tactics game? And finally, the gang gets into some serious spoilers about the game's shocking reveal midway through. Fire Emblem: Three Houses, XCOM, Persona Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  10. Three Moves Ahead 473: Historical Guardrails Rob, Rowan, TJ, and Sean discuss how "historically" they like their games to play out and whether that wish is incompatibile with player freedom and variety. Imperator, Three Kingdoms, Europa Universalis IV, Crusader Kings II, Victoria II, Civilization, Hearts of Iron, Operational Art of War Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  11. Three Moves Ahead 475: Gerykon 2019: Reiner Knizia Games The Tehran Conference. The meeting at Appomattox. The Council of Elrond. All historical gatherings that pale in comparison to the summit that occurred in late July 2019 as the Three Moves Ahead team gathered in Oregon for several days of gaming. Hosted by Dr. Bruce Geryk, Gerykon 2019 was attended by Michael Hermes, Rob Zacny, and Troy "I hope they let me back into Canada" Goodfellow. Bruce played the part of eccentric board game sommelier, guiding the group through several layers of gaming history. Our first episode about Gerykon 2019 covers several entries from Reiner Knizia, a household name among those in the know. From the dizzying heights of Ra and Modern Art to the baffling lows of Beowulf, we consumed great amounts of scotch and had many discussions about game design and strategy. Also, Rob made up a really gross name for a painting. Modern Art, Ra, Tigris & Euphrates, Lost Cities, Lord of the Rings Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  12. Three Moves Ahead 474: Steel Division 2 Rob and the gang are deeply conflicted over Steel Division 2. A good multiplayer game with some genuinely impressive detail about the armored combat on the Eastern Front, it's also a game that has not grown to match its subject, and then there's the matter of that campaign... Steel Division 2, Steel Division, Achtung Panzer, Graviteam Tactics
  13. Three Moves Ahead 472: We. The Revolution Rob and Troy are bad revolutionary judges in We. The Revolution. But is there such thing as a good judge on a tribunal as compromised as this? It doesn't look like it in Polyslash's grim political adventure. The gang discuss the historical perspective that We. The Revolution adopts as well as its curious feature-creep as it moves from a straightforward legal procedural to something far more ambitious and less coherent. Why are you fighting for control of Paris? Why are you commanding soldiers in battle? Are its systems of political intrigue and persuasion any fun to use? The more you play, the less sense We. The Revolution seems to make, but the more hypnotic it becomes. We. The Revolution, Papers Please Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  14. Three Moves Ahead 471: Anno 1800 Nice island you got here, shame if it wasn't fully industrialized! Fortunately Jon, Troy, and Rob are here to strip mine, clear-cut, and redevelop the hell out everything in sight. Troy puts this latest entry in the broader context of both the series and city builders in generals, Jon has made some mistakes, and Rob is both dazzled by the game's beauty but wishes it more fully captured the impact of heavy industry on nature. Also he is convinced somehow he can make a sensible grid layout out of a game built to confound them. Anno 1800 Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  15. Three Moves Ahead 467: Hard Times or Easy Living Rowan, TJ, and Rob and joined by Jon Bolding to talk about how the difficulty discussion and "designer intent" maps to strategy games... or doesn't. We discuss games that go out of their way to highlight a specific "way it's meant to be played" and whether that actually holds up in reality. We also talk about customization options and, when all else fails, the glorious tradition of house rules and outright cheating to find the way to play that "just right" for you. XCOM, Battle Brothers, Total War, StarCraft, Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  16. Three Moves Ahead 470: Total War: Three Kingdoms This week's show is the alternate universe version of our 2013 episode on Total War: Rome II. It was two hours of non-stop slamming that poor game - a real massacre. But here we find ourselves in 2019 with Total War: Three Kingdoms in front of us, and things are different. It's good. It's very good. The load times are short. The AI seems competent. The vibrant Three Kingdoms setting is brought to life with both a story mode and a gloriously ahistorical mode that lets the characters shine. Rob, Fraser, T.J., Rowan, and special guest Ginny Woo explore this new entry that bridges the gap between the historical Total War games their offshoot fantasy cousin. Total War: Three Kingdoms Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  17. Three Moves Ahead 469: Imperator: Rome Rob, TJ, and Jon are not quite sure what to make of Imperator: Rome, the latest historical grand strategy game from Paradox Development Studio. Should a Hellenistic warlord have such fine control over demographics? Is there much to do beyond empire-building? On the other hand, when the eagles are marching, does there need to be? Imperator: Rome Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  18. Three Moves Ahead 461: Three Kingdoms as a Setting It's rare, but sometimes companies that aren't Koei make a game about the Three Kingdoms. During the runup to the new Total War game, we thought it would be fun to talk about the Three Kingdoms as a setting and the games from that past that have portrayed it well. Are you ready for a deep dive into Three Kingdoms history? No, like, a really deep dive? This week T.J., Rowan, Austin Walker, and guest Brian "Lu Bu" Smawley talk about their favorite factions, historical tidbits, and video game adaptations of this rich period of history. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dynasty Warriors, Dynasty Tactics, Total War: Three Kingdoms, Kessen II, Strike Force Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  19. Three Moves Ahead 465: Mark Herman's Empire of the Sun Rob and Bruce are here to sing the praises of Mark Herman's Empire of the Sun, a brilliant adaptation of the war in the Pacific. Enjoying the game through the magic of VASSAL, our wargaming duo describe how about Empire of the Sun does a commendable job of conveying the challenges of imperfect information, the plans of the Imperial Japanese fleet, and inter-service rivalry - all through the elegance of card-based play. Empire of the Sun Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  20. Three Moves Ahead 468: Same Thing, Different Place The gang has been playing the Steel Division 2 beta and wow, things are different on the Eastern Front. That leads to a discussion of how familiar series and systems take on new life, or fail to, when adapted to new settings. Imperator, Steel Division 2, Sengoku Jidai, Pike and Shot, Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  21. Three Moves Ahead 416: Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith This week Michael, Bruce, Jonathan Bolding, and Troy "I've never met a succubus I didn't like" Goodfellow talk about Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith. Illwinter Games continues their long-running master class in world building and fiction in games with the fifth entry in the series. Dominions combines wargaming with a diverse fantasy setting that has attracted a loyal fanbase over several versions and decades. The panel talks about what is new in the series, whether the graphics really matter, and why it's fun to be a monolith. Dominions 5, Conquest of Elysium Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  22. Three Moves Ahead 466: Dawn of Man Troy, Jon Bolding, and Rob discuss Madruga Works' Dawn of Man, a prehistoric and ancient history city builder and survival game. The gang is charmed, but also feel like there are some big gaps in the evolution of your city and society. Dawn of Man, Children of the Nile, Planetbase Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  23. Three Moves Ahead 464: Dota 2 Auto Chess Here's the word cloud for this week's episode: Dota2, mod, sports management, Lords Management, battle royale, open world survival game with roguelike elements (jk but we need that SEO), deckbuilding, tower defense. That's right, we're talking about the mod for the game that's a copy of a mod for another game that has nothing to do with either of the things in its title: Dota 2 Auto Chess. Auto Chess is Dota 2 mod that you can play right now, for free. It's taking the world by storm, and it contains a satisfying combination of team management and long-term strategy. Rob, Rowan, and Taylor Cocke talk us through what the heck it is, how it works, and why Taylor seems to like it so very much. Also, a surprising amount of basketball commentary. Dota2, Auto Chess Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  24. Three Moves Ahead 463: Classic Year in Review: 1994 Sound Blaster! 3DFX! Games that go unpatched because there's no way to fix them! That's right, we're going back 25 years to 1994. Yes, 25 years. We're all hella old, in case that had not occurred to anyone. But who am I kidding, if you're listening to this show you are probably part of the gamer geriatrics, pausing from your record run of Chip's Challenge or Kye to dust off your AARP card and get cheap coffee at McDonald's, nursing it from 9 AM to 11 AM before going to the smaller grocery store in town because the bigger store just has too many choices and the lights are too bright. Anyway, lots of good games came out in 1994. Rowan correctly names the Overall Game of the Year while Rob and Sean have good intentions but are unfortunately wrong. Art by Carlos Villa. X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Sid Meier's Colonization, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, Ultima VIII: Pagan, Outpost, Final Fantasy VI (or III, whatever), Panzer General, Elder Scrolls: Arena, Liberty or Death, Perfect General II, Master of Magic, System Shock, Warcraft, Aces of the Deep, Lords of the Realm, Marathon Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes
  25. Three Moves Ahead 326: State of the RTS This week Rob, Fraser, and Troy "More Than a Phalanx" Goodfellow take a look at the RTS genre. Rob has concerns about the health of this stalwart of the strategy space, where innovation seems low and quality titles are few and far between. Troy wants more elves and less aliens. Starcraft 2 Planetary Annihiliation Supreme Commander Age of Mythology Gray Goo Ruse Act of Aggression Wargame series Age of Empires 3 Kohan League of Legends Dota 2 Warcraft 3 Company of Heroes 2 "Men of Assault War" SC2VN Listen on the Episode Page Listen on Soundcloud Listen in iTunes