• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Hell-Mikey

  • Rank
    Thumb Tourist
  1. Episode 205: A Final Unity

    Strong episode, perhaps the best balance of asking tough questions about a game that the panel has clearly loved in the past. I was especially struck by Mr. Uzelac's observation that the puzzle-like nature of a strategy game falls away when the mechanics tilt in favor of sudden shifts and chaotic behavior. That's an approach other designers seem less willing to use, and I can understand why. The usual chaos mechanic is highly random combat effects, and I don't want to play a strategy game that's all down to coin flips. In this case, the supply mechanic can let a single unit debuff an entire front, and so, you can very clearly see that it isn't cruel fate (or computer cheating) that's ruined your plans.
  2. Episode 191: Return to Summoner's Rift

    With all respect to the scheduling needs and interests of the hosts.... Is this what most of the TMA podcasts sound like to outsiders? It's incomprehensible to me from the word go. I don't play this game, but that's rarely been a barrier to my ability to follow the podcast. It may be the combo of discussion of a specific event, with a specific cast of teams (and players versus characters), but never have I been so lost in the discussion. If we're going abroad, please at least re-introduce the game, who was participating, and tie it back to the results. This one may be all on me, but I feel like it could have been saved.
  3. Episode 190: The XCom Review Show

    Because we do love to complain, I'll shake my fist at the PC controls like everyone else. I'll also mention that the sound design is wrong. This isn't an issue of voice acting, or the character barks' getting tedious, but the triumphalism of both music and those barks. XCOM should not be a game of cool, professional, "Negative damage" but instead a "Oh God, it's still up!" in quaking tones. Launching avalanche armed interceptors shouldn't make them sound so mighty, as they are so inadequate to the task. The background tunage should be weird and atonal and scrape my nerves the wrong way. But I'm giddy I'm playing a great reboot of a great game.
  4. ShadowTiger, thanks for your story. Appreciate your taking some time to talk about your playstyle. Another pro-Geryk vote. 3MA is not a review podcast, it's an exploration of design. Mr. Solomon joins a long line of devlopers present and absent who've had games that the panel enjoy get a close look and an exploration of alternatives. I have to imagine that the XCOM team was at least as self-challenging internally. I listen because the panel is willing to imagine different (and not necessarily better) strategy games than those on the screen in front of them.
  5. Episode 185: Class is in Session

    The best way I found to learn to get better at Civ specifically was to play in the Realms Beyond challenges. They'd set up some screwball scenario and send everyone out to play it, and then solicit the AARs for everyone to sort through. In this case, you'd end up not only with the let's play style, "Hey this is a cottage economy" but the scenarios would also take you out of your comfort zone - no mines, no cottages, no luxuries. I know challenges like this exist for EU, and suspect they must for other games. Boardgame though?
  6. Being careful to specify that I'm curious, and not criticizing... You play every strategy game this way - "without losing a soldier." What's a soldier in most strategy games? Can you play chess without losing a soldier? Is the soldier you're referring to a marker of progress - never moving back on a points track in some other game, or is a soldier a game token that takes on new and more attributes? In the former case, I can see a pile of Europa Univeralis provinces as a stand in for the soldier you cite, in the latter Civ city. Certainly you'd be OK with regiments going understrength in EU, and losing an individual pikeman in Civ, or am I mistaken? I'm also wondering why you might hope to do so in X-COM specifically, as the game lore has always been as much about total party kills as amazing saves. Is it because your, 'Every squaddie comes back" approach does run contrary to the expectations, and so makes it so much the sweeter? I'm curious because my approach in the old X-COM was so contrary. I'd role play input glitches as "well, humans make mistakes, don't follow orders, get distracted," instead of reasons to reload saves. I'm no purist about this - a misclick that placed a Civ city on a different tile than I planned would have me reloading quickly.
  7. Episode 185: Class is in Session

    Space Alert seems to be a special case. For those who aren't familiar, it's a co-op boardgame where players build a queue of actions in real time under pressure, but resolve the actions without realtime pressure. As a result, you aren't necessarily doing what you think you're doing. Hilarity tends to ensue. I'd agree that attention is paid to onboarding new players, but handing around the new player doc to everyone at an evening's gaming session is going to slow everything down. Yes, well written, yes, even marginally funny, but getting if you could get other players to do homework before showing up at the table, then the whole discussion is moot. For me, part of the joy in Space Alert is failing disasterously. Misunderstanding the mechanics is a mechanic in and of itself. For that reason, I think it short circuits the teaching and the ASL A.2 rule brilliantly.
  8. The 3MA Canon

    X-COM. Will be fun to see if XCOM joins the cannon as well.
  9. Episode 175: Gods and Kings

    My Civ anecdote is that I lost a city to the AI in every game I played of CIV IV. I've yet to lose a city to the AI in CIV V. The stack of doom may have been a crude hammer, but damn if Monty didn't know how to swing that hammer. Granted, it was rare to lose a second city (unless I was playing at some exotic difficulty level, or doing one of the oddball Realms Beyond challenges) because the AI couldn't make a great next decision, but there it is. I love exploring the idea that CIV V is expressing a shift in opinion about the nature of world hegemony, but I suspect it's merely a reaction to the gameplay problems introduced by the snowball effects so often lamented in 4X games. The best treatment of that problem is in the boardgame History of the World, and I'd love to see a Civ mod that takes advantage of the inheritance of past glory mechanic used in HotW. Yes, I know, Rhys, but the balancing features like the plague, and the mission-oriented victory conditions failed to float my boat.
  10. If the Civ II graphics don't put you off, then I'd have to suggest X-Com Enemy Unknown. Turn-based for all intents and purposes, fascinating to play, and not too hard on the easy settings. You'll lose soldiers, but win the war. If you like the chieftan-level steamroller that you get in Civ, I'd advise staying away from EU III. Yes, the stories are awesome, and the game isn't as complex as it's reputation, but you need to be happiest making your own narrative (see aforementioned Sunni king of Sweden).
  11. Episode 166 - Strategic Tee Ball

    I beg to differ with Mr. Goodfellow's failing memory - STAVKA-OKH. Which, yes, is not precisely War on the Eastern Front, but which some might call a reasonable first-order approximation. OK, perhaps not. But give Mr. Humble's game a play, and Mr. Goodfellow's article a read, and then let's carry on. Because OMG!!1! does the AI cheat in this one! Not only the opfor AI, but the buddy AI as well. Stalin's happy to take credit for your successes, which is so non-badass. You are reduced to the staff functionary that you truly are as a near-historical commander, so this is clearly the most realistic wargame ever made. The fact that your buddies cheat you ramps the realism even higher. And yet, the game is no-reservations recommended for the audience that listens to this podcast. It's short duration is significant, that, after all, is the core of Mr. Goodfellow's reticence to suffer defeat in, say, WitE just to have a historical lesson beaten into him over the course of 50 hours. But it also captures Mr. Murdoch's reminder of the attraction of "Can you do better than history?" games. It even involves the civ-franchise's multiple paths to victory mechanic. It may do that franchise one better, because you can pick what victory (or more appropriately mitigated tragedy) means to you. I do hope STAVKA-OKH isn't the model for how cheating-AI is handled in the future. It was a neat distraction, a pleasing mind-nugget to mull while commuting to work or washing the dishes. But it provides a great reminder that we get to explore ideas in today's surpassingly rich strategy game ecosystem.
  12. Board Game Daydreams

    6th Fleet. It might be terrible, but I've had it since it came out, and it just seems so compelling. Ships. The Med. Nukes and supplies and bases and glorious Cold War gets Hot whatnot.
  13. Unity of Command

    Downloaded TMA 166, and after I listened to Mr. Shafer make out with Unity of Command, I cranked it up again to take a crack at the Russian side of the campaign. Like the rest of the hivemind, I really enjoy the game. The interface is awesome, the action compelling, the decisions, delicious. But... I play strategy games, but I love story machines. Unity of Command falls short of the stories I see with other great strategy games like Combat Mission, EU III, Civ, SMAC, or XCom. I've been wrestling with why it falls short; certainly I've had my run of very close victories, and more than my share of harrowing blunders (look at all the little red exclamation points!). I'm attributing it to the lack of detail. I am no rivet-counter, and I hold with Dr. Geryk's thesis that detail in the name of realism is the last refuge of design scoundrels. I do suspect that all that gritty, silly detail is where I hang stories, especially if it's a detail I have to dig for. When I pop open a unit screen to see just how little ammo it has left, suddenly the unexpected overrun is that much more compelling. The moment I open that detail screen, I'm running into a bad UI, so another UoC strength may be running contrary to its ability to show me stories. Are you able to tell stories in UoC? If you aren't, then is that another argument in the "Puzzle not strategy" discussion?