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About Sway

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    Clayton, NC
  1. Based on the comments, it looks like it was a topic that a lot of people had opinions on. I'll try and keep mine brief. For me, and I emphasize "for me", it's personality, not world-building. The in-game moment that highlighted this for me was the first time I encountered other factions. Their ship stopped by my planet for a turn, but nothing happened. They didn't fire on me. They didn't run away. They didn't probe me. They eventually just flew off in another turn. And when I opened the diplomacy panel to say "hi", the only option really open to me was to declare war. I thought at first that it was maybe just the way this specific faction responded to other life forms, and I built a place for them in the fiction I was constructing. But a few turns later the same thing happened with another faction. That's when I started developing some ambivalence about going to the next turn. Rob touched on this when he mentioned wasted opportunities. I'm pretty sure Alpha Centauri popped up a screen when you encountered another faction with maybe just a couple sentences from them. But that's all I needed. Taunt me, or extend a peace offering, or wave your tentacles and grin. I don't need an elaborate backstory or a plot to follow. I'll do most of that heavy lifting in my head. But give me something on which to construct it. The different planet types and their unique bonuses/minuses are a start. The unique techs help, although they don't really feel unique enough. The ark ship that the Pilgrims start with is definitely a step in the right direction. The universe, itself, just feels a little flat. I must have spent 20 minutes carefully choosing my faction for my first game. The default faction was listed as "Evil", and I was imagining all the trouble that might cause for me in the game. I kept clicking around and reading the flavor text of each race, salivating a little about how that story might unfold over the turns. But as soon as I started the game, the faction I chose just boiled down to the stat buffs they started with. Cory was right that maybe it's unfair to judge the game on story if it wasn't one of the game's goals. But the game gave me that expectation when the first thing it presented me with was my choice of unique races, each with their own bit of fiction. Like other commenters said, I agreed with just about everyone at different points in the show. People want different things from their 4X games and that's just fine. I'm glad to hear Endless Space is delivering exactly what some people are looking for if that means we'll get more entries into the genre. Thanks for the show.
  2. Unity of Command

    Well, based on the info here and Jon's article and the praise lavished upon it in several podcasts, I went ahead and gave 2x2 Games my money. The interface is even better firsthand than the screenshots and videos convey. Everything, from the clean layout to the audible but unobtrusive clicks when you select something, lets you get that much closer to the actual gameplay right off the bat. My historical ignorance isn't preventing me from enjoying the gameplay. I can certainly see where knowledge of the battles would enhance my enjoyment as they wouldn't just appear to be randomly generated scenarios. Is it just me or is there no record of my past playthroughs? I can't tell which scenarios I've played before or what my final score was. The best I can do is Save Game at the end and view my saves to see which I've completed. I would at least like to see a different menu color for the scenarios I've finished, especially for a game that already suffers from limited replayability. I'm looking forward to the Campaign, but I can already tell I'll be a Prestige hoarder. I'm the same way in RPGs and MMOs. I have a little of that personality in real life as well. Thanks for the recommendation and for writing about the game. It's a shame that a UI this well-designed is hiding in a game many people will just ignore.
  3. Unity of Command

    Thanks for the replies, and thanks for the article, Jon. I suppose I'll just have to own this one.
  4. Unity of Command

    Question for you about Unity of Command - I've watched videos of UoC and gazed at the pretty screenshots. It looks like a beautiful game with a gorgeous interface. I've been tempted to buy it every time someone on the podcast goes on about it. But I'm torn. I'm much more of a game fanatic than a history fanatic. I tend to be wary of historical games because I don't want to be punished for my ignorance. Since I don't know much more about historical warfare apart from "never get involved in a land war in Asia," would I be gimped from start? I mean, I can read terrain and know how to flank and compare unit numbers, but I couldn't name much that happened during WW2 that wasn't portrayed in Patton. So should I continue to play this game vicariously through you all, or would I be able to play it as a game that just happens to also be historical? Sorry if this gets me kicked out of the club. I'll get me coat.
  5. Every time I listen to Rob praise a game, I lose money. I think Julian has cost me more in the long run, but Rob's enthusiasm is subtle and dangerous. Troy just makes me go back and play more Civ. I'm thankful for that. Crusader Kings 2 was the most recent example. I still have no idea what's happening in that game. I don't know how much of the game I'm supposed to play and how much I'm supposed to let it play itself. I played one game where I put it on full fast forward and took no actions apart from clicking Yes or No when a prompt would pop up. (The game went on surprisingly long.) And I played another where I've fiddled with it so much that I'm not sure I've progressed more than two years. I've also had a tab open on the purchase page for Unity of Command for about a month. This last podcast only served to weaken my resolve. I've got a question about it, but I'll go post it on the other UoC thread.
  6. Enjoyed the discussion even if it wandered hither and thither. I especially identified with the point Jon made about games being an illusion. I've loved city builder games like the Caesar series, but there was always a turning point where the games would suddenly lose all of their magic. It was the point at which I figured out the optimal (or at least optimal enough) building placement. As soon as that happened, and I could predict the routes the citizens would take and maximize whatever bonuses the buildings provided, the living city I was building just became a series of algorithms. It was essentially game over at that point for me. With regards to the fairness or difficulty level of strategy games, I'm fine with not reloading game saves if the game remains interesting while losing. But will developers invest time in making losing interesting if the majority of the players reload saves? Maybe not. Bit of a chicken-and-egg problem there. Which games do y'all think are entertaining to lose? I know it's sort of the de facto credo of Dwarf Fortress. What else? I've never enjoyed losing Civ because it just takes too long for that misery to play out. Crusader Kings 2 seems to sidestep the winning/losing thing because your playing a string of characters, any of whom may just choke on a pheasant bone and kick the bucket at any time.
  7. Board Game Daydreams

    Thanks. I'll check it out. Though I think my gaming group would only roll their eyes if I brought TI up again.
  8. Board Game Daydreams

    Twilight Imperium - This is a game I love and hate. I love the overwrought space opera theme. The game positively drips with it. I hate how much of an effort it takes to play. I knew I wanted to play it the first time I saw it at a convention, but nobody I knew owned it. I even put an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone had the game and would let me play. Eventually I had to break down and buy it. We've only played it three times and have never finished a game. We even set aside a full day for the most recent attempt. We had six players. We spent some time going over rules again at the beginning (since we play it so infrequently) and we took a break for lunch. One of the players finally had to bail after about 7 or 8 hours and the game broke up.