ilitarist

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  1. It's fan art for Final Fantasy 6. They discuss this scene (timestamp).
  2. Haven't played the expansion and have no desire to (from what I've heard AI still doesn't care about winning the game so it's all about surviving the early game and then clicking end turn while looking for ways and reasons to entertain yourself) but this Rock Band business sounds great thematically to me. Civ has this weird dichotomy between past and present. Past is Saturday Morning Cartoon with knights, samurai, turtle ships, whatever. But when we get to the modern era it's relatively sober and boring. You get tank and then better tank, WW1 era infantry, WW2 era infantry, modern era infantry. There are features and objects that developers include not for variety or complexity sake but because it's fresh in recent memory and interests people. But those Rock Bands make it all better cause they sound exactly like something people in 2500 would include in Civilization game to represent the 20th century. It's Saturday Morning Cartoon about recent history, and it's how it should be. I think Civ suffers from expanding modern era too much so that most people who play vs AI on big maps spend half of their playtime in recognizably modern times. I say throw out all types of infantry and tanks and planes, leave Rock Bands.
  3. Episode 326: State of the RTS

    RTS games are also about the development of your assets, map control, cooperation, and tactics. And that's what Lords Management players get. Many players play RTS without much multitasking, just moving around a single army, and many do not like to concern themselves with expanding. Those things in RTS are inherently and intentionally broken as you're usually hampered by UI that prevents you from doing it effectively. In other words, you can sort of have a perfect play in turn-based strategy or real-time with pause something, but in RTS it's unavoidable to have compromises. You will always have situations where UI and your focus do not allow to play perfectly even if you have a total understanding of the situation and what should be done. Lords Managements expand on things that feel right in RTS and cuts the things that are inherently imperfect.
  4. I knew who Cao Cao was but that was about it. It certainly looked like the guys were... passionate about this.
  5. Episode 460: Looking Ahead to 2019

    Surprised that Rob's problem with Phoenix Point is aesthetics. I didn't like it too but for me, it feels like something close to XCOM2. I didn't like XCOM2 for variety of things including aesthetics (the other thing is mad difficulty curve that gives me mixed signals whether it wants me to play Iron Man - on one hand, the story is presented as something you experience once, on the other it's full of noob traps that kill if you don't know it's coming). XCOM1 felt like a world of next morning meeting an alien threat. Your soldiers started as boring mooks and transformed into godlike galactic destroyers. The stage was visible Earth-like. I suspect that Mongolian cafeteria doesn't really look the same way as Texas one but it's fine. Meanwhile, XCOM2 throws us into a world of distant future with no resemblance to our own world. Even regions are called something boring and generic. Your soldiers start as cyber-ninja and drone hackers and go weirder from here, there's nothing "normal" in this world that will show you how far from normal are you getting by the end. Valkyria Chronicles bears more semblance to WW2 than XCOM2 to fantasy story of our brave boys beating aliens. As for ending state for that kind of games, there's a solution that was implemented by a certain Sid Meier once and it would work well for XCOM thematically. Sid Meier's Pirates! allowed your captain to settle. Your retirement is described as you'd become a beggar or a governor depending on your score. Same is possible with XCOM-like: if you're supposed to lose a couple of games then you can give player progression. Early in the game aliens or another kind of enemy give you "a good deal" and it becomes better each time you progress or worse when you fail. And so you get a summary about the fate of XCOM personnel and humanity in general, maybe if you've shown you're cool then humanity is assimilated or subjugated in a very benign way so that it takes centuries before humans are all gone etc. Just like @derbius I'm probably looking forward to AoW Planetfall the most. 3MA in general has committed a sin of not loving AoW3 which was an excellent game. Rob even went on record saying it's not "a great 4X". And it is.
  6. Episode 457: A Look Back at 2018

    Thank you for that track, oh kind wizard. I don't feel that the guys praised Into the Breach that much. Someone even said that it's a strategy game that is most enjoyed by people who don't play strategy games that much. You can compare it to Tower Defense games all of which are reactive by definition. The game being reactive means that you can have fun and feel clever from game #1. Rowan mentioned lack of RTS games as in base-building Warcraft/C&C style games and those are the opposite: you only have a real game when you know everything there is to know about the game. Most people would call this more strategic but it doesn't mean that Into the Breach lacks those planning and strategizing elements on higher levels of play.
  7. Episode 457: A Look Back at 2018

    That was very nice. Glad we had this meaty double episode. I also need to know transitionary and outro music name. I've heard it before and never knew what it is. Funny how Pike and Shot sneaked into the list. Funny how Slay the Spire sort of did and sort of didn't.
  8. Funny how CK2, initially being a relatively simple GSG with interesting sandbox character mechanics, finds its roots on the way. Because when you look back it's not clear how was it even playable. Before Way of Life and Monks and Mystics, you had a very limited influence on your character waiting for events to fire to give you opportunities. Before recent patches portraits were very bland and bad at representing character features (and even now I think portrait packs are most important DLCs because it's the attack of the clones otherwise). They gradually made this mess of features organized. Now it looks as if the game was intended to play Pagans first and Feudal/Republics later: most independent rulers at the earliest start date are Pagans and they have an actual use for Prestige and Piety while Feudal Lords have more complex mechanics and use Prestige and Piety more like passive bonus dealer. Then Chinese expansion added an ability to spend part of your useless heap of Prestige on poorly justified wars. Then they've added Sway and Antagonize so that you can spend resources on making friends or beating rivals. It's still a beautiful mess. Unlike EU4 that had its fundamentals set up from the very beginning, CK2 doesn't have a UI that even remotely understands the game. It still pretends you're playing a wargame so that actual important stuff only takes 1/3 of the screen, the rest is the map. EU4 from the get-go knew that Rivals and Alliances are extremely important and this is reflected in UI. Meanwhile, CK2 doesn't even have a dedicated map mode to see relationships, alliances, friendships. EU4 shows you whether your proposal will pass even before you click a button; in CK2 you have much more possible diplomatic actions and you have to click every button to see whether they agree in a separate window. The more they add to CK2 the more it feels like they form an actual game from the sandbox and the way they iterate makes me resentful about their DLC policy again. It's nice to have a sprint goal for the iteration, so to say, but it feels like the game is overloaded with features that were added just because they were thematic; meanwhile, some expansions try to tackle on themes that are too big and thus themes like Muslims feel underdeveloped. They still are rarely able to make those DLCs truly isolated; they still do a better job than EU4 but you have features like mechanically beneficial Casus Belli (allow you to pay a lot of prestige and diplomatic standing to conquer the land instead of being forced to help pretenders or use RNG-based claim fabrication) added in an expansion about China. Holy Fury looks like a lost opportunity, this is the expansion that upgrades every part of the game with a minor focus on both Pagans and Crusades. It's an old-school expansion and I imagine that game would be both much better and much more approachable if we had those for several years instead of an endless barrage of small inconsequential thematic features we got in Sunset Invasion or Reaper's Due or Charlemagne or whatever. Or even sequels. Some people say that PDX are not like EA that would release a game each year but if we had that then we'd probably have much more consistent game, maybe with proper 3D portraits and other immersive features that would make the whole experience even better. But we'd probably didn't get features like Forts, Chronicles, Custom Empires and other fluff.
  9. Weighty nostalgic episode is always welcome. Especially when it's a secret Rise of Nations episode. I think Rise of Nations commercial problem was Empire Earth. People who wanted Age of Empires 2 gimmicks bought that cool looking 3d thing. And then they probably realized it looks better on paper than in reality. RoN looked like a poor man's Empire Earth. It's not fully 3d, it's smaller in scope. I bet people at the time thought it's a less ambitious AoE2 clone. And Rise of Legends was too weird. Still RoN is great. I come back to it all the time. Recently it's all about duels against AI for me and they're beautiful. 4 players FFA on tougher is manageable for me but 1v1 on tougher is always some sort of interesting lesson. Great work with that Vikings music, oh sound wizard! Edit: Rowan said that Shadowmagic had come out between Age of Wonders 1 & 2. In reality, it's an expansion on 2. It isn't that big and it's main thing is the third layer of the map. In AoW and Heroes you typically have underground layer, Shadowmagic added Shadow parallel dimension or something layer. For many years fans considered it a definitive AoW experience, some still think so even after excellent AoW3.
  10. Episode 409: Field of Glory II

    I'm extremely late to the party, but I've only recently tried this game after buying it a long time ago. And I think it's a first wargame I really dig. Previously I've tried to play other entry-level wargames, like Panzercorps or Unity of Command, even Commander Great War. And those looked like boring yet challenging math problems. Units have very basic stats - attack, defense, range, movement. There are special attacks against armor or maybe air. Every unit behaves exactly the same even if they're supposed to play different roles. Every unit is a killer. And it's your job to make your killers meet their victims till it's enemy turn and now it's important for your victims to meet as few murderers as possible. You concentrate fire, you use ineffective killers to soften enemies. But even though those games are different it feels like their rulesets were written for some abstract chess-like battlefields, they could be applied to fantasy or Warhammer 40K settings - and Panzercorps, naturally, got WH40K clone. It felt like a grand sudoku puzzle or something. From all of those wargames I only ever liked fantasy ones because they felt like I make decisions not based solely on remembering attack tables. Elven Legacy is Panzer General clone, but it has casters, scouts who can develop skills for poison attacks or hit & run, elves that shoot farther away when they're in the hills, knights who always attack instantly when there's an enemy nearby and so on and so on. Those still felt like puzzles because in all of them you fight not against an army but against a timer. Field of Glory 2 feels like a representation of an ancient battle on the other hand. Here heavy infantry or light cavalry doesn't just mean "slow but lots of HP" or "quick and weak", it doesn't even mean bonuses vs special units. It really means specific roles. When I imagine commander thinking about battlefield I can't connect it to the usual wargame picture of "let our weak unit attack them and then strong finish them off if there is less of 80% of them left", but this approach of "our heavy infantry should hold till our chariots regroup and attack their opponent from behind, let's make sure their flanks are defended by skirmishers who will run away but still draw enemy away" looks like a real deal. Skirmishers are not just weak infantry you use the same way as you'd use weakened heavy infantry, they skirmish. Light cavalry isn't just fast infantry, it's incapable of doing non-cavalry thing and just runs away when you attack it. And those battles are not about clearing the map on a timer, those battles are won when you think it's won. Half of the enemy army runs away, therefore, it's done. I am now very skeptical of the term "entry-level wargame". Cause those wargames were ineffective to draw me in even when they talked about events and times that really draw me in.
  11. Episode 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu

    Come and See is certainly something but it shouldn't be seen as a Soviet take on the war. After all, it was made at the time when people got tired from Socialist Realism and all that jazz. Soviet movies about war are actually much more similar to Enemy at the Gates, I think. Or Zulu. Of course, Enemy at the Gates is explicitly anti-communist (commissaire in the movie says that monogamy exists, therefore, communism is impossible) but the general story is about a poor talented kid who fights for the motherland, beats rich old aristocratic German guy and finds his true love in the process. It may feel more like an adventure movie because the war itself is out of focus, you don't learn much about people outside of the hero's love triangle. At the same time, it may be one of the most important war movies because it codified modern view on the biggest armed conflict in history. Anyway, the point is that typical Soviet movie about war is relatively light-hearted. Even POW camps do not look threatening in those movies. Usually, it's about a diverse band of soldiers who do heroic things, many of them die but the rest remembers so you should too. Like Only Old Men Are Going to Battle which is about young and inexperienced pilots - including a guy from the Caucasus and some girls - replacing older ones. It's tragic but not too tragic, PG-13 tragic.
  12. Episode 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu

    Oh yes, I've liked the episode and would be glad to see more! An easy target would be Enemy at the Gates as well as 300. And general idea of mythical doctrines. You've touched on it a long time ago with an episode about a magic hill, I think. But it's curious how stereotypes portray warring factions. In EatG good guys are weak masses and in 300 elite guys are good guys, though the hero of both is an elite dude. That's an interesting theme. You can also call Shafer to talk about Enemy at the Gates.
  13. Episode 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu

    Black Hawk Down is a movie I haven't thought of about for a very long time. I was 14 or 15 when I saw it. Being an edgy Eastern European teen I had little interest in or knowledge of world politics. So naturally, I was cynical and woke, being above the mindless masses who do not realize that evil Americans wage wars for oil. But this movie made me confused about what does it try to say. I vividly remember a scene with some American pilot lying down in the dirt without means to defend. He's surrounded by dozens if not hundreds of Somalian guys. They do not look like soldiers, they're in rags. They shout at soldier but they do not harm him, they want him alive. The soldier is a healthy pretty guy with some cool equipment but he's powerless. Somalians are supposed to be scary but I saw them killed by the dozens by Americans. They're mindless masses, they're Zerg rushing elite American troops. I looked at it and thought: is this supposed to be a Starship Troopers thing? Am I supposed to realize now that those poor malnourished guys are defending themselves in a very benign way from that rich lucky bastard who came to their country for some reason and flies there in powerful machines shooting at them from expensive weapons? Of course, now I realize that the conflict is more complex but the movie did a poor job of explaining what the conflict was about. It jumped right into the action. And it looked like our heroes are piloting Death Stars while Somalians are trying to swarm them in their small heroic X-wings.
  14. Episode 452: After Dark 2018

    It's really weird to see Civ6 getting environmentalism expansion. Because this series is increasingly about celebrating human achievements. Look at those buildings, armies, wonders, techs - how cool is that! There's only a way up from here! Those nukes aren't nice but no big deal, the important thing is that the map is covered with districts full of joyful people. Communists are just people who like big buildings and factories, fascists like bigger guns and more glory. It's all great. It's impossible to imagine any mature representation of climate change problems here. It will all be about human genius inventing a couple of buildings that you have to put near your factories to come clean. And maybe couple wonders that will make cities on the same continent environmentally clean in an instant. Also Grimoire is bad.
  15. I'm a little confused. From what I saw this game from the very beginning was a sandbox, a toybox. There's no real goal apart from get big. It's not like Impression Games citybuilders where there is threat, special conditions, special goal. You can't lose. If you're in trouble you can demolish half of the city and start anew, right? And people on a panel seem to complain about that. New expansion didn't bring meaningful gameplay. It's a weird criticism.