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Everything posted by panzeh

  1. BTW, the Communists can change stances for free when they draw the home front chit.
  2. I think Frank Hunter's Piercing Fortress Europa is a pretty good take on the Italian campaign- the air units are pretty abstracted as are the naval and even the rear area units- you only have to move combat units on the map, and the focus is on supply and preparation for attacks(for example, when you're attacking as the allies, you will pull units behind the lines and spend several turns increasing their combat supply, and then they will be good for a few turns of hard combat, then have to be resupplied if you want maximum efficiency). It's a WEGO game, the interface is a bit.. minimal, but I think it's probably the best italian front game i've played on the PC.
  3. The fascinating thing about Imperialism 1 is that it actually has a transition point in the game - oil. Once everyone has power generation on line and a decent source of oil, you can send all your workers off to war, making food production almost meaningless and world war inevitable.
  4. Episode 409: Field of Glory II

    I think if you play the cavalry correctly, they're more maneuverable than you might think, but you have to either keep them away or go past the enemy to keep their mobility. It's really hard to catch them with infantry without getting exposed if you spread them out enough and use the maneuverability mechanics by going right past them and force them to face somewhere. Even the javelin cavalry can do a ton of damage by charging infantry in the flank.
  5. Episode 402: Battle Brothers

    That's an intresting dilemma- The previous hearts of iron just gave you a dissent penalty for not purging it, but HOI4 gives you the coup if you don't. Is this true? Extermely unlikely, but in reality, it's a far more interesting decision than a little dissent. It makes it a better game. I think strategy games in general make men like Stalin out to be wiser politicians than they really were, just in general. The need to be a good game puts historical decisions in a very different context than real history. The game needs to make interesting decisions, but not every decision in real life is 'interesting', particularly when you're putting in the effort to play a game. Twilight Struggle assumes an Allen Dulles-addled view of Cold War politics, but it's a much better game for it. I think it's historically interesting if you understand that, the same way Labyrinth assumes most of the Bush-isms during the post-911 world.
  6. I don't really think civil war battles make sense if someone spells them out and says "this is the battle of gettysburg" or "this is the battle of chancellorsville". Honestly, if you're going to do games at this level, I think i'd prefer randomly generated battles, which would more effectively lay out the uncertainty involved in ACW battles than randomizing a couple things in a battle called Gettysburg. Guns of Gettysburg is a pretty interesting take on Gettysburg because the US and CS reinforcements are totally random. It has a counterfactor, though- the objective points begin very far forward(McPherson's rige, I think), and then every turn the Union has fewer units than the Confederacy, they can move the objectives back one space, allowing for the game to stay balanced.
  7. Three Moves Ahead 399 - Air Combat

    There's some really nice insights into air combat and how it comes out in games here. I much appreciate James' input for this show and it's wonderful!
  8. It is impressive seeing such a studio come out with such an ambitious game, and yeah, likening it to commanding troops in Mount & Blade is a really solid comparison. It's an interesting game concept that comes with its own limitations but can still be wonderful when it works. I think as the game got more tactically complex, it became even harder for the AI to play it well. A lot of it also comes down to scenario design- because you have to traverse a 3d space to go around parts on the map, you can't really have a geographically huge scenario be manageable for a single player. The earlier games were a lot better about that. I've seen so many games come out with interesting premises and scenarios that did a poor job of showing off what the game was all about.
  9. I think, to be quite honest, the 'on the field' camera perspective is disadvantageous to the gameplay of strategy games in general. One of the reasons Sid Meier's Gettysburg was more managable than Scourge of War is that the perspective is based on old maps that were made to inform. There's also more abstraction in that game but I think there's a very good reason strategy games tend toward a higher perspective than SoW typically allows. Also, I think automation is a very poor solution to dealing with the problems of the player not being able to manage the forces at his disposal- the perspective, interface, and level of abstraction can all be adjusted to make units more manageable and I think that the further they got away from Gettysburg's qualities(from TC Bull Run to Waterloo) the less manageable the game gets and the more it leans on the gimmicks. That being said, if you're looking for a battle with a sense of scale, it's hard to match Scourge of War, and it's a testament to how much better it is to work with real military units rather than Total War's generic approximations. Also interesting to me is that the experience of watching the number on a brigade go down very quickly with a devastating volley in Ultimate General is almost more satisfying to me than seeing a cavalry charge hit its mark in Total War.
  10. I think one of the problems this game had is that the designers had an idea that would suit itself more to abstract units and more of an emphasis on the character and political mechanics and this competed with Star Wars and FFG's style which required more components and, of course, the iconic machines, the TIE fighters, X-wings, Star Destroyers, etc. Thus, the game is way too heavy on combat mechanics that can't really be that deep because they'd take away from the character-mission core of the game. It suffers for this problem quite badly. You could replace the units with COIN style cubes/cylinders and probably not lose much at all.
  11. Eventually your force becomes almost the entire force in the battles, they just start off with a bunch of non-core troops so you don't have to have several corps from the start.
  12. It strikes me as a bizarre conclusion that Microsoft was all about killing PC gaming. Games were changing, and the "PC-style shooter" was going away on PCs because lo and behold games like Medal of Honor Allied Assault were showing up and doing really well while being simpler to play than Quake. Even Quake II was a significant departure. People were looking for more realism and they were getting it- from Rainbow Six to Counter-Strike. Army Men was 3do's attempt to make a zany, fun, and easy to play RTS but it had a poor sense of direction and never really played tightly enough for how finicky it was. They spun it off into action games because I think they realized their RTS formula wasn't working.
  13. Episode 364: Pet Peeves

    I do agree that customization amounts to tending toward samey and optimal rather than zany and different. I think the problem with Ashes' controls is that the units are too concrete and low-down for that kind of control scheme. If the units were, say, Napoleonic battalions instead of individual tanks and howitzers the presentation would be a lot more palatable.
  14. Episode 357: Total War: WARHAMMER

    I feel like the way the game forces every faction into its own sort of thunderdome with another(though this isn't perfeclty strict) by not allowing factions to capture territory outside their "lore enemy" for example is extremely limiting in terms of strategic decisions. In terms of the troop balance, I feel like the empire probably has the most interesting unit selection- but the dwarves tend to have units with poorly defined roles, orc units tend to be "unit x, unit x+1, unit x+2", etc. Yeah, okay, sometimes, y'know, a game can be good despite GW, and I was hoping for that. I'm not here to shit and run, I can explain what I like and dislike. Not every thread needs to be a hug-fest and I can certainly see how people like it. It's in my genre preferences, it's not just totally out of left field- I can judge its mechanics and see whether I like it or not.
  15. Episode 357: Total War: WARHAMMER

    The design choices in this game tend to be really bad IMO. The unit balance is still at that kind of linear progression of three, maybe four roles of unit with zany wizards and dragons now. The strategic mechanics are very one-note and limiting for each faction- you don't really make too many terribly interesting decisions there. It's polished, but there really isn't anything there. It's still not got the kind of craft Shogun 2 had. I guess GW IPs make people overlook or even want bizarre and weak game design. It's the same for their actual games- they're made without even having considered that other people were making better games- they just do their own thing like it's still 1990. Since Warhammer doesn't do it for me, this game doesn't do it for me.
  16. While RoN had the units take formations, there really wasnt any automated behavior. There wasn't skirmishing- the cavalry lined up. Unless you put them in braindead mode they will break formation fast.
  17. Episode 355: Stellaris

    If you think this game is the best strategy game in years and Rowan doesn't, how can you possibly say his score is wrong?
  18. Episode 355: Stellaris

    I don't think Stellaris right now is even close to the best strategy game in a few years, much less space 4x game. Perhaps this fictitious Stellaris that ends up being an interesting game in a few years is, but I think this game has more structural flaws than is immediately let on. It's also not difficult at all and while the districts system might end up being interesting, the game is so easy that you can win it with 5 planets, no problem. Rowan is pretty spot on with how the game never presses you with conflict. Maybe some people are into that, but not me.
  19. Don't be hatin' on twilight struggle.
  20. Episode 355: Stellaris

    I feel like this game, like a lot of 4x games, has a well-developed opening and is less and less designed as the game goes on and it's been playtested less in the later game. I myself prefer 4x games as competitive races to the victory conditions, so I might be biased, but this game rarely provides threats to me. The only time I ever lost was an invasion by a much more advanced neighbor an hour into one game. I think one thing that might drastically improve the game would be to eliminate ship designs and have fixed ship designs based on ehos/government/tech. One of the problems with ship designers is that it tends to result in optimization rather than any kind of differentiation or diversity. In theory, customization is used to make diverse and neat designs but in practice it just ends up being "pick the best stuff". A series of well-crafted fixed options tends to result in more diverse playstyles than just customization. See: MOO1 vs MOO2 where in Moo1 the races were a bit unbalanced, they were distinct. In Moo2, you just picked the best advantages/disadvantages and rolled with it. I also think that this game uses its writing to try to cover up for its mechanical weaknesses and because i'm not a lore-fiend or whatever, it just bounces off me. It always strikes me as funny that people call historical settings "limiting" which indicates a lack of game design creativity and imagination. In any case, also, Stellaris is doing the band-aid solution to the city management problem by legislating out too much direct control like almost every other 4x because they seem unwilling to drill it down to what's important. Instead automation is here to cover up game design weakness. If you designed it correctly, you could make a game where you can control hundreds of planets and not have to leave the main screen(in fact, the need to go from a big galaxy screen to dig down into the system map to do anything is a weakness in and of itself.).
  21. Episode 353: Twilight Struggle

    Wargames is a card that pretty much every new player should be told about even if they say they don't want to be spoiled by the cards. It's the most important card in the Late War by far.
  22. Episode 353: Twilight Struggle

    I also think new players tend to use coups too little and to late- the Soviet player should abuse the fact that in a low-defcon situation he can immediately use his coup to eliminate coups for the US player. Also, one of the people playing mentioned that he kept getting hands full of opponent-events. This game self-balances in a way because if you've got all of his events, he's much more likely to have yours, and if he doesn't, next turn, it will almost always be the opposite situation. You can always, always play your way through. Having opponent events in any case allows you to mitigate them and there are definitely some that give you enough ops to usually have one left over for something else. One of the more important things as an intermediate player is to understand when the cards that let you springboard into new areas come out. Decolonization, De-stalinization, You have to be careful though because these low-stability areas are fertile coup grounds and attempts to get in too early will get stamped out.
  23. Episode 351: Weekend of Wargaming

    I always felt that games like CK and EU consistently fail to produce interesting wars because wars aren't meant to be the interesting part of the game because players will almost never declare an interesting/balanced war. I'd love to see a strategic level ww2 game that could randomize everything but still be focused around a war that should be interesting on either side.
  24. Episode 330: Churchill

    The bots in this game kinda just 'play the game' and you do lose a lot from not having 3 because there's not a real strategy to play against. It's just playing its high cards and doing things.
  25. Cottages were still part-and-parcel of the two-layer setup, but I think they were pretty cool. I'm kinda imagining 'minor cities' working a lot like them, sprouting up early and growing up over time, the older ones being more grown than the newer ones, but that would come with trying to reduce or eliminate the 'city layer' from the game, shoving everything onto the map tiles themselves. I'm kinda sad that there aren't actually more clones of civ the way everyone cloned moo2.