Friday, March 12, 2010

I am so not a poet but here ya go: my Ode to an Orange Shoe


Bright, shiny-
you would show off my painted toes to perfection.
Cheap, sale-
together we would sashay our way to fashion heaven.
Pretty, perfect-
you did show my toes off to painted perfection.
Pain, injury-
you consigned my toes to fashion perdition.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I finally finished my post.

This is my Rome: TOTAL WAR compared with CIV post.

There you go.

The things he says.

Yesterday I found out that there was a lecture being given by the Confucius Institute here on campus. My East Asia since 1600 is one of the major members of that society and mentioned that if you attended he'd wave one of the obligatory 5 essays. I told this to Damm. Here is the dialogue that followed.

Me: "Yeah, if I go I don't have to write one of the essays."

Damm: "You should definitely go then, because you take forever to write those."

Me: Dramatic Pause

Damm's Dad: "Ooh-hoo you in trouble now!" (to Damm)

P.S. I know what Damm meant to say was that he's seen how hard I labor over my essays, making sure I have the historical facts correct and that the language flows and that it is inviting to read and that he wanted to spare me that effort once if possible.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

RTW compared with Civ

This post has an angry little one attached so might be updated infrequently throughout the day in addition to already being like two days late. Sorry :P.

Both games are turn based for the majority of the game play.

Both games have fairly extensive building options for their cities.

Both games have units and you can stack the units and the units require upkeep.

Both games have trade and little pictures on the map showing things that make the nearby city wealthy.

Both games have boats.

(be aware I only played up to Civ III).

Thats about where the similarities end. There is no researching technology in RTW... if your city is big enough and your faction can build it then you can build [x].

In RTW the cities are prebuilt... no settlers... each city is in a province and control of that province means you own the city.... otherwise you are just bandits damaging the province.

Battles in RTW -can- be run kinda like Civ where you attack and victory is determined yes or no. However even in those battles

[post interupted will be finished later]

are slightly different as the losing side is not usually completely eliminated. In fact when I wish to completely wipe out the invading army I usually have to fight the battle manually.

AHHHHH manual battles. This, this is where the game really really shines. You see each of your world map units has a certain number of men in it(lets say 100 but it varies from unit to unit). As time goes on they lose men in battle and gain men from "retraining" at a city that can build their unit. What does this have to do with manual battle? Well simply put. Every single one of those men are modeled. Every single one of those men count. Some should count more than others(mmmm Cavalry good to the last drop).

MANUAL BATTLE
In manual battle you control your units on a three dimensional battlefield that looks VERY similair to the world map at the point where your units ran into the enemy. If there is a river there there will be a river here. Mountains, then mountains; city, then city. Your men can hide in the trees, have to build seige weapons to break into the walls of a city(or stand harmlessly outside doing nothing), will get bunched up at bridges, have to run up the hills.

And these things matter.

Charging up hill into a row of pikes? Yeah not fun. You are tired from going up the hill and the guys on the top? They're all rested and have been watching you walk up and wear yourself out.

Moral matters. If your guys in the middle run? The guys on the left and the right are going to start worrying. "Hey bob... they ran... are we losing? Should we run? I don't know if we're going to win this...."

Your generals have hidden "aura"s to use a WoW term. Basically being near a general makes people braver. I guess the idea is that if you are near CAESAR then you are going to win right? Because CAESAR is never wrong? (My Caesars are usually never wrong. But this is because I like playing battles on medium).

Being surrounded? The unit will fight to the death(cus they know their going to die anyways)... but if they aren't...when they lose... some jerk in the back throws down his gear and runs... and then they all run like the lemmings they are...and then the wonderful sweet CAVALRY runs them down and makes little pincushins out of them, killing them to the last man(unless they are very fast and can get out of the battleground like the cheeting AI punks they might be).

Ah and if you lose? Well half the battle is knowing if you are going to win or not. If you find your self in a BAD situation... use some throw away units to distract the enemy and order your good units to run for it. City Watch? yeah they should know that their lives are worth about 1/7th of a cavalry man. Their duty is to die to let the horses get out.

Or to act as bait to draw the dumb horrible evil gauls out of the woods and into the plain. But that is a different point.

Charging all the time? Wears people out. Then they get eaten up by the rested guys.

Getting hit from behind? Or the flanks? Very demoralizing... as long as you make sure they can run, this is a moral breaker.

Oh and very important: living through battle after battle? We call these troops 'battle hardened'. Units in RTW will gain ranks... it goes something like: Bronze(1 chevron, 2 chevron, 3 chevron), Silver(1 chevron, two chevron, three chevron) and so on. More ranks means the units have more experiance... when units get a LOT of experience their captains can be adopted into the family.

OH THE FAMILY.
Yeah so in RTW your faction? It all belongs to one very noble(better than you) family. And when you start -all- of your generals except one will be sons and grandsons of the faction leader. That one that isn't? He's the faction leader. Your menfolk can be married(wives have no stats), then make babies! YAYAY! Making babies means that about 30 turns from baby = new general. Every general comes with a body guard of heavy calvary. They also have stats.

Stars = command points... meaning they boost the men around them in battle more and more. Lots of stars = this guy makes city watch into DEATH COMMANDO INFANTRY. A star? This guy is obviously Bob's son. Bob is the general who has a TON of scrolls that you stuck in your capitol city.

Scrolls = this guy is a brainiac. He does things like... Brain stuff. He makes CITIES(not armies) run better.

Green leaf things = influence. I ignore this stat but it is probably very important. It DOES matter for diplomats(who are basically units that are family but not family... kinda like upper family servants).

Each general starts with -some- stats usually. But you get stats from doing things. If you stick one of your menfolk in a city from the age of 16 to 65(when they start dying stupidly from old age) then he will skill up on scrolls. If you drag the young pup out and throw him into battle over and over and over and over again? As he wins he gets stars.

In both cases as they level up they get retinue...which are people but function like gear. Except some gear lowers your stats(the court retard will give your general -1 security). You can trade retinue so you take bad retinue and stick it on dying old men in far off outposts and then when they die it is gone. And you take good retinue and put it on young not dying guys so that you don't lose it. Retinue doesn't age. Lucky them.

Diplomats, spies, assassins are units called agents... They are part of the family but can't marry and are not on the family tree.

Daughters. You'll have them. They are like delayed menfolk. They come of age... and then you start having pop-ups. "Can sir suck-a-lot marry into your family?" "No no no no no HE HAS NO STARS WHAT ARE YOU THINKING GIRL? I OWN YOU SO NO. P.s. I also own like FIVE THOUSAND SOLDIERS so really... no. I'll have him assassinated if you don't find someone with STARS or at LEAST three-four scrolls. I don't care if they are 35 and you are 14. GIMME SOME STARS.

If someone marries in then you have another son. Tada. Oh and everyone marries for life. When their spouse dies... they don't remarry. So ha.

TRADE
Maintaining your economy is JUST as important in RTW as it is in Civ. Poor nations cannot afford troops. They only exist to be turned into slave fodder to the conquering nation. Water bordering provinces can build ports. Once ports are built they start with 1 water trade route. Bigger ports have more. They auto-find nearby cities to trade with(foreign nations require trade rights) and they start trading. This is free gold and nations without water are POOR. Seriously. Darcia or Dacia or whatever its called is possibly the poorest country in the game. Rome and Britanica are rich for a reason. We call it WATERGOLD.

The game has events kinda like Civ. Cities get plague if they are overpopulated. Volcanoes can erupt. There are wonders... but they are pre-built. Capturing them does keep them and you get bonuses. Capturing rhodes = MORE WATER GOLD because of a statue there(or is it sparta... one of them).

And that's the end of my comparison. Hopefully it was fun.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Flower


Not Payment

"Alice woke up slowly."

This is all I have written. The story is there but normally my brain is better rested. Normally I don't go get all gamedrunk on weekends(18.6 hours in 2 days /played time).

I know the outlines of what happens next. I am just failing with the adversb and adjectives. The smells and sights and sounds. The feelings. Etc. So Payment posts this week are unlikely if my muse doesn't wake up and get out of the gutter. I am still writing something this week for a weekly story. Just most likely nothing on Payment. We'll see.

So I am giving you a random thoughts post(aka my usual fare before the stories started coming). I have been very pleased to discover the quality writers that were lurking in my guild. I love the new guild blog and it is quickly rising to the top my blog rankings.

The most pleasant result of this last weekend's gaming binge was the discovery that WoW no longer dominated my conversations and thoughts. While I'm sure my present obsession was just as disturbing to my family; for me it was nice to be enthralled by something new. This had not happened in a long time.

I still like WoW but I am happiest when it is more of a poker night thing and less of a life-aspect thing. I am attempting to get RTW under control as well and hope to eventually use the games to balance eachother. So that a single game doesn't define me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One More Turn.

Okay so I bought Rome: Total War via Steam friday. I did so thinking that me and Wulfa needed another game to play together so that our only thing to talk about for fun wouldn't be WoW. I'm not sure if that sentence makes any sense in the condition I'm in right now. But that was the idea.

Oh how horribly wrong I was.

I played my first turn Friday night but didn't do anything other than move one unit and end turn. Saturday morning I picked up and started my first campaign. The Scipii.

Do vampires get addicted to heroin if they drain a druggie? Because that's the kind of hooks this game immediately put in me. The I need blood/heroin because I'm a vampire user kind. I only wish I was exaggerating.

Ask Wulfa if you see her around. Ask her what I talked about this weekend.

Because my every waking thought was consumed with how to balance the needs of the senate with establishing my trade routes with keeping my populace happy. With how to get more cavalry. <3 Calvary. MOBILITY WINS. With replaying the latest battle in my head.

Saturday morning:
planning how to take Sicily
taking Sicily
planning how to take Carthage
taking Carthage.
losing Carthage to rebellion three times because not understanding how temples of other races work.
razing Carthage.
hunting down the Carthaginians and wiping them off the planet.
planning invasion of the Iberian peninsula

lunch.... asking Wulfa about what I should conquer in her name.

Redirecting force of my campaign from the Iberian peninsula to Palestine.
Planning invasion of Greece.
Taking Sparta and Corinth.
Planning invasion of Rhodes.
Rhodes put on back burner as Egypt and Pontus both declare war with me(upset that I was moving into their spheres of influence. Brief panic before naval reallocation allows for naval supremacy and destruction of all Egyptian and Pontus trade routes.
Cyprus captured.
Army ashore at Palestine.
Army utterly defeated by Egyptian force twice its size(roughly 2,200 men). Army flees to boats and escapes with general intact.

Dinner.

Put kids to play.
Play WoW with Wulfa because she doesn't have RTW yet and isn't really willing to just sit and watch me play it.
Get suckered by brothers into playing my paladin.
Learn that pally healing isn't horrible.
Learn that pally healing in HoR SUCKS.
Walk away all glowy happy because random DK knows that the proper way is to aggressively complement the healer.
Wulfa gets new bow.

Wake up Sunday.

After Church.

Start Carthaginian campaign. While walking with Wulfa after dinner plan aggressive anti-Roman campaign designed around the idea that blockading a port prevents navies from being built there.
Find out how almost impossible it is to prevent Rome from having navies.
Take Sicily.
Get bored of fighting Rome.

Finish watching Enchanted.

Start Julii campaign.
Take northernmost Italy.
See that it is 10pm.
Save game planning to get off.
Remember unit I forgot to move.
Move unit.
Save game.
Think "I'll just end turn to see what is going to happen next".
One more turn.
Fifteen minutes later repeat last 6 steps.

See that it is 12:45pm after I've crushed all major Gaul resistance due to their foolish refusal to find a counter to roman cavalry. Decide that going to bed is a good thing.

Wake up Monday morning cursing self and exhausted.

Manic Monday

That song that has the line "Just another Manic Monday ... Wishing it were Sunday ... 'cause that's my fun day" was going through my head this morning.

Yesterday morning passed in a blur because I woke up with flu symptoms and was completely conked out til Damm and the little ones got back from church. Afterwards I began to revive and we had an awesome afternoon. It was awesome because I couldn't even think about chores/schoolwork/all the bills that had to be filled out and sent in (oh shoot ...). So the Miniorc and I watched the NCIS marathon while the Orclette and Damm played in the living room, and then we finished off the evening by watching "Enchanted". The Orclette enjoyed it, which is good ... maybe "Ratatouille" can be put aside for a day or two so momma can recover from rat overload.

But there is something to the idea that God worked for six days and then He took a break. I'm not sure how I could manage that-most of my big projects and all housecleaning I schedule for the weekend. But wow-I feel refreshed and not harassed and that's something I could use more of. And the Orclette and Miniorc were visibly more relaxed. Speaking of my Orclette ... we went shopping Saturday and I bought some really cute dresses for her. Only they weren't the baby dresses, they were the little girl dresses. She looks so grown up already and she's not even 3. I've been looking forward to her being older but it is bittersweet. And my Miniorc? Muy rechoncho. Very chubby. Learning how to crawl. Sigh.

So our blog really isn't about orcs anymore ... and we have two nicknames for our little ones. Babydoll and Little Man. I think we shall switch how we reference our kiddos to these monikers.

So I guess I am wishing it were Sunday ... because that's my new fun day.