Tag Archives: games

The Casual Gamer: Assassin’s Creed

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series The Casual Gamer

Over this past holiday season I finally finished the first title in the Assassin’s Creed series. I picked up the Platinum Hits edition a few years ago, playing it in fits and starts, but it wasn’t until now that I decided to push through and complete the game. And I’m really glad I did.

Be forewarned: potential spoilers beyond this point. Continue reading The Casual Gamer: Assassin’s Creed

Ogame Development

HammerstrikeI didn’t think it’d be possible, but this “Ogame”:http://ogame.org thing is really quite addictive. I’ve been playing for a bit over a week now (10 days, actually), and I’ve worked my way up to a solidly established Homeworld (which I dubbed ‘Darkfall’) and two colony planets (Firestorm and Hammerstrike). I’ve actually got a colony ship _en route_ to arrive at a potential fourth planet in about six hours. This is actually my second attempt to gain a fourth planet, the first of which failed in the last 15 minutes as someone arrived there just before I did (it was a 10-hour trip one-way, so the colony ship had to turn around and come 10 hours back home again).

Solar PlantMy strategy thus far has been simple – keep as low of a profile as possible, spend resources as fast as possible, and spread myself out around the galaxy as much as possible. Fortunately, I’m under what’s called ‘newbie protection,’ which means that more advanced players who have been at the game longer than I can’t attack me until I level up quite a bit more. Likewise, I can’t attack players newer than me (beyond a certain level). I’ve primarily spent most of my time sending cargo ships out to ‘attack’ inactive players who haven’t logged in for at least seven days, some of which have been away for 28 days or more. Some of these folks are about to have their accounts deleted anyway, so I can safely raid their stuff while they’re gone without fear of retaliation. Soon enough, though, I’ll have to start building fleets and become a bit more active in the local battles and wars in order to continue surviving. Newbie protection doesn’t last forever, you know.

Colony ShipIt helps to enter this game with an alliance already in place. A bunch of guys from my “Halo clan”:http://tiedtheleader.com have been playing Ogame for several months now, so most of them are already firmly entrenched and well-established. My first few days in the game saw care packages coming in from several different players and planets. The extra resources were instrumental in allowing me to gain a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. This has also allowed me to establish a pretty solid foothold so that I can share some of my resources around to newer players, as well. As an alliance, TTL works very well together and the goal is for us to become one of the highest ranked alliances in the game (at least on our server). We’ve even managed to pull players from other Halo clans into our Ogame alliance, thus making us even stronger.

normaltempplanet05.jpgOgame is pretty cool for what amounts to little more than a glorified Excel spreadsheet. There’s no animations (aside from the countdown clocks), no super-fancy graphics, no wicked cool sounds. It’s simply a slow and plodding game of resource management and colony development. It’s amazingly complex and requires a certain amount of strategy to be able to manage your development. I like the fact that there is no luck, no chance involved. Everything is very mathematical and formulaic, and therefore outcomes are relatively easy to predict.

Feel free to give the game a try, and if you decide you want to register and need an alliance to ally with, declare yourself over at “TTL’s Ogame Alliance Hall”:http://forum.tiedtheleader.com/index.php?topic=8529.0 for a pass to our private strategy forum. Tell them Demag0gue sent you.

Ogame

I really don’t feel like writing much today – it’s just one of _those_ kinds of days. So, instead I’ve been monitoring my progress in “Ogame”:http://www.ogame.org – a resources management game that puts you in command of interplanetary fleets as they fight for dominance in the universe. You start out planet-locked with a starting complement of resources to begin building metal mines, solar plants, and a lot more. The idea is to collect resources, build an organization on your Homeworld, build a fleet, and set out in the galaxy to populate other planets, destroy other fleets, mine debris fields, form alliances, and more.

I swore I’d never play this game, but here I am anyway. And it really doesn’t require that much of my attention. I can start putting buildings up and walk away while the processes complete. Some processes – which I haven’t gotten to yet – take several hours to accomplish. I’ve also been fortunate to join up with my Halo clan in an alliance in the Ogame universe, two members of which sent me shipments overnight last night (one took a real-time seven hours to arrive, the other six) to help me get on my feet and get buildings put up. I still haven’t built and ships or satellites – those are coming just as soon as I can get enough deuterium collected to fuel everything.

It’s a pretty interesting game, and I know that once I get my fleets into the sky I’m going to have to start keeping an eye out for raiders. We’ll just see how things go. This is kind of fun at the moment.

Chess Tactics

I’ve found a new toy – the “Chess Tactics Server”:http://chess.emrald.net/index.php. It’s basically a free website where you go to solve thousands of chess problems. You’re presented with scenario where you have to choose the next best move (or set of moves) before the clock runs out and are rated based on whether or not you found the correct solution. The faster you solve it, the more points you get. Solvers start with a rating of 1500 (based on the popular “Glicko system”:http://math.bu.edu/people/mg/glicko/glicko.doc/glicko.html). Right now I’m hovering right around 1100, so I think I’ve hit my actual skill level at the moment. The goal is to improve my rating by doing more and more of these problems.

For chess enthusiasts rushing over there to check it, take notice that the site works best in Internet Explorer. Tell IE to _never_ check for newer versions of stored pages (Tools –> Internet Options –> Temporary Internet Files –> Settings –> Check for newer versions of stored pages –> Never), or else the clock will start counting down before the board even finishes loading.

It’s kind of fun, and you can solve as many or as few as you like and then go do something else for a while. So, if you like chess, go give it a look-see.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

persiasands.jpgMy wife bought me this game for Christmas since it had been on my list for quite a while. _Prince of Persia_ is basically a game of puzzles, with a healthy dose of sword fighting thrown in for a change of pace. It’s a short game – I completed the whole thing in just under 10 hours of gameplay. It requires both brains and coordination to make it through, as booby traps and pitfalls abound. There isn’t a whole lot to the story – as plots go, it’s fairly basic and could probably be told in under five minutes. But this game doesn’t actually need much of a storyline to be fun (which is probably one of the only times you’ll ever hear me say that). The enjoyment here is in solving every riddle and finding solutions to every secret.

One of my favorite features of the game is the cinematic effects. The camera angles shift as you move along, providing you with unique and interesting viewpoints. Of course, these camera angles can also sometimes be annoying, but such instances are few and far between. The fighting sequences are both fun and frustrating, but once you get the rhythm, they’re generally pretty easy ((‘Easy’ here is a relative term.)) to move through.

I really enjoyed this game, so much so that I’ve already started a second run-through, and despite having beaten it once, it’s actually no easier the second time around. Of course, a healthy dose of over-confidence may be partially to blame for this.

_Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time_ comes highly recommended from me.