Thursday, December 29, 2016

Play Log: Downtime

I've been on winter break for the past few days, and I've mainly used that extra time to play a lot of Civilization V.

Civilization V
I don't love this game, so I don't know why I keep coming back to it, but I do.  Like The Sims 3 (which I actually do like, a lot), Civ is a game that I play intensively for a week or so and then forget about, only to inevitably come back to it some months down the line.  I'm not very good at the game, so I ended up playing at Warlord level (which is just a step below Normal difficulty).  What's engaging to me about Civ games nurturing an empire.  I always go for science or culture victories, and try to stay out of wars.  I find war in these games to be really tedious until you get air power, so it's not fun for me, even when I'm winning.  So when I get leaders like Askia and Dido, who want nothing more than world conquest, things get very unsatisfying very quickly.  Ironically though, in my current game as America I've become by far the most militaristic entity.  It all started when Dido decided to invade me for no apparent reason back during the Ancient Era.  I fended her off with everything I had.  Fast-forward to the Information Era, and Dido's long been conquered by other civs, while my military has become the largest and most advanced on the planet.  The last thing I did before quitting out was nuke Austria's capital to delay them from stealing my scientific victory.  They're the biggest country in the world in most respects, and their military is second only to mine, so I suspect I have a huge war in my future.  But for the time being, they were content to give me all of their luxury and strategic resources in exchange for peace and their capital.  If, after the peace treaty expires, they want a war, they'll have to come to me.  I wasn't ready for Dido, but I'll be ready for Austria.

Mount & Blade: Warband
The Mount & Blade games have always been a curiosity to me.  With the Steam sale on, I decided to try one for myself.  They always seemed to have a strong cult following, and now I can see why.  I'm not sure I've ever played a game quite like Warband.  Basically, you're a nobody who's decided to venture to the land of Calradia (modeled somewhat after medieval Europe) to make a name for themselves.  Calradia is a continent occupied by six factions, who are pretty much constantly at war with each other.  It's also infested with bandits, looters, raiders, and deserters.  What you do when you arrive is largely up to you; you can take up merchanting, sign on as a mercenary for one of the factions, fight in arenas, whatever.  But whatever you do, you'll want to have some followers to protect you, as Calradia's a dangerous place.  So you end up building an army.

Right now my group sits between 30-50 men.  It's a humble number, hardly an army, but most of them are really well-trained, some even elite fighters.  It's enough to make your average band of cutthroats flee on sight, and enough to lend meaningful aid to large-scale battles between lords and kings.  For the past couple months I've been operating in Swadia as a mercenary group.  I like Swadia well enough.  Eventually I'd like to own land there.

Invisible, Inc
Well, Klei's done it again.  I didn't like Don't Starve that much, but it was a well-made game all the same.  I feel mostly the same about Invisible, Inc, except I think I can have a better time with this one.  It's really tough, even on easy.  It's almost discouragingly difficult, to be honest.  I never really feel like I'm making significant gains, and mistakes are costly.  Still, I like the game well enough.

I don't know if I just suck at this game, or if my decks suck.  Probably both.  I rarely win.  But I'm still having a good time with it.

World of Tanks Blitz
They just started some sort of Winter Festival Event.  I got a day of premium time (which I used exactly 0 of), some credits, and a Tetrarch.  Kinda crappy.  All of my missions these days have been for Tier 6, which I only have my Cromwell for.  I love playing the Cromwell, but I'm still not sure how to play it successfully, especially in Tier 6/7 hybrid games.  The Cromwell's best-in-class mobility means it's often the first on the scene, but you don't want to first on the scene, because that makes you the center of enemy attention.  My best games so far are ones where I stay on the periphery, taking potshots and being a nuisance, or in the case of Supremacy, zooming off to take an unguarded enemy point.  And then everyone calls me a coward because I'm not jumping in the fray, guns blazing.  At least the 75mm HV packs a decent wallop.

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