Monday, August 31, 2009

GameLog 109

Knights of Honor (35h) - Sand'y sitting opposite playing Crusader Kings and reading AARs. CK is in almost every respect a deeper strategy title, but KoH is still compelling at some level I haven't put my finger on yet. Greig mentioned the limitation of the 10 knights in your retinue, and I think that comes into it at some point.

Currently playing through hard mode as Zeta as I thought it would be more a hotbed than the usual Scotland expansion. Started off being at war with Italy and there were a few touch and go moments once they polished off the top of Spain. Eventually could beat them back enough to make a second army to flank over and grab their Spanish expansion. By the time truce was called I'd nabbed another 4 provinces from them. After another messy All vs All battle for the Italian boot, I managed to come away with with the whole top of Italy and into Austria, Germany and Bolivia. Now the crusade have me tagged and I nearly lost a province to a crusade siege when everyone else was piling on me.

Up to ~28 provinces and a mile ahead in most of the scoring departments. Only way to lose looks like being pulled into a 5 vs 1 battle, so I'll try to pick my battles carefully that I know I can steamroll quickly and return to peace. Named bandits and crusaders are a PAIN. If they get your province they set up another kingdom and potentially grab other provinces out from underneath their previous rulers (no matter who they were). Lost a couple of provinces to a rebel attacking someone ELSE and claiming one of my provinces in the establishment of the kingdom. That's annoying. Not sure what you can do about it.

Tower Bloxx (1h) - Cam likes it and he plays well for a 4 y.o. The judgement of motion swing and coordination of tapping seem like good skills to learn. Sometimes he can stack together 7 or 8 in a chain, but then totally miss the tower. I'd like to see it as a psych experiment.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (1h) - More Cameron help

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

GameLog 108

Knights of Honor (10h) - Picked this one up off steam after Greig mentioned it as a Crusader Kings alternative. Breaks apart pretty easily once you put a lot of traders in place.

TrackMania Nations (5h) - Ran the computer game stall at the St Luke's Day carnival for the school. Lots of new kids initiated into the wonders of TrackMania.

Hinterland (4h) - Finished off hard mode with no town support.

Tower Bloxx (2h) - An update to the lite version came with facebook interaction when playing the quick game. Made enough difference for me to part with the 2 bucks for the whole game. Very slick and suits the iPhone well. Another keeper for that minute or 2 break.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (2h) - Cameron is playing this a lot, so I've been called over to "help out" every now & then. Quite good for spatial awareness and physics, but the cost models and deeper strategy are beyond him at the moment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hinterland Achievements

After playing a couple of games and beating it on hardcore, I had a quick glance at the remaining achievements in steam to see what else the devs thought were interesting challenges. 4 of 9 still remained:
- Lone wolf: Win without inviting anyone into your party
- Guardian: Win without any settlers dying
- Disrespectful: Never accomplish a King's request
- Champion Attain level 12

Hmm, what if I don't employ anyone? That should take care of the first two, and hopefully leave enough XP to get to champion, and being disrespectful would be entertaining too.

I first tried a couple of runs with an outlaw as it seemed to fit with the disrespectful nature, and also had the maximum difficuly multiplier. I think it's definitely posible, but you have to be pretty lucky to get the free food perk on 1st or 2nd level up otherwise you'll starve, and having regeneration everywhere is good for the sanity.

On the other hand, orc shamans have the same difficulty multiplier, but don't have to worry about food as you can get it from drops. They actually fel more solid as a solo character too. Managed to snag regen on the 2nd level to help push the game through a little faster and completed it in about 4 hours. In the end I charged the hardest fort with 10 summoned goblins that I'd been saving. Managed to take down a group of 3 super quickly without taking any losses, so I tried again on a final group of 5. Something nailed the little guys pretty quickly and 2 archers were hitting me for over 1/2 health a shot! Stuck to my guns and pulled through after downing 20 odd potions.

Mopped up the remaining areas and just dinged 12 one the 2nd last battle. Noice.

Looking back at the achievement list, I would have completed every single one in that game. Fairly unorthodox playstyle though so I doubt anyone's popped them all in their first play through the game.

GameLog 107

Started to use Raptr for tracking playtime. Seems to pick up way more games than steam, but is still not able to track everything ...

Hinterland (20h) - Had forgotten all about this one, but picked it up cheaply on steam. Still a little buggy and laggy even after 9 months of patches, but it's got that majesty feel to it (even though you have more control).

Civilization Revolutions for iPhone (20h) - may have missed documenting this one last time, but Civ for the iPhone was great, if a little too easy. Definitely the highlight for strategy games so far (most are pretty casual), although I can still see me playing iGo a long time from now. Might look at a crossword one too.

Team Fortress 2 (4h) - Testing the new update. KotH maps are a little lame. Once a team takes it they pretty much have 30 seconds in the bank. The ending is rather anticlimatic.

Poker (2h) - late night action.
Bejewelled blitz (2h) - Still trying to figure out whether there is any deeper strategy to it. Still addictive, although I may have it in a less traditional camp than most strategy games.

King's Bounty (1h) - Popped over to the 2nd island and realised I'll need to finish of the 1st island to get XP up. Not too motivated to finish the outstanding ones.

Hearts of Iron II (1h) - Japan started the Pacific war. Showed Dad a bit of it, but he didn't seem interested even though he likes historical battles.

Monday, August 10, 2009

GameLog 105 & 106

Assignments back to ward me off too many games ...

Hearts of Iron II (40h) - Aussie air force in France, then helping in the African campaign. Japan has just done the dirty and it's a race back home to see what the damage is.
Dominions 3 (30h) - Demo has lasted sooo long!
King's Bounty (10h) - Popped over to the 2nd island and realised I'll need to finish of the 1st island to get XP up.
Poker (4h)
Bejewelled blitz (2h)
Paper toss (1h)
iGo (1h)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

When does poo cease to become interesting?

This morning while having a shower I overheard a conversation upstairs between Cameron and Sandy. It went something like this:
Cameron: "Mommy, come quickly! Look!"
A few moments later, footsteps from the front of the house toward the back. They stop.
Sandy: " Oh, this isn't about your poo again is it?"
Footsteps retreat.
Sandy: "I don't have time for that ..."
Cameron: "But it's in the shape of a C ! ... or a L .."

When does poo cease to become interesting?
At the start of potty training we're overjoyed seeing the deposit successfully retained inside the porcelain, but certainly wouldn't boast about such a feat when grown up. In fact, poo being such a touchy subject it almost seems foreign that you'd show delight about it at any stage!

Parents know though. So many stinky nappies. Potty training is a firm victory worth celebrating.

When does the praise and adulation wear off? Somehow I felt sad at that moment. A little window into the interestingness of poo has been closed; it's now back in the realms of not-for-discussion topics for the rest of Cameron's life.

Rachael, on the other hand, still hasn't got the whole potty training deal yet, so another window is opening up in the near future ...