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7th October 2014: The Earth Is Our Empire

We also tried Empire Earth which I'd grabbed from GOG, as I was hoping for an interesting strategy game after the failure that was HOMM 3. This thing was a bit of a ball ache to get into, and it seems to be one of those games that starts off slow and builds up to the action. It didn't help that it seemed very close in style to the old Age Of Empire games. I'm not ruling out coming back to this, but if we really fancy playing a game of this type I'm sure we would just go and play Galactic Battlegrounds.

Choppa

Choppa

Had a bit of an RTS revival recently, playing a few sessions with Mr. Gallear. Included were some games of Rome: Total War for the first time since my days as a Wild Monkey general.

My wonderful pink cavalry ride to the aid of Mr. Gallear

My wonderful pink cavalry ride to the aid of Mr. Gallear

Catching the enemy from behind

Catching the enemy from behind

The massive 4v4 battle stretches down into the valley

The massive 4v4 battle stretches down into the valley

We also played some Soulstorm, with one 2v2v2v2 battle lasting nearly two hours, and another 2v2v2v2 battle where every army was Necrons. Crazy fun.

The Living Saint takes a beating

The Living Saint takes a beating

The Ecto-1 sure looks different these days

The Ecto-1 sure looks different these days

March of the Necrons

March of the Necrons

The enemy Necrons stand no chance

The enemy Necrons stand no chance

8th August 2013: A Settlers Story

Not long back I bought Settlers 3 from GOG, which gave me more stuff to play with than the normal version I had previously. This collection gave me the Amazons, extra missions, and a groovy map editor, which I had to jump right into using. I wanted to make a map that promoted massive battles but also could be played in a much shorter time. To that end, I set up everyone's guard towers, mining and food industry as part of the map, leaving players the simple tasks of building their smiths and residences and getting stuck in. At least that was the plan. I tested the map out with CPU players, and it didn't go quite as I hoped...

As reds, I teamed up with blues and yellows against greens, cyans and oranges. It did not take long for all 6 teams to build up a considerable force of soldiers. Then I played a waiting game. A very loooooong waiting game. All I wanted was for something to happen, for either my allies to attack or the enemy teams to attack. I knew if I went in at the enemy alone I would be wiped out. But nothing happened. For hours. Literally.
Eventually, I couldn't be bothered any more. As all 5 CPU armies shuffled around nervously, I grabbed all my little guys (by this time around 1000) and sent them forward. Seems like the blues had also been waiting for the chance, deciding to follow me in, and we crashed into the enemy defences. Unfortunately, the yellow team defiantly sat in their territory, and the enemy armies battered myself and the blues into submission in short order. The sheer volume of soldiers on the screen during this engagement was something I'd never seen before in this game.

Now things had kicked off at last, the enemy counter attacked. With all my soldiers gone, and few blues remaining, the yellows finally had to step up and were able to hold them off. After the first crazy engagement, every attack that followed from the CPU players were small ones, easily defended from both sides. I wasn't quite sure how the game was ever going to end, but then I realised to my concern that both the blues and yellows had stopped creating soldiers. They had used up all their stone supplies building dozens of buildings they didn't need, most of which I'd already supplied them with by default. Stupid CPU players. This meant they couldn't build any more residences. By contrast, I'd not even used half of my stone yet.
I realised this was probably true of the enemy players as well, so built up another large force and sent them in. Joined by the remaining yellow soldiers, I was finally able to punch through the enemy forward defences, and rolled through the entire cyan settlement. My final army was then easily able to take out the oranges and greens with little resistance. Phew.

Working in the editor

Working in the editor

The initial defences stand ready

The initial defences stand ready

My boat spies on the enemy

My boat spies on the enemy

Charge!

Charge!

Oh bum

Oh bum

The enemy counter attacks

The enemy counter attacks

Stomping into cyan territory

Stomping into cyan territory

The last big push begins

The last big push begins

Eating the greens

Eating the greens

The map definitely promotes huge battles, but needs more tweaks in order to be played faster. Oh, and human players. Always helps, that.

In other news, pretty much still just playing LoL a couple of times a week, but no other gaming has happened for a while now. I gave up Star Trek again. Game is just too much of a dull grind fest. MMOs I guess.

17th June 2013: You Shall Not Pass

A couple of times over the last few weeks I've tried in vain to get into Battle For Middle Earth. But I have unfortunately come to realise why I never played this thing that much back when I first bought it. The game lacks pretty much anything I enjoy in the RTS genre.

Number one problem is without doubt the limits on army size. In the missions I played I could never build more than about 6 or 7 units of 5 men each. That's not exactly an army is it?
Then again, if you could build a bigger army, it would become very difficult to manage, as the game lacks in this area as well. In other RTS games, if you select a bunch of units, you get a visual representation of that via the use of icons on the UI or something, so you can see exactly how many units you currently have selected. In this game, other than the heroes who all have their own icons, there is no such function.
I also hate that you are forced into building your bases in certain places, and are limited to how many buildings you can build. I felt like that game was constantly telling me this: "What's that? You wanna put a tower or barracks here as it seems like a strategically sound or useful thing to do? Well you can't. Go build it where we say you've got to build it! Idiot!"

I know it's an old game, but the graphics are shoddy, and many times I could even see the join where two really crappy textures didn't even match up.
The combat is dull, uninspiring, and sometimes a little difficult to follow. There's not a great deal of visual feedback to help you see what's going on. Exactly just who is attacking who?
The two-tone minimap is also a problem, and doesn't really give much detail about the surrounding terrain at all.

It'll be no surprise to hear that I don't really have any intention of forcing myself any further through this pile of garbage.

Dodgy graphics

Dodgy graphics

Gandalf frazzles some Goblins

Gandalf frazzles some Goblins

Poorest excuse for a base ever

Poorest excuse for a base ever

24th April 2013: Taking Over The Battlegrounds

But I have managed to install some of my older games, always a fun task on Windows 7, and we recently gave Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds a run out. We used to play the hell out of that game once upon a time, but we really did struggle to get back into it. Yes, we couldn't remember what the hell was going on, but it was just so very slow compared to RTS style games we've played in more recent years. Also, we put it on easy thinking we would need it due to our lack of practise, but we stomped all over the enemy. I'll be quite surprised if we play it again, but hopefully I'll keep some interest in it as I never did the campaign, and could do with going through it.

The attack begins

The attack begins

My Sith and JIK's Jedi lead the way

My Sith and JIK's Jedi lead the way

Scoob's AT-ATs bring the pain

Scoob's AT-ATs bring the pain

What's better than a Destroyer droid? Many, of course.

What's better than a Destroyer droid? Many, of course.

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