Sunday, 3 April 2011

Part 1, in which the losing move is played

What, this again?

See, I have a weird problem. Once in while, I get beamed to some time and place where large groups of people happen to want to kill each other (any time and place, really), am given control over one such group and asked to win. It's not so bad, actually, especially if you know your way about the situation. Don't mean to toot my own horn so much, but remember the invasion of England by Italy from your history lessons? The Lithuanian siege of Paris? The glorious victory of Babylonians over the Aztecs? Yeah, these were all mine.

(Before you ask: no, I don't think I am, or have ever been, Napoleon. He was merely under my command.)

This time, however, it's nothing quite as familiar. It's the Sengoku period in feudal Japan, and my knowledge about it is just extensive enough to be able to look up the name in Wikipedia. Apparently, the whole country is divided into small regions, each ruled by an overly ambitious warlord. Nobody likes living in such mess, so a single unified ruler has to be chosen, and the best way to do that, of course, is to make everybody kill each other and see who's left.

Hm, how does the saying go... war stays the same forever? armed conflict alters under no circumstance? I'm sure it was something snappier. Anyway, this should be easy: a handful of clans, one island nation to conquer in a quarter of a century, and the title of shogun as the prize. Somebody wins, my productivity loses. Sounds about right.

Now, for a bit of technical information:

Total War series has always been an attractive target for doing a Let's Play writeup to me. The game doesn't have any enforced plot, but provides enough hooks in the form of general and agent personalities, skill and research trees, realistic settings, etc to make it possible to create your own narrative as you play - which I always do. With the release of Shogun 2, I finally decided to write that narrative down, instead of keeping it in memory and occasionally annoying those around me with random out-of-context details. Someone is probably to blame for making me consider starting a blog for it, though.

In a rather technical definition of the term, this will be a blind run - I'll be writing about the progress on my first time playing a campaign in this game, although since I have played previous installments of the series and am familiar with most essential elements of the genre, there shouldn't be too many surprises.

Also, I'm not aiming for a skillful or efficient way to win the game. Teh lulz is a good reason for making a decision, as is preferring in-game reasoning over meta considerations - basically, I want to keep both the game and the writeup fun. (I reserve the right to retroactively label any decision as having been for teh lulz in order to save myself from embarrassment.)

That's it for the introduction. The first gameplay post should be coming up shortly, but I don't want to speculate about any possibilities of having a schedule until I see how well this goes.


  1. If I'm sneaky, this will look like the first ever comment on this blog.

    Wait. Nevermind...

    I'll request you play Europa Universalis III in the 3rd season, at the latest. But let's see how this one goes.

    Anyhoo, I'll figure out another way to be sneaky then. Lurking? No... Ah. Yes.

  2. In case you sneaked past the link, here it is again: Very worth reading and not-lurking - being the only commenter there is starting to feel a bit lonely.

    Indeed, let's see how long I can keep up with these posts. Never played Europa Universalis, so that would be a good option for a true blind and incompetent run. But that's distant future, there is a number of ways to be incompetent at Shogun.

  3. I'll have to do an archive binge there at some point, flooding the place with several comments in mere hours. But that was not the sneak I meant.

    I have not played EUIII much at all, and not the previous ones either. In fact, I think I'm still playing my first proper game (France). But it has been going on for hundreds of in-game years, which combined with a somewhat low difficulty has made it ridiculously unhistoric. I control most of Middle and South America, huge parts of Africa, Great Britain, some other stuff I must be forgetting and a big part of continental Europe. (And my king is the Holy Roman Emperor which happens to exploitily give me a huge tax bonus.)

    I was very much sold when I noticed Finland had declared independence of Sweden and king Väinämöinen was the ruler of the land. They lasted maybe 50-100 years before one of the Russian factions took them.

    Also, Hearts of Iron II is good too, now that I'm voicing unreasonable requests.

    I'd also like to request an edit function here. I mean, we might need it sometime, and you really should take care of that before you join a popular LP rock star crew and never have time to update your poor site.

    Seriously, I hope you realize this is going to be the place where I complain about Chocolate Hammer's lack of updates. I think you already admitted you are responsible for that.

  4. If you meant your own URL, that did not escape me for a moment. It seemed rather natural, in fact.

    I'm afraid Google overlords don't even lend me any control over the content of comments, so the general CH frustration might be better vented somewhere else. I will do my best to break the site's layout one in a while, and I'll probably announce five new projects next week so that I'd always have something to apologize for not updating.

  5. That's unfortunate. Tell me, why did you pick this over WordPress (or whatever that thing is callled)? Is this easier, or cheaper?

  6. It's completely free, I don't have to create any new accounts, and can be reasonably sure that the host won't go out of business or let the servers crash.

    WordPress, being a piece of blogging software rather than a service provider, would be my choice if I had a separate host, but as far as free blog services go, this is a good one.

  7. @Sekundaari: oh yes, I've heard only good things about someletsplayblog. And yes, the blogger engine doesn't seem to allow comment editing for anyone other than the blog owner. I was actually thinking about starting a forum and/or hosting another werewolves game, but it'd be a bit awkward only 3 people sign up and all of them end up being wolves.

    @bucaneer: I'd request playing Fate of the World, a game where failure really does seem to be the only option. I actually wanted to LP it myself, but I don't think I'll be free of Baldur's Gate anytime soon, so no dibs.

  8. Would the werewolves game be BG-themed? In that case, I call dibs on the role of chicken. Among the variety of other benefits, birds don't have good sense of smell. In fact, you could make the game be chickens vs cow mafia. (what do you mean it's not BG canon?)

  9. "it'd be a bit awkward only 3 people sign up and all of them end up being wolves"

    Whaddya mean? Everybody wins!

    I think this blog could benefit from a general banter/suggestions comment thread, with a permalink on the sidebar. Also a few links to CH; I've handled that for a while now, but I don't know how long I can keep it up.

    And I think we should try that Arma II at some point. ;) I still don't know if I have the connection for it, but only one way to find out.

    Also more Shogun and stuff, I guess, you know.

  10. ...and it's done. A global thread for all off-topic needs.

    ArmA would probably require some planning now, but I'm still up for it. Might be better to continue in the other thread, I guess.

  11. Dear 'buccaneer',

    I am a researcher on videogames desperately trying to promote the study of blogs like yours (after-action report / let's play ) amongst academics. Time people started paying attention, I thought. I'm doing a conference paper fairly soon. Just wondering if you'd agree to be interviewed.



  12. @Souvik: thanks for the offer. I don't think I have much to say about this - haven't been doing it long, as you can see - but if you find it useful, I can help.