Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Introducing: a Pirate

The let's play is dead, long live the let's play! Lest you begin thinking I decided to put my time to some more productive use, here is the new series for our mutual time wasting needs. And this time I'll be playing...


Pirates! Gold (the exclamation point is very important), an open-world adventure game cooked up by Sid Meier sometime between his thinly veiled attempts to achieve world domination through video games. It is also one of the first games I played, and one that made a huge impression on my vulnerable mind, nudging me towards other games that offered a large degree of freedom - such as strategies. This is why I chose it for the new series - to see if the game is as good my nostalgia-stained glasses make me believe it is, to show off a possibly quite underrated classic, and to plunder me some booty. (Arrr.)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Part 16, in which my work here is done

At last we come to the end of the series, and despite some troubles along the way, we seem to have won too. Well, not quite yet - there's still this post to go, but I guess the map kinda spoils it all: Challenge #3 got completed, last of the mandatory provinces recaptured, and there's even some overkill on the province count. So here's how it all ended.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Part 15, in which the end is nigh

Having dealt with a few waves of invaders, we are finally ready to spare some troops for an invasion of our own - Hojo must die, the sooner the better. And just so you know what I mean by "spare some troops", here's an illustration:

The bars show the strength of armies present in each of my provinces, garrisoned and otherwise. What you will notice is that all but the few border provinces are in fact empty, or very nearly so. Most probably they'd surrender to a particularly threatening looking rabbit; defense against an actual armed force is out of the question. So if some enemies managed to break through a border province, they could easily crush most of the country before I could send somebody else to stop them. For that reason, going on an all-out attack against Hojo would be stupid even by the standards of a suicide run: it will have to be limited, and I'll still have to keep an eye on the other clans.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Part 14, in which there are fights aplenty

(Just a heads up: two more posts to go, the series ends next week.)

We last left off in a bit of a tense situation, with the old clan capital besieged by the traitorous Hojo and a Hatakeyama closing in from the north. I've also neglected to describe a rather sticky standoff that has been  developing in the southwest, not far from Kyoto. My current mission is to destroy Hojo, but I can't go and attack them until all this other stuff gets cleared up, so the plan for now is quite straightforward - kill anybody that gets in the way.

Since the attitude map became useless, it's a bit trickier to present a good picture of the status quo, so I hope you like squinting. In any case, you should be able to see our latest conquests - the thin stretch of coast that used to belong to Yamana. It is actually safer and less ridiculous than it looks - an impassable mountain range makes the strip accessible only through its ends. The same applies to most of our border with Hojo. It seems that for once the labyrinthine terrain works to our advantage - wouldn't want to get our suicide armies attacked from the rear, after all.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Part 13, in which a damn is not given

Last time I told you what a tedious drag the final stretch of campaign was. Fortunately, it was all just a dream, and in fact nothing has been decided about the grand war of Everybody vs Us. And yet I'm now wiser: I've seen the future and know how boring it is, so I can try and change it as much as possible.

How do I intend to fight the boredom? Why, by taking risky bets, running suicide charges and otherwise trying to blitzkrieg my way into something interesting, or perhaps even successful. Achieving a different feel for the gameplay should not be hard - my first attempt was the opposite extreme, very cautious and slow. For the first few turns after all clans declared war I did nothing but relocate troops between my provinces and nurture positive relations with the two remaining non-enemies, and I don't plan to do much of either now.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


First of all: don't forget to write your suggestions for the conclusion of the glorious adventures of clan Takeda. I won't be able to play the game for a couple more days, so you have that long to get your voice heard and possibly change history of an imaginary world in a let's play series hardly anyone knows about forever! Regular entries will resume this weekend or early next week, but here's a bit of filler to distract you in the meantime and, more importantly, to make up for the complete lack of content last month. Also: the ending of Shogun will be rushed, I'm thinking no more than four entries, so there's that. Incidentally, I already have a game picked for the next series, and since it wasn't spoiled in the comments on another blog I'm sure it will be a pleasant surprise for everybody.

Anyway, one of the reasons the unexpected hiatus took so long is that Shogun is a game that requires rather long stretches of time to play, and those are rare in the busiest month of the term. Small windows of free time mean small games, and my distraction of choice in these cases (quite a popular one, or so I gather), despite its remarkably simple rectangular graphical style and elementary gameplay mechanics, still manages to take hours of procrastination deserved time of rest in small, blocky pieces. And today I decided to show off a bit of it.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Part 12, in which there is ranting

So after promising to have the post ready in a week's time, I stumbled into a time paradox which flung me all the way up to now. In other words, the delay had nothing to do with laziness, procrastination or reluctance to play Shogun, although insane workloads (in the time paradox, you see) were involved. Did anybody even notice? No? Good. Alright now, where were we...

Ah yes.

Last time we took the hard way to find out that, contrary to what had been advertised, shogun is not the honorable and prized title of Japanese military leader, but rather one of a public effigy to help with anger management issues in the population. Even though I'm clearly not here to make friends, I don't think I like the game's assistance in making everybody hate me automatically without me having to do anything. Without further ado, here is the story of stuff going wrong.