In which James plays games

Now and then, I get the urge to log my gaming so that I have something to show for the hours spent besides the hours spent.  And I’ve spent a lot of time video gaming lately due to lack of a regular boardgame group.  So here are a couple Let’s Plays I’ve been working on:

Let’s Play Race Into Space: part 1 part 2 The whole Mars One rekindled my interest in space again, though I did not apply for various reasons.  For instance, how often would the timetable need to be changed because of my GI system.  Anyway, I backed Race to Mars (the Kickstarter failed meet its goal), I’m eagerly anticipating Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager, and in the mean time I decided to try its predecessor, the latest version of which is titled Race Into Space.  The game appears to be straightforward — do these milestone missions on the way to landing on the Moon — but the manual isn’t complete and learning how to do it efficiently is not obvious.  What rocket do you need to do what mission, what milestone penalties apply to what safety checks, etc.  I scrapped a couple false starts before writing up the one on VGG.

The US player is aiming for a historical Apollo/Eagle/Saturn V landing: the Saturn V will lift Apollo and Eagle together into Earth orbit, and Apollo’s built in kicker will get them to the Moon and back.  The US player developed Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo modules and the Atlas, Titan, and Saturn V rockets.  The Soviet player (also me) is way behind in prestige and hence funding and so skipped Voskhod (the Soviet 2-man module in the game) to go straight to Soyuz.  They’re aiming for a joint lunar orbital mission with Soyuz and Kicker-C, which has two benefits: they don’t need to develop the equivalent of Saturn V, which they can’t afford; and Kicker-C obviates the need to develop a lunar module and kicker.  Two Proton rockets will launch the Soyuz and Kicker-C in Earth orbit, they will separately travel using their own power to the Moon.  In lunar orbit, they will dock, and then Kicker-C will land Soyuz on the Moon.  The Americans have pretty much won the game already, but I still want to land someone on the Moon.  As soon as I figure out how to best improve docking safety checks.

Civilization V: I haven’t gotten Brave New World yet; I only buy games during Steam sales, which is my way of limiting my consumption.  But as the game I’ve logged the most hours on Steam (probably because Ticket to Ride was only added to Steam relatively recently), I felt the urge to do a Let’s Play of it too.  I wanted to do something fairly representative of my games, nothing too fancy, so I played as the Egyptians on a Tiny map (4 players) with maxed city states on Prince difficulty.  As the Egyptians, I’m absolutely dominating the Wonders race, and my capital city is so bling it looks like it looted the entire world.  My priorities are roughly from highest to lowest: production, gold, science, culture, happiness.

Usually in Civ games, I do production, science, money, etc., but gold is different in Civ V.  If you invest in economic buildings and social policies, gold is fairly plentiful and you can get 4:1 or 3:1 gold to hammer conversions, even around 2:1 later in the game.  My empire of 4 cities is producing gold during a golden age (pun intended) equivalent to the production of a large city.  And not one of my opponents’ crappy cities, but one of my cities.  Because in Civ V, you don’t really need to make choices and specialize your cities.  You can have it all.  Maybe that’s why strategy gamers say Civ IV is better.

The Let’s Play has hit the point in the game where diplomacy has failed and I go to war, so the pace slows way down.

Crusader Kings 2: I also got 55 years into a play of CK2, which means I’m not even a 1/7th of the way through.  Grand strategy indeed.


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