Posts Tagged ‘ Flash of Steel

The Elegant RTS

The decade series continues over at the Flash of Steel blog, though I suspect we will no sooner wrap up the 2000-2009 series than we have to start chiseling 2010-2019 into stone. Frankly, though, I’m a bit relieved we’re taking our time with this. Rather than just dashing off posts on games I half-remember, I have time to really plan my posts and even revisit the games I’m writing about.

My latest entry, for 2002, covers Ensemble’s superb Age of Mythology. Here I confronted (as I will so often in this series) the problem of writing nearly unequivocal praise for a game. While the words come very easily in a discussion about why aspects of a certain game do not work for me, I always feel clumsy when I try to explain why I really enjoy and admire a great game. So for this entry, I tried to present it through the eyes of three different kinds of gamers who enjoy it: my father, myself, and my girlfriend.

That approach, however, meant that I couldn’t really get into the nuts-and-bolts of why the game is successful across these audiences. The funny thing about Age of Mythology is that it possesses that chess-like quality of being fairly straightforward to learn, but shockingly deep once you begin learning each culture and deity, and how they interact with the others. This is basically a game with nine factions, and each faction has several “builds” you can play. After countless games, I don’t think I’m even close to knowing enough to utilize each faction to its full potential. And yet I’ve been able to play the game competently from the moment I installed it.

Hopefully I’ll be able to discuss this game in a bit more detail over the next few weeks. In particular, I am absolutely in love with the the ways it handles the economy, hero units, and the entire Norse culture. But in the meantime, go read the entry over on Flash of Steel.

Nothing Good about 2001

I told Troy Goodfellow that 2001 would be a problematic year for me in the decade retrospective that he is running. Still in high school and not working a job, I had a small gaming budget and could only buy one or two new games per year. Being an impressionable idiot, I decided to give that honor to Black & White.

I’m sure there were good strategy games that came out that year, but I missed all of them in favor of spending weeks with a game that didn’t work. Now, at the close of the decade, I can finally tell my tale.

Looking Back at the Aughts

For the next several weeks, I’m going to be working with my friend and colleague Troy Goodfellow on a special project over at Flash of Steel. Troy is wrapping up 2009 with a decade retrospective on strategy gaming since the turn of the millenium, and he was kind enough to invite me to contribute. Troy, Bruce Geryk, and myself are picking out a game from each year of the decade that we think was significant in some way.

In true strategy gamer tradition, we don’t remotely agree one what constitutes a strategy game, so you may see some eyebrow-raising choices over the next couple months. We’ll probably stretch and twist the definition pretty mercilessly.

Anyway, I kicked things off yesterday with a piece on Shogun: Total War. It’s not my favorite of the Total War series, but I would argue it is the most important and perhaps the most interesting. So come gaze into the Pensieve, and together we will revisit 2000, and a pivotal moment in my life as a gamer.