Thursday, July 13, 2006

Strategy Game Review

While this post isn't exactly like most of the ones I do, I can't help but feel maybe a little bit of fun is needed in the summer. So as such, I got two computer games worth talking about.

As we all know, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest has jsut come out and a lot of people got the pirate craze. Well, one game worht playing if you want your pirate fix is Sid Meier's Pirates. A redo of the old pirates game from the 80's, this computer game has its fill of fun. You can choose one of four governments to become a privateer for and you sail the Caribbean, getting you fortune and building your fame. As for me, I am on my flagship Archangel. A large frigate with forty guns, this ship can certainly show a thing or two towards your enemies. If you want to make a fortune quickly in this game, my advice is to attack the Spanish. Vessels without escorts are good, but also remember to attack these ships as they head out of port, since they will be filled with lots of goods. Once you have a number of ships in your fleet, get to friendly ports to sell of the goods and your taken ships. It will rack up the gold plundered and when it is time to divide, both you and your men will get a good share. Also, be careful of their morale. If the men get mutinous, some may run away or steal a ship. If that happens, retake the ship that was stolen and sink it. One annoying event in the game is trying to have romances with governor's daughters. This is done through dances and it can really cramp a lot of what you want to do in the game. Avoid it as best you can. There is a forced retirement by the time you get to your fifties, but all good things must come to an end.

My Highlights: Plundering 50,000 plus pieces of gold. Taking Havana. Eliminating every major Spanish port on the Spanish Main. Taking a Ship of the Line.

The next game is Medieval: Total War and its expansion set Viking Invasion. In this game, you get the opportunity to play as one of many different types of groupsthat were around at the time of the Middle Ages and attempt to conquer all of Europe. Depending on who you play as, victory can be very hard to achieve. Infact, I have recently started to keep records of my different campaigns in order to see where the glory days of my empire were and when things got bad.

Example: English Empire. The glory days of the empire occur between the years of 1130 and 1242. During this time, four kings ruled the empire: Stephen I (1130-1152), Richard I (1152-1184), Stephen II (1184-1209), and Richard II (1209-1242). During these reigns, the empire will go from 13 provinces to 45 provinces. The decline of the empire will be seen land wise with Edmund III (1242-1277) as the empire is virtually cut in half from a war with Spain and Egypt, followed economically by the reign of Stephen III (1277-1313), who, despite making some land gains, more than bankrupts the empire. Sadly, as the English empire begins to reign supreme again, the English king was captured and killed.

But how can you win in this game? Well, with Viking Invasion, you get to play with conquering all of Britain. In this case, the story goes as follows. In the span of less than 200 years, the Saxons take the whole of Britain and Ireland and increase the treasury seven times. How do you do this? First, attack rebel provinces around you. Then go after Wales. Once this is done, go after the Irish. Build your fleet and make it very large. Try to get a chain of ships up to the north and attack rebel provinces there. It will give you a foot hold in the north and then allow you to start marching armies south and trap your enemies in the middle. Watch the other provinces carefully and choose your enemies wisely. If you aren't careful, you might find yourself facing an army larger than your own. Generals paly an important role by this point. Once you crush your enemies, you are cheered as a hero.

But what of the whole of Europe? In this case, choosing your empire is also important. We see what has happened with an English Empire. As the Holy Roman Empire, which despite not being Holy or Roman did become an empire under my leadership, was able to take the whole of Europe in 130 years. How do you do it? First, attack rebel provinces to the east, while making alliances in the west. By doing this, you extend your empire and see where your soon to be enemies are. Pay attention to when the pope calls for a crusade on another European power. You can make a quick war and gain provinces that way. Throughout all of this, be sure to keep building up more troops and have armies that can quickly reach different parts of the empire. Poland and Hungary can be taken trying to surround them through your conquered rebel provinces and then flooding over their borders. Novgorod is small and with a large army can be taken. Prepare a massive invasion force and flood through the Black Sea over the Byzantine Empire. Theny ou face off against three Islamic nations. Go slowly with them and they will be worn out. Take out the islands in the Mediterreanian Sea and be ready to wipe out the Papacy. They will be small, and a strong army can do the job. With me, I was left with the Spanish, French and English. Pour over the French border with a massive army, while nipping at the Spanish rear. Soon your armies will crush the French and immediately start invading England. Remember to keep your troop numbers us. Revolts will occur at all times. Move your armies in France southward and you can crush the Spanish. An important thing to remember though is this: BEWARE 1230! That is the year the Mongols will arrive. If you can't defeat Europe by that point, you got a new problem on your hands. If you come close to confronting them, have large armies in place near or at the western provinces of Georgia and Khazar. Attack as best you can and rush reinforcements to those provinces. You must do all you can to make sure they don't push into your empire, or you will find more revolts occuring and defeated groups returning, carving chunks of your empire out from under you.

Now that you know what to do, I think all might have fun with these games. Lots of hours to kill and it does make you think about how to administer a nation. Enjoy!

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