Category Archives: gaming

Civilization VI First Thoughts

So I’ve put in a few hours of Civilization VI now. My initial thoughts on it… It is similar to previous entries but different in its own way.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

Builders/Workers. These guys only do three improvements and then vanish. The upside on this is that it only takes one turn for them to make this improvement. There are policies and such to increase the number of improvements they can make prior to disappearing. But the days of Build-a-worker-and-let-him-go are gone.

Pacing. I do prefer longer games. Speed runs, etc. hold no interest for me. However, with the game on Standard speed, it seems almost too slow.

These are the only things that stand out as negatives for me at the moment.

Now on to the positives.

Policies. As you play, you research your technology (Pottery, Nuclear Fission, etc.) and Civic Policies. The Civic Policies can lead to a new government type, or to policies that you can implement, such as “Increased production for <insert era here> melee and ranged troops.” These are divided into Military, Diplomatic, Economic, and Wildcard. The wildcard slot will hold a policy of any type. And you are limited in the number of policies you can have implemented at any one time.

Cassus Belli. Everyone knows that when you spank a civ for encroaching on your territory, you get a warmongering penalty when you decide to chastise them. Now you can reduce these penalties by declaring war for a cause. Has someone spread his Zoroastrianism to your city? Now you can declare a holy war on him and the penalty for warmongering is reduced. I’ve also run across another method of reducing the warmongering penalty by liberating a city-state that has been previously taken over by another civilization.

Roads. I’m mixed on this one. Your workers don’t build them anymore, which is good given their limited lifespan. They are now produced by trade missions. The caravan will automatically create a road (which gets upgraded as you progress through the ages) between the two end points of the route. Military engineers can also create new roads, but I’ve not played with them yet.

Traders/Caravans. Again, I am mixed on this one. I don’t normally send out a lot of caravans. But with them being the only early game method of road creation, it is a must. Trade routes last only a few turns. At the end of the mission, a trading post is established in both end cities. Trade routes going through one of these trading posts later increase the value of the route. This gives you more incentive to send them out. And keep them busy.

Corps/Armies. You can create a stronger formation by combining two units into a corps. While I’ve not done it yet, I expect creating an army is similar, two corps to make an army. The upgraded unit is stronger than the single unit and gives you the ability (sort of) to stack troops.

Combat. Leading in from corps and armies, battles. They are pretty much the same as before. Troops battle, troops get experience, troops level up. Now the differences start to show. Each unit is a certain type; melee, ranged, cavalry, support, etc. The units have an upgrade path. Two choices at each level, one mainly for offense, the other for defense. This is capped by a seventh ability, which seems to be movement related (for the units I’ve seen). Support units, like a battering ram or a siege tower, allow the attacking unit to bypass or damage defenses during the attack. Normally, the attacker must beat down the defenses, and then the health of the city to capture it. A battering ram allows the attacker to damage both at the same time, while a siege tower allows the attacker to bypass the defense entirely and hit the health.

In all, I do enjoy this game. It has a few quirks that need to be gotten used to, but overall I like it.

Why are Dungeons & Dragons CRPGs so simplistic?

While driving home from dinner, I was contemplating the latest entry into the D&D computer RPG arena, Sword Coast Legends. It does have pretty graphics, there is a lot of voice over work and the quests seem well-written. The DM tools appear to be pretty good too, though I’ve not delved too deeply into them yet. The biggest issue I have are the character classes.
Continue reading Why are Dungeons & Dragons CRPGs so simplistic?

Lotro Session – Oredan

After a quick ride via goat from the 21st Hall to the Silvertine Lodes, it was time to delve deeper in search of Sweina. It was a quick jaunt to Thalfar’s camp. A brief conversation with him told me Sweina was deeper, near the Water Works. I reached Sweina just in time to aid him when he was ambushed by foul goblins. Sweina was determined to remain, so all I could do was return to Bosi and inform him. Bosi had read more of the Book of Mazarbul and wished Lord Brogur to hear of what he had found. So it was once again back to the 21st Hall to Brogur.

Brogur tells me that Bori has a plan to strike at the orcs. Bori wants me to gather some dwarfs to aid him, collect weapons and armor, and to scout the area of attack. Sigthorn is too busy to help us. Skygni feels a head-on attack is best. Wethur feels the raid is unwise, as does Sebbi. Stilling volunteered to aid us, as does Wili. Bori is a bit disappointed with the number of volunteers, but presses on with his plan.

Figuring to kill two goblins with one stone, I hitch a ride to the Orc Watch to see Avar. After talking to a number of dwarfs, Isolf charges me with cleaning up the droppings of goats left behind. With a surly growl, I acquiesce to his plan. After picking up an inordiate amount of goat droppings, I come upon Roarr and Ingifast’s camp. Ingifast has me deposit the material on a pile, claiming a goat was feeling unwell. Roarr and Ingifast want me to defeat some orcs, collect ore from them, and defeat a raiding party. I set out into the Redhorn Lodes proper.

After much slaughtering of orcs, I find most of what Bori needs for his plans. I return to Roarr and Ingifast who ask me to remove the leaders of the two camps, as well as find another expedition. Much killing ensues. I remove the leaders, find the rest of Bori’s gear, kill some forge masters, and find a locket. I also come across another piece of Helgi Goblinbane’s statue. I discover where Knakk has camped. He listens to my report and asks me to kill some spiders. I head towards the Foundations of Stone to find the spiders. The air is filled with noxious fumes, but I press on, killing many spiders. I return again to Knakk to report my successes.

He sends me back to where I found the spiders to destroy fungal growths that are producing the noxious gasses. I destroy a number of fungi and head back to Knakk. He asks me to return and find what is cultivating these fungi, and defeat the leaders of the spiders and orcs in the area. I find the cultivator, a nameless horror from the Foundations of Stone. I dispose of the leaders, and return to Knakk. While I was out slaughtering orcs, spiders and other disgusting beasties, Knakk managed to open Kafli’s locket. He asks me to bring it to his cousin Kuli.

I borrow Knakk’s goat and ride to Auti’s camp where Kuli is staying. Kuli asks me to drink to Kafli’s memory throughout various encampments in Moria. I begin my drinking and toasting in the Redhorn Lodes. I don’t recall much after the 5th drink, but I somehow ended back up with Auti and Kuli. My head hurts. Auti and Kuli speak of a nearby infestation of gredbyg that may hold some clue as to the location of an ancient mining deposit.

After much slaying of bugs and noting concentrations of them on my map, I return to Kuli and Auti. Kuli mentions a garrison, Nud-heden that I should seek out. I set forth once again.  I find and enter the garrison, to find it infested with gredbyg. While exploring Nud-heden, I find an old nursery now used by the bugs. I destroy a number of larval sacks. In the old mess hall I find a grodbog queen! I set forth to slay the foul progenitor of the bugs. The queen is no more and I return to Auti and Kuli.

Auti asks me to seek out the source of heat supplying the hive. I delve deeper into the hive, following the heat. Soon I find a passage into the Flaming Deeps! This is where the heat is coming from. As I enter, I hear sounds of battle. I head towards the sounds. I come upon an injured dwarf, Bensi. He tells me of a battle and seek any survivors. As I approach Hadad-Mezer, the sounds of battle abruptly stop. I fear the worst. My fears are soon confirmed as I find a dead dwarf. He bears a message for Hysing in Anazarmekhem. That is my next desitination.

Hysing directs me towards Anghumu-ru. On my way out, I spy a placard with a riddle on it.

Weight in my belly,

Trees are my back,

Nails in my ribs,

Feet do I lack

I pause to ponder the riddle.



Lotro Session – Oredan

Picking up in the 21st Hall where I left off, I backtracked to see if I could find Reinn. Unfortunately, I soon did. Or his corpse at least. While inspecting the body, I was set upon by a large orc named Ozut. As he neared death he gloated that the killer of Reinn would dispose of me too. After tracking down the trail, I confronted the orc Khil, and “khilled” him.

Mogr appeared soon after the fight and expressed regret he had not listened to Reinn earlier. He then charged me with exploring the Wide Hall. I planted two banners upon convenient columns and continued deeper. At an intersection, I detected a foul stench and took the side branch to investigate. I found a foul pool and some sickly looking orcs. Amongst the debris, I came across a number of orc corpses who showed evidence of being poisoned. I destroyed a number of brewing stoves and the defilers brewing the potions. I also disposed of the leaders of this endeavor, a couple of orcish captains.

Also buried in the foul debris, I found the head to the statue of Helgi Goblinbane! I shall return this to Simbi in the 21st Hall immediately. I reached a major crossroads in the Wide Halls and noted many opportunities to slay orcs. I decided for the moment to return to the 21st Hall and return the head of Helgi Goblinbane to Simbi as well as checking in with Brogur after completing his charge to slay many orcs in Zelem-Melek.

In the 21st Hall, Mogr pulled me aside and asked me to check in on a dwarf named Avar in the Orc Watch, which is in the Redhorn Lodes. I assured him that I would. Brogur asked me to speak with Warr in the Chamber of Mazarbul. Warr asked me to help him determine what had caused the devastation in the chamber. Searching through the debris, I found a tome. Warr and I decided that Brogur needed to see this tome. Brogur read some of the pages, finding that it was a record of Lord Balin’s expedition into Moria. He instructed me to bring it to Bosi at the Chamber of the Crossroads.

Bosi asked me to head to the Silvertine Lodes and find Sweina. This has left me with a difficult decision; head to the Silvertine Lodes and speak with Sweina, go to Orc-Watch and find Avar, or explore the side passages from the Wide Halls.

While the armorer was pounding out some dents in my breastplate, I decided that Sweina and Avar could wait for a while as I explored a bit. I made my way back to the crossroads in the Wide Halls without incident. Exploring a side passage, I came across a section labeled on my map as Skrithurz-Ulima. I saw a large orc bearing the mark of the White Hand. Not wishing to foster any sort of cooperation between the two groups, I set out to dispose of the White Hand orcs. Amongst the orcs, I came across one that seemed to be a leader. The others referred to him as Raulik. Soon, Raulik was no more. I found and destroyed a number of White Hand weapons, as well as thinned out the orc herd.

Heading south from Skrithurz-Ulima, I found the Hall of Flowing Water. A dwarf named Bui was there. He asked me to help him determine the purity of the water in the hall.  I readily agreed since pure water is important to the manufacture of beer. While searching for sources of clean water, I found a very large orc encampment. Knowing Bui needed to know this as soon as possible, I returned to him. He asked me to scout the orc encampment.

As I explored, I came across the kitchens of the orcs, if such a foul place could be called such. I noticed a number of my brethren trussed up, ready to be fed to the foul orcs. I obviously could not let them become the main course, so I freed them. Continuing deeper into the camp, I found their forges. Notcing large stocks of coal, I figured without the coal, their efforts would be hampered. Finding the quarters of the camp, I spy a banner. I get closer and see that it is the banner of Rugh. So I destroy the banner and dispose of the orc Rugh. I finally found the armory. I take note of a large stock of armour, and decide to destroy it. I return to Mogr in the 21st Hall and tell him of the large number of orcs.

Back in the 21st Hall, I head to the forge to craft myself some new tools for my trade.

Lotro Session – Malraeg

Tonight’s session of Lotro features my level 84 human burglar, Malraeg. He’s in Rohan, currently near the town of Garsfeld. He runs around with an elven guardian named Rainael.

The evening begins with a quick trip to Hytbold to aid the reconstruction efforts. Getting direction, the pair heads to Harwick to see what aid they may be there. The two intrepid adventurers gather quests to cleanse Digelon of lizards and fungus, remove some Easterlings from the plains of the Wold. After clearing out some lizards and fungus, Wulfin decided that Mal could be considered an ally of the Wold. The pair cleans out some Easterlings and then head to Cliving to see what assistance they may render there. Aldbeort sends them to Ost Magol to kill orcs and Uruks, and to destroy a totem.

A dozen orcs and a totem later, the two return to Aldbeort for some well-earned gold.

Rain & Mal head to Garsfeld via Faldham and aid some farmers in Garsfeld. Mal gets to level 85.


Lotro Session – Oredan

I’ve decided I am going to regale you with my adventures in various online games. Since Lotro (Lord of the Rings Online) is the most common one I play, chances are it’s going to be the most populous posts.

Today, I decided to work on Oredan. He’s a level 54 dwarf guardian, currently embedded in the Water Works in Moria. After slaughtering some lizards and frogs for the Foreman in the Great Wheel, he breaks his wheel. So I get to find a replacement gear for him.  A few minutes later, I’m back and he’s sending me off again. This time to the entrance to the Vile Maw.

I fetch some water, which he has me deliver to the Foreman. Back to the Great Wheel. The foreman sends me out to kill some orcs. That done and it’s back to the Vile Maw. The dwarf there sends me on to 21st Hall. A couple of quick goat rides and I’m in the 21st Hall. A couple of run around quests delivering ale and checking on mirrors gets me to 55. Yay Oredan!

The delivery stuff done, I get sent out into the Great Hall accompanied by Reinn. He’s a headstrong dwarf and thinks there is more trouble out here than the foreman of the 21st hall believes. On the way, we help Rokur defend himself from a scout. Reinn and I join up with Domarr to scout out some orc encampment. A bit of yapping later, and Reinn heads back to warn the 21st Hall.

Domarr asks me to kill some orcs and burn a couple of shrines. Back to Gazatu-ru. I slaughter a warg rider on my way into the orc encampment. While I’m there killing minion orcs, I decide to off some of their captains. Ten orcs, four captains and two shrines later, I am back on my way to Domarr. After telling Domarr of my exploits, he decides I have proven myself an Ally of the Iron Garrison Guards. In addition he sends me back to the 21st Hall and Mogr.

Arriving back in the 21st Hall, I find out Reinn has not returned to Mogr. He’s worried, so he charges me to find Reinn. On my way out of the 21st Hall to track down Reinn, I swing by the chamber of Leadership to speak with Brogur about Rokur’s scout. He asks me to kill off a bunch more orcs.

I sell off some of the stuff I’ve scavenged from the dead orcs, and repair a few dings in the armor.

At this point, I think it’s dinner time. So a break is in order.

My Gaming

I’ve been involved with role-playing games since 1980, and computer games since 1984 or thereabouts. I’ve played most of the table-top rpg’s out there. A few of my favorite, or go-to games are D&D (3rd Ed), GURPS, and Hero System.

Recently I’ve started to write games. I self-published a wargame called Astra Imperia. I’ve been working on a fantasy rpg called Eldritch Adventures and a science fiction rpg called Via Astrum. I’ve also been working on another wargame called Project:GOLEM, in addition to a second edition of Astra Imperia.

On the computer side of things, I’ve got a futuristic computer hacking rpg called CyberHack. I’ve also toyed around with a computer rpg based on Eldritch Adventures and a wargame based on Astra Imperia.