Friday, October 16, 2009


I bought the 1959 First Edition Classic Reproduction of the Parker Brother's Continental Game Risk! I had never played Risk! before so it took me two days to read over the rules and practice play before I had it completely figured out. As of this post (Oct 16, 2009), I have only played two actual one-on-one games with my wife but I had a blast and I look forward to playing Risk! with my family and friends and especially 6 player games.

I am a gamer at heart. My roommate in college was quite the gamer and we gamed a lot at Monmouth University. We played some games similar to Risk! as board games and on his primitive gaming machine. It wasn't primitive then. He usually won but it was still fun. We'd have 4 to 8 player games of various games and I'd work pretty hard to win but almost never did. Since college, I have not played many board games but I get the sense that I've missed out.

I just learned that my friend Jeff enjoys playing Risk! with his friends so I'm looking forward to joining them sometime.

I read how Risk! is played today on Wikipedia and it hasn't changed much since 1959 which is very cool. I thought the game would grow in complexity over time but the complexity has only risen slightly in 50 years.

One thing I like is how you can vary the rules to make the game longer, shorter, harder or easier. I came up with a rule variation on my own then discovered from Wikipedia that it's the way 2 player games are played these days.

I like these rule variations:
  1. Allowing for armies to move to any owned territory during reinforcement (rather than an immediate neighbor), if there exists a connected path of owned territories.
  2. Granting an attack advantage when attacking from or to a territory for which the attacker holds a Risk card

XBox 360 Games for Windows Vista

I bought Bioshock and Halo 2 for Windows Vista. These were originally XBox 360 games but I don't have an XBox 360 (yet) and I really wanted to play them. I also like PC gaming better than console gaming maybe because I've been PC-gaming long before I was console-gaming.

The mouse is a better control than the console controller for first-person shooters. You can look up and down quickly as well as spin around quickly. A real time strategy game can have lots of keyboard short-cuts. How do you implement that with a console-controller?

I started playing Halo 2 and finished about 1/3 of it when I hit a bug. Suddenly I could not pick up weapons nor use devices. This prevented me from finishing the level and moving forward. I was done. I'd have to wait until I got an XBox 360 to play Halo 2 from start to finish.

Next I started to play Bioshock. This is the scariest game I've ever played. I get totally immersed into the experience. I was really getting into it, playing about an hour per day and I reached maybe the 1/3 point again and the game crashed taking Windows Vista with it. I rebooted and kept playing, saving often, but every 5 minutes it would crash and I have to reboot. I could keep making progress this way but it's a bit hard on my PC plus the progress is slow so I gave up again.

I'd sell them on eBay but the amount I get is not worth my effort so I'll probably give them as a Christmas present to someone.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to beat Age of Empries II on Hardest against 7 computer civilizations

I played AOE II using these settings:

  • All random civs
  • Deathmatch
  • Map: Black Forest
  • 7 computer players
  • Level: Hardest
  • Map Size: Giant
  • 200 Population Limit
  • Age: Post Imperial
  • All Techs
  • Conquest Victory
  • All Visible

My secret: Bombard Towers

When the game starts, I build a few houses and start making villagers. Then I build a protecting ring of bombard towers around the town center. You don't need to create a sold wall. Space them apart like trees in a forest.

Once I get about 3 rings of towers protecting my town center, I build a castle and a few stables. From the castle, I build trebuchets. From the stables I build paladins. The trebuchets are for attacking things in the distance like towers, walls and buildings. They are not so good for attacking things that move like units. The paladins are for protecting the trebuchets and villagers. Use the trebuchets to destroy all enemy buildings within reach. Try to keep about 20 trebuchets and 20 paladins at all times. With 20 trebuchets, you can take out a tower or castle in one shot.

The idea is not to get too far away from the bombard towers. Use them for cover as the enemy attacks. Pick an enemy and start expanding the forest of bomard towers toward your enemy. The bombard towers will take out most of the attackers. The paladins are for confronting attackers. Once the attacker stops to fight a paladin, the bombard tower can finish the job. Don't let the trebuchets get too far from the bomard towers. If you run out of paladins, the trebuchets are an easy target and will be destroyed quickly. Use your villagers to repair towers, trebuchets, castles, etc. Build a few monks to heal anyone who has been injured.

This is Deathmatch so you start with 1000 of stone, wood, food and gold but you'll soon run out of stone so you will need to build a Market to buy stone. You will need to start chopping lots of wood to buy Gold and then Gold to buy Stone. Never stop making villagers. Build enough houses to max out population at 200.

If they try to take out your bombard towers with cannoneers or trebuchets, then take them out with your paladins. Persian elephants can take out towers pretty good too. Use your monks to convert the elephants. While an elephant is attacking a tower, you can hit it with the trebuchets.

Make sure you place the paladins in front of the bombard towers or trebuchets and set their stance to defensive so that that they don't roam far. By default it is set to aggressive and they will follow the enemy back to their bombard towards or castle and get killed. The trick is to keep your units under the protection of your bombard towers.

You're going to need to make hundreds of these towers so seek out the stone and gold. You will do a lot of clicking to sell wood for gold.

Next time I will try playing with a smaller map and make the enemy civs ally with each other. I noticed that a couple of computer civs got wiped out from the other computer civs. If they're all on the same team, then they will all come at you.

The smaller the map, the more challenging. I played with a Giant map which gives more time to setup the initial forest of bombard towers. There are also more trees to cut to convert to gold and stone.