Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yay for control

(Written April 19th, 2006)

I love controlling stuff. If something is not mine (neutral or another player's), and I make it mine, I get a huge kick out of that. Cities in Advance Wars DS. Gold mines in War3. You name it, I love controlling it.

This goes way back to a demo disc on my old mac. There was this game called Chaos Overlords that I fell in love with, but I could never buy it because the company went out of business or merged or something. Anyway, I found it a while back on Abandonia (windows), and I swear I almost cried with joy. This game is genius.

(EDIT: oh, installation. It's easy: just unzip anywhere and right-click->Properties the program and set to run in Win95 compatibility mode. Run as-is.)

You and 5 opponents run crime syndicates in a city split into 8x8 sectors. The goal of the game is variable but you always benefit from controlling the sectors as well as influencing extortion money/benefits out of the 3 sites per sector (condos, clinics, arboretums, research labs, etc.). To accomplish this you hire various gangs and order them around. The complexity of gang actions and statistics is spot-on; just complicated enough to get your noggin working without making you go "aw screw it I'll just hope I'm not missing something major".

There is a full manual with the game, which is nice since I didn't have one in the demo and had to figure it all out by trial-and-error. The 6 players can be any permutation of human (hot seat, direct networking) or AI, with 4 difficulties (goon is great for learning; criminal will be beatable every time by the time you have a good handle on the game).

The most important thing to remember when learning is: double-click icons. You can double-click any item, gang, or sector site, and it will pop out with statistics and a sometimes-useful description. Early in the game your combatants should have marks in Fighting or Martial Arts, so that they can come into play immediately able to fight without expensive equipment, while later in the game you'll need to research advanced equipment and have gangs with high marks in Blade or Ranged. If you can't afford to equip them yet, go for only cheap gangs and Martial Artists! Do that and you'll have a solid foundation to learn the ropes yourself without being obliterated.

Oh, you can hire gangs by dragging them from the lower-right onto any sector you either control or have a unit in. You can swap a potential hire for a new choice by clicking the red X by their picture. You can only make one hire/X per turn. You can drag stuff around a lot; to easily move gangs, to change your player color, to order gangs to influence sites, or what have you.


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