Thursday, September 14, 2006

My So-Called Games Hobby

I finished another solo game of Ancients last night - sad isn't it? This time it was Ticinus River, the cavalry and light infantry engagement. My impression was that this looks very difficult for the Romans - how are you going to stop your light infantry being overwhelmed by those heavy cavalry lined up opposite? And the back edge of the board is much too close (there's one hazard that the historical commanders didn't have to worry about!) So the very first priority was to get those light infantry forward, even if it was into the face of the heavy cavalry, just to give them some room to evade or retreat. As it worked out the Carthaginian right wing was immobilized for the whole game, through lack of cards, and their assault on the Roman right turned into a disaster - never use light troops to close-assault anything but other lights, no matter how outnumbered the enemy look. In the end, against the odds, the Romans won an overwhelming victory. Rome 6, Carthage 1.

I also downloaded the latest VASSAL module yesterday. After all this intensive training I feel almost ready to risk an online opponent.


Gavin said...

Dad: you often refer to these "solo" games of yours, but what do they actually involve? Is it just a case of playing a two player game against yourself - and if so, how do you decide whose side you're on, in other words, do you play like a robot for one side and play properly and think through the other side (like a human being)? OR... is it that the game itself has some way of automating the opponent, like manual A.I.? OR... am I just too stupid to understand?

Peter said...

Good question, I'm glad you asked that.

For a two-player game like Ancients I have a chir on each side of the table. I go and sit in a chair and do my best as the Romans. Then I go and sit in the other chair and do my best as a Carthaginian. I know it sounds silly, but the chairs really help!

Then of course there are some awesome games designed as solitaire with as you say the AI programeed into the cardboard. My favourites are Hornet Leader, Blackbeard, and RAF.