4X

Weekly eXchange # 150 – A Kickstarter Affair.

Join Nate and Troy as they bring you all the important information on all of your favorite 4X and strategy games! This week they talk about Thea 2, Sorcerer King, Dominions 5, Children of the galaxy, Galactic Civilizations 3, Stellaris, Space Tyrant and much much more. As well as continued coverage for your other favorite 4X and strategy games!

Music for eXplorminate by Mangadrive

Show Notes: These are the voyages… 

 

17 replies »

  1. FYI, when Nate said “Japanese drawing style” he didn’t mean anime style, but rather traditional Japanese brush art. The player even uses a brush to draw shapes on the screen to invoke powers.

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  2. Ok, I thought Thea was a LOT of grinding. Play for two hours and gosh, I baked a loaf of bread. But the new version does look much better so I joined the kickstarter.

    Steam often shows me one of my games has been updated, but then I go to ‘notes’ and there’s nothing there. I know you often cover updates on your show, maybe you could make it into a weekly thing? ‘Updates this week’?

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  3. *crawling out of the wood work*
    Great to hear you talking about Dominions 5. Also, I can see the confusion about how to describe the combat in Dominions which is important to get correct. So like Oriental Empires, you have a planning phase, where you decide everything you are going to do and how you are going to do it, and an execution phase, where all the actions by all the players are resolved simultaneously and the player has no additional influence on the outcomes. At the start of every turn you get a report listing all the interesting things that happened (events, battles, messages, etc) during the previous execution phase.

    In Dominions 5 combat is, in practice, a hybrid between turn based combat (for example Endless Legend) and what occurs in Oriental Empires (to be fair I have very little knowledge of this game so far). Unlike Oriental Empires, battles occur on a battlefield that is not part of the strategic map, rather both sides get to set up their forces in an arena-like space and then begin fighting. During the planning phase you get to specify the position your units will start at on the battlefield and script your armies actions. For regular troops, squads of units get relatively simple orders that they will attempt to execute when a fight starts (attack closest, wait then attack archers, etc). Commanders have more scripting potential. They can have more complex orders which primarily benefits spell casting but allows you to cast a chain of spells that may be more powerful in combination than alone or you may wait to save your energy till the enemy forces get close enough for your magic to be effective. However there is a limit to the number of commands you can give so for a time you have very precise control over what is happening but, unlike Endless Legend and other turn based combat games, your control is limited because you don’t have direct control over the actual battle. You have to plan in advance and hope that your plan will work. A good plan can be disrupted by a clever enemy tactic, destroyed by underestimating the enemy forces, or just bad luck or vice versa. It gives an approximation of the chaos of battle that some RTS games can achieve because you can only issue orders so quickly. The scripting, while limited, can result in very complex behaviors on the battlefield and can be modified by nation specific abilities so there is always something more to be aware of and/or learn how to do which is why the game has great depth.

    When you review the battle reports you get to see a movie of what happened (with a log that explains every RNG in painful detail if you want it). These battles can be very exciting, even epic both in size and importance, imagine Lord of the Rings scale battles, as you wait to see if your planning will lead to success, failure, or something in-between (pyrrhic victory anyone?) in part because a human doesn’t get to micromanage the fighting.

    For people who enjoy Dominions, this is one of the high points of the game. You don’t have the tedium of Endless Legend and their ilk’s turn based combat where you don’t want to give over control to the AI because it will be put perform poorly at the tactical level. Many turn based combat games force you to spend time in dull but necessary battles. In Dominions, what happens instead is that you pour time into planning a crucial battle or two, trying to set things up to win and win well if possible. You put the effort where you want to not where the mechanics of the game force you to. When you put in the time you can see the brilliance or flaws in your plan by watching the movie and adjust your strategy/tactics going forward.

    People put down the Dominions AI but its not bad for beginners. What it lacks is the ability to actively develop counter play to your strategies. Passively (as new magic is unlocked) the AI may eventually counter a tactic but this to can be predicted so once you are well versed in the game you will want to play against other people if you want to continue to be challenged.

    Thanks again for all the good work.

    Sorry if you feel chastised. That isn’t my goal. Dominions is just a very different game from the games you usually discuss/review and I am compelled to speak up when you misspeak through lack of hands on experience with the game. If you play and honestly don’t like the game that’s fine. A well informed discussion of its flaws would be great fun. I just want to make sure that the audience gets a clearer picture of what the game is really like because to my knowledge it is unique.

    Cheers!
    *crawling back into the wood work*

    Liked by 1 person

      • That depends on why you like being in combat… For example, if you want precise control over every aspect of a fight then this will probably be frustrating at times because there is a limit to your control. But the preparation for combat in D4 (and presumably D5) can be (but doesn’t need to be) very complicated and deep. Of course winning is great but losing is when you have to think hard about how to overcome the enemies strategy with the options you have available to you.

        Why do you like spending time in combat Sarge?

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      • I like having to rethink my strategy when things go south and adjusting on the fly. As someone who has seen actual combat, I know that even the best laid plans never survive engagement.

        I guess I prefer “tactics” over “strategy.”

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      • So Dominions is definitely tactical. In multiplayer having to adjust your strategy on the fly is the entire game. In Dominions think of yourself more as a commander or general overseeing a battle. You array your forces, give them general orders, but once the fighting starts things can all go to pot. Best laid plans exactly can and do go to hell. In your next turn you can take lessons learned and apply them to as best you are able. Think of it this way, during a battle that has gone south there really isn’t time to restructure your command and regroup. That’s what happens after the battle. I think you will like Dominions IF you don’t NEED to be able to control every troop every round of every battle. If you have to have 100% control then Dominions will be frustrating. If you like suspense and surprises and NOTHING is 100% certain then Dominions is great. Dominions has it all, tactical combat, strategy, and logistics. The only thing it doesnt have is grand strategy. Also, in single player there is no diplomacy. You can’t peace your way out of a sticky situation or intimidate anyone.

        Anything else I can help you with?

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    • Yes I would agree that better terminology is needed here for Dominions 5. Its particularly confusing because the game is executed in turns but turns are resolved simultaneously (like Oriental Empires) and the battles used be executed in a turn based way (albeit hands off; defender goes then attacker then defender etc) and now those will be executed in a simultaneous way (still hands off but exact details pending) and that is getting called real time combat.

      I might go with simultaneously executed turn-based strategy game.

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  4. Great show. Btw I discovered Explorminate because of Thea Steam forums, a place where all 4x hearthed fans came together when this game was released.

    For Eador: Imperium I so much agree with you. I tried to get into the game a few times. I really like slow games. But this was so slow. And finally after exploring one hex and choosing what to fight it was a fight I couldn’t win. Also it lacks info on what encounters you get into when you click them.

    I wondered where in this podcast you mentioned Children of the Galaxy? It’s mentioned in the forword, but I listened the full hour and missed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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