Weekly eXchange #174 – The Grumpy Show!

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 Oriental Empires, Dominions 5, Elemental, At the Gates, Driftland, Space Tyrant, Children of the Galaxy, Stellaris, Alliance of the Sacred Suns, Predestination, Interstellar: Space Genesis and much much more. As well as continued coverage for your other favorite 4X and strategy games!

Music for eXplorminate by Mangadrive

Show Notes:

  1. Oriental Empires update – 02:11
  2. Dominions 5 update – 03:25
  3. Elemental: War of Magic Post Mortem of sorts – 06:43
  4. At the Gates update – 12:14
  5. Driftland update – 15:18
  6. Space Tyrant is out – 18:11
  7. Children of the galaxy update – 21:29
  8. Stellaris update – 22:18
  9. Alliance of the Sacred Suns update – 27:49
  10. Predestination update – 29:58
  11. Interstellar Space: Genesis update – 32:29
  12. Star Control update – 35:36
  13. Surviving Mars release date – 38:45
  14. Battletech update – 40:36
  15. Alders Blood update – 41:12
  16. Phoenix Point update and second video – 42:46
  17. Poll results for map size in space 4X games – 45:22
  18. ESRB is being moronic and this is insane garbage – 50:58

Games played – 1:00:51

  1. World of Tanks Blitz Steam page
  2. Thea: The Awakening Steam page
  3. Driftland: The Magic Revival Steam page
  4. Stellaris Steam page
  5. e4X – Civilization VI: Rise And Fall Review
  6. e4X – Mobile eXperience: Civilization VI


22 replies »

  1. There’s been a lot of grumbling about the state of the Stellaris 2.0 patch, and not without reason, but I’m taking a much more laisssez-faire approach to it. Why? Let me tell you about another game that came out a few years ago.

    That game is Sword of the Stars 2. As a big fan of the first game I had high hopes for the sequel. The screens we’d been shown by Kerberos were good, there had been promises about bigger everything and better battles that sounded great on paper and a forum member who had been given access to a pre-release build sang the highest of praises. I was excited!

    Then release day rolled around. And the game was a turd. It barely worked, what did work was badly bugged, the UI hated all humans and the AI was the equivalent of a sticky note saying “TODO”. It was such a disappointment that I slept badly for the next two nights.

    I’ve learned from that. It’s better to wait and see. Remember: don’t buy into the hype. Don’t pre-order. Don’t have any expectations. Emotion is your enemy.

    As for Paradox specifically, they have a track record of releasing major updates that have issues. It’s not just Stellaris, it seems to be a chronic problem with their whole development studio. That’s okay. It’s easy enough to just wait for a while and pretend they released something more polished later. And it also saves you from getting upset over it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me too. Game is better overall now and in fact, there are no gamebreaking bugs. It is a very wide and big update, and maybe they should do a better betatesting for this kind of patches. But all the grump is too much for me. That’s my opinion, ofc. Greetings!


  2. The (unintentional) central point of the Brad Wardell’s note is the fact that it took him about two hours to debug out the cause of the problem. I guess no one in the team really knew how to debug (or what the debugging is). You can call this the manifestation of the (current) era where people think that a game developer doesn’t need to be much of a (“low level”) programmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve watched several of “Into the Breach” streams – the game does not have any “bad” randomness. The levels and monsters are (semi) random, but your hits and misses are predetermined by the rules. You need to be a very “chess” person to play it well though. And you need to be a very RTFM person too.
    BTW, I don’t remember much of a “bad” randomness in the FTL neither.


      • Imo ItB has way less randomness than XCOM (any of them). It’s more or less a “tactical puzzle” and if you think hard and get creative with unit abilities you can pull off some really satisfying solutions to most situations.

        For example there’s a mech that freezes itself and the target. So you place it next to an enemy unit and freeze a different enemy further away. Then you move your tank to the other side so that the first enemy is between your freeze mech and the tank. You shoot the enemy, the shot pushes it into your frozen mech, the extra collision dmg kills it and releases your frozen mech from the ice so you’ve neutralized two enemies and overcame the drawback of your frost mech (it freezing itself). It has that great “5 birds with 2 stones feel”. It’s almost like asymmetrical chess.


      • Sure I get it, but it sounded like you were bashing subset games as if they were the big bad mean guy stealing sales ;p

        Personally I loved FTL to death, I’ve played way too much of it, and can’t wait to get my hands on ITB. But ultimately they are two very very different games. FTL is based around roguelike mechanics. You need to play a lot to become good at it, to the point where RNG doesn’t play much of a factor. At this point I can safely say that I can somewhat reliably finish the game with most ships on easy. Reliably with good ships on normal. Randomness is not that big of a factor if you know what you are doing, and you make use of the pause.

        ITB on the other hand does not really have roguelike based mechanics. It’s almost deterministic.

        More importantly though, neither of those games are anything close to a 4x, so good news, you won’t have to play either :P


      • Oh no, Into The Breach did nothing wrong. I was just feeling bad for the devs of Space Tyrant. They kept having to move their release date to try an avoid bigger games so they could get some exposure. It’s a tough market place.


  4. The Elemental: War of Magic story was interesting but I totally did not understand why this game was going to be inventive or ground breaking. If its not asking too much, please justify such strong statements with clear examples of how the game was going to be innovative. It was even worse that it was compared to several other games that I have never heard of before much less played.

    Not surprised that it didn’t take a skilled programmer long to fix the bug… good help is so hard to find!


    • Sure, think of a 4X where you can have simcity level development of your actual cities. You could create unique tiles with the tile editor. Also, familial ties and generational heroes that craft an evolving narrative. So much potential, but many of the systems just didn’t work as intended.


  5. Nate – good try with your description of Arena events in Dom5, you were close (think horseshoes and hand grenades close). I think you should have your Dom5 reviewer on the show as a guest some time. Personally would have liked a bit more description of how Mekone (the new Nation a few versions back) has morphed into the two new nations (Phlegra the Deformed Giants and Phaeacia of the Isle of the Dark Ships). The changes are roughly equivalent to pre-WWI Germany, WWII Germany, and post-WWII Germany respectively. Unlike Civ 6, when Civ’s rise and fall in Dom5 they undergo somewhat radical transformations which are interesting both from the perspective of the games lore and its mechanics.


  6. Love your rant I have felt that way for several years. EA, Ubi Soft haven’t seen a dollar from me for 7 years. If you treat your customers like garbage then I do not need what you sell. I am older and grumpier so it may have happened sooner in my case but I am happy to hear that more people are getting fed up with being treated like garbage. The only language these corporations understand is $$$$ so if you withhold the $$$$ then they have no choice but to listen or go out of business.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Nate, you mentioned that there were a bunch of new squad based tactics games similar to XCOM2 out now or on the horizon. Could you name a few good ones? I’m an XCOM2 fan, too, but looking for some new similar titles.

    Liked by 1 person


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