Archive for the ‘Let's Play’ Category

Let’s Play Legion Arena Index

September 15, 2012

An index for the updates of the Let’s Play Legion Arena of my other blog, Squirtle & Meowth Plays Games.


The Latium campaign – mostly for completeness sake
Roman military units – a rundown on strengths and weaknesses
Promotions – for fun and profit


Defiant Farmers – Scout the Etruscans
Aequi Raiders – Etruscans at Caere
Men in Black – Lingering Gauls


21st Century Stories

March 7, 2011

I read through this Let’s Play of Scratches today.

We get to follow the adventures of Michael Arthate, author of Vanishing Town, which has decided to move into a manor in the hinterlands of rural England. The original game, which is a point-and-click adventure game, the first commercial adventure game of Argentina actually, is not actually a 3D game, but pre-rendered into 2D images. The LP being screen-shot based (rather than video-based or hybrid), thus fits well.

Why I’m writing about this Let’s Play is because of how this Let’s Play spins two media – literature and video games – into something awesome. To elaborate, it has some of the advantages of both.

Like literature, one can pause and reflect on the story, inhale the atmosphere. The author of the LP manages to build on the existing story, and avoids being meta. It’s not like the fast-paced movie. As a Let’s Play, it also takes advantage of a video game’s potential for alternative ways of playing and ending – sometimes as simple as to where and when a screenshot is taken.

Unlike literature, this LP is accompanied by many more images than you’d find in any novel, or children’s book for that matter. I really like the screenshots too, the game has some really good graphics. More importants than images, however, is the music. The author of the LP has taken care to post links to handy webpages where relevant music of the game is – and has taken pains to have backup links too. The game music is really good (though I may be a bit biased, being a fan of video game music and all), and it really gives it atmosphere. You must read the LP with that music on. I’d like to see a book made of paper use such multi-media to its advantage.

It also seems that reading the LP might be better than playing the actual game. I get a bit of mixed messages. Gamespot gives the game a score of 2 out of 5 while IGN gives it 7.7 out of 10. IGN’s review seems to be the most elaborate review of the two. I’ve not played the game, and I must admit I don’t have much of a desire to play it either, but the LP, by taking out the interactivity, while still leaving some left (as in, you can read it through at your own pace, unlike a movie), actually makes the game into something different, by taking out the element of loading screens, having to figure out the vague clues to puzzles, pixel hunting, loading screens and so on. That, to me, is good.

The e-book can have much to learn by this. The current e-book is a digitalized version of the paper book, taking no advantages of the inherent capabilities of the computer, internet and so on, essentially being an inferior paper book. I’d say the authors of tomorrow should take a look at this Let’s Play, and look at the potentials of the e-book. It is ironic that something so innocuous as the Let’s Play genre (which has only existed since flippin’ 2007 – though its elder brother, the After Action Report, is substantially older) ends up being far more pragmatic than the current best-sellers.

P.S. What annoys me about the LP is that sometimes there are words spelled wrong or left out entirely – which I admittedly do sometimes. It kills the atmosphere a bit. Also, in the last chapter, the author decided it would be better to have a video than screenshots and text. Which is understandable, as I presume there’s some fast-paced action involved. The problem is that the video was erased back in 2009. I’m left wondering how it all actually ended. Still, I recommend reading the LP!

P.P.S. Blackwood Manor reminds me a bit of my house when I first moved into it fourteen years ago. Well, except mine was slightly smaller, more dilapidated and not filled to the brim with paintings and art.

Kaiserreich Update #8

December 10, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

This update is super short, but still spans quite a few months.

Japan drives a hard bargain but I manage to secure a deal for blueprints.

Flint revolts, but is quickly under my control again.

I am luckily spared from a war with Ottoman Empire.

I say luckily, because I’m now at war with two of the most powerful nations in the world! Oh, bugger. My forces are nowhere strong enough to cover all fronts of this war. Austria is probably in the brownest position right now, right next to Germany as it is.

Oh, and Feng Republic chose to betray Japan, with one of its divisions in Washington DC, hence the odd message. Another event had those troops desert, though.

Kaiserreich Update #7

December 8, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

These two events popped up right in the very beginning of the war. This war will ensure we don’t have to fight a two-front war, at least. Shame about the admiral.

Scouting shows that their back is exposed. Since those two provinces don’t have beaches to land on, however, it doesn’t matter…

Plains and no river obstacles made Vijayawada an easy province to capture.

I’ve landed two divisions behind their back to hopefully direct away their attention, so I can push them out.

It didn’t work, however.

With support from Delhi’s army, I manage to take Vishakapatnam.

Bengal upholds a fine tradition and sends us a peace offer, in an ill-concieved attempt to stall their inevitable annexation.

I make an attempt at their capital, but fail.

I’m practically swimming in oil right now. +12% to a province with 1 oil is not very much, anyway.

Huh, Delhi managed to push them out when I wasn’t looking…

My tank managed to hold off three cavalry divisions! Impressive.

Tibet is allied with Mongolia. It’ll be interesting to see how this war goes…

“Probably in our best interests” is a reason good enough. The king was very adamant about sending aid, too.

Delhi has the honour this time.

Hell yes! Suck on that, Wilhelm!

Kaiserreich Update #6

December 6, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

At the onset of the war, my lone tank division sees a fierce attack (that’s an anti-tank brigade). This does not faze me very much, though.

A sweet bonus, though I’m practically swimming in energy right now.

China grows even bigger, this time at the expense of Yunnan Clique.

As we make landings on the unprotected PF coast, PF panics and begs for peace. Not gonna happen.

We make a dash for Hyderabad, their capital, though we fail.

Iceland breaks free from Denmark. Could be used as a stepping stone in our bid to invade Union of Britain, perhaps? If things turn out favourably, maybe it could.

As Delhi troops finally realize that guarding the Nepal border is not the biggest priority and shift towards better positions, I rush mine for the harbour to place them in Bombay.

We finally take Hyderabad.

Of victory points provinces, only Nagpur and Cochin on the west coast remain. We manage to beat the disorganized Nagpur garrison here, sending them out.

I have two division land in Cochin, but it looks like determined resistance will send them out into the sea again. I hope to keep them out of Cochin until I can claim Nagpur.

With support from Hyderbad, though, I narrowly avoid defeat.

After 1 and 1/4th of a month, PF is finally annexed. Delhi is overjoyed with the news.

With the aid of new and improved blueprints, I begin to extend my navy.

Iceland, which is out of fuel, kindly asks Canada for a deal. Union of Britain does not like this one bit.

The mod takes a jab at Lord of the Rings, hinting at its eventual underlying motif. Whatever that image is supposed to represent, it looks awesome.

Fifty fuel? I think the king consumes about that amount during one of his picnic trips with some of the other nobility.

Uh-oh, I hope they don’t fall to UoB.

I don’t get an alliance, military access or anything, but I suppose this event is good.

Grr… Well, as much as we would like to, we’re in no shape for a war right now. Besides, I trust MacKenzie’s intuitions.

Things are going south for Iceland (they’re storming the government) but Iceland feels that they are comfortable with this. Let’s hope it’s so.

Sorry, but I didn’t research it in 1936 for a reason. It has limited use, as I’m not planning to use paratroopers.

Beat it, Lithuania, Poland is Austria’s bitch.

I was a bit delayed by bringing over additional troops and making sure the Iceland crisis would not turn sour, but now I am confident in finally uniting the Indian peninsula. Bengal will be a tougher nut to crack than the Princely Federation, though.

Kaiserreich Update #5

December 5, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

Here are the top twelve nations just right after the war:

The Krauts and the Communards share the top spot. Though Germany has managed to stave off the depression, Commune of France has directed their economy towards total war. Though they are both potentially deadly enemies, they are both more concerned with the inevitable war between the two of them.

Our worst enemies, Union of Britain, is one of the strongest nations on the planet. We will not cower before them, though.

Russia, which has turned Menshevik again, is content within their own sphere and will only act if someone else attacks them.

In the fifth place is Canada. Our vast industrialisation program and occupation of parts of the US has given us quite some more industrial strength.

We’ve actually managed to inch past Japan. They remain our strongest ally, though, and have both a stronger military and more advanced technology.

The Chinese, with the annexation of Allgemeinschafte Ostasien, has managed to become a strong ally of Germany, with an insane manpower pool.

The mighty Habsburg empire, or what’s left of it, gives us access to the European heartland, while being a strong ally in themselves.

It’s too bad Hungary ended the Ausgleich, because we could’ve had good use for them. The AUS have grown moderately large as well. We’re not quite done with them yet…

The PSA lurch right behind.

As well as the Ottoman Empire, which could be troublesome in the future.

Why thank you, but I already have it…

+200 manpower, and a battleship, and some other goodies! For Canada, letting the US fail is the most favourable turn of events, damnit.

My brave little ally. :3

In a moment of tiredness, I make an insane deal with Bulgaria, which I cancel a few months later.

That’s cool, but Washington DC is Canadian territory, remember?

Things turn sour for National France, as groups wishing for freedom rise up in the Saharas.

The Legation Cities, a group of cities on the Chinese coast, are annexed, making China even stronger.

If the Swiss refused, this could’ve easily start the second weltkrieg. But they didn’t.

Russia has to deal with some domestic trouble. Transamur, Japanese puppet, looks greedily to the west.

Brazil starts something they quite possibly are not strong enough to win.

Inspired by the Tuaregs and Sibirians, the Kurds and Vietnamese join in the fun.

Cool, but fairly useless on the whole.

Scared by Brazil’s madness, they sign an alliance.

And we decide to start some fun of our own…

Kaiserreich Update #4

December 5, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

Here’s the grand strategy I drew up before the war. The armour and cavalry in the west deals with the divisions there and are then free to expand in the CSA’s back. Advancing around the lake that looks like a grenade, I’m going to surround the lake that looks like a platypus and and take the Chicago-Detroit line.

At the East coast, the New Englanders hold the line while a cavalry divisions sneaks up behind their back. By ship, a marine division and an infantry division shall land on the Eastern seaboard. Meanwhile, the combined Entente airforce pummels the shit out of the CSA.

Unfortunately, plans have a tendency to break at first impact. Here, militias show fierce resistance.

The game’s first encirclement! They’re often the key to winning wars.

My cavalry division has bitten more than it could chew. I was surprised to see the CSA have so many divisions in the west. The divisions I have there won’t be able to deal with them all.

The Eastern front is the one we are doing the most progress one right now.

The CSA lands their feet on Canadian soil. This is an outrage.

Er… apparently my marine division was annihalated due to enemy bombardment. My interceptors weren’t doing their job.

The rest of the Entente rushes with expeditionary forces. They are very useful, but they tend to park them in quite inconvenient places.

My tank is cut off from supply! My cavalry division hastes to relieve it.

Finally some signs of life at the Centre front. The badass militias were too much to chew for my cavalry. Note the military police attachment it has. The developers of the mod have a good sense of humour.

Japan is friendly for once. Maybe they’re just showing off. They are ahead of us in the tech race.

This is not looking good. In my haste to relieve a tank division from encirclement, I might end up losing both of them.

We’re not the only ones cut off from supply.

After nearly two months of war, a terrible thing happens.

Apparently thinking we’re scared of them breaking through the almost unguarded Western front, they propose a peace offer. We tell them to place it where the sun does not shine.

My troops can see Chicago on the horizon. Keep pushing, boys.

Some much needed infantry divisions see completion. They are deployed in the west.

Incredibly, I managed to save my tank. The CSA chose not to attack it when it was surrounded. Their loss, I suppose.

The crown city of the CSA is now under attack by forces from all across the Entente.

Right in the midst of this warmongering, we finally have five tech slots!

Things are going quite badly for the CSA. From having 100 IC at the height of the war, they are now below 10. Once the AUS and I get all the victory point provinces, it’s good bye for them. They prove to be hard to kill, though.

The war might not be over by Christmas, but it should be over within a year of it starting. Now it’s mostly a fight between the AUS and I to see who gets the most territory.

The extra IC we got from this war allows us to expand our airforce quite a lot.

Kingdom of Spain showing to be as hard to charm as Italian Federation, I turn my attention towards Bulgaria.

Denver, the last capital of the US, is also the last stronghold of the CSA. It would be nice to grab it before the AUS.

It looks like that might not be possible, though.

Germany has lost a puppet, but has gained a much stronger ally.

The Rocky Mountains prove to be too hard a nut to crack.

The AUS finally captures Denver, allowing us to annex the CSA, or what’s left of it. John Reed as publically hanged, and there was much rejoice. Most appropriately, the date of annexation was the 14th of March, exactly seven months after Canada entered the war.

And so the bloody civil war finally ends. The AUS grabbed more than I would’ve liked, but winning the war would’ve been difficult had they not survived. The Pacific States managed to carve out a lot from the moribound US (though they missed a bit which first the CSA got when they annexed the US, and then I got when Is annexed the CSA).

I’m not too worried about their potential threat. They are both democracies (the AUS chose Charles Lindbergh to lead them) and have high isolationism, and their belligerence will sink to zero eventually. They won’t be able to DoW me unless something extraordinary happens.

Kaiserreich Update #3

December 4, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

Not needing any more Interventionism, I set the slider for Canada to become a bit more hawkish.

It helps our allies and gives a bunch of bonuses, so I don’t see why not.

Good, that means they won’t start a bunch of annoying wars.

Rich Canadians need somewhere to go on vacation, so I’m giving my approval. That new airbase and tech team also helps.

The Magyars are sick and tired of Vienna, and seperates with them, signalling the end of the Ausgleich. Would’ve been fun if Austria declared war, to see which one would win.

The new cavalry division is deployed in the west, to guard, and possibly attack.

That’ll keep Brazil busy.

Allgemeinschafte Ostasien declares independence from Germany.

I’m sorry Bishop, we just can’t spare the manpower needed for that.

UoB goes Totalist with Oswald Mosley (!) and Eric Blair (AKA George Orwell).

We have +200 relations with them, but still no chance of joining. Perhaps the new Pope will be more Entente-friendly…

The Czech gives Austria a headache.

Korea decides to fight for its independence, and we are at war for the first time in the game.

Austria is trying to keep a crumbling empire together, and hates syndicalism. They and Canada have plenty in common.

Hmm, I wonder if we got more than we bargained for when we allied Egypt.

Damn, The Italians go and elect a Social Democratic syndie-friendly pope. Our chances of making an alliance with them is now below zero, and our money on them is wasted.

The country “Korea” does not exist. I’m ignoring you.

The CSA is growing stronger. Let’s hope they don’t grow too strong for us to beat them.

The Spanish civil war kicks off.

Prime minister King announces national holiday. Canadians are a cheerful people.

We decide to from the IEDC, as expanding industrial strength both at home and abroad is welcome.

The Carlists rise up and makes the civil war a threesome.

*Korean ambassador enters office*
*McK King pulls out gun*
*Korean ambassador leaves office*

A little present from me to the Caribbean Federation, my most trustful ally.

Excellent, we need more energy.

Heh. Well, maybe we should think about ending this little collection of trade unions.

The Austrians play hard to catch.

Panzer! This will give the CSA something to play with.

I commision some much needed Infantry divisions, though they won’t be available until in October.

Austria decides to join our odd bunch of nations, and gives us an extra ally along with it.

*Korean ambassador enters office*
*Bucket of water falls on ambassador’s head*
*Korean ambassador leaves office*
*McK King picks up phone and dials receptionist*
“I got him!”

With Kingdom of Spain looking to be the victors of the war, I try to get them on our side with some moolah.

Finally, I decide to end this little putsch.

Kaiserreich Update #2

December 4, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

Commune of France has managed to beef up their effective IC, to the degree that they have more than the depression-riddled Germany.

Edmund Allenby kicks the bucket, giving us more of that annoying IC.

The American IC jumps to 138, but goes down to 114 the next day. Still, that’s more than the 55 they had in January.

Both the syndies and the populists gets to taste Fed steel, and the American populace at large are affected by arbitrary laws. Possibly this will piss off a few certain groups.

Egypt finally joins our alliance, giving us a base near the Suez Canal and the Ottoman Empire.

Finally, both the CSA and the AUS decides they’ve had it with the US, and declares their independence. The second American civil war is on.

Opportunists as we are, we seize New England. The New Englanders want to become independent as well because, er, I couldn’t select anything else.

The Pacific States feel unloved, and joins the bandwagon as well.

I decide to send equipment, but no volunteers. I’m hoping for CSA to expand moderately, so I can go in and grab their territories for myself later on.

Though Canada held its fingers crossed behind its back when it made that promise of respect.

The US in November. It’s all going to hell in a handbag.

Sure, why not. This will help our allies throughout the Commonwealth.

We begin to approach the Italian Federation, hoping to help the Pope fight his sinful temptations of joining the apparently über-sexy Kaiser.

Speaking of which, the Kaiser always has room for more in his bed. National France looks on in jealousy as Germany puppets Liberia, but thankfully doesn’t take any action.

We finally finish the IC (except for one which is completed a few days later due to various reasons).

The US and CSA struggle for supremacy. Canada officially supports the US, though secretely wants the CSA to do better.

Expanding our industrial base is still our priority, though an extra cavalry division will come in handy.

Aww, Brazil goes syndie.

Alaska has been, and will always be Canadian.

Finally, 1936 ends. We’re now at full Interventionism, and feel that taking London is not an unrealizable project.

Kaiserreich Update #1

December 4, 2010

Click here to return to the index.

As previously stated, we are the leaders of the Entente. In a Canada game, diplomacy is a vital skill. In the diplomacy screen one can also change ministers and and sliders. Changing a minister gives dissent, and sliders can only be changed once a year. Changing sliders in January is a good idea, though I have a terrible habit of playing into, say, May of a year and remembering “damn, should’ve changed sliders”. One step towards Interventionism for me.

The production screen is where you build stuff. You build stuff with IC (Industrial Capacity). Each day one IC consumes 2 Energy, 1 Metal and ½ Rare Materials. Oil is not imperative for industry, but is damn well needed if you want to use anything besides infantry, cavalry and field artillery. Supplies are needed to keep your military going, and money to do research diplomacy and espionage (neither us nor the AI will use espionage in this game, though). Manpower is a pretty tricky resource. If you build a ton of divisions until you scrape the barrel of the manpower pool, you’ll have nothing left to reinforce it with.

The populace becomes pissed off if you don’t put IC towards Consumer Goods. CG can also give you money, and decrease dissent. The latter is especially important due to the crazy and far-fetched events which will give us dissent penalties now and again.

I start out building a ton of factories, because it really is crucial if we are to bring Canada to greatness.

The technology screen is where you research stuff. Tech teams have certain specialisations and skills to determine how fast they’ll research a certain technology. We can only have three at once right now, though we can have up to five with the proper base IC. The skill of the tech team and certain slider settings determine how much in upkeep they cost.

Rear Area Supply Dumps, Agrichemistry and Great War Hospital System seems like good ones to start out with. Canada needs manpower, and take as little casualties as possible, as we really don’t have a lot of it.

I place the few troops I have in more favourable positions.

Canada is suffering from a lack of energy, which the Australasian Confederation shall provide for us.

We have the awesomeness that is Mackenzie King. With him, everything should be possible.

Reactionary landowners are exactly what the Entente is looking for! We have lousy relations with them and they have high isolationism, so they won’t be our allies in the forseeable future.

The king is dead! Long live the king!

I’m choosing to support the prime minister, because it won’t change Canada’s ideology. Macken’s awesome +50% alliance chance with close ideologies makes that kind of important.

Germany is haunted by the inherent instability of the capitalist system, leading to a decrease in IC. Though it spreads to other countries, we don’t have to worry about it since we are outside Germany’s sphere of influence.

This pisses the Yanks and Aussies off for some reason. Our citizens love it, though.

Commune of France is all discrete about its intentions.

We need money, plenty of money, because we need to briber, er influence certain nations. It’s not like my allies need it for anything better, anyway.

Dissent whatever I choose. I’m screwed either way. Very well, I shall pick the one with least dissent.

The useless Irish seek help, but instead of seeking aid from the noble Entente they end up in bed with the Kaiser! Don’t be surprised if Canadian troops enter Dublin, damn potato growers.

This is Kaiserreich. Strange things happen all the time, this time it’s the Peru-Bolivian Cofederation. I’m not even going to try to show all of the events happening.

From the test games I’ve done so far, I’ve determined that Japan is the one must important country we need to have in our camp, even though they may pursue their aims of a Pan-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

For some dissent, we get two somewhat cool tech teams. We choose to work with the Brits.

After the Caribbean Federation think themselves too good for our rusty coffins, er I mean excellent ships, Delhi decides to invest in the navy.

Shanqing Tianguo are apparently insane? They only have 9 IC versus Qing’s 39.

Qing decides to overreact, and joins the Kaiser’s harem. Hmm…

The Mongols are up to their usual zaniness.

He gives more manpower. Any questions?

Eh, give him the cold shoulder. We can’t appear weak. Ignoring him gives two slider moves to Authoritarian, making us Authoritarian Democrats.

This option seems to give less chance of bill killing, so I choose that.

This gives us a ton of new IC across the country. We take it.

Conscription, and thus manpower, is a must. I was expecting the “Duplessis Protests” event, but it never happened.

Let’s appeal to our national pride, here. We need to get to London!

With some luck, the Japanese finally cave in and join our alliance. His Imperial Majesty is known for his hatred of syndicalism.

On the technology front, we now have four tech slots. Awesome!

Ah, f*ck. All the changes I made seem to still be valid, though, this event just gives us some icky dissent and some slider moves.

Japan shows to be an additional cash reserve.

After some thinking, I decide to make Egypt the next victim. Egypt. They have the same ideology as us and somewhat high interventionism, though we start out with fairly crappy relations. I intend to rectify that with some moolah.

National France does something useful for once.

Some decreased resources is nothing compared to the usefulness of these two new tech teams.

And the US decides on an unorthodox action in regards to the elections, putting McArthur in charge. Interesting…