Monday, May 24, 2004

Thrones & Patriots: My first thoughts...

I've had the game about 2 weeks now, since the prices dropped on the expansion at Future Shop.

I haven't played a lot of pvp, either online or LANing with friends, so I do not know how the expansion races actually hold up in pvp combat.

I have played quite a number of single player vs. computer AI, and multiplayer vs. computer AI, so I shall comment on that.

I've found that that Lakota are probably better as a player controlled nation, than an AI controlled nation. I don't think the computer AI picks particularly good places to expand to, where as players do. At first I was a little leary about food issues, since they do not get farms, nor do they get granaries. But, each cavalry, scout and citizen pull in food (as long as they are not garrisoned). I would have to play them a few more times, but I believe the food they get is not enough. You'll have to rely more on rare resources and fishing than you might like. This is probably a decent price to pay, though, for the ability to build on neutral ground, being able to place a city right near the enemy capital is a nasty surprise!

The Iroquois have a nice bonus of being able to heal while in friendly territory, and they get +2 food per wood chopper. With a nice rare resource, or perhaps some fishing, and a decent amount of wood choppers, you can almost have one city maxed (I've been able to get +98 food and +100 wood). I've only tried them once though.

The Americans are probably over-powered and likely to get nerfed. See what Out4Blood has to say, here. I agree with what he has to say, if the Americans had a slightly slower start, they'd be alright. As it stands, playing against computer opponents, I've yet to lose (two at toughest, working up the courage to try three by myself) when I play the Americans. They start with a free Science upgrade, get 1 free scholar for each university built, their first wonder is built instantly if no other nation is currently constructing it, AND each non-scout infantry unit which is not garrisoned adds +3 food, wood, metal and wealth to the economy. I'm still trying to figure out the rationale behind that last bit. Maybe more than a slower start is needed here... The TCA, built instantly, will give free infantry, which will give free resources... Think about that for a while.

The Dutch aren't too shabby either, with merchants, caravans and supply wagons ARMED, a free commerce research, two free light ships per dock built, and for every 100 wood, wealth, oil, metal and food saved they get an extra +5 of those resources. Those extra resources can go +50 ABOVE your commerce cap. Once these guys get going, they are hard to stop. I had an interesting situation where two computer armies, larger than mine, were held off by my dinky-sized army, a small navy and... two merchants and a caravan. By charging and retreating these three groups, I was able to chase off the computers. Probably wouldn't work as well against a human opponent, and it can get pricey since I lost the two merchants.

I have not yet played the Indians or the Persians, so I will comment on them later. I do like the Dutch, and the Americans so far. I think the Lakota have potential shock value against human players, so I will look forward to pvp with them.

The general additions to the game are decent ones, and overall I think the expansion is worth getting.

The Senate adds the option of several different government options, as well as adding a hero general to the game. You basically have two "branches" to chose from, one that gives military powers and bonuses, and the other gives economic bonuses and powers.

I like the larger Armageddeon Count numbers, I have played in games where people "accidentally" lost track of the number in all the action taking place on their screens. I say "accidentally" because I haven't decided if they did it on purpose, or if they're just stupid. :P

More on it as I play it.