Gameboys From Hell: Solium Infernum Part 1

By Kieron Gillen on January 13th, 2010 at 2:44 pm.


Solium Infernum is a political wargame set in hell. Quinns and I and assorted friends started playing late last year. The game is now finished, and none of the friends survived. By which I mean, we all hate each other now.

This is how it happened.

Okay – for those who haven’t been following the coverage, here’s a brief intro to Solium Infernum. You all play demons aspiring to the throne of hell, as Satan’s buggered off. The person with the most prestige at the end of the game – determined semi-randomly – will get the throne. You win prestige by conquering, keeping important places and generally playing political games with one another. The key thing is the level of politeness – you can’t just declare war if you want to stay part of the demon aristocracy. You have to manufacture an excuse. For example, if you make a demand of someone, and they refuse, you can claim vendetta against them – which means a small war, with you wagering prestige that you’ll be able to achieve stuff.

There’s a lot to the game – a key motif of the following adventure will be players missing a crucial rule, with hilarious consequences – but thats’ the basics. We’ll explain the key points as we continue.

The game starts before the game. You each get to design your demon aristo, with an eye on your tactics. And the majority of everyone else’s choices in character design start being hid from all others…

Turn 1: Kieron
I know I’m making a mistake, and I’m hoping I’ll recover.

So far, I’ve only played martial-styled demons, who march out forces and crush their foes. This time, I’ve created a more deceit-based general. I have only the barest idea of how to play one of these chaps. I spend my points gaining Deceit, Prophecy and – as almost everyone does a bit – Charisma, with the remainder dropped into becoming a Prince. They’re one of the top dogs in the court, meaning I can bully people a whole lot easier. And in the game! There’s a lot of “And in the game!” style humour with Solium Infernum, it seems. “Aha! I own the enormous vagina-shaped gate!” “And in the game!”. You must understand, I’m using humour in a typically loose sense.

The problem is, all this is done in a half-minute before the game started. I wanted to read around and consider some of the other options. I don’t really know how to play a Deciet fiend. I’m going to basically fly by the seats of my demonic pants. Of course, this is a far from ideal way to play a complicated strategy game.

Turn 1: Quinns
Oh, shit. Everybody’s going to hate me.

Here was the plan: Build an archfiend centred around Deceit, the statistic which lets you conduct rituals that bribe or steal away enemy officers and artifacts, as well as weaken or move their legions (Solium’s name for armies). To this end I took the Prince of Lies perk, increasing the success change of my Deceit rituals, and for my objective I took Envy, meaning I’d get a fat prestige bonus at the end of the game if I’d stolen enough.

My thinking (which didn’t involve a great deal of thought, I’ll admit) was that I’d keep a low profile throughout the game, steadily spending resources to increase my Deceit, until finally I’d steal my neighbours defenses out from under them and conquer their holdings with their very own armies. I figured I’d get through this game as a horrible, sneaky bastard. It didn’t occur to me that in Solium Infernum, “Horrible, sneaky bastard” is each player’s job description.

But it barely matters. Here’s what I saw as our game loaded: A map which rendered what was already a crap plan wholly redundant.

See the girl, with the wings and boobs? That piece represents my starting Legion, the Chosen of Quinns. Their stats are determined randomly, but because I chose to spend points during character creation on being a Prince of Hell (the highest rank) and because I got lucky, their stats are great.

Now, see the Escher-style gazebo just beneath them? That’s The Pillars of Malebolge, a Place of Power. Also note the tower three hexes above them. That’s The Citadel of Wrath, another place of power. There are at least a dozen ways of taking prestige from your opponents in Solium, but holding Places of Power is what produces prestige in the first place. Now, these are two solid Places of Power that both produce +2 prestige each turn, and thanks to that powerful starting legion I’ll be able to conquer them both.

But it wasn’t meant to be like this. I wanted to sit back and brood, to be the dark horse. Taking those Places of Power is going to accelerate me into the lead and make me an obvious target.

That said, I really don’t have a choice. Taking the lead early might be dumb, but not taking advantage of this luck would be dumber. My hands are tied.

Turn 7 – Quinns
I wonder if everyone hates me yet.

I’m certainly not the dark horse I was planning to be. Right now I am a fat, angry horse, braying and spitting at anyone who gets close. Not only did I conquer both Places of Power, levelling up my Chosen and making them marginally more powerful in the process, but I also received an Event card which let me promote them (again) to the Order of the Black Ring. Right now they’re… well, they’re preposterous.

The Order of the Black Ring gives them a boost to all three of their combat skills: ranged, melee and infernal, as well as some extra hp. Right now they have ranged 8, melee 14, infernal 3 and 17hp. Allow me to grant you some perspective: those stats mean that not only could they knock down the door of any Place of Power on the map, they could happily steamroll over any other legion in the game.

But aggression is really not in my head right now. Out of the six of us Archfiends I have the most prestige, two of the better Places of Power and the most powerful Legion around. If my peers are looking to screw someone over, I’m an obvious choice. Worse, I have Southern and Northern borders to defend and my Legion can’t be in two places at once. Right now the best thing I can do is sit on this prestige I’m earning and try and scrape together the resources to buy a second Legion at the bazaar to protect the South. Once that’s done I’ll have a leg to stand on. Or kick people with.

Turn 7 – Kieron
The opening ten turns of a Solium Infernum game are generally pretty slow. The demons expand across hell, getting terrain and – most importantly – positions of power. It doesn’t normally kick off. The key word there is normally. There’s a couple of events which push people to move quicker than I suspect they normally would.

(One player a turn gets an event card to play. Sometimes they’re useful. Often, they fuck everyone. Often equally.)

Firstly, someone decided to call a crusade against heaven in the first few turns. This means that everyone has to give up a unit to this madness or lose prestige (And remember prestige is what decides the victor). The problem with this early stage is almost everyone has one unit. Four demons – including me, don’t send one. Which leaves two demons to march forth. They’re probably going to die.

This is the first twist. One comes back dead. The other survives. And the survivor is Quinns head unit, who gets another health bonus. Quinns is also a prince, which means his unit is pretty brutal anyway. Now, it’s a 17-health-point monster, which the whole game is scared of. Quinns is doubly lucky, as he’s managed to grab two prime points of power, which means he gains 4 prestige points per turn. (At the same point, I’m gaining two). His powerful unit is one of the things which is stopping everyone immediately bullying him. He’s undoubtedly leading – though by the end of the first ten turns, Scrofula also has 4 a turn.

The second event…

Turn 9 – Quinns:
Are you KIDDING ME?! Somebody played an event. The Hellmouth has closed, which means Hell’s entering a dry spell, which means none of us are getting any more tribute from our minions, which means no more resources, which means I’m stuck with my one demonic Legion, which means if anything happens to it (and the Devil knows there are a thousand things which might happen to it) I’ll become a bloodied steak in a shark tank. Any of the other Archfiends would be able to insult me or makes demands, and if I did anything but simper they’d get the chance to waltz in and pluck these Places of Power from my talons.

I can’t sit tight and protect my borders with a single Legion anymore than you can make lemonade from clotted blood. I need more Legions, which mean I need more resources, which mean I need… to take them.

My super-Legion is currently stationed to the North. This turn I’ve sent envoys demanding four tribute cards (the most I can ask for) to Kieron and Speedo Demon, my two most powerful Northern neighbours. Let’s see how scared of me they are.

Fie. It’s worrying, this threatening business. What happens if either one of them have something up their sleeve? Or worse, what happens if they both receive my demands, have a private word, then unite against me? Damn it. Well, at least whatever happens I’ll get the chance to spill somebody’s blood.

Turn 10: Quinns
Kieron and Speedo Demon receive my demands this turn. It feels like time has stopped. Lucky for me Sponge made a demand of Scrofula this turn too, thus making me look less of an aggressive bastard.

The game informs me this is the last turn I have to adjust my Threat Levels for free. Threat Levels are a great mechanic- they’re the order in which you place your opponents that determines how expensive it is to target rituals at them. The game’s asking you “Who are you scared of? Who do you hate?”

I survey my borders. Who am I scared of? Who do I hate?

That’s Speedo Demon’s holdings due north of me, with the tentacle-looking playing piece. His legion’s weak, so I doubt he’d be dumb enough to rouse me from my indifference towards him. Next.

The double-headed snake playing piece to the East belongs to Sponge. He’ll be one to watch. His legion volunteered for a crusade against Heaven a few turns back and returned both in one piece and stronger. That said, he has no Places of Power and barely enough prestige to make any demands. Little danger there.

To the South-East you can see Kieron’s bird-man playing piece and his Tree of Woe, a slightly crap Place of Power. He might be one to watch, and I wouldn’t mind taking that tree. I advance him up a couple of threat levels.

I also have a couple of opponents to the South of my stronghold, but I’m not worrying about them just yet. They’re powerful, but currently making mischief in directions other than mine.

You know, whatever happens next turn it’s at least going to be fun. If Kieron and Speedo acquiesce to my demands, I’ll get spending money. If they don’t, I get to go to war and test my Legion’s badassitude. The game, I believe, starts here.

Turn 10: Kieron
My tree of woe is threatened by Quinns. I’m doing some double-think, suspecting that several people would stand up to their persecutors. They fold like Satan did against the big-Mike, alas, so I’m left in a vendetta situation against Quinns… and in the position where I can claim a vendetta against Bestias (Who, annoyingly, I thought would fold rather than risk an invasion).

So, going into the teens, I’m stuck with a war on two fronts. If I claim vendetta, I have to fight Sponge. I figure I actually have a chance of wiping out his two units… but then I realise they have combat cards. These are hidden bonuses. If Sponge has been smart, they’re anti-Missile abilities – my prime strength – which would mean he’d tear me apart. If Sponge had started a fight earlier, I was going to fall back, let him capture the tree, and then act as a buffer between Quinns and I. But…

Well, what I’m going to try and do is screw Quinns. Yes, his army will crush mine. Yes, the Vendetta he’ll claim will almost certainly be “Capture a place of power” from me. However, I don’t need to fight him to stop him do that within a Vendetta’s time-limit. This is where my Deciet abilities come into play. One ability allows me to lock down a unit for the rest of a turn. Assuming I can cast it before he moves, and that it actually penetrates his magical defences, he can’t move for that turn. Abstractly, with my available resources, I can keep it up for several turns. There’s several uses of “abstractly” there, you may note, but it’s better than fighting the invincible fucker.

Of course, at this moment Speed Demon decided to throw a demand at me. Excuse me! Busy here! Ah – waitforit – no rest for the wicked…

, .

82 Comments »

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  1. Rinox says:

    Lovely!! Can’t wait for the rest of the reports.

    This reminds me of the Alpha Centauri multiplayer games of old, which ended up with most of my friends hating me for mind controlling their elite armies and constantly stealing tech with my probe teams. That’s what you get for playing as the University, bitches!!

    • Senethro says:

      Seriously, those people who would only play University WERE bitches.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      I liked University of Planet :(

      And The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm, bitches :pek

    • Rinox says:

      I’ll see your Hunter-Seeker Algorithm and raise you Enhanced Algorithmics. ;-)

      There is only one thing I hated even more than the University in AC, and that was Brother Lal. Not the Peacekeepers as a faction, but just him. Double-tongued, two-faced hypocritical backstabber.

      Brother Lal: Chairman Rinox, I see that several of your units have been equipped with nerve gas pods. Be warned that I shall not tolerate any atrocities you commit!

      Me: Hah! Maybe you should invoke UN “sanctions”! Rinox out.

      Next turn, incoming message:

      Brother Lal of the Peacekeepers used a planet buster near Rinoxia City.

      ……..

  2. Skusey says:

    This is all very exciting.

  3. skizelo says:

    Looking forward to the scores of new players these’ll draw in, Bloodbowl style.

  4. Ian says:

    Much entertainments. :)

    Am gonna have to give the demo of this a try even if it’s not really representative of the ‘real’ game as you’d experience it in multiplayer.

  5. Leigh says:

    I do not understand. Where are the units? When is the economic reorganisation?

    There are so many characters here with tiny pants on that I could safely have expected this to be more exciting.

  6. Hentzau says:

    Just one minor correction: it was Sponge’s personal bodyguard which survived the Infernal Crusade. Quinns just chucked in some cheap cannon fodder rather than risk his good unit, the cad.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Hentz: I think we both read something wrong. I think both survived, as it’s the reason why his unit became HYPER POWERFUL rather than merely GROTESQUELY POWERFUL.

      KG

    • Quinns says:

      No, Hentzau is right. I bought a terrible Legion at the last second and sent them on the crusade. They didn’t return. My starting legion became HYPER POWERFUL as a result of being alright to start with, then levelling up once, then receiving their promotion.

    • Hentzau says:

      @KG: Quinns didn’t send in his bodyguard unit; he would have been insane to with those stats and the near-certainty that nobody else would bother sending anything. What he did instead – and the reason I remember this quite clearly – was to outbid me on the cheapest unit available in the Bazaar, which was a crappy legion of zombies, and send those in instead. They didn’t come back.

      The reason that unit ended up being quite as powerful as it was is stated during Quinns’s side of the story on turn 7: it had ludicrously good starting stats thanks to him being a Prince, and he then got the opportunity to upgrade it with the Order of the Black Ring, which confers almost identical benefits to surviving the Infernal Crusade. If he’d managed to get Black Ring and Infernal Crusade on the same unit I think I would have given up there and then.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Hentz/Quinns: Ah! Well, I feel less bitter now. Just as horrifically lucky in a slightly different way then, yes? :)

      KG

  7. SAeN says:

    I love Quinns breakdown at turn 9, and more of this goodness please!

  8. Lack_26 says:

    This is going to be fun to read, if only real politics where like this, I reckon that the election would be far more fun if suddenly Brown starting issuing demands to Cameron and bullied the Libs with demons, and vice versa.

  9. Dolphan says:

    So Kieron made the same mistake I did in my first game, trying to use deceit rituals on an infinite-loyalty starting unit …

  10. Baboonanza says:

    I like how you both plan on sculking about in the shadows without attracting attention…and then get into a fight almost straight away.

    Nice strategising there!

    • Quinns says:

      Haha. Yeah, it’s a good one.

      Keep reading! Without wanting to give anything away, our plans only get torpedoed in dumber and dumber ways.

  11. SlappyBag says:

    I just started playing the demo and I’ve no idea whats going on.

  12. brog says:

    Did anyone manage to come out of a vendetta with their legions stuck in the middle of nowhere, disconnected from their territory? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dolphan says:

      My brother started a vendetta in my game specifically so that he could get his unit through my territory and into an area disconnected from his. He didn’t even try to win.

  13. KJR says:

    Enjoyed this a great deal. Looking forward to hearing more about how the game develops.

    Can anyone who’s played it share how the play by e-mail works? I’ve got a friend who’d like to play this with me but the operating details are sparse. Specifically, is it something we could get working through gmail?

    • Baboonanza says:

      DropBox has also been mentionaed as posibly making it easier.

    • brog says:

      KJR: It’s a very primitive system of “download this file to folder /soliuminfernum/multiplayersaves/game/”, have your turn, send your turn file back to the host. You can get it working on anything that you can send files through; gmail is quite good.

    • Hentzau says:

      You have to manually attach turn files to emails and then copy them into the relevant directories and stuff, but if you use gmail the process is surprisingly painless because it’ll thread the entire conversation and keep it contained so that you’re not looking at a billion emails clogging up your inbox.

    • KJR says:

      Thank you very much everyone.

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      Is it really that complicated? That kind of sucks.

      I really wonder why there’s no TCP/IP option. I mean, how hard could it be to get a turn-based game working over TCP/IP? It would be stellar if it was patched in at some point.

      I also have quite the list of annoying things, mostly about the interface, but I guess it’s mostly nit-picking. Still, there are a few huge showstopper bugs, and a handful of mechanics that need tweaking. In any case, a killer game. All I need is more people to play it with. I’ve managed to fool a couple of friends into trying it, but most people I know are afraid of the steep learning curve (that, quite frankly, isn’t very steep at all in terms of learning the basics).

    • Hentzau says:

      Remember, Solium Infernum is almost singlehandedly designed and coded by one guy. Faffing around with save files may require a little bit of effort on the part of the players but it’s an incredibly simple system to implement compared to something like TCP/IP.

      (Also, if you find a bug send it to him. The support he provides is absolutely incredible; I ran into a minor bug that wouldn’t let me move a praetor and he’d fixed it and sent me a beta patch with the fix within an hour and a half of receiving my bug report.)

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, and I’m grateful towards Vic, I’m just saying that it probably isn’t a huge deal to get working (of course, it’s a huge deal if he hasn’t written any similar code before, and he hasn’t got someone to help out, but in essense, it shouldn’t be a huge deal). After all, there isn’t much integration needed between the net code and the already existing code, because it’s turn-based.

      I’ll be sure to send in bug reports, but I’ve encountered a few I can’t reproduce. Random crashes that just says “script was unable to run” or something similar. Not sure it would be much help reporting those.

      How did his previous games evolve after release, by the way? Did he add or implement much?

    • brog says:

      @ Kakksakkamaddafakka: You can send him savegames, like the autosave the turn before it crashed, it can sometimes help him find the script errors.

    • Premium User Badge

      AS says:

      It’s due to Macromedia Director that he can’t easily change the resolution or implement TCP/IP in, but if you’ve got bugs send it in or post it on the forums.

    • Dinger says:

      Here’s the deal, as I see it: Vic Davis is the designer of this. He’s brimming over with great ideas, and the will and professionalism to bring them through. The problem is that his programming skills are limited to Adobe Director, which isn’t exactly optimized for a game engine experience; even a simple TCP/IP interface would require him to do a lot more work. Now, this is work that he probably should do, but personally, I think a better solution would be for him to hook up with a programmer who was also a darn good producer. But, in short, it’s not going to happen at the moment without some major infrastructural changes at some level.

    • Noc says:

      It occurs to me to wonder what would happen if someone introduced this man to something like, say, Unity.

    • malkav11 says:

      Previous game, singular – Armageddon Empires.

      And on top of plenty of patching and rebalancing and such, he also added two free “mini-expansions”, one of which added the option to have one of four or five different cults rampaging through the wasteland along with the playable races, including new cult units and such, the other of which added a new upgrade system specifically for infantry as a way of making them more effective (as AE’s combat system scales in such a way that a couple of points of difference in stats is a major chasm of ability and so infantry tended to get the short end of the stick).

  14. StalinsGhost says:

    Gmail + Thunderbird has made running multiple SI games very easy for me.

    I did enjoy unleashing that early game resource drought. Oh so very much! :D

  15. Web Cole says:

    Been looking forward to this :D

  16. Bhazor says:

    Always good to see a good Lets Play.

  17. Heliosicle says:

    I want more.

  18. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Yeah, sending my personal bodyguard off on a crusade like that was hugely reckless, but hey, it paid off and they came back pretty awesome. But then my starting position really screwed me over making getting any places of power nearly impossible. So it all evens out, I guess.

    • Hentzau says:

      Maybe you would have gotten CENSORED earlier if you hadn’t told your only legion to bugger off for five turns. ¬_¬ But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

    • MWoody says:

      I dunno, it’s not THAT foolish. After all, if your personal guard die, they come back only slightly weaker. I’ve done it before to great effect.

    • Hentzau says:

      @MWoody: It depends how shit they are. I don’t remember what Sponge’s legion was like before getting the upgrade but it can’t have been that bad because pretty much everyone in this game was rolling with a high infernal rank, to the point where I was feeling inadequate because I’d compromised slightly by going for Duke.

    • Phill Cameron says:

      Actually Hentz I think they weren’t brilliant, given that I was a Marquis. I really was the underdog of the game…

  19. Metalfish says:

    Bah, resolution nonsense prevents me playing on my netbook. Damn you demo!

  20. mandaya says:

    O RLY? Don’t know about the demo, but the full version is playable, although res is fixed at 1024×768, which means I have to scroll down to that oft-used confirmation buttons. Really, this is one of the major failings of the game, which would be damn near perfect for netbook-play if it wasn’t for this issue.

  21. jti says:

    Damn you, I’ll probably end up buying because of this! And then I have to look for people to play with, and force them to buy it… And…

    • Premium User Badge

      AS says:

      @jti: Slipped his mind about selling keys with a group discount, it might happen soon.

  22. Martin Edelius says:

    Very nice, more of this thankyou.

  23. The Great Wayne says:

    Dammit, this article made the game look almost fun to me, which it wasn’t when I tested it. Might give it some more time soon to see if it clicks or not.

  24. Yargh says:

    Fantastic, I’ve been waiting for this game report for what feels like a small eternity…

  25. Wounder says:

    The best thing about this game is the fact that you have to be warned that a cheat sheet will make things worse. And it’s true, it will. On the other hand, this game sort of blurs what “worse” means at any given moment. You are in Hell, after all.

  26. Premium User Badge

    DarkNoghri says:

    So will we be getting any perspectives other than Kieron/Quinns? That would be amazing.

    At the very least, can we get a list of players/RPSnames?

  27. Harbour Master says:

    I so want to play this game, but sounds like I need time. And friends. Friends and time. I bought Sins because of RPS and thoroughly enjoyed playing it a year ago. One of these days I’ll play it again. That’s got nothing to do with friends, but it certain gives you the fucking lowdown on time.

  28. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    MOAR

  29. CloakRaider says:

    Must have more!
    I also must buy this game, sounds like a riot.

  30. Meat Circus says:

    Will somebody play this with me please?

    I have no friends.

    • skizelo says:

      If you join the steam group, people will bother you when they want a game.
      I am trying to instill an ethic that bothering people on the steam group is cool. I just send out invites to chat untill I’ve got enough people on board for a game.

  31. malkav11 says:

    This is one of those games that I want desperately but the almost entirely multiplayer nature of it plus the $30 or so price tag (a bit cheaper if I buy bundled with Armageddon Empires, but then it’s -more- outlay) meant that it couldn’t really compete with the infinite wallet-sucking of the Steam holiday sale. And now I’ve got to slow down on the buying stuff for a while. -sigh-

  32. 1stGear says:

    I love these AAR’s you guys do on occasion, particularly when its a game as fascinatingly and frighteningly complex as Solium Infernum. I could not possibly get a handle on it myself, so I’ll enjoy living vicariously through you two.

    • medwards says:

      It would be nice if they would finish them though. Anyone remember AI Wars? What about that RPG Risen? There’s no ending, not like that standup Eve material by Jim. :P

    • Vinraith says:

      @medwards

      Well, in this case the game in question has already come to completion, so I think our odds are better. I really would love to see an RPS AI War AAR that didn’t terminate after the first entry, though. They could use the new expansion as an excuse to revisit the game.

  33. Gpig says:

    In the impossible to implement because he’s a designer instead of a programmer but I can still dream department, I wish I could download this to the appstore and play it on my ipod touch and work on a turn while I’m on the bus then upload it when I get to campus or home.

  34. Muzman says:

    Intriguing stuff.
    Was I the only one who read the preliminaries and thought it sounds exactly like some sort of Big Brother IN HELL?
    Also, how did both of you pass up the chance to say ‘playing/flying by deceit of my pants’ at any point?

  35. Guildenstern says:

    Hell has all the best game designers!

  36. Malagate says:

    Thanks to this post I finally got my arse in gear to get the demo, despite my PC being pretty buggered at this point (which is why I haven’t been taking part in any RPS TF2 games recently -_- ). I read the tutorial so I kind of figured out at least how to get around the menus and what stuff does, but I didn’t read the manual nor did I read many of the in-game descriptions and levels of Places of Power. So when I made a 5th turn attempt on Pandemonium, which I didn’t know at the time was where the big hell bosses live and was lvl 10 compared to my lvl 5, I kind of got my ass handed to me and was Excommunicated. I lost all my prestige before I could even figure out how to do diplomacy to the point of demanding stuff from bitches…

    Also negative perks are not worth it, getting +10 points might be nice but having one less order per turn is just crippling. I really love all the different perks though, especially the more machiavellian perks where you nominate someone who you think is going to win, and if they do win then you win instead! Just adds that extra level of paranoia, are they giving in to your demands because they have no choice or are you playing right into their hands?

  37. Turin Turambar says:

    Vic can be an amazing designer, but he really should search a professional artist, two programmers, and form a little 4 man indie company to make games. Right now it’s all amateur job, except the design.

  38. TooNu says:

    I wanted to play this, but reading these reports sounds more exciting than it probably is. AAR’s written on this site are great, “Is this feature something you would like to read more of?” yes, it is a feature I would like to read more of :)

  39. brog says:

    @Malagate:
    Negative perks can be worth it. The one you refer to (Debauched) is the hardest to offset; I really think it should give you more points; but you can still use it to push yourself up to 4 points in a stat, giving you an extra order slot – letting you start with the usual number of orders, but with the extra powers that come from the high stat.

    Other negative perks are not so bad. I haven’t done the maths for Obscure, but Slothful can be pretty good, because it’s quite reasonable to play without focusing on moving around the board at all.

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      Damn, I was writing this long reply before I saw your post. You’re, of course, spot on. The number of viable builds in this game is gargantuan.

  40. David says:

    Wow. This made me rally want to play this game. But I can’t for the life of me think of anyone who would want to play it with me though. Seems like a really slow game, which I love, but not any of my friends. Hmm!

  41. Jon says:

    I really am finding it hard to part with my cash for this one, for a multiplayer game throwing down £30 is a lot for a poor, impoverished student. Is this likely to retain a player base after the initial “this is new and cool£ phase? As soon as I see a £10 or more discount on this I will be buying it instantly.

    • Yargh says:

      In that case you can get your credit card out. The game is priced in US dollars 30 of which currently come to the princely sum of 18.4 Great British Pounds.

  42. ghd says:

    Leigh: It’s very much the Bayonette of hex-based strategy. it is the opinion we throught!

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