Gameboys From Hell: Solium Infernum Finale

By Kieron Gillen on January 22nd, 2010 at 1:27 pm.


Who will rule hell? Good question.

The answer follows.

We’re in the endgame now. Things are… somewhat tense. If you’re new, I’d suggest you go and catch up with previous parts before going here. At the least, the last couple of turns makes the following more dramatic. There is tension here.

Kieron/Quinns: [1-10] [11-20] [21-30] [31-40] [41-50] [51-60] [61-66]
Scrofula: [1-10] [11-20] [21-30] [31-40] [41-50] [51-60] [61-66]
Poisoned Sponge: [1-10] [11-20] [21-30] [31-40] [41-50] [51-60] [61-66]

Sponge and Scrofula’s 61-66 reports will be new to you if you’re mainly following it here.

And cliffhangers… unhung:

Turn 68 – Quinns:
Oh my word I’m still here. Oh praise be. Oh, sweet merciful fuck.

My judo block praetor-swap worked. Scrofula flung the Burning Legion at my stronghold as fast as he could, and they shattered against my battlements when the melee round happened first. Barbatos, I’d kiss you if I only knew how to do it without cutting my face open.

What happened? Well, the Burning Legion might have been tooled up with an artifact and a praetor, but that didn’t help their limited combat experience; their low level. When the battle began and the game rolled for combat advantage it naturally went to my stronghold. Where luck came in was that it boosted my melee, of all things, from 11 to 13, enough to eradicate the Burning Legion before they got their apocalyptic ranged volley off.

And– oh, my God. It looks like I wasn’t Scrofula’s only target. He tried exactly the same play against Zah’Hak’s stronghold, except it worked! Zah’hak’s presence and all his legions have vanished overnight. Look at this stuff!

And then there were five. Looking at this picture is honestly very creepy. The insane part is, this turn also saw Zah’hak making his very first attack of the game as his legions rebounded off my Tree of Woe. He spends 70 turns cowering, then dies the moment he flings a weak legion against a weak Place of Power.

And that’s not all. Kieron made a genuine attempt to conquer Pandemonium! Fuck me. He’s excommunicated too. What on Earth is going on?

Wait, I know what’s going on. I no longer need conclave permission to touch either Kieron or Scrofula, both of whom have just suffered brutal military defeats. What’s going on is I’m going to make those salty jerks rue the day they tried anything as clever as this. I have two strong legions and two enemies. This will be neat and tidy.

Turn 68 – Kieron:
Quinns is being more than a little blase with that “naturally” above, of course. Combat Advantage is worked out with the level difference plus a random number from 1-6. He had +3, which works out roughly to a 3/4 chance of winning advantage. And then there was only a 1 in 3 chance of the combat advantage going to the stat which he actually needed it to – that is, Melee. So all in all – what? – a 1 in 4 chance of stopping Scrofula from having skinned Quinns and using him as a posing pouch. That was, to steal my comrade in arms’ line, tight.

I dwell on the odds, because dwelling on the odds is pretty much all I’ve been doing in these turns. I basically had a 1 in 6 chance to take Pandemonium, roughly. I needed my combat card to turn up on 6. It didn’t. Pandemonium is not mine. Sad emoticon.

Worse, when I sent the Gorgons forth, I thought that if they didn’t take it, they’d survive the combat… just. Remember that wine-glass I mentioned earlier? It conspired with my noggin, and I’d somehow forgot that ground battles have two rounds. Pandemonium gets a second Melee-round on the Gorgons, with inevitable results. My Girls are torn asunder and Descarbi goes back to the pit for the third time. It’s like he’s got a holiday home in eternal agony.

Thing is, while it’s sad to lose the Gorgons, even if I hadn’t fell prey to total amateur play, I’d have moved on Pandemonium. Around a 1-in-6 chance? It’s all I have. It’ll do.

There is a bright side though.

Since the Gorgons are dead, it means I don’t have to pay ‘em. That’s a couple of resources I can use for…

Well, not much. Scrofula and I regroup and talk about what to do next. I had no idea he was also going for Zah’hak, and I’m impressed he’s got at least one scalp for his belt. We talk about other ways to take out Quinns and Speedo Demon – Speedo is easy, but Quinns is going to take some thinking. I know Quinns is on my border, and now, with everything free, he’s inevitably going to sweep in and crush me. Still – a couple of turns to play with still. Scrofula is going to suffer similar things with Poisoned sponge, but his mastery of Combat cards is going to make that harder for him. So we plan and scheme and work out what best to do.

But I know, in my black heart, I’m no longer playing to win. I’m playing, at best, for second place.

Turn 69 – Kieron
In short, bollocks.

I lost track of the turn sequence of ordering. Despite going through the report a couple of times, I couldn’t find any record who was head of the the conclave. I presumed it was a glitch because of the fact two of us were excommunicated – and excomms can’t be head, so can never have first action. Except now, going through the turns, I can find it. I was presumably looking at the wrong tab. Last turn it was Speedo. Which means that this turn, Quinns goes first.

Quinns goes first with his best unit within marching distance of my capital. I have no actions. There’s nothing I can do inside the game to stop him.

Maybe there’s something I can do outside it. Despite the fact Quinns has been our main initial target, he’s not actually leading. Speedo Demon has 344 prestige. Quinns has 276. While there’s lots of bonuses at the end, that’s a big chunk of prestige to catch up. Why risk not being able to do that? There’s only one player in the game who can actually remove Speedo from the table. I hate Speedo more than anyone. I’m the one who’s gone out of my way to attack him most, the Praetor-only tactic offensive to me on some kind of primeval level. Remember: I went to war with someone else just so I could get to Speedo, so I could got to war with him.

So I write a mail to Quinns, explaining this. Don’t crush me. I’m the only one who can kill Speedo. You’re risking a win on revenge, man. Yeah, I almost engineered your destruction with a few well-chosen e-mails. Yes, I’m your mortal enemy. But I’m the only person who can help you win. I send it off and sigh. Scrofula and I sit discussing it. Will he accept? He’s got to. I mean, I would. When you actually have a good shot at winning throwing it away to get rid of the person at the bottom of the ladder is stupid, surely?

We, of course, also discuss how we’re going to fuck up Quinns given an extra turn. Abstractly, we could stab this turn. He has a unit within marching distance of Quinns capital. If I deceit-stun his defensive unit, Quinns won’t be able to move him in the way and… yeah, it’s a bit of a long shot. We decide to assume that Quinns is going to let me keep my scalp. I concentrate on getting the resources I need and setting it up to decapitate Speedo, who I’m pretty sure I can annihilate via a mixture of stealing his units, moving them away and whatever.

Notice something about that previous paragraph? Yes, I’m talking about deceit rituals again. Because the event which blocked rituals is over, ending as early as it possibly could.

So, yes, I had time to wait before attacking Pandemonium.

Hindsight is 20:20. Also, a right fucker.

Turn 69 – Quinns:
The Legion of the Maw just punted Scrofula back out of the Pillars of Malebolge. Today, I discover that justice is delicious. Justice is all you need. Meanwhile, a little to the West the Chosen of Quinns, that legion Kieron so brutally tore apart with the Orb of Oblivion about 30 turns back, are advancing on Kieron’s Stronghold and his pathetic cluster of legions.

Want to see what that looks like?

Ahh.

Not sure what Bad Slave Sponge is doing at this point, but he should be getting involved in this. It’s a very good time.

I decide to begin picking off Kieron’s legions one by one. The more fights my Chosen participate in, the more they’re going to level up and become even more powerful.

My turn complete, I send it off to Kieron. Fifteen minutes later comes an email from him:

“I’m not processing this turn until you’ve read the email I’ve just sent. THINK ABOUT IT MAN.”

I check my inbox for the email he’s talking about. I’m reproducing it here in full:

“You can clearly crush me this turn – annoyingly, the last turn didn’t show me who was head-of-conclave on my results, so I had no idea who went first this time. I’d have done things differently if I knew you were first, next*.

I strongly advise you don’t. At the moment, you’re losing. You only hope of winning is decapitating Speedo Demon in the next turn or so**. I’m the only person who has the faintest chance of doing so.

(In fact, I’m pretty sure I can. It helps that he’s about to get a unit stomped by the heavenly host)

In fact, I’d argue smartest thing to do may actually be to join in with me. We’re both level 5-6 decieters. Two Level 5-6 decieters can cause a whole fucking mess against someone in this position. If you use your first action to – for example – use the order which makes the units freeze and be unable to move, or march them elsewhere or similar, it sets it up for a decapitation next turn. Clearly, I’ll be cursing his city within an inch of its life.

KG

*Admitedly, it probably wouldn’t make a difference. And I should have moved it anyway. Serves me right for rushing this turn. And marching on Pandemonium.
**Or, alternatively, hoping your secret objectives are enough to make up the difference. Which is a gamble, as you don’t know what secret objectives he’s got.”

Huh. Let Kieron go running into the sunset after Speedo Demon? Seems reasonable. Besides, I had no intention to crush him. I was just thinking I’d use his Legions as target practice. I reply that I’ll send him a new turn after breakfast, a meal I’m henceforth referring to as The Murder Breakfast.

During The Murder Breakfast a thought occurred to me. It came spiralling out of my subconscious like a worm. It started as I remembered that Kieron had been manipulating all of the other archfiends for the last 30 turns, and ever since Sponge had become my blood vassal he’d been rallying them against me. How short was my memory? Not two days ago he’d told me, to my horror-stricken face, that it was him who’d put Scrofula up to assassinating me.

From there, my mind folded in on itself. He not only tries to knock me out of the game, but then when his dirty machinations fail he tries to weasel his way out of the consequences? He does this without offering so much as an APOLOGY? How dare he?! If he had his way I’d be DEAD, if he had a chance this very second he’d STILL kill me, and he expects MERCY?

Worse than ALL OF THIS, he’s used his position as the one out of us which processes the turns to his advantage! He refused to process the turn until I’d listened to his lies.

Oh, I’ll send you your turn again, Kieron.

I go back upstairs to find he’s sent me another email. It’s a short one. It reads:

“I like that this is a game where you can convicingly beg for your life.”

Oh, you can, Kieron. BUT IT WON’T DO YOU ANY FUCKING GOOD.

Turn 70 – Quinns:
THERE SHE IS! SHE’S MINE! SHE’S ALL MINE!

(Incidentally, I really like that you have this epic picture accompanied by crashing orchestral music and then you click on the “OK” in the bottom right.

“YOU ARE THE SUPREME RULER OF HELL! ALL OTHERS ARE NAUGHT BUT SHADES OF YOUR LIGHT!” “ok.”)

The game’s over! With Kieron’s legions clawing at the gates of Pandemonium the Infernal Conclave have finally made their horrible minds up and cast the 15th token! Presented here in descending order is the prestige breakdown for each one of us:

You may notice that Kieron’s absent from the ceremony. I think I’ll let him explain that one.

Turn 70 – Kieron
There isn’t much to explain. I open the turn and have a series of gasps.

Firstly, I gasp that the game’s over. Fucking hell. Scrofula and I shouldn’t have waited a turn. We knew we were risking it. Why did we do it. Too late now, eh? Speedo has won.

Secondly, wait… Speedo hasn’t won. Quinns has won, with 423 Prestige. Where did they come from? Oh – I note that Sponge has zero. At the end of the game, the blood-slave’s prestige gets added to its master. I didn’t know that. Scrofula didn’t know that. We thought the bonus you got when you take on the Blood slave was all you got from it. Wait… that means that Quinns was never in any real danger from Speedo. That means he never needed me to take him out. That means…

Thirdly, oh… I’m dead, ground beneath Quinns’ heel as his unit marches all over my capital. While I’d done the actions which would have made me safe next turn for a stab, it’s somewhat too late when I’m getting used to my new existence as part of Quinns’ fetching bone-crown. Or bowel-cleaner. Or both.

I facepalm, followed by a grin and rising my cup of tea in salute at the screen.

It’s a worryingly appropriate end for the game. I spend my whole time manipulating people with e-mails, and the one time I send one with relatively pure intentions, I get killed for it. I’m every single trickster who always – irony of ironies – ends up being caught by his own web of deceit. I wish we’d knew, of course, as we’d have played the end differently – we’d have stabbed this turn, knowing that Quinns would have probably have killed me. I certainly wouldn’t have sent the mail… or maybe I would. If I could enrage Quinns into attacking my castle, it would have made him less able to defend himself, and so possibly lead to us both going out in the same turn. That’d have been worryingly perfect. In fact, in the afterglow of the game, I find myself playing with a particularly apocalyptic scenario, which could have happened with only a few changed orders delaying final moves. Quinns destroys me. Scrofula destroys Quinns. I destroy Speedo. Sponge destroys Scrofula. Which leaves the only person standing at the end of the game, Sponge. The dog having his day…

Yeah, I’m glad that didn’t happen. Quinns deserves his kingship. Sponge deserves his footstooldom.

And looking back over the last seventy turns, I certainly deserve my annihilation. If I’m being Loki in our particular narrative, I do really need to end up in a deep dark pit with a snake dripping venom in my eyes.

Quinns:

Couple of funny things. First of all, as they got dumped to a random canton after the battle with Kieron’s stronghold, my Chosen finally used their mountainwalk.

Second, there’s a combat card in Kieron’s stronghold. There wasn’t last turn. Combat cards get used the moment the unit they’re attached to is exposed to combat, which means it must have been built… after I attacked. So Kieron must have created it in an order slot after the order slot in which I attacked and erased him from existence. He’s defending himself from beyond the grave.

The reason this is doubly amazing is it means Kieron didn’t trust me, even after I sent him an email saying I’d let him live, even after I sent him my turn again, he didn’t trust me, and was filling his order slots with Not Trusting Me instead of using them to go after Speedo like he’d promised.

Haha. That fucker. You’ve got to laugh.

You know, when I first found out I’d won I thought I’d really earned it. I saw myself dodging and weaving my way to first place before knocking the upstart Scrofula back with a smiling uppercut.

If I’ve learned one thing from revisiting our game in two dozen different places for the purposes of this diary, it’s that I was ludicrously lucky. Lucky with my starting position, lucky with my event cards and lucky when Scrofula’s dagger bounced off my throat in the final turns.

That said, Solium Infernum isn’t really a game about luck. If a bad player gets lucky, there are innumerable ways for the other players to chew him back down to size. What I do feel proud about is that I turned my lucky start into a lead which I kept, and even when Scrofula made his move on my Stronghold I saw his move and twisted the numbers to within an inch of saving myself, and I sent my turn off full of hope.

And I guess what I’m really grateful for is that despite my good fortune, my opponents never gave up or started whinging. It’s one of the greatest aspects of Solium from a design perspective- with his mighty brain, Vic Davis has created a game where every single turn is important for every single one of you. I’m just so glad Kieron and Scrofula figured that out.

Vic’s meant to be working on a multiplayer-friendly sales package right now where he sells a bunch of keys for a reduced price. You there, the guy sitting on the fence! Yeah you, with the shoes and the funny nose. If he releases that package or cuts the price at all, I implore you, buy this game. There wasn’t another release in all of 2009 with as many clever design ideas as this, and that makes it the kind of project we need to be supporting.

IN CLOSING:

The game and the demo are available here. There’s a busy forum at Cryptic Comet for arranging games or an RPS Steam Group – Rock Paper Satan – if you fancy playing RPS’ community. Oh – and an associated thread on our forum.

It was quite the game. It couldn’t be the game without the players. Thanks to the ever mysterious Speedo, whose silence only added mystery to the thing. To Sponge, who cannily manouvered into the second position from a weak hand – and for his account of the final turns, head here. To Zah’hak, who was an irritant par excellence, managing to gain the enmity of everyone in the whole game. And to Scrofula, who proved himself a Punisher-style revenge machine with a taste for the jugular – and for a pitbull’s eye view of his final turns, go here.

And, to end on a song, while at times it really was Pantera…

More often, it was more Sleater Kinney.

Some things you lose, some things you give away, etc.

And as in, Indie Rock. And Solium Infernum? This Indie rocks.

Thanks for reading.

, .

209 Comments »

  1. Dan says:

    Superb. Well done chaps.

  2. CMaster says:

    Did Speedo actually do anything other than challenge for duels and call down the angelic host?
    It seems to mean that in the end, he was relying on having a huge lead, unable to actually take out anyone else.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      He is a man of mystery. That’s my guess.

      KG

    • Quinns says:

      Possibly he was turtling, not realising my blood vassal nudged me past him in the prestige stakes.

      Or, more likely, he really was just a wuss. He never initiated a land war once in the entire game, yet clearly he was at a loss for things to spend his order slots on since he drew three secret objectives.

    • Speedo says:

      My startling legion wasn’t that strong and I didn’t get any promotion events for it so duel spamming was the only thing I could do.

    • Gundrea says:

      I agree with the above poster. Truly Speedo was an elusive and inscrutable genius. We may never know what terrifying and devious schemes he plotted.

  3. Helm says:

    Excellent. I must try this game in multiplayer.

  4. Captain Becardi Jagermiser says:

    Thank god it’s over. Now I don’t have to look at that guy who starkly resembles Eddie Izzard on one of his more freakish dress-up sessions every time I go to RPS.

  5. sonofsanta says:

    At bloody last, been refreshing all morning waiting for this. I can get some work done now.

    As has been said before and will be said again, this has been absolutely superb. Cheers. Somehow it all ended very fittingly and just, y’know, right.

    Also, you’re all bastards. You may not have been before this game, but you are now. I salute you sirs.

  6. vee41 says:

    *applauds* This series is the reason that Vic got my money. Money well spent, been enjoying the game a lot.

  7. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I enjoyed this series a lot. Well written, suspenseful, with a side effect of offering a little tutorial to SI gameplay.

    Just in case the dev is skimming through the comments, a better one than the demo. 20 turns is too short to get more than a very short glance of the gameplay. While I do not doubt that 30$ are a fair price for a game as polished as SI, please consider releasing a demo without a turn limit. Only one Character to play and only one map to choose (and if I’m not mistaken, no multiplayer) are enough restrictions to ensure people who like the game will buy the full version.

  8. Nimic says:

    Fucking fantastic.

    I’m strongly considering getting the game, but I worry that I wouldn’t be able to find a good, nice player group that I could play with.

    • Quinns says:

      NICE? Have you not been paying attention? Trying to play a nice game of Solium would be like trying to straighten out a bag of snakes.

    • Alikchi says:

      The best place I’ve found to arrange games is the RPS Solium Infernum Steam Group’s Chat room, actually. It’s usually full of folks in UK evening time.

    • Nimic says:

      Well, yes, by “nice” I meant “will play”. Really.

  9. neothoron says:

    When examining the scores, you can see that only Sponge’s base prestige was added to Quinns’ score; neither score from his cantons, nor his public objectives bonus were.

    Quite entertaining overall.

  10. StalinsGhost says:

    Cowering? Nay! Scheming is the word you’re looking for!

    Except they didn’t work.

    Next time Gadget! Next time!

  11. Quinns says:

    You know something else I like about that final screenshot? You can see the old inroads I made into Kieron’s territory, coming from the North West, before he blew up my Chosen.

  12. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    Awesome read. I need to convince friends to buy this.

  13. Web Cole says:

    Haha, what a brilliant ending. What could have been, ay?

    I was backing KG all the way. Such a conniving wee snake :P

  14. Premium User Badge

    mrpier says:

    Excellent!

  15. mrmud says:

    The entire series has been a fantastic read, all of them (Scrofula and Sponges as well).
    Pretty much the best thing I have ever read on RPS or possibly on a gaming site.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Wichtel says:

    Awesome read!

  17. Harmen says:

    Bravo! Bis, bis!

  18. Fashigady says:

    That was epic

  19. Fraser says:

    Kieron’s scheming gave me tingles of anticipated schadenfreudian joy, but the most entertaining player in this was Scrofula. He was just about the smallest dog in the fight, and he certainly wasn’t the smartest, but every insult, every setback, every defeat, every betrayal fed him this insane burning energy. By the end he had been driven to become a creature of pure hatred – Fenrir to Kieron’s Loki – whose only satisfaction was the blood of those who had wronged him. That’s epic.

    Give all of these guys a Pulitzer.

  20. mbp says:

    Strategy question: If Kieron / Scroffs plans to annihilate all the other players had come to fruition and presuming one of them triumphed over the other leaving only one active player – who wins?
    A quick browse of the manual suggests that an excomunicatee still need to hold pandemonium for five turns eve if they are the last surviving player.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      mbp: To recapitulate the rules.

      If Pandemonium hasn’t taken, the clock still ticks. If the clock ticks to the end, whoever has the highest prestige wins. If Pandemonium has been taken, the clock stops ticking until someone takes it away*.

      I’m of the understanding that if only one player is alive, they’re declared the winner automatically.

      KG

      *Or removes the player holding Pandemonium from the game by taking their stronghold.

    • neothoron says:

      Some of it is covered in the manual under “Dissolution of the Infernal Conclave”: if all players are excommunicated, then the Conclave is dissolved – Pandemonium is weakened, and the only way to win is to capture and hold Pandemonium – an excommunicated player can never win by having the most prestige.

      If only one player remains, I don’t know how the game engine reacts.

    • ThePinkNinja says:

      Huh, the captcha was RPS8

      Anyway, best gaming article ever. I was cheering for you Quinns and Sponge once you shacked up. Glad you won.

      What impresses me most was how narrow Quinn’s win was. Fromt he very start he looked to be insurmountable with his uber-legion but even right up until the end his margin of victory was narrow indeed. It impressed so much that really throughout it was anyone’s game.

      Unlike the WC3 custom maps I’m so fond of when the winner is fairly clear within ten mins…

  21. Ian says:

    Brilliant stuff. I don’t see me having the cunnng to be much good in multiplayer but I can genuinely imagine this is one of the few games you can have a blast losing.

  22. Metalfish says:

    Excellent stuff.

    I think the lesson here is to always screw over the guy who starts out in front if the opportunity arises.

  23. Ben Abraham says:

    Excellent.

  24. SomeCallMeDave says:

    Bravo, GG gentlemen its been entralling to read!

    Would like to see some more articles like this maybe on a game like Civ or AOE, its great watching all the back stabbing and plotting

  25. Haggai Elkayam says:

    I must now silently applaud you. This was awesome. What’s next? Maybe try the Empire: Total War multiplayer campaign?

  26. Owen says:

    Marvelous. Well done and thanks guys.

    So you’re um….starting the next game and write-ups now right? :)

    ps. Kieron I think your Skaven would be proud of such deviously underhand tactics.

  27. Jonas says:

    That was awesome. Well played, and well written.

  28. elstob says:

    Excellent stuff all round.

    I’d love to see another one of these as I think the game type lends itself brilliantly to this sort of narrative.

  29. Fuu says:

    The greatest AAR I at least have ever read, and the reason I now own the game and loiter in the RPSatan steam chat room.

    At first I didn’t think that submitting to someone as a Blood Vassal would be worth the humiliation – what difference does it make coming last to coming second (and as a slave too)? But coming second does give you a degree of bragging rights, and being eliminated totally, well, a kick in the face but a deserved one.

    Of course if there was money involved … second place getting their stake back and winner taking the rest … that could get really personal. Must set up a tournament …

    • Quinns says:

      Oh my God, the idea of playing Solium Infernum for big money. The degree of cruelty and slimy politics that’d be involved!

      OH MY GOD.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Nah, it’s completely worth it.

      I reckon once you get to the endgame your aim is to:

      a) Win.

      if ‘a’ is impossible then

      b) Prevent whoever you most hate from winning, by absolutely any means necessary.

      Becoming a Vassal might not be as glamourous as bombarding Pandemonium and launching a suicide attack, but it has double the weasely back-stabbingness. I love it.

    • Jesse says:

      That could be dangerous.

  30. tka says:

    Fantastic! The best thing I have read in a while. Kudos to every archfiend.

  31. BobB says:

    Great stuff.

    One small rules question I’ve been wondering while reading this: if A starts a vendetta against B, can B also attack A’s legions and/or move into A’s land? Or is it purely one-way?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      BobB: Both ways. When I accepted Quinns attack earlier, thinking I had him beat with my ranged-twice unit, I was looking to sweep into his area and take back the terrain he had took earlier.

      KG

  32. jives says:

    Excellent series, I really enjoyed reading it.

    I will probably buy the game tonight based on it

  33. Colthor says:

    That was a terrific series. Thanks to Kieron, Quinns, Hentzau and Sponge (and Speedo and Zah’hak) for playing it and writing it up afterwards!

  34. tita says:

    Congrats Quinns!

  35. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    And here’s my own finale. Slightly less jubilant/angry. Actually, it’s probably more angry.

  36. Pani says:

    That was an excellent read from start to finish, by all 4 of you.
    I always love reading stories created from playing games and to see a game from so many different angles was a pleasure to read.
    I’d almost like to see a rematch between the same players now that you all have the game worked out a bit better but I can see that you’re all a bit worn out with it.

  37. Hardlylikely says:

    I just wanted to say thanks to the players and the RPS guys for bringing us something that shows gaming at it’s finest (and humanity at it’s most base and grasping). I mean really Kieron, trying to assassinate your own house guest? Bit medieval. Brilliant though. GG Quinns.

    Also, I agree with Jochen, the demo is too short to make a sale. It gave me a good feeling about the game, left me wanting more, yet 25 turns just isn’t enough to see your schemes unfold and really drive the barb home. This series has done more to help me see what the game can be, than playing less than half a single player game against so-so AI. It has also taught me that if Kieron is pleading for his life, kill him before he finishes lying speaking.

    Nevertheless, I look forward to joining you all in Hell next week.

  38. KJR says:

    This was simply terrific. Thank you all very much.

  39. Dug Briderider says:

    Excellent series of articles and great promotion for a game I wouldn’t have looked twice at.

  40. bill says:

    It does all seem to rely on a huge amount of luck… and the fact that no-one understood the rules or the interface.

    But it was fun…

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Bill: One thing I never actually said was… well, it’s really not enormously reliant on luck. The luck element is relatively small. It’s only when things are very, very close that luck even comes into it in combat. The numbers are, on average, much more important.

      (Blind decisions having unforeseen impacts, however, are very big. As in, if you don’t know what Praetors someone has in their vault, you don’t know what they could do to screw you)

      Next time I play again, I’m going to start making notes on the buy phase, basically.

      KG

    • Dinger says:

      I disagree. There’s a huge amount of luck in SI. It’s just that luck plays a small role in primary results of your choices, and a huge role in the secondary results.

      So, for example, if you spot in the bazaar a sweet relic that gives you +4 tribute, and you bid on it, whether you get it depends on your bid, your actions, and the actions of the other players (according to turn order). But every time an item is won at auction, another replaces it. So if you win the item, you’ll have spent a lot of souls and darkness, and will be at a disadvantage to bid on the replacement

      So, if the Book of Enoch (+1 order per turn) comes up, odds are someone else is going to beat you to it.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Dinger: I’m not sure I’d count most of that stuff as luck, at least in the way we’re talking about. While it’s luck in the larger sense, thats more like unforseeable knowledge – as in, is it better to spend now or save? We’re not talking about Blood Bowl, where the game is fundamentally like poker. This is like playing on an unpredictable, shiftable matrix of possibilities.

      If that makes any sense. It may not.

      KG

  41. Qjuad says:

    Bravo all.

  42. Lack_26 says:

    Now how long until you guys get together and turn this into a book, full of intrigue, betrayal and machiavellianism. Hats off to the lot of you, thanks for a thrilling read.

  43. Fuu says:

    For those of you still concerned about the price tag, I have heard that expansion packs are inevitable, and that they will be free. Not the behaviour you’d see from EA, for example, and another reason to support Vic.

    • kalidanthepalidan says:

      Vic did the same for AE (two expansions in fact!). So I imagine SI will receive similar treatment.

  44. Brog says:

    bill: The multiplayer aspect really serves to counteract the element of luck. I have one game going where I totally lucked out – started near some really good places of power (a +3, two +2s and a +1), and on the very first turn drew an event to powerup my starting legion, which meant I could take all of them – combined with the “monumental vanity” perk I took at character creation (+1 prestige per PoP per turn) meant I was drawing 11 prestige a turn. All very well until I load up a turn file to find four demands for four resource cards each, and legions massing on every border.. So now it’s a matter of desparately trying to hang onto my lead while everyone else devotes their full attention to taking me down (except the one guy who’s keeping quite and I’m getting paranoid might have pulled Kingmaker on me).

    • Brog says:

      Hmm.. the maths doesn’t quite work out there. The places of power were just a +3 and two +2s, but I had a +1 relic attached to my stronghold. Anyway, this is beside the point: strokes of luck are counteracted by everyone beating on you.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Brog: I mean to write something about why unfairness is interesting in games eventually, but that’s totally it. To a lesser or greater degree, power differentials can make a more interesting political game.

      KG

    • Sam says:

      Aye, assuming you’ve got a decent set of players – I can’t count the number of games of Diplomacy where people failed to prioritise taking down a suddenly burgeoning player, thus failing to stop him winning.

      Of course, Solium Infernum appears to have more ways to mess with an overpowered player, so perhaps it encourages this kind of mobbing response :D

  45. Taillefer says:

    This has been excellent. Thank you, gentlemen.
    I trust all the losers were castrated by Quinns?

  46. Radiant says:

    I love Kieron’s “Look in to your heart!” email.

    Complete with footnotes.

    • Jesse says:

      That was maybe my favorite part. When reading about it from Keiron’s side, it all made sense. Then, reading it from Quinns’ ‘murder breakfast’ angle… Good lord! I fell for his lies! Very clever, KG. And well remarked, when you said there was nothing you could do IN GAME to stop him in that final turn. Throughout the game you demonstrated best of all that the rules, the in-game interactions, are only a part of the whole game. That’s why we’re talking about REAL strategy here. That doesn’t happen in every ‘strategy’ game.

      Well done! This is the most entertainment I’ve gotten out of anything in a while. If someone wants to condense all of this into a .pdf for easy storage, I wouldn’t complain. You have a real unique body of work here. And if and when that multiplayer discount package shows up…maybe I’ll give it a try. I’m more of an action gamer, but I almost want to buy this just to support the designer. I’ve already had a lot of fun with the game, and I don’t even own it.

  47. Witchdoctor180 says:

    Absolutely utterly amazing. I loved reading every installation. Sad to see it gone.

  48. cypher says:

    That was an awesome read, and it seems fitting that a deciet focused devil should win the say. It made me make the jump and buy the game, and helped convince friends to do the same! Hopefully they’ll still be friends after a few games…

  49. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    Epic, truly amazingly epic