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Subject: A time for Tolkien, and a time for Warcraft... rss

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Ava Jarvis
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Despite the new journal entry about the quality of Columbia components---or, rather, the lack of glitziness of Columbia components---I dropped my money on the Wizard Kings bundle from Columbia anyways.

Why, why, why? When I have War of the Ring, especially?

I think it's because, sometimes, I'd like a war game that didn't take away an entire dining table and whose rules I can actually remember reliably. Also, while War of the Ring wonderfully recaptures Tolkien, sometimes I don't want Tolkien. I just want the more exciting bits of a fantasy RTS game with all the flexibility it provides.

Think of Warcraft. You get the fun of:

- resource mining
- resource allocation
- army recruiting
- army upgrading
- variety of units with different speeds, strengths, and special abilities
- opportunity to play different kinds of armies with different overall strengths and weaknesses
- fog of war
- strategy, tactics, and fighting
- variety of terrain
- cool "hero" with special spells (Warcraft III)
- whamming your opponent into dust.

Compare that to Wizard Kings:

- no need to worry about peasants; you go out and conquer cities and that's where you get your resources
- resource allocation (only "gold" though)
- army recruiting
- army upgrading (as far as strength goes)
- variety of units with different speeds, strengths, and special abilities
- opportunity to play different kinds of armies with different overall strengths and weaknesses; in fact, you have *six* armies versus two in Warcraft II and four in Warcraft III
- fog of war
- strategy, tactics, and fighting
- variety of terrain
- cool wizard with special spells
- whamming your opponent into dust.

It's funny, but I feel like Wizard Kings would satisfy my desire for a Warcraft board game more than the real Warcraft board game itself. I'd rather let peasants take care of themselves for the most part rather than having to direct them to, hey, chop down *that* tree and mine *that* mine....

I am glad that the War of the Ring board game plays MUCH MUCH better than the War of the Ring video game, which is pretty much ... Warcraft II, but with Oliphants. Not very Tolkienesque.

Speaking of Kings, there's a comic I rather like, called Thieves and Kings. There are allusions to spectacular battles in this fantasy world, but the comic focuses on the more individual moments---character to character. I sometimes fantasize about having a sort of war game where you had "Soracia the Storm"---now that's a force to be reckoned with. She laid waste to entire armies... even when she's weak, she can take out a town all by herself. But she's very difficult for her "master" to control....

If you had just the Wizard Kings framework, you would miss out on Soracia as a character unto herself, and all the weird twists and turns that she's prey to. With something like War of the Ring, you'd probably have something, perhaps card events or a progress meter, where she would start out on the "bad" side, but eventually progress towards neutral and then onto the "good" side. An interesting mechanic that comes from an individual character, that ends up affecting the huge battles taking place elsewhere.

Wizard Kings captures the huge battles taking place elsewhere. War of the Ring captures the huge battles taking place elsewhere---but also individual characters, and how they can affect (sometimes in a huge way) the outcomes of large events. And that's very true to Tolkien and to many great, epic stories (just think of the Illiad!).

Sometimes, though, I just want a slugfest with a lot of variety, and with more control than what Heroscape has to offer (and it is much much easier to travel with Wizard Kings than it is with the Rubbermaid tub I've had to buy to put together my two Heroscape sets comfortably).

There's a time for Tolkien, and there's a time for Warcraft. And there's also a time for the Saturday morning cartoon of the century, which is what I tend to think of Heroscape games as being---sugar-coated cereal, Saturday-no-school-to-wake-up-to fun!

And I've given up on saving money when it comes to games. If you save and skimp here, you'll see the love of your life flitting around when the Essen stock rolls in, or when you run into someone mentioning some obscure game that, once you've done further research, you realize will complete a hitherto unrealized empty hole in your gaming life. The only reason I still do most of my game shopping online is because I have to travel for two hours through horrible traffic in order to get to a brick and mortar store at all.
 
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Todd Derscheid
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I saw the commercial yesterday morning
Yeah, I would have mowed a lot of lawns to get Heroscape when I was 11.

I feel exactly the same way about Warcraft-that's why I play Majesty instead. It makes you feel like a ruler, instead of a middle-manager at the peasant rodeo.
 
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Ed Sherman
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Re: There's a time for Tolkien, and then there's a time for Warcraft
You know, I commented on the other thread that I recently got a Columbia game (1812) and was suprised by the box contents. I thought it was a little skimpy for what I paid, being used to Eurogames and their (admittedly high) standards.

However, we played it and we both enjoyed it a lot. I'm currently eyeing another Columbia game or two as well, including Wizard Kings (mainly because of its replayability factor). I think if you have good expectations contents-wise, there's some great gaming in there.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Re: There's a time for Tolkien, and then there's a time for Warcraft
I am glad that the War of the Ring board game plays MUCH MUCH better than the War of the Ring video game, which is pretty much ... Warcraft II, but with Oliphants. Not very Tolkienesque.

Just FYI, while the "War of the Ring" PC game released so far DOES suck:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/lordoftheringswarotr/ind...

Keep in mind that this was pretty much just a port of the Warcraft engine (think a 'total conversion' mod) to get the game into the market while the films were still new.

This spring, a much, MUCH more impressive Tolkien strategy game is coming to PC.

"The Battle for Middle Earth"

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/ind...

This will be the first *true* attempt to model the movies War of the Ring on a PC! (Note the movies - there are some deviations from the novels, and the game uses those rather than the original material)

Some interesting concepts, too. Units gain experience by fighting (and surviving), so a given cavalry unit identical at its creation to new cavalry you are churning out may be many, many times more capable in battle by having survived many combat encounters.

Example screenshots:
Orc army:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/scr...

Aragorn's army at the Black Gate:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/scr...

Wraiths with wings:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/scr...

Defense of Osgiliath:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/scr...

Ride of the Rohirim:
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/scr...
 
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