The Shepherd and Tinfoil Hat
Posted on 11/14/09 @ 12:13 PM (updated 11/23/09
|# of Players:
||AoM: The Titans
4 players battle by collecting goats, cows, and pigs. When controlled, you can move them to your villager, and they will change into soldiers. You lose if your villager dies.
4 players have a temple each, and every 15 seconds, the units on the map are changed to different players. The goal is to kill the enemy's temple!
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Double Review, Tinfoil Hat first.
Tinfoil Hat, detailed description:
You play on an extremely small map with a temple on each corner. You control one temple and queue up a stream of Myth Units (Satyrs, Fire Giants, Frost Giants, and Prometheans), who do massive damage and only have one hp each.
Every 15 seconds, all the enemies on the map switch allegiances, so timing is everything. You don't want any troops around your temple when the 15 seconds are up.
Play time is about 5 minutes. It takes much longer to find opponents than it does to play this game.
Pretty fun idea, pretty good execution. It's nothing too classy or too complicated, but it's pretty fun in a "check your brain at the door" sorta way. The action is very faced paced, and any strategy that there might be probably even hurts you long-term (even if that doesn't sound good, you should try this at least once, it's pretty fun). You just queue up some guys, attack-move, and see what happens!
Some things could have been done a bit better, though. I'm an extremely strategic player, even though I'm not any "good" I still like to see the better players rise to the top. The winner seemed to be decided randomly.
I would have liked to see some strategic elements come into play, if only just some unit micro. Instead all the units die in one hit no matter what, so there's no time to micro. Restoration does not count -- it's just the same as giving the temple a few more HPs. Not really adding depth of play.
Maybe a hero who wouldn't get converted or a hero who WOULD get converted, but has strong powers would be a nice strategic addition without defeating the fun tug-of-war-oh-wait-I-just-made-the-problem-even-worse feeling you get when playing.
The game also generally lacks the polish that a larger production might have, and in a small game, it's very noticeable. The temples still display all the possible upgrades and Kronos teleport, the map is overly simplistic -- there aren't even side paths you can sneak guys in, etc.
True, everyone starts out in the same situation, but there were some pretty big problems.
Since I'm such a strategy game geek, I try to crank everything to 11. I thought really hard about working strategies and a very good strategy that works and ruins the game completely is:
You stream guys, then, right before the Tin Foil Hat, you quickly delete all your units. After conversion, you spam again. If you have fast hands and passable timing, you never have to fight your converted armies and your opponents have to deal with their army's remnant. Maybe this is a legit strategy, but this seems really cheap. You essentially dodge the mechanism of the game, and if everyone does it, the game gets pretty retarded. You can disable the delete key with a trigger, so you can at least force players to jump through hoops to pull off the seppuku strat.
Also, the game's not balanced for all Gods. For instance, with Set, you start out with a billion Animals. Oh, and they don't get converted. The animals survive 2-3 hits each and one shot enemies, so they're very strong in this game. Prom spam will take them down eventually, but you can hide your animals behind your temple until needed and your opponents will die before you do since you don't have to make MUs to protect your temple.
I'm also oddly suspicious that the best strategy is not to make any units at the start. If that's really the Nash Equilibrium, you need to make the time between Tin Foil Hats increase. 15 seconds is very short. I'm sure you thought long about it, but with 5 more seconds between tin foil hats, you could actually get your MUs near an enemy base and make a wider tug-of-war aspect to the game, leading to more temple damage.
This is a great idea. I felt like the execution could have been better, but I don't want to take away from the fun of the concept -- any armies that you make will soon be liabilities.
Map Design: 1
You knew this was coming. The map design is really poor. There's really not a whole lot to say, it's all Grass A and the same trees in a tiny symmetric map. There are no side paths or anything. The map wasn't repainted after you placed the temples, and the forests aren't even symmetric (clear if you look at the minimap). The only thing you did of any consideration to the map appearance was you rotated the temples to face inward, and the map adds nothing to the strategy of the game either.
For such a small map, you could have easily done something far better. If you wanted to stay outdoors, in 10 minutes you could have, for instance, set each corner of the map to represent a season. Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring.
Probably better or more standard for a small map would be to move the setting in doors, like in a castle. But really, there's no excuse for this.
The opening cinematic was short and sweet. Somewhat humorous and also it clearly explained everything that you had to do without eating up too much time. It was everything you'd want in an opening cinematic for a multiplayer game.
I'm not sure which section to put this in, but Tin Foil Hat is a great name for this scenario. Maybe that should even get you an extra point somewhere.
[Edited on 11/18/09 @ 06:41 AM]