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oldbard

Is This Game a Winner? Why? Why Not?

5 posts in this topic

I would say not, there's nothing to catch my eye on that log in screen, and the rules page is just a wall of text.

Put something on those pages to make me care and I might be inclined to make an account to try it.
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I didnt like it because i couldnt figure out how to play just by looking at the screen.

And it took me like 30 seconds to find how to make an account.
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I saw a similar post on this site called To Grid or Not To Grid -- That is the Question.

Which led me to the same page ya'll seen. I immediately realized it was textbased, and as stereotypes go, BORING. But the artsy picture in the background looked nice, which is why I joined it. So I'll explain what this game is, for oldbard.

I've attached a screenshot. I will say that the UI is very nicely designed. Now. Mechanics.

There is a Grid. And on this Grid are squares. To control the grid, one must own every square on it. The goal is to control the grid. Simple?

Now. Specifics. Each account and each square has characteristics, which I'll briefly list and explain.

Grid Square Characteristics:
Units: They fight for you. Invade other squares and seize control of them.
Farms: They produce gold, not food. They are gold farms.
Cities: Cities breed people. People like to fight, and they become units.
Rebels: They don't like this square. They steal your gold, and they cause mutinies, meaning soldiers leave.
Walls: Walls are good protection. You can shoot arrows from above, and it stops people from infiltrating the square to burn the farms.

Personal Characteristics:
Gold: Money. It buys stuff. Stealable.
Clout: Odd name for how many alliances you have. It matters very little.
Bank: Like gold, but it's safe.
Umbrella: It's like a wall, but its aerial. It shields from nukes and firestorms. But not from soldier invasions.


That is all there is to it. Now, at first glance, the features are very... shall I say... lacking of flavor. But while playing this game, I realized there was something to it that most other games lack. Everything, EVERYTHING, is ephemeral. Other games, you have permanent stuff, i.e. items that don't degrade. The only permanent thing here is the bank, which, if you withdraw money from it, isn't permanent. Anti-permanence means that it is easier for the newer folk to "catch up" to those who have lived in the grid a longer time. Which is useful considering the grid has only 350 squares or so. Also, it is very difficult to focus one taking down one person, as the tools of greatest destruction target random squares. Including one's own squares. It makes it easier to target those who have the most squares, keeping the balance of power in check.

What else do I like about the grid... it's volatility. Had I posted this a few weeks back, the characteristic section would look a lot similar, but without cities, walls, rebels, or a bank. New features are added, not at a lightning velocity, but fast. It helps keep things interesting.

What else to I like about the grid. It's an MMO, without the first M. The number of active people doesn't stray far from 10. It means everybody gets to know each other.

That said, a few things could be improved. There is no comprehensive guide to all of the features, so they all must be learned slowly, with little aid.

Some Features:

Burn: Calls down a firestorm on a random square on the grid. A random number of farms on this square are hit, and they burn away. Walls shield some of the fire. So does an umbrella.
Nuke: Replace firestorm with nuke, farms with cities, fire with nuke.
Havok: Replace firestorm with biohazard, farms with units, burn with unlive, fire with destruction.
Rebel: Put a rebel on a square of choice, remove a rebel from a square of choice, or pay a rebel of chosen square to leave.
Blitz: Pick a neighboring square. Attack it. If it has 0 units, you get it.
Wall: Build a wall around a square.
Umbrella: Buy an umbrella.
Bless: 1/100 chance to succeed. Gives a random amount of money to everyone.
Steal: 1/10 chance to succeed. Steals money from someone of choice.
Gamble: Double or nothing.
Farm: Build a farm. Cost is 100*Number of Farms+100
City: Replace farm with city.
Alliance: Make an alliance with someone. Cost is 50*Number of allies+50.
Bank: Deposit or withdraw money. Cost to deposit increases if you have more money in bank.

The part I like about farms, cities, alliances, and bank deposit costs, are that they put a soft cap on the amount of "stuff" someone can have on the grid. Nobody can become too powerful.

Rebels work based on percentages. They will have a stronger effect on a stronger square. A weaker player will care very little about rebels, but a stronger player will be racing to remove them before they cause too much damage.

Blessings increase everybody's wealth by a constant, meaning newer people become closer to the higher ups.

I consider it a social game, for this reason. Everyone is mostly equal once they get the hang of the game. There is a degree of strategy used, and there is a small competitive aspect to it, but the way to succeed hinges on diplomacy with other players, rather then abiding by some conquestual strategy. This is why, if you look at the screenshot, there is a box labeled YAK.

A few things help reduce the competitiveness of the game:

1 There is a small amount of lag during grid updates. It means that you cannot see the result of something you've done immediately. A slow pace makes everything easier to react to. Although, I do know that this lag was not intended by the developer.

2 A monochrome grid is artistically boring. That is how the grid would look of someone had complete control of it.

3 GRID NEWS. In the screenshot, someone is seen having won an amount of gold through a gamble. GRID NEWS displays quotes about the grid and griddlecakes, as well as displaying events occuring that involve high numbers. Everything is transparent. Everybody knows how much money everybody has in the bank. If you move 1000 units from square 4 to square 10, people will know. There is no stealth.


So, that is the grid. This was by no means organized, but it explains the general gist of it.

(Edited to actually include the screenshot)
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