Monthly Archives: February 2014

Banished – Building a Town

Banished is an independent game from a company called Shining Rock Software. The boys were discussing it on Jabber and when they said, “build a town and manage people,” my attention was captured. I love god games with world building. I still play Civ City Rome and it is beyond dated because I adore building my little towns and watching people run around doing their tasks.

Banished does this and better. It is a survival town building game where you start with some supplies and people and then manage it. The tutorials are well done. They give you a grasp of the basics that you can and will want to do without walking you through the best way to do things.

As Brando said often the people do not make sense. “They are starving to death at the werehouse and go, ‘aI don’t like fish!’ and die.” I think some of mine prefer coal to wood and wood to coal so they are freezing in the winter instead of using the alternative fuel source.

But that is a lot of the fun in it. I think the game is more subtle than expected.  It tells you that your villagers will be happier with many different food sources. However, I think that translates into “your villagers will be picky and you need to give them options or you will lose them.” If so, it minimizes the min/max aspect that people have with this game. I find it fascinating.

You have to manage your population against everything that you want to do. It is a game about time and play it with the same expectation that you would play Civ City. People like their privacy and there is an interesting balance between stopping them from over populating and keeping the population stable because they do die of old age. I lost one town early to expanding to fast when I thought I had a stable food supply and it got wiped out during my winter of way to children.

One thing that I had to get used to but now I rather like is that all of your status windows minus the one, simple bottom bar, and floating windows. Eventually I realized that I needed to keep a few of them up to manage what was going on.  But, I could pick the ones that worked best for me. I keep my basic town status window, my professions window, and my Event log up and floating while I work on my projects and wait for people to catch up.

You also have to keep projects managed. There is only a certain amount of independent action they will take when resources run low. Many resources are shared between specialties, building, and general daily life for the town. Sometimes when the populace is low and food running lower I pull my woodcutter to farm and wait till late fall to work on my wood supply again.

Resources are not unlimited or automatic! There is a trade system to get what you do not have. You have to tend your forests and rock and iron. Even with mines and quarries you have to make a constant series of decisions on how to extract them.

It’s a great background game. You can set it to keep running when you are tabbed out as well as having it in windowed mode. It is also a game that keeps you awake because once that student ages to an adult they can go work on that farm because you JUST got chickens from a trader and…

Minecraft – Jealousy

Jealousy is an ugly creature. It rears its head even in video games and this time the target was my husband.

You see, I’ve been building a tower. It is a slow project because unlike my hanging city, I have no idea what I am doing with it. I decided to build one because everyone else was. In the end I decided to go with a Gothic library as my inspiration. Eve has also been busy of late and my time has been limited. That makes the tower a good project that I can peg away at in chunks as I add levels to it.

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My husband is not artsey. He works on projects such as the road system and he enjoys exploration for resource gathering and farming. He looks over at my screen and tells me that my tower is giving him vertigo when I’m on the upper levels adding to it or bringing the glass up to my current level.

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Instead, he has been wandering the lower levels of Minecraft.

Often, when we tell someone in Eve that we’re playing Minecraft they go, “Really?” and “Isn’t it just making stuff with blocks?”

“No,” is the response from those of us that play. Minecraft does have a lot of mining in it. The entire underside of the world is riddled with resourses and caverns. There are dungons (rooms with a mobile spawner) that have chests full of rare or common goodies. There are abandoned mine shafts which have resourses, tracts, and cars and chests of goodies. It is one of these mine shafts that caused my jealousy.

My husband has been wandering underground in wider and wider circles. He eventually broke into an abandoned mineshaft. That would be fine but it was directly under the area I was working in. DIRECTLY under. I’d have soon broken into it myself.

Finders keepers? A lot of what we do is just be polite to each other. I left the abandoned mineshaft to my husband and found myself horribly jealous. I wanted it. It was mine! Right under my area and abandoned mineshaft. Sulk, sulk, sulk.

I have no idea why I had such a jealous little fit. In the end, we wound up exploring the thing together. It’s been a lot of fun and it is a nice escape from working on my tower when he is on.