Saturday, February 19, 2005

Empire Wars Chronicles

Two days ago I wrote up a short instruction for what will be the 2005 Empire Wars Ladder Tournament, which is a way of keeping score of all "official" games that happen this year. The scoring is a +/- scheme that encourages players even if they can't "win" a particular game... there are degrees of losing. Hopefully this will be a good way to get people interested in the game. I also wrote up an optional rule for a random starting bonus... essentially a racial trait system.

Tonight at Drexoll I played that "other" space empire game, the recently released third edition of Twilight Imperium. Believe it or not, this game takes longer to play than Empire Wars, which is heartening to see. TI gets a mixed review from me, though I'll definitely play it again at least once.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Empire Wars Chronicles

I was supposed to play a game with Chris Q and Chris D today at Q's place but D managed to screw everything up by hosting a small party/game night at his place. Small but too big for me with plenty of girlfriends around to screw up any possibility of EW. I was going to go anyway but I had a commitment from Ziggy to play as well and I would have felt bad about abandoning it. So we decided to play at the armoury. Ziggy brought his friend Blake and I voluntold two troops to play (actually they were enthusiastic). So we had a 5 player game with 3 new players. I set it up with 4 regular empires and 1 freelancer (me), with a small amount of terrain. Teaching new players was slow as always but the guys caught on as quick as anyone. All in all we had a pretty awesome game. Joe and Pat formed an alliance right away and I didn't help things by working for them as a scout against Ziggy. Ziggy went for cruisers at the near-total expense of his escort capability so picketing was easy. At the end of the game he ended up losing two systems (one captured, one suicide-raided). Blake was left alone and was focusing on merchant capability. Aside from picketing I engaged in trade with several players. Comments were positive though identifying that combat was slow to resolve. Ziggy brought his laptop but it was too stupid to read my iPod so I couldn't show off/use the Empire Assistant, which everyone admitted would solve the difficult bits quite well. Blake was very enthusiastic about the game in general and talked about coding a purpose-built Empire Assistant. I'll be following up with him probably on Friday and I hope to keep in touch with everyone for future games.

I'm pretty close to the critical mass of experienced players I need to be able to guarantee a regular session. I figure I need 10+ to get 4-6 out on a given day and today was a big step towards that.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Little Help?

This afternoon was lovely near-summer weather so I went for a rucksack march (so I was in uniform with 50+ lbs on my back). As I was coming back home I was running through the local high school park and I saw 4 14-15 year old boys running in the field nearby. One of them pushed over the guy in the front and as I was watching them they started to punch him and then started to kick him.

Naturally I turned towards them and started yelling. Just as I was about to throw one of them they started laughing, including the boy being "roughed up".

As it turns out they were conducting a little social experiment. They told me they had been doing this for awhile and I was the first person to actually help the "victim". Everyone else ignored them while one guy apparently ran away. They intended to do all this again with video camera for an amateur documentary.

I was reminded of a study I was told about in 1st year psyche about experiments where they would record people's reactions to someone lying "unconscious" on a downtown sidewalk. Almost no one ever helped.

Not surprising. I end up doing first aid a little more than once a year but I don't think I've ever seen an accident in progress. Each time I have been the first responder even though the accident happened several minutes before.

I'm pretty much wired to react, possibly due to my training (though perhaps not). But I guess the facts of life are that most people would rather look at their shoes than try to help a stranger.