Monday, October 29, 2007

View to the future

This is my latest version of my forum 'signature' in rennaissance kingdom forums. I quite like it.
I will post a bit of a summary of the whole thing to this blog sometime soon, but am way too busy doing it at the moment to be writing about it. I am sure that those of you who don't mind my writting will find the wait worthwhile!
I am getting better at finding and using programs (both off and on line) that I need for specific purposes, such as creating the above graphic, and its separate components. I am adding links to some of these online applications as I go, at the moment putting them under 'Renaissance Kingdoms' heading on my MMPORG resource page.
I am still having a break from Ogame. Basically, RK is taking up to much of my waking day for there to be any time to play it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

View from the past

This is the picture I intend to use on my RK signature Banner for the moment.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Hut and Hearth of MacTavish - RK20

My work on behalf of the Renaissance Kingdoms Scottish clan of MacTavish has continued apace. It has paid some dividend, with eight kin now claiming the name MacTavish as their own.

Two of us first required release from other clans, the MacDonalds and the Wallaces. This was achieved after discussions with those clan's respective clan leaders.

As soon as I had the minimum of 6 clan members I set off for Highlands Hall to talk to an administrator there about what happens next. 'Seer' confirmed that we needs wait until November 1 when the Court of Lyons will bestow the status of 'Founding Clan' upon us if we have a minimum of 6 members on that day. It is only then, also, that we will receive a right to a private Clan MacTavish subforum.

Clan MacTavish has members in two of Galloway's four towns. I will hopefully be heading off this week to the Village of Wigtown for a couple days in order to trace members from the Wigtown branch of the family. I will see if I can arrange an escort from the Galloway Regiment when I do this as I would fear losing my belongings to robbers otherwise (haven't heard much of their activity recently, but know that they're around).

Hut and Hearth - two new blogs!

In-game, I have had Clan MacTavish set themselves up outside Highlands Hall in an old hut (The Mactavish's Hut) to await the Great Gathering of the Clans. The Hut exists in Cyberspace in the form of a blog, publicly accessable. I have let all clan members and invitees know how to find it, as well as Seer of Lyons Hall, Alexmac of Clan MacDonald and my friend Rubyfox the weaver.

In the absence of a private subforum where we can conduct group deliberations of clan business in private, I have also set up a 'back room' within the Hut which I have called MacTavish Hearth. It is another blog, but this one has restricted access. I'd like to see other MacTavishes get access to it, all they need do is ask.

In MacTavish's Hut is posted news etc which will be of interest to all clans, it is a 'general interest' place where I must assume those who might be hostile to MacTavish will also have access. I am posting in the Hearth as well at present, even though I haven't yet been able to grant access to another this is still valuable as it will become an 'archive' of clan history and news.

These two new blogs have seen my blogger repertoire increase. They both incorporate pictures in their heading and sidebar, play music (each has its own opening bagpipe tune), and the Hearth is a group blog. I have done none of these things before and have enjoyed the result.

You can visit MacTavish's Hut here.

Friday, October 19, 2007



I am most interested in getting my first set of trews from you. On the 23rd I am likely only to be in the market at about 1000 GMT at the earliest. The first day after that that I could be there at 0300 GMT would be 27 October.

If you want to see where I am these days, we MacTavishes have set up a hut outside the Highlands Hall while we await recognition at the Gathering of the Clans. You are welcome to visit our humble hut at


I really think that I should be better dressed by the time of the Gathering of the Clans in November!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The making of MacTavish - RK19 (long post)

I am probably spending way too much time in the Renaissance Kingdoms at the moment. Still, it is great fun and there isn't much else to do at night until the weather warms up and my wife returns from Scotland ...

At the moment my character is treading water with his cash flow, but has a small reserve (about 6) HHWs of pork at his home and about three days corn feed for the three healthy pigs he has in the field. The fodder shortage seems, for the moment, to be over.

What is taking up all the time is the fact that I have got involved in creating a clan.

I was originally asked to join the Wallace clan (amongs others), and did so. Only thing is, someone said they'd let me know when they formally added me to the list. They didn't. I didn't know if I was in the clan or not. I started thinking about clans, and had a looksee about the clanscape of RK in more detail while I waited my chance to claim the Wallace name.

I waited and waited and waited. I sent queries - if you are to deny me my birthright, will you not do it to me face?! All to no avail. I decided to make my own clan - that of MacTavish.

First, I had to remove myself from the Clan Wallace (having invited several folk already to join me in MacTavish before discovering that I had actually been signed over to Wallace, I couldn't let them down) - She who raised me is Wallace. She who birthed me was MacTavish. I knew this not until recently. It explains many things that made no sense before.

The important thing was then to make contact with other characters and convince them to adopt the MacTavish name. Rather than send short blunt out-of-character messages in a mass mailing fashion (= spam), I instead started tracking along the 'trust' links on suitable character profiles.

Thus, I'd be tracing networks of players who had already met in game. If they spoke to their neighbors of having received a clan invite there was a fair chance that the neighbor had also received such an invite.

I target those I mail to. If I know of and like them and they aren't part of the power structure, they might get one. If they are active players of about my ingame age or of artistic flair (using profiles to judge character), they might get one. I run their names off against a publicly available list of who's in which clan (still a minority overall, but definitely a majority of the most active players).

Before I started doing this clan membership check I got a couple replies that a player is already in a particular clan. That's why I started checking names. Each invite is a lot of work and I don't want to waste the effort. So I don't send my invites intentionally to members of other clans.

No two invites are the same. They each tell a a story as to why I am writing them, link them and Clan MacTavish, provide a sentence long history of the clan, and include a brief summary either of an ancestor's 'famous' quality (strong, wise, beautiful, good drinker, oathmaker, etc) or of their deeds (raised his kilt to distract the raiders, ate a pig in a sitting as a matter of honour, fed the valley on crop of potatoes during famine).

The invites explain what will happen next if the reader accepts - I will wait until there enough MacTavishes behind me and I then intend to go to Highland Hall to claim our hearth (subforum) and our vote.

They conclude with a toast - (raises glass) To the honour of MacTavish and the glory of Scotland!

I have sent out 20 of these mini-essays so far.

I have had five positive responses in about 48 hours, a couple queries, and a couple who have declined because already members of another clan. When I receive one more acceptance of the invitation I will get us on the forums with our own private subforum, as well as a vote in the Hall of the Clans (who I suspect will one day chose a King for Scotland).

I am thinking I will set up a (group?) blog for the Clan as well.

There are four towns in the County. I have sent messages to characters in three of them, mainly my native Whithorn and the nearby coastal village of Dummore. All members of the clan so far come from these last two villages.

Of the 20 invitations I've sent, none went to level 3 characters, 1 went to a level 2, about 15 went to level 1, and 4 have gone to level 0. Thus, I am creating a clan whose membership will be composed of those like myself, committed beginners.

A small clan, we will all have more of a say than in the big clans. A fairly egalitarian clan, we won't end up all dancing to "the leader's" tune. A developing clan, we will change as we grow and level up. Lots of room for fun.

Over time this might become an adventure in itself. As one of the acceptees put it to me in his reply email...

Well i am gladly to join your humble clan and try making Mactavish ancestry and Scotland a good name.

Looking forward to it!

I have put a link to this map of England and Scotland in my resources page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Call to the Clan - RK 18

Greetings from Clan MacTavish!

When I was abandoned by my mother Eileen, she left with the old woman in whom she trusted my care a small thistle and an old parchment. The thistle is personal, the parchment I have had read to me by a literate soul from the County Prosecutor's Office.

The parchment contains a genealogy of some of my mother's ancestors from the region of Strathclyde, more famous for the Wallace Clan's origin but also home of the first Scottish King (Kenneth) and our own clan, the MacTavishes.

I am seeking to have our clan officially recognised at present, before those such as our humble selves are shut out of the halls of power by the requirement for 'nobility' prior to recognition. Being a humble clan, I doubt we have many nobles, but that shouldn't prevent us from having a say in Scotland's future. Afterall, it's our country too!

From what I understand of my mother's parchment, you are related to us, with origin in the now vanished Dunn of Tavish (just north of Loch Lomond). Your grand pappy was a cousin of mine and they had many a happy raid together!

In honour of our shared descent, I ask you to reply to this message as soon as possible if you are prepared to accept the title of MacTavish, and willing to strive for the honour of our small but friendly clan and the glory of Scotland.

Yours truly,
MacTavish of Whithorn

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Whithorn Association of Pig Farmers - RK17

Greetings, fellow pig farmer!

I just wanted to inform you that I and a few like minded souls are considering forming a local group of pig farmers to co-ordinate buying and selling practices within our industries.
The result will hopefully be a better living to be had by us and less stress.

If you are interested in this, please reply.

xxxx of Whithorn

I sent the above letter, or one much like it, to all of the pigfarmers I located on the town roll. There were 6 in total, though one has since replied - saying that he's moved onto Wigton. I've had a couple of responses expressing interest. I have let Savanna know that I am thinking of setting up the WAPF and might make her job a bit easier. Now I just gotta work out what can be done...

A week in the life of ... RK 16

My weekly summary of stats and spending in my peasant's world of Renaissance Kingdoms.

Stats: In 4 - St 8 - Ch 5 - Reputation 10 ( 7 from trust)
Inventory: 73p - 8 corn bags - 1 knife - 4 HHW Pork
Farm: 1 fleshy pig (7 days old)

Sun Collect 22,50 owed by county. But 3 corn @ 3,50 at market. Feed 1 pig corn (none available to buy). Eat bread. Work in mines. Above status dates from this moment.
Sun Evening buy 2 piglets @ 25p after receiving word from Lady Savanna that she's nearby. Buy a beer @ ,90 in celebration at The Crown. Purchase 1 corn @ 3,40 and 1 corn @ 3,45 and 1 vegetables @ 11,0 from the market. Sell 1 HHW @ 15 to TH autobuy to save 15p for emergencies at my home.

Town Stats for Oct 13 GMT:
----------Fields----------October 13Number of wheat fields: 40 (Need more)Number of corn fields: 35 (Need more)Number of vegetable gardens: 32 (Need more)Number of cow ranches: 4 (Need less)Number of sheep ranches: 5Number of pig ranches: 6

Mon Buy 3 corn @ 3,50 and 1 bread @ 6,50 at market, eat 1 meal @ 6,50and have a couple beers at The Highlander. Feed 3 pigs corn. Join the Galloway Regiment (Royal Scottish Army).

Return to Okinawa & Ogame Restart

I have just had my first flight in months on IL46, WWII flightsim. Flew a Lightning over Okinawa, rocketing Japanese airfield targets. Hit nothing of value. Shot down shortly after by 200Sagakawa.

It didn't take too long to remember all relevant controls in this 'full real' server. I was able to navigate with no problems. I did feel, however, that i knew way too little about my plane to fly it properly. For example, in the climb with bandit behind i should have got away. But didn't.

I might start putting in the odd appearance in the skies over the next few weeks, and see if I can build upon where I was at skill-wise when I left off last time.

I have also recommenced my Ogame. After almost a week on 'vacation' mode, I am ranked 1394 with 16,297 points.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dear prosecutor ... RK 15

My latest letter to the pulic prosecutor of the County of Galloway in Renaissance Kingdoms:

Kind sir,

You ask me to ask what questions I will. I trust that my doubts be not mistaken for treason. They are not. I am a proud scotsman through and through.

And as such it concerns me that we scotts have the misfortune of being judged by a set of laws which are not yet constitutionally enacted. The enabling act appears to not exist.

Instead, rather than being subject to the rule of law, we must await the approval of the good count. Until his pleasure, it is a provisional set of rules which are used to convict and imprison. Yet the punishments meted out are NOT provisional in their effect upon those so judged.

I know not the words by which legal reasoning would hold such a system to account, but to my peasant nose, it smells.

It also concerns me that we have no right of appeal against a decision of the court. I understand the reasoning behind the situation (Scotland being constituted at present of but one county), this does not make it correct. Without the right of appeal, at least upon the facts, how is it that we can be protected against our courts becoming but another arm of some future oppressor?

I apologise if my wordy skill matches not my sense of something not quite right.

XXXX of Whithorn

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Avatar - RK14

This is my 'avatar' in the Renaissance Kingdoms forums (except it has a 'fluttering' motion there). It might be a coincidence, but it was within maybe 10 hours of my beginning to use it that I received the first overture from the leader of clan Wallace about becoming affiliated with them. I am seriously considering this and await the formal invitation.

The clan structure of the Kingdom appears to be developing apace. It began informally, with various players deciding to become a 'clan', and setting up their own forums etc. I think enough of the old heads in the Kingdom got into this aspect of the game that the Kingdom of Scotland now has a Hall of the Clans, where the various clan leaders have a direct say upon the national policy.

The most useful aspect of belonging to a clan, however, is that it creates another fraternity of which one is a part, another web of players, not necessarily all in one's own village, with which to share ideas, informations, plans.

This is very significant, because most inhabitants don't have the time or the wherewithall to go travelling from village to village for anything but the most pressing needs so it can all get a bit insular. The clan lobbies, where you interact direct with your kinsmen, breaks through this communication barrier.

If and when I get the call to clan Wallace, I will likely accept.

Withorn Taverns RK 13

I am posting the daily actions of my scottish peasant in Renaissance Kingdoms on this page. This will allow me to cogitate a bit more on the role play events and the philosophy of it all in my general posts.

Tavern Talk

The interactivity of Renaissance Kingdoms is felt at its most immediate in the taverns that dot the landscape. My own village of Withorn, population 480, has four such establishments at present. When the town began there was but one, and at one stage there were five.

The Crown of Scotland is run by JuliusOctavius, Mayor of Withorn, Captain of the Royal Scottish Army, Member of the Council of Galloway, husband of Savanna. It is frequented by many of the more public figures around town. I go here if I want to speak to those in power, but would measure any complaints made at risk of being thought seditious.

The Highlander is owned by Ewq, recently released from the County jail after being found guilty of various crimes. I don't often see too many in this place these days, and noted that there was no food available the last time I ventured in. Perhaps the adverse publicity of his trial and imprisonment has caused a major dent in his trade?

The Whistle and Thistle is the Town Hall's tavern. I would prefer to see the all those offial types at The Crown in this pub because then the public coffers would be a bit better provided. Still, they choose not to do this, so The Whistle has a relatively quiet time of it until the present power elite move over.

The Alba Arms is the newest tavern in town, having opened only in the last week. It is run by Muzz, who has been around awhile but is not otherwise a major player in town. More of a solid citizen than a politician. Seems nice enough as a chap, but I think him selling 'corn flakes' on the menu is a bit rich considering the fodder shortage in the county.

The taverns fulfill an important role in the game as they constitute the chat lobbies available to active players in each town and village. Thus, I have four chat lobbies available to me in Withorn. Sooner or later you bump into most active players in the game in the taverns.

A nice touch.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tigris and Euphrates - Jarrad wins!

I introduced Jarrod and Jess to T & E the other night. They both picked it up frighteningly quickly. Took us about two hours to play a game from scratch.

There were four monuments on the board by the end of the game, with control of different spheres of the two major kingdoms see-sawing in the later game. Jarrod ran a strategy of continually balancing his tallies for the various colours, which served him well. He won with a score of 18 points (black?), myself second on 6 points (black, including three treasure) and Jess on 4 points (red).

Both seemed to enjoy it, and it took them away from their seemingly endless reruns of the Avalon Hill classic - 'Civilization'.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A week in the life of - RK 12

At the start of Week 7 on Renaissance Kingdoms I am in the following situation:

Intelligence - 4
Strength - 8
Charisma - 5

Reputation - 8 (5 from trust points)
Money - 4,05 pounds

Inventory - knife, 5 bags of corn
Clothing - none (loincloth)
Farm - 3 pigs (1 day, bony - 6 days, normal - 6 days, fleshy)

Over the past week I worked 7 days in the mines, bought 3 pigs. Have eaten bread mainly, with one day on corn and another on vegetables (all purchased on the market).

Sun - Feed 2 pigs with corn, work in mines, purchase 1 pig, eat corn x 2
Mon - Feed 3 pigs with forage, work for Ishii for 16 p, eat bread
Tue - Feed 3 pigs corn, work on farm (slaughter plump pig), eat bread
Wed - sell 2 half hundredweights pork to Town Hall (autobuy) @ 15p, place 3 HHW pork on market @ 14,45 (sold), feed 2 pigs corn, work on farm (slaughter flesy pig) eat tavern meal (bread @ 6p), buy 1 bread loaf @6p, 3 corn @ 3,50
Thu - Store 4 HHWs pork at home, purchase 4 (!) corn @ 3,50, 1 bread @ 6,50 at market, serve in milita @ 17p, eat bread
Fri - purchase 1 bread @ 6,50 and 1 corn @ 3,50 at market, Eat cornflakes @ 6,00 and have a beer @ 1,00 at Alba Arms, work at mines @ 15,00. Feed pig corn (5 days - fleshy), still none available to buy.
Sat - feed pig corn, purchase 1 corn @ 3,50 and 1 bread @ 6,50 at market, work in mines,eat bread - still no pigs available to buy despite Savanna's attempts to help.

Corn Mash and Prison Notes - RK 11

There has recently been a widespread shortage of food throughout the County of Galloway in Renaissance Kingdoms.

A local tavern keeper has been prosecuted for market manipulation, hoarding and price gouging (he was allegedly buying up all the bread for use in his tavern, forcing people to go there to purchase it at inflated prices).

To twist the knife, he was also accused of buying up the main alternative people turn to when bread is short, corn. In doing this later it was alleged that not only was he leaving people with no choice but to come to his pub for food, but was also having drastic effects upon the county's pig and sheep breeding programs - with dire consequences for the local economy in the mid term.

He was found guilty on evidence presented by various witnesses in the law courts, and imprisoned for five days by the judge (because he supposedly had no money). The prosecution made much of the fact that this fellow was flagrantly abusing various quoted 'laws of the land'. Curious, I went to find these 'laws', for the infractions of which fellow citizens could be prosecuted and punished.

I could not find a written source for these laws. Concerned about this apparent anomaly (how can we keep laws of which we cannot know the detail?), I have written to the prosecutor and asked where I can read these 'laws' he quoted.

I then went to the prison and smuggled in a bowl of corn mash soup, together with the following note:

I have snuck in the backgate of the lockup to bring you this corn mash porridge to supplement the roaches and weevils of your prison fare.

Much of the village subsists still on corn mash or church charity. Your imprisonment appears not to have affected the town's food supply for the better.

Whereabouts exist the laws under which you were prosecuted? I cannot find them. How can we live under the rule of law unless we know the laws by which we must live?

I will leave now, and trust that your position within the village has not suffered overly much through these hard times.

It will be interesting to see what comes of all this...

Peasant Blogging - RK 10

As regular readers know, I have been playing the online RPG Renaissance Kingdoms for the past couple of months. A text/menu/forum driven RPG, it takes only as much of your time beyond a minimal five or so minutes per day and is deeply immersive over time. I haven't seen another game quite like it in my travels through cyberspace's MMORPG lands.

Daily Life

My character has worked his way up in the world, and is now a proud peasant (level 1) in possession of a field with pigs. Although still clad only in loincloth, I make regular trips to the market for food and other necessities of life (and occasionally to sell the fruits of my labour), the council halls to check the job boards (occasionally to apply for a vacancy) and see what the council is up to, the mines to do my daily labour (unless I'm working elsewhere), and, my home to feed (and occasionally slaughter) my pigs, eat my meals and generally hang out.

Every several days I wonder through several of the local taverns, giving advice to vagrants (newbies) if they need help to understand our vitual world, seeking advice from any personages that may be present about any problems I might be having, or just generally joining in the widely varied conversations that occur - picking up gossip and feeding in my own as appropriate.

I like to keep an eye on the courts, at the county seat, to see what sort of behaviour is drawing the ire of those who control affairs in the County of Galloway, who is using the law to benefit themselves and against whom they use it. While there, I like to see who (if anyone) is in the lockup. I should say at this point that I have even been known to go to the village church in times of famine for my daily bread!

The Virtual World

Interaction between players is generally mediated by the game engine. For example, I will place my produce on the market at a certain price (through a simple point and click menu system), someone will see it in the market 'menu' and buy it (through a similar menu). We won't 'meet' through the transaction, but will be later informed through our 'events log' of who bought our produce, or whom we bought produce from) that day day (if anyone).

Similar menu driven systems are used to manage your home, inventory, farm, purchases at the pub, etc. To 'chat', you must go into a tavern (chat lobby). One can also check out the profiles of other players resident in your village, and then send them emails via that screen. The exchange of 'trust points' also happens via profile pages. The community is well supported by a large number of active forums.

There are maybe a dozen separate kingdoms in this virtual world, scores of counties, hundreds of villages, tens of thousands of players. And it all interacts.

To date I have only given anecdotal stories on this blog about my online experiences in the village of Withorn. I might keep that going (for example, check the posting above this), but will also formalise some of my record keeping. I will try a weekly summary of what I'm doing (and possibly why) so that I can see what works over time. And if any of you, my readers, are at all interested - why, that's the coolest bonus a blogger can ask for!

Online AAA

As I said in my last post, I have found an online server for us Axis and Allies players. Since writing that post I have had a chance to check it out in more detail. I like it.

Have played the Axis forces in a game against the AI. It is supposedly 'low' in its intelligence, but is still giving me a run for my money. I won't bore you with a rundown of the game I am playing except to say that I can see perhaps more clearly the vital roles of the Atlantic and Chinese theatres of the war, often obscured by more obvious aspects of the war in most treatments of the subject.

If you already like the game, you'll probably like online AAA. If not, and if you can lay your hands upon a set of rules to make sense of the game engine, it's worth having a sus.

And if you really like your wargames in realtime and on this scale, perhaps check out Hearts of Iron.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Axis and Allies - Online Version

For some reason, this post is the one that seems to consistently draw the most googled visitors to my blog. To be fair to the new visitor, I am not a fanatic AAA player, but am interested. If you want to see what I'm up to more recently, click on 'Adelaide Gamer' above and leave a comment on the most recent post - Added June, 2011.

I have come across an online community for playing Axis and Allies. I haven't yet played it, although I have downloaded the files and had a bit of a peek. Will be worth a bit of a closer look.

I think the idea is to first get the hang of the game engine against AI opponent(s) and then go into games against other players online. This can be done either in realtime lobbies or via email. So Broadband isn't necessary to play the game, although the nature of a PBEM game is very different to a virtual FTF one.

Anyway, and if you're interested, here's the link to Triple A. Follow the links on the sourceforge site and then download the zip file. Extract from it with winzip or some such, and then click on the Triple A icon in the folder created by the extraction. Simple.

Looks like fun, but not as much fun as the RL FTF AAA.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Blows and Bruises

I have continued my exploration of the online browser based first person medieval combat game Mount and Blade. My present character is a battered and bruised, but brave, minor noble who is wandering from town to town and back again, backing himself with his teammates in the arena wherever he goes so that one day he can hire henchmen and go and earn some real money as a warrior in the wilderness.

I continue to be impressed by the game. I have upped the difficulty level from the previous super-easy settings, mainly by raising intelligence of opponents and increasing the percentage of damage which I suffer from them from 1/4 to 1/2 (taking full damage makes the game too difficult for me at the moment).

I am gaining an increased appreciation of the detail of hand to hand combat in a way that no other game has made possible. In this game feints and defence are vital, observation of the opponent for clues of his intention becomes an art in itself, the importance of tactical cooperation with one's allies is reinforced by the remorseless life or death nature of the combats.

I won't write too much about this game on this blog as it lacks the intrinsic interest of the true MMPORG worlds, but it is great fun to play.

As long as you accept that life isn't meant to be easy!

Justifiable Peace - Ogame 14

Those of you who have been keeping track of my tales of online interstellar adventure on the Ogame may be interested to know how The Justified War is going.

The Great Drac commenced a remorseless war of brutal attrition against the homeland of the hated foe. The foe reciprocated the gesture. Drac, overcome with his feeling of self justification, made his calculations and realised that he was almost certain to crush the defences of his opponent before his own suffered too much.

If he could only permanently bring down the defences of his opponent, he could move into the second phase of the campaign, when freighters begin to farm the opponent's world, accompanied by just sufficient warships to guarantee that the opponent will think thrice about trying to intercept the freighters with his own shrunken warfleet.

While fighting The Justified War from his colony planets, The Great Drac cast his mind to the bigger picture. Realising that he needed to increase his resource base to cope with the expenditures of war he surveyed nearby planetary systems. These systems had recently become hostile territory to Drac's raiding fleets, so it wasn't with great hope that he sent out his espionage probes.

They struck gold! A number of relatively rich and undefended planets lay open to his fleets. Chuckling, Drac sent out his raiders from the homeworld, confident in the plunder with which they would return.

This was the theory. In practice it worked out quite differently.

Drac's colonies were each struck by large and dangerous fleets from players many many times more powerful. This wiped the smile off Drac's face, and he resolved to start seeing if he could spread the war afield. Hardly had he so resolved, however, when his homeworld was attacked by yet another luminary of the Ogame universe, seizing the plunder and destroying the fleets which had come in from the recently sent out raids.


Time to make peace with the foe and rebuild the damaged empire. With peace envoys despatched, Drac set about the desperate work of rebuilding his prewar raiding economy before anyone realised that something was seriously amiss in the land of Drac.

Yet, even in these straightened times, an grim smile fixed itself upon The Great Drac's dread visage. For he enjoyed the knowledge that, despite the terrible size of the fleets that had looted his worlds, he had kept his warfleet intact and his defences upto strength. Although he had gone down in points and rank, his opponent had gone down more. Grim satisfaction indeed.

Rank : 1485
Points: 13,839

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Famine, Savanna and the Pig Crisis - RK 9

My peasant pig farmer, existing in the virtual village of Withorn in Renaissance Kingdoms, has been through hard times recently. Shortly after the local mayoral elections (won by JuliusOctavius over the incumbent, Krelian), the economy in the Withorn went belly up.


There was no bread on the market. Indeed, some days I would go there and there wouldn't even be vegetables or meat to eat! Usually, however, there was at least some of the higher priced foods available and, as I was flush after selling produce from my farm, I was able to eat well. Made a nice change from the usual bread.

Eating meat for my strength and vegetables for my charisma, my character developed well through the times of famine. At its worst, however, there was no food available at any price, not even in the taverns. I think that for two days I went and worked for the church so I would at least get a feed (if I hadn't, I would have lost some of my recently gained strength and looks).

I heard that in the newbie areas of Withorn there were many starved and dead level 0 players. Some of our active council members made it a mission to contact survivors and lead them to the the church. I wonder what political message was delivered to these gullible innocents. along with the knowledge of sanctuary?

Savanna solves the pig shortage

Anyway, after the famine there was a dearth of pigs. I tried to find out why and was given various reasons, answers and excuses by various figures around town. Eventually I went and saw the County Sherrif about the problem. To give Savvana her due, she sorted my piglet problem.

The way she did this was pretty cool. She hung around about half an hour, letting me know that was the case, and waited for me to confirm I was active. I was, but was also cooking tea for my (RL) family at the time.

I told her what I was doing (cooking) but that I would check at the farm gate every five minutes or so. On about my fourth visit I came across a pig seller from the town hall and was able to start up my farm again. A little well directed communication certainly went a much longer way than the usual muttled grumblings one can hear at any of the local taverns.

There's a lot going on in this virtual agricultural community. Over time, it really sucks one in. It develops as you develop. I've included links to the official rules and a very helpful guide to the economics of the various livlihoods on my MMPORG Resources page.

Link is under the 'Online Campaigns' section of the blog roll to screen left.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Vengeance! - Ogame 13

It's been awhile since I last blogged my Ogame online space campaign. I have had a couple of 'vacations', each of a couple days in length. The majority of the rest of the time I have been taking it all at a slower pace, both in the frequency of my sitting down and playing the game, and in the speed with which I develop my empire. The first is a function of Real Life, the second is a reflection of the fact that I have built all the cheap and easy builds and research developments. Everything from here in appears to be hard graft.

To liven things up a bit in his overly well run empire, The Great Drac decided to go to war. What else could a budding space opera hero do?

Casting his jaundiced eye across known space, and cross indexing results with past slights made against his eminent self as recorded in his Black Book, the calculating gaze of Drac fell upon the peaceful worlds of his old foe, Sylwek Kalisz.

Sending the record keepers scurrying to the archives to ensure their records were in accord with the vision of their Lord, The Great Drac gathered his fleet commanders and constructed a cunning plan. The record keepers soon rejoined the discussion, reminding those present of the true location of the enemy's homeworld. Knowing this, Drac could see through the foe's attempted disguising of this vital fact by the mere changing of planet names. The plan grew more cunning.

The Justified War continues, or, Drac Returns!

Day 1 - brief espionage probes despatched to various of the identified worlds of the despised one, Sylwek Kaliz.

Day 2 - follow up fleets of probes are sent to those worlds identified as likely having shipping facilities or defences, positively identifying these stongpoints for special attention.

Day 3 - lightly armed fleets sent against those worlds either not defended at all or only lightly so. These raiding fleets are sent from a relatively distant colony of mine which I believe has already been identified by the foe.

Day 4 - the raiding fleets strike unexpectedly, in three cases stripping the planets of their meagre resources.

Day 5 - the fourth raid arrives at the most strongly defended colony belonging to the foe. This fleet contains a capital ship and several cruiser spaceships. It is destroyed by planetary defences. An evil laugh is heard arising from the land of the foe. Drac smiles. The trap has been set.

Day 6 - the foe launches a fleet at the colony of Drac's from which the raiders were sent. With his superior espionage technologies, Drac is aware of this fact. He waits, as the enemy fleet draws ever nearer to his base - and further from its home.

Day 7 - When he feels the enemy has come sufficiently far Drac launches his main warfleets from his naval colony. This is much nearer to his opponent's homeworld than the colony from which his raiders had earlier been sent. Preceded by strong espionage fleets, Drac's armed might strikes his opponent's homeworld and his main defended colony within a couple of minutes of each other.

Day 8 - realising what has happened, the foe recalls his fleet (previously despatched to attack the distant colony from which Drac had sent the initial decoy raiders). All too late! By the time that fleet has arrived back at the foe's homeworld, Drac's main warfleets have been and gone. They reunite as they refuel, joining up with further reinforcements that have meanwhile arrived from Drac's main shipyards on his homeworld (whose location has not yet, we believe, been identified by the foe). With this newly expanded fleet, Drac again attacks the enemy's homeworld.

Day 9 - The entire network of Drac's empire is now feeding his warmachine. The shipyards of the homeworld are producing heavy battleships, the two colonies in the outer galaxy collect resources from their now flourishing economies and despatch them to those same distant shipyards, and the 'frontline' colonies repair their defences, co-ordinate the protection and transportation of the invaluable fuel of war, dueterium, and act as marshaling sites for the fleets that raid the enemy's lands as frequently as time permits.

Day 10 - operating at a higher tempo than his foe, Drac is remorseless in his pursuit of ...

Rank: 1472
Points: 14,086

Axis & Allies - Trial Game Review

As I said at the time, for my birthday this year I was given the game of Axis and Allies. Haven't got it together enough to play it until earlier tonight, when Shaun, Paul, Wayne and Myself gave it a go.

None of us had played it before. We didn't finish our tiral game due to the late hour- I suspect it would have reached the agreed 'minor' victory condition within the hour if we hadn't stopped.

The mapboard and associated playing aids are utilitarian, sturdily enough built for the purpose. Rules aren't totally clear at several points, due to their being a little loose in their definitions by my professional opinion. The numerous plastic pieces representing armour, aircraft, infantry, battleships etc look good on the board but they all get a bit fiddly when you have large congregations of forces, besides looking cluttered. They do, however, serve their purpose quite well.

The game is, to a wargamer, easy to understand. A grognard would call this a 'light' wargame. A gamer, not familiar with classic wargames, might look at it as 'medium', and a non 'serious' gamer might call it 'difficult'. That would be my observation from watching tonight's trial game. I think it pretty well took us the four hours we were playing to settle the rules.

I suspect the fixed historical starting positions will lead to a finite number of replays for all but the most keen fans. I can imagine a limited number of ways any particular game could go from the beginning, with no doubt several 'best' strategies which would further constrict the game's iterative facility. Of course, the same could be said about such classics as Diplomacy and they certainly haven't suffered from the experience.

In tonight's game I was Germany and Wayne was Japan. I attacked through the caucasus to take Calcutta on my fourth turn, while my central european force swung ultimately over Leningrad. Paul (Russia and America) used his huge yank navies to tie up Wayne, and to transport an army from the East Coast of the US to invade German held france. In his Russian guise, Paul weathered the fascist hammer blows, developing missile technologies early in the game and subsequently setting missile batteries in Moscow with which he could hit german production facilities.

Shaun (Britain) spent his game making small and strategically insignificant raids with his fleets and airforces, while being rolled up by german forces through North Africa and into the Near East. Japan attacked pearl harbour, and successfully conquered Oahu to add to his conquests from Shanghai to New Guinea. At game end, he was threatening San Francisco.

There were mixed reactions to the game, with three of four of us likely to play it again. That's not to bad for a game that fits firmly within the dicefest subcategory of the 'classic wargame' genre.

It's nice to see the game is published under the trademark of Avalon Hill, the company that has produced so many of the wargames that I have played over the years. I went to look at their website and was very disappointed to see that with the company being bought and sold a fair bit over the last ten years, it has ended up in the hands of those that make Magic the Gathering cards and D&D, and has had its catalogue gutted to include not one classic wargame beyond 'Diplomacy'. Such a loss!