Thursday, 20 October 2011

Maria rematches, iPhone Civilization Revolution

2 Oct 2011. Maria. This was the second game that I played with Han and Allen, this time Han was France, Allen was Prussia / Pragmatic Army and I was Austria. This is a photo of me using my hussar unit (thin white disc) to disrupt the supply of the Bavarian (orange) army.

In the early game Han and Allen declared a temporary truce between France and Pragmatic Army, which allowed the Pragmatic Army to build up, and also allowed France to focus on attacking me (Austria). Things didn't look good for me. There were many times during battles that I played cards in such a way that allowed me to retreat while taking minor losses. In hindsight, maybe I should have simply avoided those battles in the first place. Small losses do add up. I spent many cards on events, which also made me weaker in battle. I did manage to make Saxony neutral. It was initially an ally of Prussia, and was attacking me from the north. Later it even became my ally, and started threatening Prussia.

Prussia (Allen, blue) advanced steadily from the north, and my general (white) advanced to engage. Prussia did not capture these Silesian fortresses as quickly as the first game that we played, but I am not sure whether it was a good idea for me to engage so early. I eventually paid heavily for this decision. I lost my armies one after another, being defeated by Prussia, France and Bavaria, eventually losing all five armies on the main (Bohemian) map. I had almost become a non-factor. It was up to Han and Allen to see who was quicker in capturing enough of my fortresses to win. However, I still harboured a little hope. In this game we were mostly aggressive in capturing opponents' fortresses, so that we could place our victory markers. We didn't put much effort into recapturing our own fortresses to remove our opponents' victory markers. So I still had most of my victory markers on the board, and only had a few more to place to win, despite the shortage of generals and being very defenseless. My general on the French map could still capture fortresses, and the Saxon army was on my side by that time. I just needed two more fortresses or major victories in battle.

At the border between France (red) and Netherlands (grey). By this time the truce between France and the Pragmatic Army had expired, and Allen (Pragmatic Army, grey) was well prepared to start his offensive into France. Austria (white, me) was allied to the Pragmatic Army and they couldn't attack each other, but they could race to capture French fortresses.

My last general (white) on the Bohemian map before he too was defeated. One good thing he did was to destroy the French and Bavarian supply trains (red and orange cubes). This slowed down the French and Bavarian armies somewhat. Eventually it was Han who managed to beat Allen in conquering enough Austrian fortresses to win the game. A victory for France.

Family portrait of Losers (with a capital L) - the Austrian generals.

Allen, Han and I later did a third game of Maria, this time with Allen playing Austria, Han playing Prussia + Pragmatic Army, and me playing France. This was so that each of us had the opportunity to try all three factions. However this third game ended so abruptly that I didn't manage to take any photo. We were all cautious in the early game, accumulating cards and not battling much. As France I quickly grabbed a few Austrian fortresses. Every round France was first to take actions so there is an advantage if France is close in the race against other nations to place all victory markers. In the first round of the second year, i.e. 4th of 12 rounds, my single Bavarian army engaged an Austrian army and won a major victory, eliminating it. I was lucky to have some big cards (an 8 and a 10) in hand. I killed 7 units, which let me place two victory markers in the recent victory slots. Then in the same round I attacked and captured more Austrian fortresses on the western map, and placed my remaining victory markers. The Austrian general on the western map was out of position and could not protect the fortresses. So France won again, a surprisingly swift victory (even to me). Han was all ready to launch a major offensive, having accumulated many cards for his Pragmatic Army.

Later we realised that we had misplayed a rule. The Pragmatic Army general could protect Austrian fortresses, so I should not have captured those last few fortresses even though the Austrian general was too far away to protect them. The outcome of the game might have been very different. Things were just about to get interesting. We vowed to have a rematch with the same player configuration.

14 Oct 2011. Civilization Revolution on the iPhone. I have been a fan of the Sid Meier's Civilization computer games since Civ II. I recently bought the iPhone app for USD0.99. Unfortunately only the Chinese version is available in Malaysia. I have no idea why the English version is not available here. The game is much simplified compared to Civ V, the latest version in the PC game series (I think it is closer to Civ IV). However still it is quite fun to play.

The screenshot above is the victory screen from my first game as Rome. I won a cultural victory, by having 20 great people or wonders, and then building the United Nations wonder.

My second game as Greece (green). I was very cultured at this point, and my borders were pushing against two English (red) cities. Eventually both of them decided to overthrow English rule and join my civilisation.

This iPhone game reminds me of the boardgame version of Sid Meier's Civilization published by Fantasy Flight Games, which I also like. Some things are simplified compared to the PC game, but gameplay is still interesting.

I won my first two games comfortably, and decided to go for the hardest difficulty level. It turned out to be too difficult for me. The AI's seemed to be able to produce tons of units, and all of them kept declaring war on me. Eventually I gave up after losing 3 of my 6 cities, and the attackers still wouldn't stop coming. I switched to the second hardest level, and found the right challenge for myself. Some AI's did better than me; not all AI's were aggressive all the time. I had to work hard for the win, and had to switch strategy too.

I got all the way up to the modern age. I was the Indians (brown). The Romans (purple) were my neighbours and built a super city out of Rome with many wonders of the world and great people. They had so much culture they almost made my border city flip to join their civilisation. See how their border was pushing against my city. I couldn't keep up in technology, in wonders or in great people, and eventually had to attempt an economic win.

The Indian economic victory. The Chinese translation was obviously done from English and some were done rather directly and awkwardly. They should have just rephrased some of the sentences completely.

Buy Maria from Noble Knight Games. Status (at time of this post): in stock

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