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Issue #5 - My Learning Games of Alamaze - Charles Mosteller
My Learning Games of Alamaze
Charles Mosteller

Game 5663 - Dwarves

Turn #7 - This game is plodding along. My Dwarven kingdom gained control of a new village, this turn, via usurpation.

The Lizards kingdom was dropped from the game, this turn. That makes what? Four kingdoms, and we’re only in Turn #7? Man, that’s crazy! This is what happens when new players don’t know how to play, and aren’t firmly invested enough, interest-wise, in learning the game. But the flip side of that coin is, for Alamaze to acquire new players to grow its overall players base, you run the risk of players dropping out or being dropped (by not issuing turn orders for three turns in a row). The risk of players dropping goes hand-in-hand with the reward of growing the Alamaze player base. Drops are nothing new to PBM games. Heck, even chess has to deal with the occasional problem of players flipping the board (I’m looking at YOU, Wayne Smith!).

Wayne doesn’t really flip chess boards. He’s too busy collecting his safe driver awards.

As this game of Alamaze is but one of several Learning Games for me, even with player drops considered and taken into account, this game is still useful, from a learning perspective. Hey, maybe I’ll finally managed to gain control of a second region in a game of Alamaze, finally. I am playing around with the game interface and issuing various orders. Right now, this game is a stress-free environment for me, so the learning has a very casual feel to it, right now. No pressure on the Dwarves, at present, in game 5663 of Alamaze.

Game 5684 - Underworld

The damned Elementalist kingdom has been defeated, at long last. Yeah, sure, it was mostly the handiwork of Alamaze player (and new owner) Brekk Firestarter (or is that one of my character’s names? I forget), but somebody had to plant the seed of progress, and that somebody in this particular game of Alamaze was me. After all, ‘twas I who initiated communication with the Lycans (werewolves). And if you’re thinking that this is a roundabout way of me saying that Alamaze’s new owner has fleas, I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.

The death blow for the Elementalist player was likely the Lycan’s military conquest of that kingdom’s last population center, which probably resulted in the elimination of any remaining Elementalist political figures/characters. I know that all of my sleep spells cast and attempted assassinations and kidnappings of Elementalist characters, this turn, ended up being of no efefct - for the battle for control of that last Elementalist population center took place before my assassins and wizards got a chance to stir the pot, this turn.

That accursed Elementalist really should have not messed with my town. That’s what brought this whole chain of events that led to his kingdom’s demise into existence. Don’t tell me that a new player can’t have an impact of a game of Alamaze.

Overall, my Underworld kingdom in this game of Alamaze is in pretty decent shape (famous last words, huh?). But what kingdom will next rise to oppose my kingdom’s greatness?

Game 5693 - Underworld

Turn #20 - This game had really grown fairly boring for me. The last two turns, it has begun to pick up a little bit. Of course, I’m being militarily and diplomatically invaded by two kingdoms, now, but what the heck? Nobody lives forever, right?

My Amazon and Forgotten enemies, being the naturally obedient creatures that they were destined to be, are nonetheless “teaching” me certain aspects of how to play Alamaze. My coming defeat at their combined hands will ultimately yield a victory for me, all my own - in the form of acquiring a better understanding of what Alamaze is like, when you’re on the losing end of things.

From my current perspective, my kingdom has no realistic way of fending off these two invading interlopers, but perhaps there’s a chance, yet, to bleed them a little. I pondered dropping the game, just to tweak them and to deny them the true thrill of victory, but nah. I won’t learn as much, that way. Besides, it always kind of sucks, when players drop games, just to deny their fellow player the good feeling that goes along with a genuine win.

My real concern isn’t losing this game of Alamaze. Rather, it’s whether as my kingdom’s population centers get conquered (or razed to the ground, as in one recent case) and the amount of gold that my kingdom takes in, my remaining kingdom assets will be able to function effectively to any real degree. This is one of the true risks that go right along with crafting a character system that is gold-dependent. If your characters can’t work, because you lack gold, then what’s the point of continuing to stick things out? Winning is its own reward and incentive, but what is the incentive for losing kingdoms’ players to continue on. That’s what I aim to find out.

Game 5703 - Demon Princes

Turn #13 - Talk about a hell of a development, I usurped control of three Giant-held towns, this turn, in the Giants’ starting region of Mythgar. Mwahahahahahahaha!

I can’t really say that I was surprised by this tasty development, seeing as how i’m the one who planned it, but even still, it’s nice to see one’s plans come to fruition. Not that all of mine do.

This particular one did, though, and that’s exciting for me. And did I mention, that a Giants’ village is going to follow suit, next turn? Yep! My Demon Prince character is already there.

Also, I had my king character to issue a #355 – Relocate Capital command, this turn. What that translates into, for better or for worse, is that my kingdom’s new capital is now located in far away Mythgar - and the way that things work in Alamaze, is that a number of my kingdom’s characters that were stationed in my old capital have made the move right along with the capital, itself. Ooh, the possibilities!

This is a trick that I learned recently in Game 5684, my first real game of Alamaze, which helped facilitate the Elementalist kingdom’s very recent demise in that game.

At present, I can neither confirm nor deny that character Lucifer Morningstar is on the move in game 5703. He’s definitely there, somewhere. It’s just a question of where. Rumor has it that he’s literally an agent - an agent of Hell!

Stay tuned for further developments.

Game 5705 - Warlock

Turn #9 - Looks like somebody built a Legendary castle at Stormgate, but it wasn’t me.

Instead, I’ve barely looked at my turn results for this game of Alamaze, and my next set of turn orders for this game is due, again, when? In a few hours, by the looks of it.

:Confusedigh:: I guess that I had better get with it, then. Too much stuff going on in life to fully concentrate. Yet, I’m not really having this problem with my Demon Princes game. So, something about this particular game of Alamaze is lacking, compared to that one. Oh, that’s right - it’s the excitement, dummy!

This is where flavor of a kingdom comes in, and why flavor is imperative to longevity in the playing of a game. I am playing the Warlock kingdom, but I have no actual warlock, only wizards. Which begs the question, why is this kingdom called the Warlock kingdom? Is this false advertising? Or is the warlock flavor supposed to originate from certain spells that this kingdom is capable of casting? So, basically, is this the Will-Someday-Be-The-Warlock kingdom?

Flavor, flavor, flavor. One can never have too much of it in a game, but one can frequently not have enough.

Looks like my kingdom neither gained nor lost any population centers, this turn. I am pursuing my ESO (Early Strategic Objective) in this game, a 5-pointer rather than a 3-pointer. Will I achieve it by next turn, though? You have several turns to claim your ESO rewards, after you accomplish your Early Strategic Objectives (that you set for your Alamaze kingdom no later than Turn #3).

My kingdom’s Early Strategic Objectives for this particular game are:

    Control a region [worth 2 points]

    Have an influence of 17+ and 2 Princes (not Demon Princes) [worth 2 points]

    Have at least 3 Wizards, power 4 or higher [worth 1 point]

From the looks of it, I won’t have three wizards of Power Level 4 or higher, by next turn. Ack!

I have until Turn #15 to meet these objectives and claim their associated rewards, so I am very hopeful that I will achieve my kingdom’s Early Strategic Objectives, yet.

Game 5712 - Cimmerians

Turn #4 - Not a bad turn for me. Not a bad turn, at all. This turn, my Cimmerians accomplished several different things. A Cimmerian governor usurped control of a village in the Crown Islands from the Humans (non-player kingdom). In the process, he was also promoted to the rank of baron, it seems. A Cimmerian ambassador usurped control of a Neutral village. Meanwhile, a minor city in this region of the Crown Islands was successfully usurped by a Cimmerian Duke, who was aided by a Cimmerian count via his stirring of unrest in that city.

Additionally, a Cimmerian military group launched an attack upon a Neutral village, with all Cimmerian military leaders and wizards surviving the battle. All three of my military leaders on hand for this battle earned promotions.

I decided to try my hand, this turn, at Searching for Encounters. It’s easy as pie to do, and there’s no reason reason why I shouldn’t have attempted this command before. I assigned two different agents to this mission of searching for encounters, and lo and behold, I lucked out and found two of these unusual sights to explore.

Because I am an idiot, apparently, I waited until last turn (Turn #3) to issue my Kingdom Customization order for this kingdom. Really, that’s something that any player should do on Turn #1, because there are real, tangible benefits to doing so. One of the items that I claimed for the customization of my kingdom in this game of Alamaze was +1 added to my kingdom’s influence. I could have really used that, when I first began to try and usurp control of population centers. This oversight can clearly be chalked up to human error on my part.

I will be trying to transfer an artifact from a population center to a character in the coming turn, Turn #5. In order to accomplish this, I will be using the #910 command.

#910 – Transfer Artifact

This order allows you to move artifacts from place to place under your control. An agent/fanatic may pick-up an artifact from a group, population center or emissary and deliver it any of those possible targets. Only the pick-up point must lie within the agent's range.

I’ll be using an agent to carry out this artifact transfer. But does the agent stay at the location of the artifact’s intended recipient? Or does he automatically go back to where he started, this turn, which is my kingdom’s capital? The rulebook doesn’t actually say (at least, not where this command is listed in the rulebook, so I’ll have to pose that question to either Alamaze support or to an experienced player of the game.

All things considered, Turn #4 turned out to be a confidence builder for me for this kingdom of the Cimmerians. I’m feeling pretty good about how I’m doing, right now, all things considered. Maybe this kingdom will grow on me, yet.

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