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Three Moves Ahead Episode 143 – The Personal Touch

November 18th, 2011 by Rob Zacny · 6 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


Phill Cameron comes back for a conversation with Rob, Troy, and Julian about how personality and persistence change our relationship to strategy games. Troy reveals the depths of his callousness to tiny, computerized men. Julian points out that Dwarf Fortress is the pinnacle of this approach, but Troy explains why it frustrates him. Rob is stunned to learn that he is apparently the only one who had a pet dwarf in the Myth games.

Toronto FoS meetup
Chicago Loot Drop

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Republic

    I really enjoyed this episode. This is a subject I’ve discussed with my friends quite a bit.

    I fall along the side that units should be an investment. It should be painful when I lose a unit

    One thing I do wish more games would implement, is unit documentation. Aurora and Dwarf Fortress do this well, but even less verbose documentation would be interesting. I remember when I finished P.T.O. IV the game gives you a list of the most successful units, etc. That sort of thing can give you an insight into the subtle stories going on as you play the game.

  • Sam

    It would have been interesting to hear this podcast in a couple of weeks time after Distant Worlds: Legends had been released.

    More opportunity to do a whole show on that instead!

  • Ganesh

    Good Podcast. Sadly you didn’t got deeper into the pool of tactical RPGs. Nintendos Fire Emblem series has one of the best blends of personality and tactical decisions. I still remeber the moment when I had to sacrify ‘my’ Titania at the end of the third chapter of the Wii-game… I had trained her since the the the the game before in the series (on the GameCube). Also she had cut down so many foes, she was essentialy the hero on the battlefield – the person that made my tactics possible until that point…

  • The Other Duncan

    Regarding sports game vs. war games, and the compulsion to roll with your failures with the former. I wonder if this is because sports games have a cultural need for you to be sportsmanlike? Whereas all’s fair in love and war, even if that means reloading.

  • Dermott

    I’ve just started listening to this episode, and I’d have to say the main difference in being able to ‘identify’ with units is my ability to name them. In Sins of a Solar Empire, for example, I feel more attached to the capital ships, because they have names, than with the smaller, more mass-produced units.

  • Procyon Lotor

    Re: the sports vs. wargame difference, I wonder if there that is partly a factor of how we are exposed to sports vs. war in our culture. In sport, we expect $hit to happen, as it almost always does. I’m a Chicago Cub fan. I am haunted by the “what could have been” promise of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. But that’s sports for you. War, on the other hand, mostly imprint expectations on us through movies. In movies, even the “gritty realistic” ones, the people who die are the people who are supposed to die. Even in “Saving Private Ryan” Private Ryan survives, and Tom Hanks dies a dramatic last-minute death. He’s not one of the poor bastards randomly blasted off that tank a few minutes earlier. Thus, even though we know that war is random and capricious, we do not expect the stories of war to work out that way. And it frustrates us when it does.

    Which all reminds me of the first time I read George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Going into that series, the reader has a definite expectation as to how things should happen. Mr. Martin, on the other hand, decided that it would be more “realistic” for things to work out in a more capricious way. I think he’s right, and that makes the series that much more remarkable and engaging (if heartbreaking).