Game 5712 - Cimmerians
Oh dread of dreads, and boredom of boredoms, Game 5712 is a catastrophe with end, it seems.
No real food or gold to speak of, my kingdom of the Cimmerians is held hostage to some very questionable game design decisions. What a death spiral that Alamaze makes a reality for players who have no real gold or food assets to speak of!
Can't do this, can't do that, can't do much of anything. Can someone please remind me why I am still playing in this abomination of a game with this morass of boredom incarnate that is the Cimmerians kingdom?
My characters, what very few remain, continue to be assailed by assassins. Even my king has bitten the dust!
I continue to ask myself, where the Cimmerians in Game 5712 are concerned, why am I still here? To drop this game would be a true mercy to myself. What is a player supposed to do to entertain themselves, when their kingdom and the game that they are in have long since lost their interest?
You see, this is where I think that Alamaze goes wrong, in its basic design priorities. I have experienced, first-hand, many fun and exciting things, while playing in various different games of Alamaze. Plus, too, I still haven't had to sit and try to force myself to read the entire Alaamze rulebook, buffet-style.
But then, too, there have been too many instances where boredom creeps in, and a litany of instances where I have found myself with a kingdom that can't really seem to do much of consequence, either for me or against my enemies.
Lose control of your region, and there is no safe harbor for your troops' morale - even if parked right outside one of your population centers. From the perspective of "Is this fun?" - all too often my answer to myself is, "No, this is anything but fun."
I don't begrudge my Ranger and Lizard enemies their successes, but I do begrudge myself investing so much of my time in a game that seems utterly incapable, by deign, at providing me a fun and entertaining gaming experience.
In its current form, I would never willingly choose to play the kingdom of the Cimmerians, again. In a nutshell, this kingdom and this game of Alamaze have sucked, sucked, sucked, all the way through.
If the Ranger player had not launched a sneak attack against me early on, and had instead left my Cimmerians and the untrustworthy Lizards to ourselves, then perhaps my feelings about the Cimmerians kingdom could have blossomed under more favorable conditions. I'm not sure how, but I'm willing to extend the benefit of the doubt.
But when suddenly and unexpectedly faced off with the prospect of fighting two kingdoms with a kingdom that struck me as being starved for gold to begin with, I just never found a solution to a rapidly-worsening dilemma. With Alamaze designed as it currently is (I'll take this moment to pray for some major change in the game's underlying design), my kingdom entered a death spiral quickly, one from which it has never recovered, and which has only continued to get worse.
Game 5728 - Demon Princes
This game is still in its beginning stage, and not much has happened yet. Alamaze being what it is, the familiar build-up activities are the routine that one falls into. For some reason, PBM games seem to never have evolved much past the "Let's forces players to build and grow their kingdom/position, instead of just letting them enjoy a full serving of power and capability right off the bat."
It's not that there's nothing interesting to be found in the mundane routine of building up a position. Rather, there are times when I feel as if that particular horse in game design has been beaten to death. Is the "tried but true" build-up routine the best that PBM gaming can ever hope to offer a gaming public that, over the years and decades, seem to have begun to look elsewhere for their entertainment pleasures?
As Game 5728 progresses, I will try to share more thoughts in more detail, at a later time. For now, this is all that you get, but my other Demon Princes game gives me great hope for this game. I've already begin making "beginner mistakes" in this one, but nothing that I shouldn't be unable to recover from.