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Long Time

January 26, 2015

Dear Reader,

So, it’s been a while.  I hope you’re doing well.  Things are fine here; it’s just been busy.  I suspect the mid-term time is busy for everyone, and our mid-terms come after Christmas break and unhappily coincide with a million snow days and more.

But things are slowing down as the third quarter has officially begun.  I’m plugging away at school, trying to make what difference I can in 180 days.  I’m happy to report one of my sixth graders took second place in the district middle school spelling bee.  She lost to an 8th grader who she had on the ropes 3 times but just couldn’t close.  Of course, I’m super proud of her, but realistically, I didn’t have anything to do with her success; she already knew how to spell really well before she ever got to me.  I was particularly impressed when she got indocile as a word, clearly didn’t know the word or the root word, and still spelled it correctly.  Good girl.

I’ve made a lot of strides in gaming, too, though some of those strides are rather short of length.  I asked months ago when the garrison would stop feeling like a fun activity and start feeling like a chore, and I tipped over that scale some time since our last correspondence.  I still log on every day or so and do a few missions and run to Stormshield to get my tokens once a week, but little’s been happening other than that in WoW.

In the meantime, I’ve played a lot of other games.  I started and finished Escape Goat 2, which was thoroughly enjoyable as a platform puzzler.  I’m proud to say I didn’t have to look up any of the solutions, though I did have to walk away a few times and come back later after a minor epiphany.  The game was well tuned just ahead of the frustration curb, as I can only remember saying once that I was “done with the goddamn game for good.”  Luckily, not long later I realized what I could try differently and finished that particular puzzle.  It was a lot of fun, was very beautifully designed, and a very hip-retro soundtrack.

I also played and finished This War of Mine.  It deserves the reviews and awards it’s received or has been nominated for.  I’m happy to report that I successfully completed it on my second try.  I won’t put any strategies here, but I will say this: don’t waste your food.  I was wasting an ENORMOUS amount of it for the first two weeks or so, and knowing how to better conserve completely changed the game for me.  I’ll write more on it later.

The moral and ethical choices you’re faced with in the game feel pretty real; I avoided killing people for a long time until I felt it necessary to intervene.  After that, I tried to avoid killing people as much as possible, but there were a few situations where people just had to die.  I tried to avoid stealing, too, but according to my epilogue I stole from two different groups and left them with “next to nothing.”  I have no memory of either, but I guess that’s sort of the point; it becomes commonplace to take what you need, and if it was an electrical part, I probably took it.  At any rate, it was another excellent game that I feel thoroughly privileged to play.

I’m still honing my skills in Crypt of the Necrodancer and waiting for more content as its released.  I try to play a few boards a day until I win or get frustrated and want to stop.  The music is still great and fresh to me; it reminds me of a Daft Punk album, and I’ve considered trying to play the game to Voyager.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  How about you?  Any tips for This War of Mine?  Any thoughts on games I should be playing?


Stubborn (playing)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nina permalink
    January 27, 2015 8:44 am

    I love This War of Mine. It’s depressing while you do it, but as you gradually make your home better and better a sense of peace steals up on me.

    If you’ve beaten it with the starting lineup, you’ve probably unlocked a different starting crew and possibly a different starting season. This different starting crew changes the game in both huge and subtle ways. And a winter start is brutal until you learn that the priorities you had last playthrough aren’t your priorities any more.

    My rules of thumb were that people only ate when they got Very Hungry. If they’re sick or wounded they stay in bed until they’re better unless we’re in a crime spree and I need two guards. I build metal shop first, then crowbar, then a bed. First night I specifically look for what I need to upgrade the metal shop and build a hatchet. Alternately, if the garage is available and I’ve found a lot of meds and nobody is seriously ill, I take the meds to the garage and trade for sawblade and hatchet.

    And then there’s the Anton/Cveta start or the Marco alone start, which I still haven’t managed to beat.

    The only thing I don’t really like is when you get to the phase where you’ve beaten the game and you’re just waiting for the game to acknowledge the fact – you have a full house, enough food to feed all your people every 3 days, enough fuel to last through a blizzard and enough weapons to hold off an army. Then it’s kinda boring.

    • January 27, 2015 8:52 am

      I was definitely in that position – of guaranteed victory – for a while without knowing it; I didn’t know when the game was ending and was still going out and taking some unnecessary risks because I was trying to upgrade everything and didn’t have enough electrical or regular parts. I suppose knowing the end date can make you change your play.

      Regardless, I really enjoyed it, too. I was feeding everyone every day for about two weeks and struggling desperately to keep up with food, but switched to every two days and basically the game just fell into place. I also didn’t realize the importance of boarding up the holes in the building until after I’d gotten around to it and was having my people get wounded almost every raid, so bandages were at a premium.

      Thanks for the comment!

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