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Tycho / 20 hours ago

So, there was a minute there where whenever Gabriel wasn't playing Enlisted he was reading Spearhead and vice versa. I started reading it also, it's sort of the Tanker accompaniment to Band of Brothers and it's frequently terrifying. I think I would be exceedingly bad at being a Tank Man. When my father was stationed in Germany, he managed to get a tank stuck on a stump and throw a track during peacetime in an otherwise empty forest, and I like to think I could approximate the same level of valor. Some fathers set a high bar! Mine did me a kindness.

In any case, Enlisted is something we are both playing now and beyond his heartfelt entreaty I would only add that aside from the typical fever dream labyrinth of its Freemium consumer kill box, I feel like as a player I can put a plan together and actually do something about the outcome. The squads I customize and bring in are all the sharp, flippy bits of a Swiss Army Knife. If I run into the battlefield equivalent of

1. A corked wine bottle
2. Some errant parsley between six and seven
3. A… thread, just like some thread
4. A wooden dowel no wider than 1" diameter

I have tools that can manage this, and it feels good. Occasionally you might see a handle that, you know, takes you out of the whole vibe or whatever, sure! I won't say it doesn't happen. But I thought this was gonna be some pretty clear cut F2P trash and it just isn't.

Hey! Did you know that PAX Unplugged is coming up, from Dec. 10-12? Did you know that the Enforcers are the very spine of the show - and what's more, they call upon you for aid? Joining this unfaltering force might only be a click away - well, a click, and some light data entry.

(CW)TB out.


I’d be ashamed to tell you how much Enlisted I’ve played since discovering it last weekend. I feel bad sometimes recommending a free to play game but sometimes the gameplay is solid and that’s the case here. Enlisted is a WWII shooter that features large scale battles with infantry, armor and aircraft. It’s got classes like engineers that can construct all sorts of handy defenses and radio men who can call in artillery strikes. These classes are doled out slowly via a battle pass with each faction having their own unique units and progress. This is all cool and executed well here but for me the really interesting thing about Enlisted is how their squads work.

When you play a round of Enlisted you bring a squad of soldiers into battle and while you control one of them, the rest are controlled by the AI. They will follow around behind you taking shots but you can also give them quick orders if you need them to do something specific. You can swap between soldiers in your squad whenever you want so long as they are alive and when one of them dies you will automatically get switched into another body. This means that you end up with a lot of “Matrix” style encounters where you might die to someone only to come into consciousness in another body very near the first incident and you can attack it armed with your other life’s knowledge not in 30 seconds after running back from the spawn but right now. 

It also means that much like Titanfall 2, not everyone on the battlefield is a real person. You have what are essentially groups of creeps mixed in among the actual players. This means it’s possible to rack up kills and feel like a cool person even if not every soldier you drop is being driven by a real person. The squads are also customizable down to the individual soldier's kit. You can give them the guns, grenades and extras you want. Fiddling with squads and making sure each of your soldiers is tricked out just how you want is another one of the things that keeps me jumping back into the game. This is also “how they get you” because you can spend real money to get new weapons, troops and squads at a faster clip. Even without spending a dime though these battles are an absolute blast and you’ll have fun for a while just playing with the free squads they give you for playing. 

I’ve been a fan of these sorts of games since Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Battlefield 1942 and Medal of Honor back in the day. Enlisted is probably the best WWII shooter I’ve played and I highly recommend anyone interested in these sorts of games give it a try. I only like to play as the allies after a conversation I had with my Grandpa who actually fought on both fronts of the war, and Enlisted allows you to do this but you need to Uncheck the box that by default says “join any team”. I also get it if replaying some of the darkest moments in world history doesn’t sound like a fun afternoon. For my part I’ve found relentlessly killing Nazis to be almost therapeutic


-Gabe out

Tycho / 3 days ago

There is no end to his wickedness and perfidy, and not merely as regards the cream his notoriety has enabled him to skim. At the last PAX Unplugged, I bought a bunch of VAST stuff from Leder Games, with the money that I earned from working. I had it shipped to the office because, if you have ever been to PAX Unplugged, you know it is very easy to purchase games and I had already done so to the maximum limit - filling even the extra bag I had brought, and then one additional bag I bought at the show to carry the other things I bought. It's a strange realm where, via some process cloaked from the eye of noble science, one game may become three.

It seemed to be taking a while for the games to come, but it was sort of a colloquial arrangement so it's all good. Plus, that was probably the last show after con season and I imagine that a few members of the team had entered their crystal sarcophagi by this time for a Long Rest. But no! When I wrote in later to ask, I discovered they had all been consumed by the dread maw, Mike Krahulik. He brought them back in, but they're tainted now. I don't even want them.

Anyway, the newest measure of my birthright he's stolen from me is apparently something called a Snap Ship, which I didn't even know about a week ago but now that it's been wrestled from my grasp I've found an affection for them kindled. That's a joke! I've never even touched one. Where I do become curious is that there is a wargame you can use them in they just announced at GenCon. It's a 2022 thing, but still! I think I can hold a grudge that long.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

Have you heard about Dungeon Encounters? It's possible you saw it when it popped up briefly in a Nintendo stream, but there wasn't a lot of info. Or, it appeared that there wasn't a lot of info. They actually told us - more or less - everything we needed to know.

I thought that Etrian Odyssey was a stripped down experience, and not even in a bad way. I loved that shit. The mapmaking conceit was a delight, and everything else simply felt like home. Dungeon Encounters reminds me of EO, but it's even more low to the ground than that. Dungeon Encounters is just… a roll cage, with a visible engine, a seat, and five wheels - one of which you steer with. It is the bare metal of the classic RPG experience, which is to say, it is a sequence of increasingly brutal numerical puzzles.

I loved this review over at Siliconera, and I think it identifies something canny - one of the make or break things here is whether or not you are down to embroider little stories about the characters yourself. That reminds me of Etrian Odyssey, too.  There's a lot of room to do that, which is the diplomatic way of saying you might have to.  It's kind of a Hello Fresh situation.

I think there are people who want this. I am one of them. But I don't know what it says about me.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

When Gabriel gets into something, every molecule of his being is bent toward it. So, if he's curious about World War, he's reading books and watching documentaries and playing games also. Gabriel ended up taking a detour out of Battlefield V over to Enlisted, a freemium excursion in a similar vein, with a few novel twists.

The main shift reminded me of World of Tanks a little bit, a game I keep up with even if I'm not always an active player just because it's really scary and cool to play. Sometimes, in the vein of F2P, World of Tanks will try to manipulate me somehow into purchasing different "tiers" of tanks, but I literally have no idea what any of those systems are even about. I'm serious. I assume that a higher tier is better than a lower tier, but I don't even know that. If you die in a game, though, the tank you were using is out of commission for a little while. Because that's a game where you typically die once and you're out, it matters a lot. In Enlisted, outside of a particular mode, you don't spawn as a single person - you spawn as a dedicated, named squad with a particular battlefield purpose. Sniper, infantry, tank crew, that sort of thing. You play the leader, and the rest of the squad are AI units you can jump to at any time, but most often you do that when your current character bites it. Once a squad is wiped out, that squad goes on a timer and you spawn back in with another squad.

One of the things about the Battlefield experience that I find sort of challenging is my own fault, really - because individual lives, for me at least, don't last very long I'm pounding the buttons trying to get back in so I can go die in the same place. In any other context, I would place a shrug emoji here. It's just a particular loop I wasn't really consciously aware of until I played Enlisted. Because I literally can't come back in as those guys, doing that thing, the texture of a round changes a lot. Is it time to bring in the tank crew? They have a good sniper. Is it time to counter that? It gives it a wargamey feel I really like. It has all the rest of the freemium concerns but the basic way you live and fight in the game feels really good.

Don't forget! Tonight's a new episode of Acquisitions Incorporated: The "C" Team at 4pm PDT on Twitch, stuffed with homecoming thrills. Thanks as always to Elderwood Academy, Level Up Dice, and Idle Champions for their long-running support of the show.

(CW)TB out.

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