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Tycho / 6 hours ago

Sometimes you need to rely upon the kindness of strangers, or perhaps their unkindness, directed toward the weird, alien snout of the foe.  Snout, or beak, or whatever.  Some fucked up alien face thing.  One never knows what they’re going to get in this context, we’ve discussed it.

Then again, there was one time where we hadn’t gotten all the way through Vault of Glass on hard yet and we needed a sixth, so we picked one up, and this motherfucker basically taught us how to do the whole thing single-handedly.  Materially speaking, he had been matched with five worthless pillars of sentient garbage and somehow transformed them into holy prisms.  He experienced what I complain about here, times five, and still managed to comport himself with equanimity.  There’s a lesson there for us all.

Sometimes you’re a person who needs two randos, though.  And maybe there’s a conversation about that.  Every couple is different.

I had an incredible time with Soren Johnson of Mohawk Games unlocking the secrets of Offworld Trading Company, and if you would like to unlock them also, here’s an archive of the Twitch stream.  Within that ELI5 framework, there’s a lot of stuff I want to learn about - all of it techy, but not all of it games - and I’m going to start putting this deep ass Rolodex to work.

The major takeaways, though, are that you choose your faction during the game, not before - it’s a real decision that should be based on the actual map.  It’s not something you can meaningfully decide beforehand, like if you want to play Terrans or whatever.  And you don’t just build things and forget about them like in a regular RTS - the building has value, but it’s the actual plot of land it’s built on that is the purest resource in the game.  Learning to repurpose that property in harmony with the market is, functionally speaking, Offworld Trading Company.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 days ago

ELI5: Offworld Trading Company Stream

Here’s the link if you want to tune in, which is an old person term that means “watch.”


Tycho / 2 days ago

The word Snarf - by itself! - is enough to make me forget the trials and exhaustion of consciousness, if only for a little while.  Today’s comic is another installment of Real Conversation Theatre, where myself and my compatriot have and then subsequently immortalize the conversations that make Kara laugh when we’re playing Destiny.  Also: the new Strike is really short and it’s hard not to call the new boss Maalox.  So we call him Maalox, basically.

We’ve got fork-tender new videos from our Welcome To PAX series up today, starting with Indies:

And ending with Tabletop:

We didn’t make this next video, and it’s not even a video, it’s a song.  It’s an Aesop Rock song about Aesop Rock’s cat and I basically have it on repeat.

And hey, while we’re posting video, I’m gonna go try to set up a stream with myself and Offworld Trading Company designer Soren Johnson where he will endeavor diligently to make me less stupid.  Others have tried and failed - how will he fare?  Let’s find out.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

Offworld Trading COMPANY

which is its actual name, and not Offworld Trading Colony like I kept saying before.  In any case, I think I’m gonna try to set up a stream with OTC designer Soren Johnson, the spelling of whose name I just checked several times, where he can teach me (and maybe you) how to play a game whose genetics differ so substantially from the norm.


Tycho / 4 days ago

I’m not trying to be mean in any way, here.  I played the Offworld Trading Company a bunch of times before I ever finished a game.  I would start, building a couple things, and then stop.  I skidded entirely off its hot, non-stick griddle.  I need to be completely honest with you: I could not perceive the game.

I can remember playing Sacred Warrior’s “Master’s Command” for my mom, and she had a similar problem.  I very nearly wrote deficiency, which is mostly a rude way to say the same thing.  But mapping Heavy Metal into the musical structures she was already familiar with is substantially easier than trying to map what we know about strategy shit onto Offworld Trading Company.

We describe games as combinations of other games, even though it constitutes a lossy form of compression, because that’s how we learn them to begin with.  They are existing channels into which new information can flow.  The reason I kept skipping completely off the surface was that I couldn’t figure out the early game at all.  Pokemon is like Rock, Paper Scissors, except with, like, eighteen fuckin’ types of rocks, scissors, and paper, to say nothing of something like Volcanion, who is functionally speaking a piece of paper so sharp it can cut a pair of scissors.  That’s a framework you can use to describe many, many systems.  If you asked me what Offworld Trading Company was like, I would have to tell you it was like Offworld Trading Company.  Some people would say it was like M.U.L.E., smart people I trust, but it’s not something I know myself.

You usually build an economy in an RTS, and then marshall that economy to create various war men, who do their war man thing.  This game is about using the economy and just the economy to buy other player’s entire “army.”  This is like a real-time boardgame that tills up the conceptual space other games leave fallow and then spends its entire time there.  Now, I want to know what else they can teach me.

(CW)TB out.

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