email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I love games.  The best are complicated.  I'm better than average at most but better at some than others.  I play Hearts well for example, but I couldn't win a night at poker to save my life (bluffs and counting cards are not my strong point).  My games involve tactics and some open-ended thought.  And I'm better at some in my later years than others.  I can't play chess worth a damn anymore.  But I play backgammon, cribbage and Risk pretty well.

And I've been playing a lot of Risk at these days in my spare time.  I learned the game at about 10, lost track of it in college as there was little time for such games with all that classwork.  Picked it back up a few years ago.

It's a fascinatng game with many ways to play.  The basic rules are that there is a world map with general nations defined.
 You need to take all the nations to win.  But there are complications.

You get armies in some nations to start.  You battle other players armies to take nations.  The dice decide the winners by repeated rolls for each army unit (and the dice are not generally good to me).  The more nations you have at the start of each turn, the more armies you get to spread around.  And if you control a whole continent (the different colors) at the start of a turn you get more (Asia gets 7, North America and Europe each get 5, Africa gets 3, South America and Australia each earn 2).

And then there are cards.  If you take any nation in a turn, you get a card.  The cards can be Cavalry, Infantry, or Artillery.  One of each or 3 or one gets you extra armies too.  So the gains are from number of nations, continents, or cards.  Deciding where to attack can become tricky.

And the cards change in value.  In one version of the game, a set of cards can increase.  They go from 4 armies and slowly increase to about 60 max (4-6-8-12-20, etc).  The nation count and continent values stay the same.  So the importance changes gradually from number of nations held, to continents held to the value of card sets.  And according to what you have, the values of each change. 

In another option of the game, the card sets are always worth only 8 armies  (8-8-8).  I don't like that game very much.  Its a game of super-cautious attrition.

So I said all this to explain THIS...  You gain player-points according to how many games you win.  You start at zero and the highest score I've seen is about 30 million.  I have 6.5 million.  Which is higher than average but no great shakes.

I lost almost 20 games in a row (meaning among 4 or 5 players I did not come in first even once.  So in frustration, I retreated to the game option of playing only "bots" (like playing the computer at chess).  I knew I was losing something at the strategy of the game.  I played the bots several games per night for a week. 

The Bots aren't pushovers.  They can calculate odds of winning any individual battle between nation armies better than I can.  But they can't (yet) think all that well strategically.  They can decide (for example) that they are likely to win a specific battle, but not hold a continent for that bonus of armies.

And here's what I didn't mention.  If you kill all the armies of a particular color, you gain all their cards.  Ans later in the version of the gain I like to play, that matters.  So I spent a week playing the bots to teach myself to focus of the continents and killing the colors (Bots). 

I lost the first couple games because I was still focused on the individual battles.  Then I learned to look at the long-term.  I gathered my armies not to hold nations but to kill off the Bots to get their cards.  Then I won every game.

If you've ever played pool, you learn that it isn't enough to sink the next ball, its where you are placed to sink the following one.

I rejoined the human player group 2 nights ago.  I won 5 games in a row outright against some 20 million point players.  They knew me and my history of losing lately.  They were NOT thrilled.

I don't expect the winning streak to last.  The other players will adjust.  They didn't get their many points by being stupid! 

But I'm sure gonna enjoy the winning while it lasts!  LOL!


Katie Isabella said...

Best j do any more is playing Words With Friends. And man, I am about 60-40 in wins. 60 % for me that is. My sons all thrash me soundly! Friends I play I can win. 😊

Megan said...

I spend time playing Bookworm mainly. I tell myself that it keeps my mind active. Yeah. Right! That's how all these computer game designers make their millions. LOL

Sydney, Australia

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

Playing any games is probably good. But the "mind people" say that challenging yourself with new games or higher complications is a lot better.