Saturday, December 5, 2015

Age of Wonders - 20/20 hours

I managed to squeak in, just under the wire. Part of me wishes I could play every game like that and just blaze through the rest of the blog project. If I did my other 101 games at the same rate as Age of Wonders, I'd be done in a mere, um . . .7 months.  And the price for that speed would be nothing more than the bulk of my life.

Which is not to say I haven't had times in my life where I spent every waking moment obsessively playing a game. It's just, usually, those games were ones I really loved. Doing the same thing with Age of Wonders was a unique experience.

It's not that I especially disliked the game, it's just that I could never quite get onboard with its rhythms. I mostly played a single scenario on an extra large map, and while I would estimate that I was winning (for a certain value of "winning"), a large percentage of my time was spent moving my units to the front lines and chasing around rogue enemy units that snuck past my large and indefensible frontier. It felt like I was playing a huge game of whack-a-mole.

It would have been pretty fun, if the pace were just a little bit faster. It didn't help that a huge portion of my mental energy was devoted to keeping track of which of my units had moved, and which of my cities had unused production. I'm fairly sure that I wound up accidentally skipping turns do to a lack of concentration.

So to play this game marathon-style was mentally fatiguing, but since the underlying concept was so strong, it wasn't as emotionally draining as a game like Ship Simulator, where I had to force myself to keep going.

In the final analysis, I cannot recommend Age of Wonders. It's a decent game, and I can understand why it spawned a franchise, but it's too primitive, too unfriendly to the user. However, if the sequels solve the user interface problems, I could definitely see them being a seriously addicting strategy experience.

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