Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Byte: A 21st Century spectator sport

This is not good. I've barely had the game a day, and already I'm dreaming about it. Defcon, that is. I had my first online game last night and came second out of three players. So I lost, basically... but it was an educational experience. i.e. never play as Africa.

I'm learning quite a lot from spectating the game as well. The game I'm spectating at the moment is a one player vs 5 CPU free-for-all, and it's utterly fascinating. I'm picking up a few tips that I'm going to try out online in the coming weeks. Namely, not to commit your naval forces too soon, and to try to leave a little more distance between the coast of the country your nuking and your subs. Otherwise, they just get wiped out by bombers before they can unleash their payload. Not only that, there's quite a lot to be learnt from observing the way the CPU players set out their assets at the beginning of the game. Getting your silos to be mutually supportive in their air defence capability, but not so close together that they're all easily discovered and counter-nuked is quite a tricky proposition. Which probably explains why everyone likes playing as Europe so much (because it's a small, easily defensible territory) and also why everybody specifically goes after it (because once they start mass launching, it's very vulnerable to counter-attack).

Defcon might not be so healthy for my megalomania complex ("If I can't rule the world, I'll destroy it! Muhahahahahahahah!"), but it's certainly a great game - perhaps even a contender for my game of the year. And given that you can download the demo off Steam for free, yet still join games hosted by players with the full version, there's no excuse for not trying it. So try it.
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