Breaking History

24 05 2010

I’m going to take the time to do something I haven’t done in a while which is talk about games I’ve played recently. First up is a title I got free at PAX East, which is Making History by Muzzy Lane Software. It’s a World War II Turn-based strategy and empire-management game, and is aptly named because of its scenarios allowing you to change the course of history through your actions. As I found out through my first play-through…this isn’t such a good idea sometimes.

Playing as the US I decided to forgo being isolationist and help out Republican Spain beat back the fascist Nationalist Spain forces of Fransisco Franco. Mostly out of spite for the French not letting me join England’s growing military alliance but also I wanted to see what would happen if Hitler’s support given to Franco turned out to be nothing special. Long story short, my military assistance allowed Republican Spain to win the Spanish Civil War.

Then things got a bit dicey. They decided to invade Portugal. Initially I went along with it but soon found out that was making the rest of Europe uneasy. It also started World War II about a year early with Italy attacking France and Germany attacking Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1938 rather than 1939. Slightly before that happened however, I had signed peace with the Portuguese and given them back their land. Not that it mattered much to the rest of Europe who for some reason declared war on me and Republican Spain…after I had already dissolved my military alliance with them. And the French decided to revive the fascist state of Nationalist Spain while they were at it. I don’t really know why. Perhaps out of spite.

About this time is when things went completely to pot because the Canadians ran across the undefended border with the US and basically took over most of the country. Don’t anybody ever tell you Canadians can’t handle themselves in a fight. They will end you. Japan, Italy and Germany all tried to get me to ally with them because to be frank the war was going bad for them (I’ll get to that in a moment) so I did the only logical thing.

I reloaded from before I went with Spain’s idea of a war with Portugal. Yeah I know, it’s cheap, but in reality it didn’t change much. The war still started early and the Axis powers got their axis asses kicked. Of course Poland still lost at first…they never catch a break. But the Axis were pretty much screwed from the get-go. The British and Chinese were handily defeating the Japanese, and Western Europe quickly beat back Italy and Germany. Meanwhile I tried in vain to get into England’s alliance again but they again refused me, and in fact hated my guts even more for going to war with Japan as well. I only wanted to help, you see.

And while all this was going on, the USSR decided it was time to play Command & Conquer: Red Alert and go to war with the rest of Europe.

That’s about as far as I got, deciding that I had clearly messed things up in a hilarious fashion by mucking about with the timeline. The only way I could’ve done it more efficiently is if I’d removed Hitler from the timestream. I’ll probably go back, start things over from the same point as Poland this time and see if I can build them up into a force that can more effectively resist the Axis Powers.

***

The other game I’ve been playing is another Empire Management game, Empire: Total War. I got it as part of Steam’s Sega Week sale, and I have to say even though I know I’m not doing too well I am enjoying the game immensely. The game covers Europe, the American Colonies, and parts of India during the 18th Century. I decided for my first campaign to play as Poland-Lithuania (seeing a trend here, I know). So far I’ve done reasonably well, winning battles (first by the skin of my teeth, then quite handily), managing my empire to prosperity, and helping Austria win a war it started on its own and then forgot to fight against Prussia. Yes life seemed to be going well…until the Swedes showed up. They attacked my only protectorate nation, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and leave them in the lurch. On the downside the Swedes had one thing I didn’t have, which was a navy…which promptly blockaded my only port. Of course for all their bravado they weren’t the best soldiers given how quickly I seized two of their provinces for my own as revenge for the blockade. I’m hoping to ransom them back to them as a peace offering in the hopes they’ll just pack up and leave me alone for a bit. I have bigger problems to deal with, like the constant uprisings in Berlin because the former Prussains don’t like me too much.

Empire isn’t without it’s faults however, the AI at times seems too easy to fool and so far all my rakes (spies) are terrible at assassination making that aspect of their character kind of useless. Also the citizens in this game get angrier about taxes than a Teabagger…then again considering the time period maybe that makes sense.

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