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Tabletop AARs / Re: Operation Crossbow: B-17 Flying Fortress Leader AAR
« Last post by airboy on October 09, 2019, 08:20:33 PM »
For tabletop games I take pictures with a digital camera and then use MS paint to crop/annotate the photos.  I keep a copy of everything on an external hard drive so I don't get "bucketed."
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Why do people do AARs?
« Last post by airboy on October 02, 2019, 06:43:56 PM »
I like reading, and doing, AAR's because it's more curated than watching someone ramble and play a game on YouTube or Twitch for 4 hours. I can spend 5 minutes, see the highlights, see the critical points, and not have to waste my time to get to the good stuff. This stream of consciousness ramble as you play games just doesn't do it for me. Getting a narrative experience is great too, though a basic playthrough can be fun as well.

I agree.  I have difficulty watching youtube game discussions.
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Why do people do AARs?
« Last post by Yooper on October 02, 2019, 10:45:38 AM »
I like reading, and doing, AAR's because it's more curated than watching someone ramble and play a game on YouTube or Twitch for 4 hours. I can spend 5 minutes, see the highlights, see the critical points, and not have to waste my time to get to the good stuff. This stream of consciousness ramble as you play games just doesn't do it for me. Getting a narrative experience is great too, though a basic playthrough can be fun as well.
Digital Gaming AARs / Consulate Crisis Combat Mission AAR Update
« Last post by IICptMillerII on September 10, 2019, 07:23:45 PM »
An update for those of you following my AAR posted to the front page:

Unfortunately, I will not be able to finish this AAR until later this year. I'm going to be away for the next few months. I did my damnedest to get this finished before I had to leave, but in the end there just wasn't enough time.

However, I fully plan on finishing this AAR when I return. The good news is that there shouldn't be too many more updates until we reach the conclusion, so when I get back I should be able to bang out the last few parts. Additionally, there are a few updates that have yet to be posted to the front page, though those should be up soon.

Apologies for the unexpected mid-AAR cliffhanger.
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
« Last post by JasonPratt on August 24, 2019, 12:06:48 PM »
That was a good place to end.  O:-) Compared well with the classic written narrative AAR "Book of Saxson" for the original Master of Magic.  :notworthy:
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
« Last post by FarAway Sooner on August 23, 2019, 11:40:05 PM »
Man, Airboy was right!  4X AARs are really hard to right.  At least, not without getting really repetitive.  It's been fun writing this, but I unexpectedly landed a job with about 3 days' advance warning last week! 

That's great news for me and the whole family, but it puts a serious crimp in my gaming time.  I can actually start playing the game, or I spend the next two months writing this whole thing up to its epic conclusion (hint:  the Good Guys win, but it takes about 200 turns longer than it should have because I made some pretty stupid mistakes and a reasonably intelligent AI punished me for it quite decisively). 

I might still come back at some point and give an condensed history of the next 100 years of the Celadon Dynasty, but I'm going to pause for now and actually play the game a little while!  I will close with a few random comments.

1) The game play itself focuses around your deity much more than was reflected in my story:  What powers he has, what spells he learns, whether to invest mana in powering up your god or casting spells to help out individual units, what special abilities she has, etc.  I chose not to focus on that for the narrative because having a god for your main character just removes a lot of the tension you want in a strange story.  I also felt like those mechanics would be really hard to explain within the confines of the story.

2) I'm absolutely captured by the city development dynamic of this game.  It's quite deep if you want to go deep, but not so utterly complicated that you have to get a PhD in Civil Engineering to run a city.

3) I thought I had a really bad-ass army until I went onto Level 2 of a Dungeon for the first time.  I then realized I had a moderately bad-ass army with not nearly enough infantry.

4) I really enjoy how different factions play differently.  The game could still use a little more flavor (e.g., I wish the different schools of magic played more differently), but the developers continue to grind out new content at a regular pace.  I think I'll try being the High Elves next. 

5) I can only imagine what this game is like at the higher levels.  I was only about 1/3 of the way up the power curve here, and the magic items I had seemed almost trinket-like.

I may come back some time, but for now work and more gaming time calls.  Thanks for reading, guys! 
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
« Last post by FarAway Sooner on August 22, 2019, 11:45:35 PM »
Year 36, A Kingdom Emerges

“Which of our six cities would you like to start with first, my lord?” asked Norman solicitously.

Celadon looked at him suspiciously.  Though Minister Norman was 8 years his senior, everybody on the High Council had been treating him solicitously in the year since what the Healers had referred to only as “his heart problem”.  I’m not a god damn child, to be swaddled and patted on the back until I burp, he thought.  But did not say.  But I think I am getting grouchier.  Maybe that’s why they’re treating me so gently?  I’m too young to feel this damn old.  Ah well, turning old is not for the faint of heart.

“I’ll let you pick,” he said, the edges of his mouth curling up in a slight amusement that was only half faked.  He was certain that Norman rehearsed for these meetings.

“Northfield is past 15,000 people now, and she’ll be at 20,000 in another 7 years.  She’s ripe in crops, but is still limited by modest resource production.  She’s quickly becoming the center of higher learning for our kingdom, in terms of technical research and magical research.  She should have her Magical Library finished in the next year or so, and after that, it’ll take another two or three years tops for her to complete the first Magic Kingdom in our land.  Within five or six years, we should have wizards joining our troops in the field for the first time!”

Minister Norman was beaming at this last statement.  He had never been a practicioner of the mystical arts himself.  But he’d always been a man of knowledge, and from the first, he’d championed the role of learning in this fledgling kingdom of theirs.  If he’d had his way, he would have pursued more technical research paths in the city structures raised across the kingdom.  But the decision had been made five years before to push for magical research and reach for wizards first, and it was a goal that the Minister of Knowledge had enthusiastically embraced.

“Dublin continues to grow,” he continued.  “She’s at almost 7,000 people.  We had to make choices with her about whether to settle arable farmland first, or settle the rolling plains and scrub forests first.  We opted for the scrub forests.  She might be a thousand people behind at this point, but the greater resource production means she’s been able to build more structures in her city center.  In the next few years, we’ll start getting a few more farms and commerce districts up and running in that farmland area.  I’d guess within another few years, she’ll be a smaller version of Northfield.”

“Twin Peaks also grows, but more slowly.  She is, in truth, the forge of our country, although she remains smaller than we’d hoped she would be when we’d first built her.  She’s just north of 7,000 people, but Dublin will pass her within the next few years.  There’s just not enough arable land around her to generate the kind of growth a thriving city needs.  We had plans for her to serve as the arsenal of our kingdom, and she is almost halfway done with the second troop of Swordsmen we’ll be able to field.  The Swordsmen are worth their weight in silver on the battlefield--they are far more durable than any other melee troops we’ve fielded--but we have so few of them.  It’ll likely be another 10 years Twin Peaks becomes the sort of city that we’d hoped she would be.  I think we all learned a lesson there about the importance of food stuffs for any young city.”  In other words, you were so captivated by the vision of that iron mine to the north of the town that you forgot you’d need to feed your miners!  Ah well, as he says, lesson learned.

“Solen is tiny, but already growing at an astonishing clip.  She’s got rich fisheries just off her southern shore, and that has dramatically surpassed our expectations for early growth.  Building even a modest-sized dock there will boost our bounty from the oceans there even more dramatically, and provide far more villagers a chance to fish those waters.  She lacks the iron mines that Twin Peaks boasts, but with the food surpluses she’s creating, she’ll have resources and production surpassing Twin Peaks today in less than 10 years.  Perhaps 5.”  Lesson learned.  It’s the food, my Lord.  It always starts with adequate food to grow a population base.

“Newhope continues to thrive.  She’ll have 25,000 people by the end of this month, and she’s adding another thousand every year!  She continues to lead all our cities in people, gold, production, and resource production.  We have enough advanced lumber mills churning out timber that she’s even starting to stockpile resources beyond what’s required to feed her production needs.

“Newhope is, of course, the spiritual capital of our people.  The fervent prayers of the people bring glory and power to Everlong in a way that we only could have dreamed of when we first arrived here 35 years ago.  Brother Dorian has taken command of our first company of Battle Bishops, and though they have only fought in a handful of battles, they have already exercised a decisive influence on the outcomes.  Lord Peng speaks most highly of them in his recent communiques from the battle in the south.”

Minister Norman continued on, but for a moment, his voice grew faint to Lord Celadon.  It’s that damnable light headedness again, he thought, panting even as he tried to hide it from his fellow Council members assembled around the table.  It will pass.

“ the Dark Elf citizens in Naes are producing some taxable income for us, and they are harvesting a modest supply of resources that we could share with other cities.  The town is even growing, if slowly, but the townspeople hate us.  We will never be able to raise more significant buildings there.  The city is and will remain a dirty hovel.  If we want to make best use of that land, when conquering future cities, we need to raze them to the ground and be prepared to replace them with cities of our own.”

Lord Celadon noted a concerned look or two, and a quick squeeze on his arm prompted the King to turn his head.
His elder son, Darrin, was looking at him with concerned eyes, but Celadon shook his head preemptively.  A meeting of the High Council is not the time to ring our hands over the health of a King who is growing older.

“That probably provides a good point for us to transition into a discussion of the war in the south.  Sir Kalinor?”

The grizzled knight leaned forward.  He’d been at the meetings for six months now, and as he’d grown more comfortable with the meetings, his own stolid demeanor had begun to emerge.  “The war with the Dark Elves go as well as we could realistically hope,” he said.  “Lord Peng’s army has proven itself more than a match for anything that the vile worshippers of Zinfek.  The addition of the Swordsmen, the Bishops, and the second troop of Musketeers has left the Elves with no answer.  After razing the Drow village in the north and defeating the army there, it has taken that army a little while to rest and refit, but they are again ready for battle.”

And we’ve replaced that unit of veteran spearmen with whom Galanthas had been traveling.  I told the tough old fool that he was getting too long in the tooth to wander around battlefields, but he’d stubbornly insisted this would be his last campaign.  I should never have let him go, thought Celadon morosely.  And why the Hell is my neck hurting now? 

“At this point, the only real challenge is that we need to build a strong enough army to defend Naes when Lord Peng takes his army into the field.  Those cursed Elves sent a raiding party towards Solen, but a rushed detachment of Swordsmen and the timely arrival of a troop of mercenary Dwarven Balloon Bombers was enough to supplement the local militia and the Elves didn’t even try their luck at an assault.  That band is now returning, but I suspect Lord Peng’s army will be able to cut them off and destroy the Elves’ forces piecemeal.”

“After that, there’s no reason to think that we can’t take each of the two remaining Elven cities.  They’ve simply not shown that they can stand with us.  If all goes well, we should have those last two cities cleaned out within the next three years.  There are some well-developed fields around both of the Dark Elf towns, and it’s my understanding that both New Hope and Twin Peaks will have settler caravans ready by the end of the war.  It may be 10 years before we have both city sites resettled and up and running, but the Elves’ days are numbered.  We can win the war even more quickly if...”

The pain in his neck exploded into Celadon’s head, and he lost focus on Kalinor’s words.  The next moment, he was on the floor, on his knees, with no memory of how he got there.  His son’s strong hands were under his shoulders, holding him up.  “Father, are you alright?”

“I…  I…”  The pain made Celadon’s head spin.  His advisors were quickly around him, and he was vaguely aware of a cushion being placed under his head as he was laid upon the floor.  “Kalinor,” Celadon muttered, “we must finish the war with the Elves before another rival reaches our shores.  One foe at a time…”

“Father, hush!” Darrin barked.  “Norman, go fetch Father Anson.  Tell him to come with all haste.”

The pain now had spread to his chest.  He remembered this feeling, but this time it was much, much worse.   “Darrin, he said, fetch your mother, and your brother and sister.  I need to tell them all how much I love them…”  He trailed off and closed his eyes for a moment.

“Father, stay here with us.  This Kingdom needs their King!”

Celadon shook his head slowly, a sad smile creeping across his face as he opened his eyes again.  “This Kingdom already has their next King, and he’ll do fine.  Tell our family that I love them…  Tell our people that I love them…  I am proud of what we have done here in these last 35 years.  Finish the Elves, my son, and spread the glory of Our Faith to the four corners of this new world.” I come now to stand by your side, My Lord Everlong.

Celadon’s eyes fluttered, his breath gave out a last rattle, and he collapsed back to the floor.  Thus ended the reign of Lord Nedwin Celadon, First King of New Ellandria.
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
« Last post by airboy on August 22, 2019, 07:13:16 PM »
I need to sit down and read this.  I've been in a funk since my wife's illness.
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
« Last post by JasonPratt on August 18, 2019, 05:02:55 PM »
Of course, which is why that shock chord just rang in my head!  :2funny:
Digital Gaming AARs / Re: Why do people do AARs?
« Last post by IICptMillerII on August 17, 2019, 02:29:02 AM »
I've always enjoyed the realistic visualization of warfare. Seeing how and why everything happens, especially the things that went wrong, is both entertaining and informative. Plus, as others have mentioned, AARs can be mini-technothrillers or other types of engrossing stories that can be a lot of fun to read through.

Another one of my personal motivations is a bit cynical. I'm often annoyed by the "Lets Play" nature of YouTube and other mediums. A player will grab a game on release day, and pump out 5 or so video's of them just playing the game, but having no idea what they're doing or how anything works. Watching someone who has no idea what a sabot is feel their way through a Steel Beasts mission is at best an exercise in frustration, and at worse straight up torture. So, I figured I might as well create the content I would like to see more of instead of sitting around ranting and raving at the way things are. Not to say I'm an all knowing expert, I'm certainly not.

On a more positive note, I think that AARs can also do a great job of showcasing lesser known games/sims and the features that make them exceptional. Getting (good) feedback and discussion from readers can also be a lot of fun as well.
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