Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part IV –

A look at the popular game franchise and my take on the next iteration of the series.

As I write this introduction, I am starting to receive the feedback from the first part of this feature. I am glad that it is getting responses and I look forward to more. My biggest regret is that I did not write the whole feature and release it at once so that readers could see everything before making judgements (either good or bad). However, with my outline for the feature being 9 pages (the part just concerning (Civ VII is seven pages, alone), I knew that just wasn’t feasible. Still, I may, once all is said and done, post a compilation from Part 2 of this feature all the way to the final part and conclusion. Until then, let’s continue.

UNIT MANAGEMENT

One Per Hex

When the feature of One Unit Per Hex was introduced in Civilization V, I was a bit skeptical. While elements of it (such as archers with range) seemed logical, the idea of the feature took a certain “realism” view away from the game. I understand that the game was never intended as a “simulation” of history, still there were certain suspensions of disbelief that were hard to overcome. Archers shooting across the English Channel just didn’t seem right. Then, there was also the fact that there would be nowhere to place units. The whole idea was to eliminate the “stack of doom” that plagued previous iterations.

Soon after Civilization V released, it quickly came apparent that the “stack of doom” was replaced with the “carpet of doom.” By the end game, civs would have units on virtually every tile. Civilization VI helped with this a little by introducing “armies” where like units could be combined. This alleviated some of the issues, but the whole system of units could still become cumbersome. Another “fix” appeared to be increasing the “cost” of units. However, I felt that took away from my experience. Part of the game, for me, was being able to build a massive army to conquer my enemies and stand ready to react to any threat. Still, the past two games have made OUPT a staple. We can work with that. Smaller hexes (as listed previously) could help with the whole “carpet” aspect. Though, I would have to admit that the question would be how, then, to implement that graphically. That would be a difficult challenge for me to overcome just in this writing. I’m no artists and I feel it would require their expertise to solve. The only thing I could suggest is make it zoomable far enough to be able to zoom in and see the unit groups we’ve become familiar with, but a single unit representation may be required at medium zoon and further. In any case, let’s look at how we can further “condense” units so that they are not so cumbersome to deal with on the map.

Armies

As I said, Civilization VI did introduce the use of armies to help stack some like units. My problem with them is that (1) you could only combine like units and (2) they came too late in the game in my opinion. In this “new” system that I am proposing, I feel that their availability should be tied to Civilization Level (discussed previously).

First, you have Brigades which would be the combining of two similar units (2 archers, 2 swordsmen, etc.). This could be done as early as at City-State level. These would be stronger versions of the individual units (much like in Civilization VI). Once your civilization reaches the Pact level, you can create Battalions which would consist of three units of three different types. (1 melee, 1 archer, and 1 anti-cavalry or 1 archer, 1 anti-cavalry, and 1 cavalry). Battalions would gain the features of each individual unit and attack of each at the strength level (with a small bonus) of each unit per attack. For example, a Battalion with an Archer would be able to attack at a range, then follow up immediately with a melee or charge attack (depending on the other units making up that Battalion).

Finally, when the civilization becomes a State, it could form an Army which would be either made up of three different Brigades or two different Battalions. Also, up to two siege units and a Great General or Great Leader can attach to the Army giving it further bonuses and abilities. A special ability that Armies would have would be to “Lay Siege” which can be done at any location within a city’s area of control. This could “spread out” the army around the city and allow multiple abilities per turn such as attacking the city or “cutting supplies”. More than one army can lay siege to a city, even from different civilizations, provided that there is space to do so.

Similarly, naval and air forces could be combined as well. For Navy, there would be Fleet (combining 2 like units), Armada (combining 3 different naval units like “melee”, ranged, and auxiliary), and Combined Fleet (joining three different Fleets or two Armadas.) Combined Fleets can have a Carrier attached as well as a Great Admiral to enhance bonuses. For Air, Squadrons would combine two units of the same type and Air Fleets would combine 3 different Squadrons including Fighters, Bombers, and Air Auxiliary (which includes Air Recon units such as AWACS).

One final note on Armies, Fleets, and Squadrons, they can be “disbanded.” However, doing so just breaks them apart so that you have access to individual units again if you so desire.

CITIES

City Levels

Just as civilizations get a revamp as to how they develop, so do individual cities as well. Now, they will have levels of their own that dictate their areas of control (AoC), what can be built in them, and how they are defended would all depend on the level of their development. The most basic of these levels would be the Settlement.

  • Settlement – this is the most basic form of city. They would be founded by a Settler or an Ancient Colonist. They are mostly confined to the City Center and have a single ring of AoC. This ring cannot have any other districts besides resource improvements as it is for the growth of the center city. Settlements can only be garrisoned by a single unit.
  • Town – Upon reaching Town status, the AoC expands an extra ring. This is where Districts and Wonders can be placed. Advanced Settlers can settle a Town directly. Towns founded in this way will have a couple early buildings already constructed. With a Garrison District (replacing Encampment), they can have a Brigade or Battalion in place and have a minimal guard when no army is present.
  • City – Cities cannot be settled directly; they can only be developed from Towns. This growth is automatic when certain conditions are met (population and buildings). The third and fourth ring can be expanded by Culture. Whole Armies can be garrisoned in the City allowing for Counter Siege abilities.
  • Metropolis – The highest achievable level for a city. The fifth and sixth ring become eligible for AoC of the City (assuming that they are not already part of another city). It could even be possible to have multiple armies garrison a Metropolis.

A few notes, Districts may have to be reworked a bit to accommodate these levels and the smaller hexes. I’ve hinted at replacing some. A city (no matter the level) may need a certain district to build certain units, etc. While I enjoy the concept of Districts in Civilization VI, I do feel that the system needs an overhaul. I think smaller hexes are a step and the City Level system laid out go towards that process. I also see other areas that could use improvement… namely Forts.

Forts

New Forts

I felt that Forts kind of got the short stick in Civilization VI. Personally, I feel that they should have had the abilities that Encampments had. Thus, my suggestions for Forts carry along those lines. And they have their own “levels” as well.

  • Outposts – Outposts are 1 tile forts that allow single units to garrison and gives minor benefits to the units garrisoned there. They can be constructed in neutral or own territory, however, if there is no garrison, they are considered abandoned and can easily be taken over by other civilizations.
  • Forts – True Forts can later be constructed or upgraded from an Outpost. These Forts will claim a central hex and the surrounding ring. However, they are not expandable on their own. They grant better defense than Outposts and can defend just like cities even if not occupied by a unit. They can still be taken over by other Civilizations if defeated and Battalions or Brigades can garrison them. Forts can potentially be upgraded to Cities if certain conditions are met and allow.
  • Castles – These are special (single hex) fortifications that are as strong as forts and grant additional bonuses like income to nearby cities. They must be built in a civilization’s own territory.

***

With Part 1, I covered the changes to Civilizations in general. Part 2 looked at the new role for Leaders in the game. Today we went over City Development and Unit Management. Of course, all these changes are general overviews. Every change brings new challenges and details that need to be ironed out. Next up will be a discussion of some elements that have existed before in Civilization, but have been removed from the game in general.

Links

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Introduction

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 1

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 2

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 3

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 5

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 6

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part III –

A look at the popular game franchise and my take on the next iteration of the series.

A look at the popular game franchise and my take on the next iteration of the series. Yesterday in my vision of what the future of the game Civilization could look like, I talked about changes to the ways that Civilizations work.  Dynamic Civilizations grow and expand utilizing a Civilization Level system that governs how the Civ is viewed and interacts with others. I detailed how more civilizations could be included and smaller Civs could be related and become bigger Civilizations. Finally, I mentioned a “Prehistory Mode” that would act as a prologue to the main campaign. Now, it is time to delve into my biggest change that could be the most controversial of all that I suggest.

LEADERS EVOLVED

No More Single Static Leaders

Yes, that you read that headline correctly. But what does that mean? It means that the leaders used to represent a civilization no longer exist. No more selecting the civilization by the omnipotent leader that carries them through all the ages. Diplomatic screens now have a shadowed leader in the background with a representative diplomat of the civilization in the foreground (who performs all of the animations of the deal and is dressed according to culture and era). All dealings are handled this way.

I know that the leaders have become the “main characters” of the franchise.  So, I expect a lot of backlash at this point. But I feel that too much emphasis has been placed on the leaders chosen to represent the civilizations in the game. With dynamically crafted civilizations, I just don’t think that one leader to rule them all per civilization will really fit and would rather be counterproductive to the ebb and flow of development. However, a new type of Leader could arise to fill in the purpose and retain that “character” of the game.

Great Leaders

Instead of having one overarching leader throughout the game, the civilization will be open to multiple leaders that last over a certain amount of time, the Great Leader. These leaders, like Heroes of Civilization VI, only last for a certain amount of time. During that time, they can lead armies for significant combat bonuses and/or station in cities for special bonuses or abilities. When these Leaders are active, a representation of that leader fills in the shadowed figure of the diplo screen. There would be a pool of leaders available for each civilization group (several civilizations closely related).

Great People

                On the subject of “Greats,” it might go without saying that since there are Great Leaders, that Great People exist in the game. Admittedly, I am on the fence about great works. I like the system, but I am not sure that it is necessary. In any case, I feel the general way that Great People are implemented is fine, however will probably have to be tweaked for the new systems put in place.

GRAPHICAL UPDATES

Smaller Hexes

While most of the graphical changes, such as art style, UI, and the like would mostly be something that is subjected to the actual development and has little to do with actual gameplay, one thing that I would adjust is the hexes. At least, I would change the size of them… make them about half the size that they are now. First, smaller hexes would make for more defined landforms and better-looking maps. But beyond that, it would open greater gameplay possibilities.

The smaller hexes would allow for varied terrain types, more resource locations and more rooms for districts and wonders. Some features, districts, wonders and buildings could be greater than one hex in size. New elements such as Mountain Passes could be introduced. City development would be more strategic as well. And because the hexes are smaller, units would have a greater base movement speed than previous games.

OTHER

Roads

                I liked having roads created by trade caravans in Civilization VI, but I did not like the manual aspect so much. One problem with the caravans is that they would always look for the fastest root, including waterways. This did would not build the land roads between cities. Instead, you would have to build a Military Engineer to manually construct the road, one piece at a time. To make matters worse, the ME’s had limited charges for road construction.

                This time around, I think the player should be able to select the route, either through a couple presented options or by “drawing” it out when sending the caravan.  Or have a construct road option where the player chooses the path of the road and pays an up front cost.

***

OK, that was not so bad, was it? Well, I suppose I’ll find out soon. But wait, there is more! Tomorrow I’ll be digging into how units and cities will work. The day after tomorrow, I should be starting to wrap up, with concluding this feature by Wednesday. Until then, remember Trebuchets are coming…

Links

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Introduction

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 1

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 2

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 4

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 5

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 6

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part II –

A look at the popular game franchise and my take on the next iteration of the series.

Civilization VII

What would make the next evolution of Civilization stand out? Each iteration of the series featured something that changed it from its predecessors. Yet it retained the core of what made the game. Resources, Wonders, Eras, and many more aspects have arisen and became staples in the franchise. From my following suggestions, some aspects would be removed as they are replaced by the “new” systems that I lay out. Others that I mention will naturally carry over, though possibly altered to fit with the new systems. This is NOT a design document, just a fun exercise of my own personal vision. Of course, I would be extremely happy if any of my suggestions are implemented in the next (or future) versions of Civilization.

CIVILIZATIONS

Dynamic Civilizations

The first major change is to have dynamic civilizations. What that means is that the traits that are usually associated with civilizations are no longer so. Instead, they are general traits that can be selected. As the player progresses and reaches certain milestones, new traits can be selected that are context sensitive to the situation. For example, if the player begins in a desert region, one of the possible traits could be “Desert Folk” which would give them bonuses to that environment. However, civilizations not in the desert would be unable to select the trait. Also, once a civilization has selected a specific trait, that trait would no longer be available for other civilizations. This is how the player defines their civilization’s identity.            

Clearly, this is inspired by how religions have worked in both Civilization V and VI. It develops a more natural flow of development as the civilization progresses through the ages. But what would this mean for selecting Civilizations? Wouldn’t this mean that whether you choose Rome, Egypt or Japan would be irrelevant? Well, these civilizations could have one basic trait that goes along with their civilization. Unique Units, buildings, improvements, etc. could also be associated with the civilizations allowing for some variety between civilizations, along with likelihood of civilizations spawning in certain areas. Also, the traits are permanent, even if the civilization is downgraded in level. Though new traits can be selected should the civilization reach a level upgrade threshold again.

Civilization Levels

That leads to the next big change. Gone are City-States and Barbarians. Yes, you heard that right. However, they are not truly gone, just integrated into a “level” system of civilization growth. Each civilization begins at a basic level that could even predate the traditional start of past games. As they develop, they can be “upgraded” to greater levels that expand their capabilities and interactions. Depending on map size, limits can be inposed as to how many civilizations can be of a certain level. That said, the levels are:

  • Tribal – A nomadic civilization that essentially take the place of barbarians. There is minimal diplomacy available with tribal civilizations and often war with them carries no penalties. The player can play a Civ in this state (or even be reduced to this) as per the “Prehistory Mode” to be discussed later. After a certain threshold, the civilization can found a settlement which lays the foundation of the next level.
  • City-State – This is the foundation of Civilizations. It is the earliest stage with increased diplomatic ability. They can send out colonists to form settlements that are independent yet subservient to the founding City-State. Two or more Colonies or allied City-states leads to a Pact.
  • Pact – Formed through early alliances of City-States, some increased diplomacy with Civilizations that are part of the pact. When a particular civilization becomes dominant in the pact, they gain full control and become a State.
  • State – This is the level where a civilization can truly begin to establish themselves on the world stage. Formed when a civilization becomes dominant of a Pact and is chosen as leader (or through conquest) the State level allows for greater diplomatic options.
  • Empire – An Empire is a more powerful form of the State. It encompasses a large area but starts accruing penalties that could cripple the empire if left unchecked. However, there will be tools that can be used to counter these penalties and maintain stability.
  • Superpower – The ultimate level of civilization. Superpowers are at the top of nearly all lists. A Superpower typically won’t be achieved until late game. They may receive special benefits; however, lesser civilizations may admire or fear the superpower, causing problems with diplomacy and politics.

These 6 levels are milestones of achievements. However, they are not necessarily secure once you reach them. What goes up can certainly come down and civilizations are no exception. And since the starting map is removed of city-states (in the V and VI incarnations) and barbarians, there is room for more civilizations overall. This gives way to a feature that had somewhat been implemented in IV, related Civs.

Related Civilizations

As stated, this was seen before to a certain degree in the franchise. However, I look deeper at the various civilizations big and small throughout history that could be included. Civ VI includes Athens and Sparta both as versions of Greece. In this version, Athens, Sparta, Troy, and many others can be “civilizations” at the start of the game. Tribes that roam the world looking for a place to prosper. When they settle, similar “tribes” may settle nearby. These form the basis of later civilizations like Greece.            

This could also lead to variety of gameplay. In one game, you could come across the Civilization of Rome. In another playthrough, you could meet the civilization of “Etruscia.” Both are the same basic civilizations but depending on which related civ came to dominate the area. Later civilizations could be shattered and form smaller states, city-states, or tribes. This will lead to another topic which I had alluded to earlier.

Prehistory Mode

This mode is a sort of “prologue” to the main game. It could be an optional mode that leads into a full game where the player starts out a Tribe (as opposed to a City-State). You wander around the map establishing “camps” that serve as your base for a few turns as you gather supplies from surrounding areas. Wild Animals could make their return in this mode and be part of the quest find a suitable location. Oh, and fog of war clouds over any area out of sight range. In other words, you cannot see where you have been, only where you are. Ultimately, you must settle your first settlement, and this is where the main game begins.

***

This is just the beginning of my examination into the future of the franchise. Tomorrow, I will take a look at Leaders and their new role in this hypothetical version of Civilization. A small look at the only graphical change I would implement (at least that is relevant to the rest of this examination). Until then, let me know what you think so far.

Links

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Introduction

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 1

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 3

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 4

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 5

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 6

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part I –

An Overview

A look at the popular game franchise and my take on the next iteration of the series.

Civilization and Me

My first encounter with Sid Meier’s Civilization came in the mid to late 90’s. I was in the Navy and someone had it installed on one of the computers in our shop.  I remember playing through and getting excited when I built my first knight. However, it was a turn or two later, a plane from China came flying over my civilization. This was off-putting, to say the least. I stopped playing shortly after that.

It wasn’t much later that I bought my own computer. A Sony VAIO desktop that came with several games pre-installed. Among those games was Civilization II. I don’t remember going straight to the game. At some point, I gave it a try and started coming to grips with how the game worked. I enjoyed the FMV advisors who popped up and told me how my empire was growing. Better still, I was able to make it through a whole game without being surprised by a far more advanced civilization.  I mostly stayed on par with the AI opponents. Whether that was from my own skill improving or simply better understanding of how the game worked, I’m not sure.  Perhaps both.

I was late getting into the 3rd iteration of the series. I did rather enjoy it. When Civilization IV came out, I think I truly fell in love with the series from the very moment Baba Yetu and Leonard Nimoy reciting “In the beginning, the world was without form and void” filled my eardrums. I couldn’t count the number of hours that I put into it. I began following the series on forums such as Civfanatics. I started listening to the podcast known as Polycast. I even wrote a letter to the podcast on the discussion of “realism verses gameplay” and laid out my thoughts on the subject. This eventually led to an invite to guest host on the show, which I have a handful of times now.

Upon the release of Civilization V, I was intrigued by some of the changes coming into the series, but skeptical of others. I was particularly worried about One Unit Per Tile and the removal of Religion. Still, I was excited by other aspects such as City-States, something that I had suggested in forums and other areas, though my suggestion was referencing minor civilizations.

When the game came out, my worries held true. However, there were aspects of the game that still drew me in. I learned to adjust to the “Carpet of Doom” and when Religion was added back in through the Gods and Kings expansion, I was ecstatic. In fact, I felt the new way that religions were implemented was even better. I always found it hard to go back to previous iterations because I would find myself missing the new features added.

Civilization VI

            When Civilization VI was announced, I grew excited. New features like Districts intrigued me while the game retained many of the features that I had grown to love. Religions and Trade from Civ V and a kind of compromise with the one unit per tile with the creation of Armies. That latter would help to lessen the “carpet” effect that would become prominent in Civ V (at least, in theory).

            Civilization VI has been enjoyable. The release of two expansion packs and several DLC really helped to breathe new life into the game. And when they announced the New Frontier Pass, I was paying attention in full. However, one thing I found is that the franchise was leaving me stale in a certain aspect.

            As a player who favors single player, I always loved the aspect of developing a civilization and growing it. Interacting with other civilizations was a dance. But the franchise started bogging the game down with “war weariness” and driven paths to victory. I was about the role-playing. About the rise and fall, not the beeline to victory. With the last couple of iterations, it would often become clear who was going to the top contenders to “win” the game by the middle ages (at the latest). The winner could most often be predicted before the modern ages even came about.

            This style, perhaps, came from the rise and demand of multiplayer gaming. Regardless, it was defying the heart of what the game was… a journey from prehistoric nobodies to a well-established powerhouse of a civilization that would endure time.

            That is where the next part of this feature comes in. Over the next couple of days, I will be outlining my thoughts on what would be the ideal next steps in the Civilization franchise. As Civilization VI begins to show its age and new games who are taking a crack at the formula such as Age of Empires 4 and Humankind, I think that some drastic changes may need to be taken to keep the beloved series on top. Stay tuned…

Links

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Introduction

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 2

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 3

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 4

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 5

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 6

Feature: Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise.

A look at the popular game franchise and my take on the next iteration of the series.

Introduction

It is now April and Firaxis Studios is closing the chapter on the New Frontier Pass, the year long bombardment of premium DLC and content interlaced with free updates to Civilization VI. The experiment brought some interesting content that enhance the game that, traditionally, would be considered at the end of its life cycle. Originally released in October of 2016, Civ 6 was an interesting iteration of the strategy franchise even in its vanilla state.

The game brought a lot of interesting changes and additions to the franchise, and carried over (and in some cases, improved) previous features. However, the game is not without its flaws. Two expansions and a variety of DLC, not to mention the aforementioned premium season pass that has been constantly injecting new life into the game this past year. While those additions did a lot for bringing adjustments to the game, it did not correct all its flaws, and even added a few (perhaps minor ones) more in the process.

Still, the game keeps drawing me back as I battle with the “age” old struggle of “one more turn.” The concept of taking a scrawny settler and single warrior and founding a city, then expanding it throughout the ages to ultimately become the dominant civilization has long been an intriguing one. The game instilled a love of history in me wanting more.

Now that the pass is over, the question arises, “what of the future for Civilization VI and the franchise as a whole?” Will the traditional life cycle of approximately 5 years prevail as development of the next iteration is long underway behind closed doors? Or will the developers continue to build upon what they have provided in VI and introduce another expansion or season pass? To be honest, the latter has me a bit worried. The game is quite full of complex systems that even sometimes have a hard time cooperating as they were not developed together. With that in mind, I have begun thinking of what my ideal version would be if I developed the next iteration of Civilization (hey… 7 is my favorite number).

Over the next few days, I will be releasing a series of blogs dedicated to this idea. The direction that I would like to see Civilization VII go. Some of my ideas can be quite a bit controversial. However, I feel that these would be an interesting change that would prevent the next just being a glorified rehash of previous versions. Before I get to the nuts and bolts, however, I feel a bit of background is in order. Tomorrow, I will post a general overview of my history with the franchise so that you see where I am coming from. After that, I will get into the nuts and bolts of what MY idea of the franchise would look like. So buckle up and prepare for a bumpy ride.

Links

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 1

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 2

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 3

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 4

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 5

Sid Meier’s Civilization and the Future of the Franchise – Part 6

Geek Dad

The love between a father and daughter can be a strong one. When you share a joy, it only makes it that much better.

Among the greatest joys in my life is raising my daughter. From the moment she was born, by bond with her was forged and has continued to grow. As she has gotten older, she has developed quite the personality. She is now five years old (she’ll be six in September), and despite some frustrations, I can’t love her any more.

One of the greatest bonds that we have is our love of many things that fall in the “geek” domain. She has turned into quite the gamer already. She’s even beaten me a couple times at Mario Kart 8. Her last birthday was even Super Mario themed. Heck, she wanted me to build a “Super Mario World” (complete with Question Mark Blocks that we could jump up and hit and flag poles we could slide down) in our backyard, but that was a bit out of my budget (and expertise).

When she was younger, I often put her to bed saying “sweet dreams of unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows.” She loves unicorns now. She is my princess (I don’t care if that is cliché). She’s no delicate princess. She is a tomboy through and through. She’ll wear a princess dress and swing a sword around with a snarl on her face that would put Rocky Balboa to shame.

I’ve done my best to foster her love of “geekdom.” We watched many shows on Nick Jr and Disney Jr that had fantastical elements. Some of our favorites have always been Shimmer and Shine, Wallykazam!, Nella the Princess Knight… just to name a few. I bought books such as The ABC’s of D&D and The 123s of D&D by Ivan Van Norman, and Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke. If you have seen some of my previous posts, I have even gotten her into tabletop RPGs via Amazing Tales.

Going forward, I hope to encourage her further (while I still have some influence). From Harry Potter to Willow, The Lord of the Rings to The Wheel of Time, and The Legend of Zelda to Dungeons & Dragons, I look forward to many adventures with her. Maybe one day her path may veer away from the world of Geeks and, if it does, I am OK with that. But perhaps the bonds that we share now will carry on her love and enjoyment and be more of a legacy than any book I may publish.

Worse comes to worse, maybe I can get her future brother/sister to take up the mantle.

Gaming with My Daughter: Part 2

This is from the second gaming session with my daughter playing Amazing Tales.

A couple of days ago, Savannah and I continued our “quest” in Amazing Tales. Returning with news of the “Nightmare Army” on the move to invade the Dream Kingdom, Savannah’s Princess Victoria and her faithful knight, Sir Meowsalot, head home to inform the king and queen. Immediately, the kingdom is set into motion and the army sent out to slow the advance of the invaders. The Princess is given a task of being diplomat and seeking the aid of neighboring groups. The first stop, the Dwarves of the northern mountains.

They set out and reach the foothills of the mountains. As they traverse the path, they reach a fork, one going up the nearest mountain, and the other path curving behind a bend. They take the path going up. Near the top, a lone goblin wizard stops them. He demands that they leave his mountain. They explain their task, to enlist the dwarves in aiding in the fight against the Nightmare Army. The goblin, who admits he was once a part of the Nightmare army, only having been kicked out, gives the princess an amulet to aid against the army and sends them back to the other path which leads to the dwarves.

On the other path, they go into a cave that goes deep into the mountain. They reach a large chamber filled with stalagmites with an exit at the far end. As they make their way across the chamber, they are ambushed by a group of goblins (not associated with the wizard from earlier). They fight off a few and quickly make their way to the other side. After tripping up a few goblins, they make it out of the chamber and continue their journey. Eventually, they come to a big door.

The princess knocks and a dwarf answers, asking their purpose. They explain the situation and are taken to the king where they detail what is happening. The jolly king of the dwarves, King Brushelbutt, is happy to help and send his dwarves to help and provides an escort and emmisary to the princess.

Gaming with my Daughter: Part 1

This is the adventure that my daughter and I have been playing through. I originally posted this on social media and I figured that this could be a running feature on my blog. So here is the first part…

My 5-year-old daughter, Savannah, has been begging me to play Amazing Tales with her. If you are not familiar, it is a roleplaying game made with young children in mind. We played before (a space setting) but that did not get too far, though I did see some enjoyment on her behalf.

This time around, we decided to go with a “magical kingdom” (typical fantasy) kingdom. Between us, we set the stage for an adventure. She named the kingdom “Dream Kingdom” and decided to play as a Princess sorceress. Her companion is a cat knight named Sir Meowsalot (her pick of a name). I kind of based him somewhere between Puss-in-boots and Khajiit (from TES).

The start of the adventure began with Princess Victoria and Sir Meowsalot walking through a forest near the Capital (Aluria). Soon a fairy named Tuella came and begged for help from the princess.  Tuella led them to her fairy grove and explained that the bee fairies were attempting to take over the forest. They are led by a strange man known as Buzz Master.

They reach the grove just as a swarm of bee fairies are attacking.  After conjuring a wind that misfires and scatters the grove fairies, Princess Victoria conjures another wind that collects up the attacking bee fairies and sends them off into the forest.

They make their way deeper into the forest to challenge Buzz Master. Along the way, they are ambushed by three forest trolls.  The princess thumps the first troll with her staff, Sir Meowsalot evades the second troll (causing it to become off balance) and engages the third with his sword.  Princess V casts a bright light which catches the first troll and turns it to stone. The third troll disarms Sir M, but Sir M uses his claws in as scratch fury against the troll.  Princess V uses a magic sword to slice the second troll in half before it can recover. However, it then regenerates into 2 trolls.

At the advice of Tuella, she conjures a magic bow and shoots arrows of fire at the two trolls as they are still regenerating. Sir M uses his speed and reflexes and grabs a branch and lights it using the burning trolls and retrieves his sword. He sets the remaining troll of fire, ending the threat.

They make their way to an opening with a giant oak. The oak has a humungous hive that is the home of the bee fairies.  Princess V casts a spell that protects the group from bees (but not the bee fairies). Buzz Master drops from the hive and uncurls to reveal himself to be a man with yellow and black robes. He has a staff and a quarterstaff. The bees begin to swarm but are repelled by the protection spell.  The bee fairies attack and Princess Victoria thwarts them again with her wind magic.

In response, Buzz Master slams the staff into the ground, creating an anti-magic field in the area. He attacks the pair and they engage him. They go a couple rounds and make no headway. What is worse is the bee fairies have returned and encircle them. Sir Meow takes the moment to charge at the staff while Princess V keeps the Buzz Master busy. He uses his sword to break the staff, breaking the anti-magic field. Princess V uses her magic to create her bow and shoots the bolt of fire right into the Buzz Master.  This breaks his control over the Bee fairies and restores order to the forest.  They are rewarded with honey and promise that honey will now flow through the kingdom.

On their way back to the palace, a squirrel gives a message to Princess Victoria (she can talk to animals). The Nightmare Army is marching to invade the Dream Kingdom.

(What Have I started???)

To be continued…

What Am I Doing Here?

A little introduction of myself and what my goals are with this blog.

Hello! Thanks for coming. To start, my name is Salvatore Serio (Sal for short). I am a writer, a father, a former sailor, a history lover, a geek. Of course, if you have explored my site, you may have gathered that much already.

So, what am I about? Why am I doing this? Well, first off, I feel it is high time that I make myself public. After all, I want to be a writer, and I’m gonna need a presence to establish myself. So, here we go.

So, what will I talk about here? Well, as an author, I try to see the world from many perspectives, not just my own. I also have a lot of interests that I love to talk about. Sometimes, finding like-minded people can be a challenge (at least, in my circle).

Here are some topics I may discus over time:

  • Personal stories and experiences
  • Posts about my own writing and projects
  • Posts about World Building
  • Entertainment posts (reviews, previews, or general thoughts)
  • Gaming posts (video games, role-playing, even old fashioned table-top games like Monopoly might make a showing)
  • Pretty much anything else that I may feel compelled to blog about.

On the topic of Role Playing Games, I recently started a campaign with my daughter utilizing the game system Amazing Tales (which is designed for young readers). I will be posting a series of blogs chronicling our adventures.

One thing I should note, I am trying to avoid anything political or ideological. Don’t get me wrong, I have my passions and if something really begs me to express my feelings about it, I will. But I try to avoid anything divisive. The reason for this is, I feel, that there is enough of that in this world at this moment. If I DO post something that can have a divisive response, I ask that we agree to disagree and focus more on the things that we enjoy together.

I’d rather help bring people together through what we love, be they games, movies, books, or whatever.

That said, if you tell me that a favorite character of mine, from a movie, book, or video game, sucks, we WILL fight!

Anyway, that about sums up my intentions here. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love discussions and look forward to many as I establish my online presence and get to know a lot of you.