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The Final Frontier

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2010-04-18 01:02:23

Star Trek Online

A buddy of mine has been trying to get me to jump onto Star Trek Online. This isn't tempting me in the least. Not only do I not have time for an MMO, I don't feel at all inclined to mindlessly kill 36/36 Klingons or collect 500/500 dilithium crystals. He's telling me (unconvincingly) that it's not really like that, and that ship to ship combat offers tactical depth (he knows that sort of thing piques my interest). But if I want that, I'll crank up Homeworld again. It's an older space RTS by Relic (the Company of Heroes and Warhammer guys) involving combat in THREE axes. If you hit that link above, Amazon's got it for only $6.29.

Now Playing - Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) and Borderlands (360)
Xbox Live/PSN Gamertag - Vawce

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2010-04-19 20:34:43

Diplomacy V - Spring 1907

Austria and Italy have kissed and made up, and look to regain the lost momentum from their earlier spat. The immediate casualty of this reunion is Russia, who has been vacillating through various overly conservative stances, unable (unwilling?) to capitalize on opportunities afforded by the shifting political landscape. This time, he's out of position, and Austria looks likely to reestablish much of his former strength at Russia's expense.

France finally crushed all opposition behind his lines, and sought to swing his forces to the point of conflict. Scorewise, he's winning the game, but joint aggression by Germany and Italy has thwarted his efforts to get into proper position. He faces the same issue that Italy suffered a few turns ago: possessing great yet insufficient power to act unilaterally (making him the biggest target), exacerbated by the lack of political safeguards necessary to remain on the offensive. Going forward, he's likely frozen out of the Austro-Italian reunified bloc. What's problematic about this is that the North is his smoothest route of expansion (particularly given his fleets), but this would also weaken the one buttress against that resurgent Austria/Italy Voltron force.

Germany took several calculated risks and they panned out fairly well. He now has an unimpeded route to seize St. Petersburg and marched back into France's front porch. In addition, a timely bounce prevented France from convoying an army back from England. (Those two French armies in England are now all but useless there.) Just as France earlier waged a desperate war on the brink of elimination, Germany too has now returned to viability. Now that France's immediate ambitions have been dampened, perhaps that will be sufficient leverage to construct a new political framework.

Italy must have issued one impressive apology. Working with Austria once again, their command of the Mediterranean is unchallenged, and they have achieved a breakthrough on Russia's southern front. Should one or both powers grow overly dominant again, they'll start eying each other for signs of treachery, but for the time being, we can view them as a single entity that, in totality, eclipses even French might.

This game is quickly boiling down to these four powers. With Austria and Italy in unity, France and Germany must quickly respond to form an *equitable* alliance to counterbalance them. However, they've had over a dozen turns of false starts and bad blood between them, and I imagine they will find the strategic necessity of forgiveness and coordination difficult to formulate, much less manage into the coming years.

Russia has angled for passive survival all these years, and the lack of initiative and foresight is about to be harvested. Without any other remaining victims to offer up to his "benefactors", his neighbors are about to feast upon him now. Austria, with a smattering of Italian support, has broken his south. Along with a simultaneous northern push by Germany, they look to pincer Russia into submission. Russia does have units in forward harassment positions, but with his core about to be devastated, faces a massively reduced prominence or even elimination in the next few turns. The only matter that might slow this invasion is the question of Warsaw ownership.

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