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I suck at games: Like the kid who plays with Risk figures instead of actually playing Risk


We have all done this. The minute you open a boxed game of Risk and see the neatly boxed rainbow of figurines. You don't pull out the board and lay it out. You don't roll dice and set up your initial turns for world domination. The first thing you do is take out the little figures and make little explodey noises.

This is the story of why I can't ever play real time strategy games correctly.

The first RTS I ever had in my home was Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty. It was a game that opened a whole new world of gaming opportunities to me. I wasn't just one guy fighting evil, I had a whole army, a whole world to control! And by control, I mean "neatly build things next to each other and don't bother attacking the enemy to win the game."


As you can tell by the screenshot, everything in this game fits into nice, neat little square quadrants. This led my young mind to believe that everything had be be organized in little IKEA-esque aesthetically pleasing squares. Square buildings would always be with square buildings and rectangles would be with rectangles, and would always be built touching each other (a major RTS no-no). My rationale was, "well, major cities have buildings in neat little sections directly connected to each other, why not my elite military base?" I also obsess over building everything I possibly can. Every iteration of every type of building had to be there (and neatly placed!), or I felt that I was somehow failing to have a good base. I would never build copies of buildings either. Why does my happy little village need two factories? There's already one! Do all of you build two Walmarts in the same place too?

My other major problem with RTS's that fits into my obsessive-compulsive playing style is the building and management of my units. I have a complete inability to understand the need for having a variety of units. I also can never memorize which unit counters what (I avoid Starcraft for said reason), so I go with what big and shoots rockets. Or, I would do the opposite and build nothing but human soldiers to line up in front of my base or perch on random rocks. However, somehow I really enjoy this, even though its a really stupid thing to do. I never know when to deploy and attack as well, and If I do in that rare case, actually tried to attack someone, I always made wanted to march straight forward and do so in a line, sending in one after another. If this was the War of American Independence, I would probably the guy that would have sided with the British because they wear nice uniforms and march in neat, straight little lines. And then my ass would be shot off by colonists zerg-rushing out of the forest in their sensible camouflaged clothes. It was always about making it look good on the computer screen without regarding the rules of RTS engagement.

I play like this, only I usually would spend an hour trying to put them in a nice little block.

So, when it came time for me to play my brother or anyone else on LAN or online, needless to say I was annihilated. I couldn't even manage playing on a campaign on easy. If there was a mission that required managing limited units without building a base (like in Starcraft), forget it, I was already dead. It was after all of these matches (even against an easy CPU) I realized that I will always suck at this genre, even if I did like all of the little details.

To conclude, I am much too obsessed with aesthetics to ever play and RTS in a serious or efficient manner. Why? Because I have too much stupid fun playing around with everything like toy soldiers by myself. I haven't touched an RTS in years, though I always catch myself seeing all the boxes of modern PC RTS games on the store shelf and considering dropping the cash to play them. I was even given a copy of Red Alert 3 that remains unplayed to this day. I'm pretty sure that I would just embarrass myself if I even attempted to buy and play StarCraft II, especially with the level of experience required to play and RTS with anyone in this day and age.

Unless, you know, there are some really pretty looking buildings and soldiers to set up and play with.
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About Brassman87one of us since 6:00 PM on 08.12.2009

Biology enthusiast, candy car connoisseur, TF2 repeat slacker
Steam ID:Brassman


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