Weekend Download №121


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Weekend Download

JohnBSometimes you don't want an epic story or 80 hours of gameplay out of your game. Sometimes you just want to mess around, experience something quirky, and call it a day. All of the games below are extremely short. They're "just 'cause" games, because the only reason you play them is just because you can!

warandpeace.gifWar and Peace (Windows, 2.4MB, free) - With absolutely nothing to do with the Tolstoy tome, War and Peace is more accurately described as "one-button Civilization". Each game takes about two minutes to complete, and all you have to do is tap a key to switch between war and peace modes, the former useful for taking out other civilizations while the latter is great for expansion. Technologies are constantly being researched, but they vary depending on your mode. Victory can be obtained through conquest, domination, or achieving space flight. The game packs a surprisingly strong Civilization flavor into such a short and simple package.

strangers.gifStrangers (Windows, 5.3MB, free) - You land an an alien planet with a blaster and a dog hopping around behind you. Alien thingies are bouncing all around. And, of course, you start walking to the right. Only then, you meet the big mother alien thing. What happens next? You really should play this one and find out. It might just tell you something about mankind and how we seem to deal with problems.

averybriefstory.gifA very brief story (Windows, 1.36MB, free) - A tiny, five minute adventure with quite a bit of charm. A young woman goes on a quest. A quest to the four corners of the globe to find the four crystals. Ten screens and a few rudimentary puzzles later, she has them and everybody's happy. Oops, spoiler alert!

Note: All games have been confirmed to run under Windows Vista and are virus-free. Mac users should try Boot Camp, Parallels, or CrossOver Games to play Windows titles, Linux users can use Wine. If you know of a great game we should feature, use the Submit link above to send it in!

21 Comments

The War and Peace link is dead which makes me sad because it looks the most interesting.

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The link to War and Peace works fine.
The concept of the game is fine, but that fact that you ALWAYS start in the middle means that you are ALWAYS attacked from both sides at the same time. Defeat is inevitable.

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Brainstorm Author Profile Page February 6, 2010 2:44 PM

Defeat is not inevitable - it's just difficult, and it's true that sometimes you don't stand a chance. If you get red and blue next to each other on the same side of you, it's very possible to win.

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trollface February 6, 2010 2:57 PM

I don't know if it's just me, but I can't figure out any tactics for "War And Peace" at all. No matter what I do I end up with about 4 yellow squares while the other two have around 10 apiece, and then I'm rapidly wiped out.

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I just got a victory. Played peaceful for the first 40 sec or so, then switched to war. My enemies were both far on the same side of the board as each other. A lot of it seems to be placement luck.

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CHocolate_bob Author Profile Page February 6, 2010 4:01 PM

War and Peace is interesting, but definatly needs some clearer instructions, like "You are the yellow people". It also would be nice to know why you lost sometimes, as by the end of the game you could lose by Spaceship or Doination and not be sure who won what. It was good though.

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it tells you if you lose by spaceship.
Winning by conquest was fairly easy, winning by spaceship is rather difficult. They keep beating me to it,

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War and Peace is pretty interesting, won on my third game. A very brief story was rather ruined by a typo in the final page though...

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Why does it say mac and windows next to platform when it only says windows on each game?

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SonicLover Author Profile Page February 6, 2010 6:38 PM

I think the "moral" of Strangers blew up on me. Then again...

I realized pretty quickly that the little creatures were harmless, having only killed a few. So I hadn't killed enough of them to tick off the mother very much.

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trollface February 6, 2010 6:44 PM

I think "War And Peace" has potential, but having played it a fair few times now and having both won and lost, it seems to be entirely down to luck. I simply don't get the impression that changing from war to peace or vice versa actually does anything significant.

It doesn't help that there's no real indication of what the 3 attributes actually affect, nor that it's partly down to luck which ones you can actually build up. If you set out to create a civilisation with high growth you might not be able to manage it simply because the option to increase your growth doesn't come up often enough. Add to that the fact that about half the time the skill that you're working on is identical regardless of whether you're in war mode or peace mode and the whole thing seems rather futile.

It's like being the cosmos' most impotent god.

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Also, I found the easiest way to win at War and Peace is

basically to always be set to researching this technology with the lower cost.

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In Strangers:

is there only the one turnout, regardless of however many creatures you do/don't shoot?

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War and Peace is immense fun for such a tiny game. I loved the Civilization theme. That said, it's pretty each once you figure out the trick.

Every game tick, you get (Research stat X 2) points added to your progress. The best strategy is therefore to pump your Research stat as quickly as possible, so that later on your research rate will far outstrip your rivals. Always pick the Research stat boosting path if available, or the one with best cost/benefit ratio otherwise. The Peace track sometimes gives you Engineering, Scientific Method, Electricity, Mass Production in a row, which is a game-breaker.

I got all three victories. The spaceship victory was the most difficult because my armies were too efficient at wiping the AI off the map. -.-

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In Strangers, I did what I would have done if I were there, just observing! I mean, why should you attack something you don't know if it's dangerous? Strange way to go about a new alien species. "NO! It's UGLY! KILL IT!!!" Hm, that is what they do in USA (in my opinion), I just like to examine them, but it still gets the same ending.

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Anonymous February 7, 2010 2:54 PM

War and Peace does a remarkably good job of meeting its design goal of creating a very Civilization-like feel with an absolute minimum of mechanics and time commitment. Being at Peace seems to mean you create more settler units (squares) rather than regular units (circles), and vice-versa with War. Presumably Growth also affects settler production (and speed?). There may be a Culture-type mechanic similar to later entries in the Civ lineup at work here too--at least that's what the different-colored borders seem to suggest. Despite the very pared-down nature of the game, I still find watching my abstract civilization grow and prosper compelling.

For what it's worth, this strategy seems to work more often than not:

Stay at Peace until you develop Code of Laws (+1 growth and +1 power). Then switch to War. Now sit back and, barring unusual AI placement or bad luck, await your Domination victory.

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For War & Peace, I lost the first few times, but after switching back and forth between War/Peace I somehow managed to get the spaceship victory. Every time I played though, the blue/red "tribe" (?) was on either side of me.

As for Strangers, I felt really guilty towards the end, is all I'm saying.

I find myself wanting to play "A Very Brief Story" more than once. All in all these games were fun. :)

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For Stranger

I tried shooting no aliens, all aliens, and the big alien (which seems to react to being but doesn't die) and I got the same reaction regardless. So this disappoints me.

Loved A Very Brief Story. War and Peace doesn't interest me.

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@Wisedude: Do you mean that there is a typo in the game? Please tell me and I'll fix it.

---

War & Peace is pretty bare bone because I assumed that either:

- You're familiar with Civilization and I don't have much explaining to do.
- You're not and it's fun to figure out the underlying model by yourself.

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I found War and Peace pretty straightforward and fun, as a player familiar with Civ.

It was interesting how my previous knowledge from Civ influenced my excitement/emotions while playing the game. For example, aside from "Satellites" it seems that none of the technologies do anything aside from increasing population growth, research points, and power of units; however, I would find myself anxiously awaiting certain technologies that I remember being very useful in the original, like rifles, flight, bombers, etc..

It also made me want to play Civ again.

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'A Very Brief Story' is offline - to quote the author:

Today I decided to eliminate A very brief story from my portfolio after some comments and a little thinking . The intention was good but the execution was poor and didn't really made justice to what was intended . Tomorrow I hope to have some time to add it to the Loose Ideas section..." (of his webpage....

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