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Daily Radar review

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  • roger_ducasse
    Things have really gotten pretty sleepy, here. Which is sad, because over the years, KoDP has remained one of the very few games to maintain my interest. Add
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 3, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Things have really gotten pretty sleepy, here. Which is sad,
      because over the years, KoDP has remained one of the very few games
      to maintain my interest. Add "ironic" to that, since most people
      remain unaware KoDP even exists.

      I notice that A-Sharp's website can no longer link to my old Daily
      Radar review, since the online magazine was abruptly closed by its
      owners several years ago. That being the case, I'm including a
      considerably expanded version, here, since original constraints of
      length no longer apply.

      Please be aware that this review is still under copyright, meaning
      that it is owned. If you want to quote, use, or paraphrase it
      elsewhere, you need to get my permission. I've been plagiarised
      before on the Web, and gotten a few people banned and one site shut
      down, as a result. So please ask.

      Without any further ado:

      In a business that's obsessed with "niche," here's a game that
      defies easy categorization: a turn-based RPG strategy title, and a
      menu-driven simulation that puts you in detailed charge of a
      barbarian clan.

      King of Dragon Pass takes place on the world of Glorantha, in the
      Runequest pen-and-paper RPG. Its clans pursue typical barbarian
      activities: herding, farming, exploring, trading, feuding, building
      different defenses, worshipping gods, forming alliances and raiding
      neighbors. You're not physically represented in the game, but you
      manage a clan ring that is, filling its seven positions with
      disputatious nobles and commoners (chosen from more than forty
      suitable candidates, each rated for seven unique skills, like Magic,
      Combat and Leadership) who willingly contribute their contrasting
      and distinctive viewpoints and advice at every opportunity.

      Like any good, turn-based CRPG/resource management game, KoDP
      supplies dozens of activity options and forces you to make choices:
      two activities per season, in a five-season year. Even the simpler
      choices may contain a subset of selections that force you to think.
      Perhaps you need more farmers. Do you lower numbers in your other
      clan professions like hunting and guarding, buy the services of
      farmers away from other clans, offer farming land to passing
      vagabonds who then join your clan, or seek farmers from the land of
      your origins, far away? And do you offer incentives, like land, or
      land and cattle, to gain recruits? Action fans who prefer vikings
      endlessly hitting one another over their helmets will blanch, but
      this spin on Celtic cultural history is really involving. It gets
      you thinking about rulership in a way that simply ordering troops
      from one province to another simply cannot.

      KoDP is also set in a fantasy universe inhabited by dragons, ghosts,
      trolls and other potential health hazards, which means swords can do
      only so much; magic is essential. KoDP allows you to build shrines
      or more effective temples to each of a dozen gods, who can teach or
      perform any of more than fifty blessing (and curse) spells with an
      appropriate sacrifice. Want to improve your chances during a raid?
      Sacrifice regularly to one of four or five gods, and you'll have a
      broad selection of positive effects to boost tribal battle readiness
      available. Or perhaps you might consider sacrificing to the
      earthquake or disease goddesses to harm another tribe; or even go to
      Eurmal, the Trickster god, who's as likely to laugh in your face as
      he is to magically steal another clan's magic and make it
      temporarily your own.

      One of the most interesting activity choices you have in KoDP
      involves sending your most powerful nobles on any of two dozen
      heroquests. In good, authentically shamanistic tradition, these
      quests are trance-state attempts to recreate powerful legends, with
      the hero cast in the central role of a particular god. The gods
      don't die in the legends, but if your hero strays from the
      appropriate responses or luck is against you, the quest may turn
      sour. Success conveys a range of specific but powerful magical
      benefits upon the clan, ranging from a magical treasure that
      increases the fertility of cattle (cattle are prestige, food and
      wealth to a clan) to an automatic end to a feud, to a sudden and
      profound increase in the quester's warrior skills or other
      abilities. Failure can mean anything from earth-scorching famine to
      your neighbors' sudden hatred to the quester's death. There are many
      factors that can help or hinder the likelihood of a given quest's
      success; but despite the dangers and uncertainty, no clan that
      wishes to achieve legendary status can afford to neglect them.

      But the single most interesting feature in KoDP is the way it
      effectively becomes a different game every time its you play it.
      Yes, I know you've heard it before, but it's never been attempted on
      this scale; for KoDP tracks more than a thousand clan variables and
      more than five hundred potential plots, at least one of which is
      randomly generated nearly every season of your clan's existence.

      Some plots are one-shot situations with immediate effects, like a
      proposed marriage between members of your clan and another's which
      only requires shortterm negotiations. (Though if the marriage goes
      sour, you could end up in another plot a few years later as the
      local equivalent of divorce becomes messy.) Others create story
      threads that hibernate for long periods, only to burst into view
      many years later—like one noble I had on a ring, whose occasional,
      whimsically silly, non sequitur advice about the evil of Elves
      suddenly turned deadly serious after more than twenty years of
      excellent service, when he deliberately maimed three Elves in the
      clan woodlands, victims of his desire to force a war.

      You are always given a range of four-to-seven options in every plot
      situation that go far beyond the usual good/evil stereotypes of so-
      called "interactive" gaming. Most choices offer equally effective
      solutions to the same problems, though with different attendant
      benefits and dangers. The apparently poorest reply to a given
      situation in one game could well provide the best results in the
      next, depending upon what gods you've worship regularly, who's on
      your clan ring, your clan's wellbeing, military might and diplomatic
      relations. All this environmental richness means that you can
      effectively create a clan tailored to your desires: a bunch of
      peaceloving traders, an uproarious bunch of raiders, a group into
      landgrabbing and conquest, etc. When I suggest that any of these can
      succeed in winning the ultimate prize, I'm not hazing you.

      The interface is simplicity itself, a series of screens whose
      activities are grouped by subject. There's a help mode that explains
      each screen, a very good in-game tutorial, and a hardcover manual
      that provides a great deal of highly readable detail in a well-
      organized format.

      KoDP isn't without its flaws. The game's visuals feature colorful,
      attractive menus, but no animation—even combat is handled this way,
      via screen summaries. And while the other clans follow the same
      rules you do, it's easy to regard them as passive spectators (they
      aren't), because you seldom see the effects of their actions unless
      you're on the receiving end. There are few spies among Gloranthan
      barbarians.

      You also expect to move to a new level of difficulty when your clan
      leads others in forming a tribe—after all, you've bargained away
      tribal ring seats to reach this point, and it seems reasonable to
      expect at least a periodic tribal meet to challenge your burgeoning
      diplomatic skills. But nothing of the sort occurs. At best, when one
      of your nobles is elected tribal chieftain, a few new plots
      affecting the tribe appear; still, it's not much.

      But I'll gladly raise a drinking horn to toast the creators of such
      an original and rich game as KoDP. With variety, depth, and a Celtic
      folk soundtrack to die for, this game's a solid keeper.

      Barry Brenesal
    • Alexander G. M. Smith
      ... It s also one of the few games (if any) done with watercolour paintings! - Alex
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 3, 2006
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        roger_ducasse posted a nice review on Tue, 03 Oct 2006 11:16:48 -0000:
        > The game's visuals feature colorful, attractive menus, but no
        > animation-even combat is handled this way, via screen summaries.

        It's also one of the few games (if any) done with watercolour paintings!

        - Alex
      • roger_ducasse
        ... paintings! ... True, and thank you for the compliment, Alex. I should point out that I just came back online to comment in a new post that the one point
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 3, 2006
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          --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, "Alexander G. M. Smith"
          <agmsmith@...> wrote:
          >
          > roger_ducasse posted a nice review on Tue, 03 Oct 2006 11:16:48 -
          0000:
          > > The game's visuals feature colorful, attractive menus, but no
          > > animation-even combat is handled this way, via screen summaries.
          >
          > It's also one of the few games (if any) done with watercolour
          paintings!
          >
          > - Alex
          >

          True, and thank you for the compliment, Alex. I should point out
          that I just came back online to comment in a new post that the one
          point in my review which you zeroed in on, I no longer view as a
          flaw. Combat is the only area where the menu-driven interface seems
          to me lacking, though the vitality of the great music makes up for
          it in the short run, at least. And that's really not the fault of
          the static images or the menu-driven interface, but of the latter's
          lack of responsiveness to the player, as implemented. You make a
          very few choices, and the battle's over: you read the results.
          Otherwise, I think the lack of animation is a *good* thing. A
          little of it would have stood out from the rest, and looked odd. A
          lot would have made the budget sky high. And the artwork that's
          used is of very fine quality, indeed.

          Barry Brenesal
        • Meredith Dixon
          ... Microprose went through a phase when they did that. Pirates! Gold used paintings for all of its artwork, and Darklands used paintings for the non-combat
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 3, 2006
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            Alexander G. M. Smith wrote:

            > It's also one of the few games (if any) done with watercolour paintings!

            Microprose went through a phase when they did that. Pirates! Gold used
            paintings for all of its artwork,
            and Darklands used paintings for the non-combat artwork.



            --
            Meredith Dixon <dixonm@...>
            Check out *Raven Days* <www.ravendays.org>
            For victims and survivors of bullying at school.
            And for those who want to help.
          • murometz@aol.com
            Very true. Darklands actually uses watercolor paintings for all the in-city menu backdrops, and for all special encounters. I think the same artist did a
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 3, 2006
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              Very true. Darklands actually uses watercolor paintings for all the in-city
              menu backdrops, and for all special encounters. I think the same artist did
              a number of graphical adventures for the company.

              Barry Brenesal

              In a message dated 10/3/2006 3:05:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
              dixonm@... writes:

              Alexander G. M. Smith wrote:

              > It's also one of the few games (if any) done with watercolour paintings!

              Microprose went through a phase when they did that. Pirates! Gold used
              paintings for all of its artwork,
              and Darklands used paintings for the non-combat artwork.





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Alexander G. M. Smith
              ... Interesting trivia. I wonder what they did with the paintings when the game was finished. - Alex
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 3, 2006
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                murometz@... wrote on Tue, 3 Oct 2006 15:41:30 EDT:
                > Very true. Darklands actually uses watercolor paintings for all the in-city
                > menu backdrops, and for all special encounters. I think the same artist did
                > a number of graphical adventures for the company.
                >
                > In a message dated 10/3/2006 3:05:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                > dixonm@... writes:
                >> Microprose went through a phase when they did that. Pirates! Gold used
                >> paintings for all of its artwork, and Darklands used paintings for the
                >> non-combat artwork.

                Interesting trivia. I wonder what they did with the paintings when the
                game was finished.

                - Alex
              • dfs1962
                ... I believe the rights to the artwork staid with the artists. In turn the artists were then able to sell the original peices to anyone who wanted to buy. dfs
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, "Alexander G. M. Smith"
                  <agmsmith@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I wonder what they did with the paintings when the
                  > game was finished.

                  I believe the rights to the artwork staid with the artists.
                  In turn the artists were then able to sell the original peices to
                  anyone who wanted to buy.

                  dfs
                • MikeGamer@aol.com
                  I too still play this game. It s replayability is very high what with the choices of clan patron gods and all the multiple story threads. As you said the
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I too still play this game. It's replayability is very high what with the choices of clan patron gods and all the multiple story threads. As you said the watercolor paintaings capture the mood of a primitive, colorful tribal society just about right. Again one of those overlooked gems which the gaming industry with their focus on the twitch gamers too often miss.

                    Michael Bonkowski


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: murometz@...
                    To: KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 4:16 AM
                    Subject: [KoDP] Daily Radar review


                    Things have really gotten pretty sleepy, here. Which is sad,
                    because over the years, KoDP has remained one of the very few games
                    to maintain my interest. Add "ironic" to that, since most people
                    remain unaware KoDP even exists.

                    I notice that A-Sharp's website can no longer link to my old Daily
                    Radar review, since the online magazine was abruptly closed by its
                    owners several years ago. That being the case, I'm including a
                    considerably expanded version, here, since original constraints of
                    length no longer apply.

                    Please be aware that this review is still under copyright, meaning
                    that it is owned. If you want to quote, use, or paraphrase it
                    elsewhere, you need to get my permission. I've been plagiarised
                    before on the Web, and gotten a few people banned and one site shut
                    down, as a result. So please ask.

                    Without any further ado:

                    In a business that's obsessed with "niche," here's a game that
                    defies easy categorization: a turn-based RPG strategy title, and a
                    menu-driven simulation that puts you in detailed charge of a
                    barbarian clan.

                    King of Dragon Pass takes place on the world of Glorantha, in the
                    Runequest pen-and-paper RPG. Its clans pursue typical barbarian
                    activities: herding, farming, exploring, trading, feuding, building
                    different defenses, worshipping gods, forming alliances and raiding
                    neighbors. You're not physically represented in the game, but you
                    manage a clan ring that is, filling its seven positions with
                    disputatious nobles and commoners (chosen from more than forty
                    suitable candidates, each rated for seven unique skills, like Magic,
                    Combat and Leadership) who willingly contribute their contrasting
                    and distinctive viewpoints and advice at every opportunity.

                    Like any good, turn-based CRPG/resource management game, KoDP
                    supplies dozens of activity options and forces you to make choices:
                    two activities per season, in a five-season year. Even the simpler
                    choices may contain a subset of selections that force you to think.
                    Perhaps you need more farmers. Do you lower numbers in your other
                    clan professions like hunting and guarding, buy the services of
                    farmers away from other clans, offer farming land to passing
                    vagabonds who then join your clan, or seek farmers from the land of
                    your origins, far away? And do you offer incentives, like land, or
                    land and cattle, to gain recruits? Action fans who prefer vikings
                    endlessly hitting one another over their helmets will blanch, but
                    this spin on Celtic cultural history is really involving. It gets
                    you thinking about rulership in a way that simply ordering troops
                    from one province to another simply cannot.

                    KoDP is also set in a fantasy universe inhabited by dragons, ghosts,
                    trolls and other potential health hazards, which means swords can do
                    only so much; magic is essential. KoDP allows you to build shrines
                    or more effective temples to each of a dozen gods, who can teach or
                    perform any of more than fifty blessing (and curse) spells with an
                    appropriate sacrifice. Want to improve your chances during a raid?
                    Sacrifice regularly to one of four or five gods, and you'll have a
                    broad selection of positive effects to boost tribal battle readiness
                    available. Or perhaps you might consider sacrificing to the
                    earthquake or disease goddesses to harm another tribe; or even go to
                    Eurmal, the Trickster god, who's as likely to laugh in your face as
                    he is to magically steal another clan's magic and make it
                    temporarily your own.

                    One of the most interesting activity choices you have in KoDP
                    involves sending your most powerful nobles on any of two dozen
                    heroquests. In good, authentically shamanistic tradition, these
                    quests are trance-state attempts to recreate powerful legends, with
                    the hero cast in the central role of a particular god. The gods
                    don't die in the legends, but if your hero strays from the
                    appropriate responses or luck is against you, the quest may turn
                    sour. Success conveys a range of specific but powerful magical
                    benefits upon the clan, ranging from a magical treasure that
                    increases the fertility of cattle (cattle are prestige, food and
                    wealth to a clan) to an automatic end to a feud, to a sudden and
                    profound increase in the quester's warrior skills or other
                    abilities. Failure can mean anything from earth-scorching famine to
                    your neighbors' sudden hatred to the quester's death. There are many
                    factors that can help or hinder the likelihood of a given quest's
                    success; but despite the dangers and uncertainty, no clan that
                    wishes to achieve legendary status can afford to neglect them.

                    But the single most interesting feature in KoDP is the way it
                    effectively becomes a different game every time its you play it.
                    Yes, I know you've heard it before, but it's never been attempted on
                    this scale; for KoDP tracks more than a thousand clan variables and
                    more than five hundred potential plots, at least one of which is
                    randomly generated nearly every season of your clan's existence.

                    Some plots are one-shot situations with immediate effects, like a
                    proposed marriage between members of your clan and another's which
                    only requires shortterm negotiations. (Though if the marriage goes
                    sour, you could end up in another plot a few years later as the
                    local equivalent of divorce becomes messy.) Others create story
                    threads that hibernate for long periods, only to burst into view
                    many years later—like one noble I had on a ring, whose occasional,
                    whimsically silly, non sequitur advice about the evil of Elves
                    suddenly turned deadly serious after more than twenty years of
                    excellent service, when he deliberately maimed three Elves in the
                    clan woodlands, victims of his desire to force a war.

                    You are always given a range of four-to-seven options in every plot
                    situation that go far beyond the usual good/evil stereotypes of so-
                    called "interactive" gaming. Most choices offer equally effective
                    solutions to the same problems, though with different attendant
                    benefits and dangers. The apparently poorest reply to a given
                    situation in one game could well provide the best results in the
                    next, depending upon what gods you've worship regularly, who's on
                    your clan ring, your clan's wellbeing, military might and diplomatic
                    relations. All this environmental richness means that you can
                    effectively create a clan tailored to your desires: a bunch of
                    peaceloving traders, an uproarious bunch of raiders, a group into
                    landgrabbing and conquest, etc. When I suggest that any of these can
                    succeed in winning the ultimate prize, I'm not hazing you.

                    The interface is simplicity itself, a series of screens whose
                    activities are grouped by subject. There's a help mode that explains
                    each screen, a very good in-game tutorial, and a hardcover manual
                    that provides a great deal of highly readable detail in a well-
                    organized format.

                    KoDP isn't without its flaws. The game's visuals feature colorful,
                    attractive menus, but no animation—even combat is handled this way,
                    via screen summaries. And while the other clans follow the same
                    rules you do, it's easy to regard them as passive spectators (they
                    aren't), because you seldom see the effects of their actions unless
                    you're on the receiving end. There are few spies among Gloranthan
                    barbarians.

                    You also expect to move to a new level of difficulty when your clan
                    leads others in forming a tribe—after all, you've bargained away
                    tribal ring seats to reach this point, and it seems reasonable to
                    expect at least a periodic tribal meet to challenge your burgeoning
                    diplomatic skills. But nothing of the sort occurs. At best, when one
                    of your nobles is elected tribal chieftain, a few new plots
                    affecting the tribe appear; still, it's not much.

                    But I'll gladly raise a drinking horn to toast the creators of such
                    an original and rich game as KoDP. With variety, depth, and a Celtic
                    folk soundtrack to die for, this game's a solid keeper.

                    Barry Brenesal



                    ________________________________________________________________________
                    Check out the new AOL. Most comprehensive set of free safety and security tools, free access to millions of high-quality videos from across the web, free AOL Mail and more.


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • STEPHEN HUNT
                    And... oddly enough... its low-tech nature enhances its replayability. It was never competing with the high-end shoot-em-ups of the time that now look very
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      And... oddly enough... its low-tech nature enhances its replayability. It was never competing with the high-end shoot-em-ups of the time that now look very dated. Instead, its use of a different approach ensured it didn't age as horribly as some of those games once hailed as essential, now by comparison a bit rubbish.

                      Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                      Stephen Hunt
                      Better Red Than Dead

                      MikeGamer@... wrote:
                      I too still play this game. It's replayability is very high what with the choices of clan patron gods and all the multiple story threads. As you said the watercolor paintaings capture the mood of a primitive, colorful tribal society just about right. Again one of those overlooked gems which the gaming industry with their focus on the twitch gamers too often miss.

                      Michael Bonkowski


                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: murometz@...
                      To: KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 4:16 AM
                      Subject: [KoDP] Daily Radar review

                      Things have really gotten pretty sleepy, here. Which is sad,
                      because over the years, KoDP has remained one of the very few games
                      to maintain my interest. Add "ironic" to that, since most people
                      remain unaware KoDP even exists.

                      I notice that A-Sharp's website can no longer link to my old Daily
                      Radar review, since the online magazine was abruptly closed by its
                      owners several years ago. That being the case, I'm including a
                      considerably expanded version, here, since original constraints of
                      length no longer apply.

                      Please be aware that this review is still under copyright, meaning
                      that it is owned. If you want to quote, use, or paraphrase it
                      elsewhere, you need to get my permission. I've been plagiarised
                      before on the Web, and gotten a few people banned and one site shut
                      down, as a result. So please ask.

                      Without any further ado:

                      In a business that's obsessed with "niche," here's a game that
                      defies easy categorization: a turn-based RPG strategy title, and a
                      menu-driven simulation that puts you in detailed charge of a
                      barbarian clan.

                      King of Dragon Pass takes place on the world of Glorantha, in the
                      Runequest pen-and-paper RPG. Its clans pursue typical barbarian
                      activities: herding, farming, exploring, trading, feuding, building
                      different defenses, worshipping gods, forming alliances and raiding
                      neighbors. You're not physically represented in the game, but you
                      manage a clan ring that is, filling its seven positions with
                      disputatious nobles and commoners (chosen from more than forty
                      suitable candidates, each rated for seven unique skills, like Magic,
                      Combat and Leadership) who willingly contribute their contrasting
                      and distinctive viewpoints and advice at every opportunity.

                      Like any good, turn-based CRPG/resource management game, KoDP
                      supplies dozens of activity options and forces you to make choices:
                      two activities per season, in a five-season year. Even the simpler
                      choices may contain a subset of selections that force you to think.
                      Perhaps you need more farmers. Do you lower numbers in your other
                      clan professions like hunting and guarding, buy the services of
                      farmers away from other clans, offer farming land to passing
                      vagabonds who then join your clan, or seek farmers from the land of
                      your origins, far away? And do you offer incentives, like land, or
                      land and cattle, to gain recruits? Action fans who prefer vikings
                      endlessly hitting one another over their helmets will blanch, but
                      this spin on Celtic cultural history is really involving. It gets
                      you thinking about rulership in a way that simply ordering troops
                      from one province to another simply cannot.

                      KoDP is also set in a fantasy universe inhabited by dragons, ghosts,
                      trolls and other potential health hazards, which means swords can do
                      only so much; magic is essential. KoDP allows you to build shrines
                      or more effective temples to each of a dozen gods, who can teach or
                      perform any of more than fifty blessing (and curse) spells with an
                      appropriate sacrifice. Want to improve your chances during a raid?
                      Sacrifice regularly to one of four or five gods, and you'll have a
                      broad selection of positive effects to boost tribal battle readiness
                      available. Or perhaps you might consider sacrificing to the
                      earthquake or disease goddesses to harm another tribe; or even go to
                      Eurmal, the Trickster god, who's as likely to laugh in your face as
                      he is to magically steal another clan's magic and make it
                      temporarily your own.

                      One of the most interesting activity choices you have in KoDP
                      involves sending your most powerful nobles on any of two dozen
                      heroquests. In good, authentically shamanistic tradition, these
                      quests are trance-state attempts to recreate powerful legends, with
                      the hero cast in the central role of a particular god. The gods
                      don't die in the legends, but if your hero strays from the
                      appropriate responses or luck is against you, the quest may turn
                      sour. Success conveys a range of specific but powerful magical
                      benefits upon the clan, ranging from a magical treasure that
                      increases the fertility of cattle (cattle are prestige, food and
                      wealth to a clan) to an automatic end to a feud, to a sudden and
                      profound increase in the quester's warrior skills or other
                      abilities. Failure can mean anything from earth-scorching famine to
                      your neighbors' sudden hatred to the quester's death. There are many
                      factors that can help or hinder the likelihood of a given quest's
                      success; but despite the dangers and uncertainty, no clan that
                      wishes to achieve legendary status can afford to neglect them.

                      But the single most interesting feature in KoDP is the way it
                      effectively becomes a different game every time its you play it.
                      Yes, I know you've heard it before, but it's never been attempted on
                      this scale; for KoDP tracks more than a thousand clan variables and
                      more than five hundred potential plots, at least one of which is
                      randomly generated nearly every season of your clan's existence.

                      Some plots are one-shot situations with immediate effects, like a
                      proposed marriage between members of your clan and another's which
                      only requires shortterm negotiations. (Though if the marriage goes
                      sour, you could end up in another plot a few years later as the
                      local equivalent of divorce becomes messy.) Others create story
                      threads that hibernate for long periods, only to burst into view
                      many years later—like one noble I had on a ring, whose occasional,
                      whimsically silly, non sequitur advice about the evil of Elves
                      suddenly turned deadly serious after more than twenty years of
                      excellent service, when he deliberately maimed three Elves in the
                      clan woodlands, victims of his desire to force a war.

                      You are always given a range of four-to-seven options in every plot
                      situation that go far beyond the usual good/evil stereotypes of so-
                      called "interactive" gaming. Most choices offer equally effective
                      solutions to the same problems, though with different attendant
                      benefits and dangers. The apparently poorest reply to a given
                      situation in one game could well provide the best results in the
                      next, depending upon what gods you've worship regularly, who's on
                      your clan ring, your clan's wellbeing, military might and diplomatic
                      relations. All this environmental richness means that you can
                      effectively create a clan tailored to your desires: a bunch of
                      peaceloving traders, an uproarious bunch of raiders, a group into
                      landgrabbing and conquest, etc. When I suggest that any of these can
                      succeed in winning the ultimate prize, I'm not hazing you.

                      The interface is simplicity itself, a series of screens whose
                      activities are grouped by subject. There's a help mode that explains
                      each screen, a very good in-game tutorial, and a hardcover manual
                      that provides a great deal of highly readable detail in a well-
                      organized format.

                      KoDP isn't without its flaws. The game's visuals feature colorful,
                      attractive menus, but no animation—even combat is handled this way,
                      via screen summaries. And while the other clans follow the same
                      rules you do, it's easy to regard them as passive spectators (they
                      aren't), because you seldom see the effects of their actions unless
                      you're on the receiving end. There are few spies among Gloranthan
                      barbarians.

                      You also expect to move to a new level of difficulty when your clan
                      leads others in forming a tribe—after all, you've bargained away
                      tribal ring seats to reach this point, and it seems reasonable to
                      expect at least a periodic tribal meet to challenge your burgeoning
                      diplomatic skills. But nothing of the sort occurs. At best, when one
                      of your nobles is elected tribal chieftain, a few new plots
                      affecting the tribe appear; still, it's not much.

                      But I'll gladly raise a drinking horn to toast the creators of such
                      an original and rich game as KoDP. With variety, depth, and a Celtic
                      folk soundtrack to die for, this game's a solid keeper.

                      Barry Brenesal

                      __________________________________________________________
                      Check out the new AOL. Most comprehensive set of free safety and security tools, free access to millions of high-quality videos from across the web, free AOL Mail and more.

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                    • roger_ducasse
                      ... I suspect...no, I know that a lot of fans of that rubbish would disagree with you on that one. :D But then, the computer games industry is built, not
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, STEPHEN HUNT <chipchat@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > And... oddly enough... its low-tech nature enhances its
                        >replayability. It was never competing with the high-end
                        >shoot-em-ups of the time that now look very dated. Instead,
                        >its use of a different approach ensured it didn't age as
                        >horribly as some of those games once hailed as essential,
                        >now by comparison a bit rubbish.

                        I suspect...no, I know that a lot of fans of that rubbish would
                        disagree with you on that one. :D But then, the computer games
                        industry is built, not around games, but around the marketing of
                        games, IMO. You pre-sell a title by building it up to kiddies with
                        an endless series of teasers in the form of interviews, screenshots,
                        trailers, and lists of features (many of which will be removed
                        before release). Then, after its sold, you quickly market the next
                        set of advanced information on a game that will be even better, have
                        more of everything, and of course overwhelm the kiddies with yet eye
                        and ear candy before release. It is a quintessential quest after an
                        ever-receding rainbow's end.

                        But I do agree, and with your suggestion about KoDP's
                        replayability. There are so many different parameters you can
                        change, so many different paths you can take. It's a great time
                        waster. I have it running, now, in the background, in compromise
                        800 x 600 mode, while I transcribe an interview for work.

                        >Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game
                        >having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                        I wasn't, and still aren't. I have no interest in PnP games, or
                        game universes as such.

                        Barry B.
                      • STEPHEN HUNT
                        Probably I m being a bit harsh on the old shoot-em-ups, just used to be a games reviewer and saw too, too many that were all about shiny effects and very
                        Message 11 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
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                          Probably I'm being a bit harsh on the old shoot-em-ups, just used to be a games reviewer and saw too, too many that were all about shiny effects and very little about an intriguing or branching story. Mind, there's still plenty of games from that era that get replayed on my machine (rumours this is because my machine really could do with an upgrade from its current steam-driven incarnation may be more accurate than I wish).

                          The RQ question, I guess, was because I've been an addict of that since 1980 and so the background knowledge of all the cults and gods, etc, was already in my head, making it really easy to pick up on everything in the game. Made me wonder how easy it was for non-RQphiles to get into the game.

                          S.

                          roger_ducasse <murometz@...> wrote:
                          --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, STEPHEN HUNT <chipchat@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > And... oddly enough... its low-tech nature enhances its
                          >replayability. It was never competing with the high-end
                          >shoot-em-ups of the time that now look very dated. Instead,
                          >its use of a different approach ensured it didn't age as
                          >horribly as some of those games once hailed as essential,
                          >now by comparison a bit rubbish.

                          I suspect...no, I know that a lot of fans of that rubbish would
                          disagree with you on that one. :D But then, the computer games
                          industry is built, not around games, but around the marketing of
                          games, IMO. You pre-sell a title by building it up to kiddies with
                          an endless series of teasers in the form of interviews, screenshots,
                          trailers, and lists of features (many of which will be removed
                          before release). Then, after its sold, you quickly market the next
                          set of advanced information on a game that will be even better, have
                          more of everything, and of course overwhelm the kiddies with yet eye
                          and ear candy before release. It is a quintessential quest after an
                          ever-receding rainbow's end.

                          But I do agree, and with your suggestion about KoDP's
                          replayability. There are so many different parameters you can
                          change, so many different paths you can take. It's a great time
                          waster. I have it running, now, in the background, in compromise
                          800 x 600 mode, while I transcribe an interview for work.

                          >Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game
                          >having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                          I wasn't, and still aren't. I have no interest in PnP games, or
                          game universes as such.

                          Barry B.






                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • James Sterrett
                          ... I m another who had never seen anything of RQ or HQ before playing KoDP. It was... not always easy to grasp all the nuances. However, I found that fun;
                          Message 12 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
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                            > The RQ question, I guess, was because I've been an addict of that since 1980 and so the background knowledge of all the cults and gods, etc, was already in my head, making it really easy to pick up on everything in the game. Made me wonder how easy it was for non-RQphiles to get into the game.

                            I'm another who had never seen anything of RQ or HQ before playing KoDP.

                            It was... not always easy to grasp all the nuances. However, I found
                            that fun; the text is well written enough that it encouraged me to
                            step into another world and try to learn to "think like an Orlanthi".

                            --
                            James Sterrett
                            james.sterrett@...
                          • MikeGamer@aol.com
                            I was a Runequest fan and have played in some online chat games, Never did get to play face to face with a group which I would have liked. ... From:
                            Message 13 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              I was a Runequest fan and have played in some online chat games, Never did get to play face to face with a group which I would have liked.


                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: chipchat@...
                              To: KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 8:11 AM
                              Subject: Re: [KoDP] Daily Radar review


                              And... oddly enough... its low-tech nature enhances its replayability. It was never competing with the high-end shoot-em-ups of the time that now look very dated. Instead, its use of a different approach ensured it didn't age as horribly as some of those games once hailed as essential, now by comparison a bit rubbish.

                              Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                              Stephen Hunt
                              Better Red Than Dead

                              MikeGamer@... wrote:
                              I too still play this game. It's replayability is very high what with the choices of clan patron gods and all the multiple story threads. As you said the watercolor paintaings capture the mood of a primitive, colorful tribal society just about right. Again one of those overlooked gems which the gaming industry with their focus on the twitch gamers too often miss.

                              Michael Bonkowski

                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: murometz@...
                              To: KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 4:16 AM
                              Subject: [KoDP] Daily Radar review

                              Things have really gotten pretty sleepy, here. Which is sad,
                              because over the years, KoDP has remained one of the very few games
                              to maintain my interest. Add "ironic" to that, since most people
                              remain unaware KoDP even exists.

                              I notice that A-Sharp's website can no longer link to my old Daily
                              Radar review, since the online magazine was abruptly closed by its
                              owners several years ago. That being the case, I'm including a
                              considerably expanded version, here, since original constraints of
                              length no longer apply.

                              Please be aware that this review is still under copyright, meaning
                              that it is owned. If you want to quote, use, or paraphrase it
                              elsewhere, you need to get my permission. I've been plagiarised
                              before on the Web, and gotten a few people banned and one site shut
                              down, as a result. So please ask.

                              Without any further ado:

                              In a business that's obsessed with "niche," here's a game that
                              defies easy categorization: a turn-based RPG strategy title, and a
                              menu-driven simulation that puts you in detailed charge of a
                              barbarian clan.

                              King of Dragon Pass takes place on the world of Glorantha, in the
                              Runequest pen-and-paper RPG. Its clans pursue typical barbarian
                              activities: herding, farming, exploring, trading, feuding, building
                              different defenses, worshipping gods, forming alliances and raiding
                              neighbors. You're not physically represented in the game, but you
                              manage a clan ring that is, filling its seven positions with
                              disputatious nobles and commoners (chosen from more than forty
                              suitable candidates, each rated for seven unique skills, like Magic,
                              Combat and Leadership) who willingly contribute their contrasting
                              and distinctive viewpoints and advice at every opportunity.

                              Like any good, turn-based CRPG/resource management game, KoDP
                              supplies dozens of activity options and forces you to make choices:
                              two activities per season, in a five-season year. Even the simpler
                              choices may contain a subset of selections that force you to think.
                              Perhaps you need more farmers. Do you lower numbers in your other
                              clan professions like hunting and guarding, buy the services of
                              farmers away from other clans, offer farming land to passing
                              vagabonds who then join your clan, or seek farmers from the land of
                              your origins, far away? And do you offer incentives, like land, or
                              land and cattle, to gain recruits? Action fans who prefer vikings
                              endlessly hitting one another over their helmets will blanch, but
                              this spin on Celtic cultural history is really involving. It gets
                              you thinking about rulership in a way that simply ordering troops
                              from one province to another simply cannot.

                              KoDP is also set in a fantasy universe inhabited by dragons, ghosts,
                              trolls and other potential health hazards, which means swords can do
                              only so much; magic is essential. KoDP allows you to build shrines
                              or more effective temples to each of a dozen gods, who can teach or
                              perform any of more than fifty blessing (and curse) spells with an
                              appropriate sacrifice. Want to improve your chances during a raid?
                              Sacrifice regularly to one of four or five gods, and you'll have a
                              broad selection of positive effects to boost tribal battle readiness
                              available. Or perhaps you might consider sacrificing to the
                              earthquake or disease goddesses to harm another tribe; or even go to
                              Eurmal, the Trickster god, who's as likely to laugh in your face as
                              he is to magically steal another clan's magic and make it
                              temporarily your own.

                              One of the most interesting activity choices you have in KoDP
                              involves sending your most powerful nobles on any of two dozen
                              heroquests. In good, authentically shamanistic tradition, these
                              quests are trance-state attempts to recreate powerful legends, with
                              the hero cast in the central role of a particular god. The gods
                              don't die in the legends, but if your hero strays from the
                              appropriate responses or luck is against you, the quest may turn
                              sour. Success conveys a range of specific but powerful magical
                              benefits upon the clan, ranging from a magical treasure that
                              increases the fertility of cattle (cattle are prestige, food and
                              wealth to a clan) to an automatic end to a feud, to a sudden and
                              profound increase in the quester's warrior skills or other
                              abilities. Failure can mean anything from earth-scorching famine to
                              your neighbors' sudden hatred to the quester's death. There are many
                              factors that can help or hinder the likelihood of a given quest's
                              success; but despite the dangers and uncertainty, no clan that
                              wishes to achieve legendary status can afford to neglect them.

                              But the single most interesting feature in KoDP is the way it
                              effectively becomes a different game every time its you play it.
                              Yes, I know you've heard it before, but it's never been attempted on
                              this scale; for KoDP tracks more than a thousand clan variables and
                              more than five hundred potential plots, at least one of which is
                              randomly generated nearly every season of your clan's existence.

                              Some plots are one-shot situations with immediate effects, like a
                              proposed marriage between members of your clan and another's which
                              only requires shortterm negotiations. (Though if the marriage goes
                              sour, you could end up in another plot a few years later as the
                              local equivalent of divorce becomes messy.) Others create story
                              threads that hibernate for long periods, only to burst into view
                              many years later—like one noble I had on a ring, whose occasional,
                              whimsically silly, non sequitur advice about the evil of Elves
                              suddenly turned deadly serious after more than twenty years of
                              excellent service, when he deliberately maimed three Elves in the
                              clan woodlands, victims of his desire to force a war.

                              You are always given a range of four-to-seven options in every plot
                              situation that go far beyond the usual good/evil stereotypes of so-
                              called "interactive" gaming. Most choices offer equally effective
                              solutions to the same problems, though with different attendant
                              benefits and dangers. The apparently poorest reply to a given
                              situation in one game could well provide the best results in the
                              next, depending upon what gods you've worship regularly, who's on
                              your clan ring, your clan's wellbeing, military might and diplomatic
                              relations. All this environmental richness means that you can
                              effectively create a clan tailored to your desires: a bunch of
                              peaceloving traders, an uproarious bunch of raiders, a group into
                              landgrabbing and conquest, etc. When I suggest that any of these can
                              succeed in winning the ultimate prize, I'm not hazing you.

                              The interface is simplicity itself, a series of screens whose
                              activities are grouped by subject. There's a help mode that explains
                              each screen, a very good in-game tutorial, and a hardcover manual
                              that provides a great deal of highly readable detail in a well-
                              organized format.

                              KoDP isn't without its flaws. The game's visuals feature colorful,
                              attractive menus, but no animation—even combat is handled this way,
                              via screen summaries. And while the other clans follow the same
                              rules you do, it's easy to regard them as passive spectators (they
                              aren't), because you seldom see the effects of their actions unless
                              you're on the receiving end. There are few spies among Gloranthan
                              barbarians.

                              You also expect to move to a new level of difficulty when your clan
                              leads others in forming a tribe—after all, you've bargained away
                              tribal ring seats to reach this point, and it seems reasonable to
                              expect at least a periodic tribal meet to challenge your burgeoning
                              diplomatic skills. But nothing of the sort occurs. At best, when one
                              of your nobles is elected tribal chieftain, a few new plots
                              affecting the tribe appear; still, it's not much.

                              But I'll gladly raise a drinking horn to toast the creators of such
                              an original and rich game as KoDP. With variety, depth, and a Celtic
                              folk soundtrack to die for, this game's a solid keeper.

                              Barry Brenesal

                              __________________________________________________________
                              Check out the new AOL. Most comprehensive set of free safety and security tools, free access to millions of high-quality videos from across the web, free AOL Mail and more.

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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                            • dfs1962
                              ... having not been fans of Runequest beforehand? I was not a runequest fan. I m still not. I very much enjoyed KODP. Along with being a game that did not
                              Message 14 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
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                                --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, STEPHEN HUNT <chipchat@...>
                                wrote:
                                > Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game
                                having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                                I was not a runequest fan. I'm still not. I very much enjoyed KODP.

                                Along with being a game that did not pigeonhole into a nicely formed
                                genre, setting the game in Runequest's Glorantha instead of one of the
                                more popular tsr settings probably cost A# some sales.

                                To this day I'm convinced that if they took the same style game and
                                set it in colonial america, they could sell games to the edutainment
                                market. Now, that may not be worth their time and I understand that.

                                dfs
                              • Meredith Dixon
                                ... I knew nothing about Runequest before I started playing KoDP except that it was an RPG with a complicated magic system. I still don t know all that much
                                Message 15 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
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                                  STEPHEN HUNT wrote:
                                  > Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                                  I knew nothing about Runequest before I started playing KoDP except that it
                                  was an RPG with a complicated magic system.
                                  I still don't know all that much about it, and I've never played a game of it.

                                  --
                                  Meredith Dixon <dixonm@...>
                                  Check out *Raven Days* <www.ravendays.org>
                                  For victims and survivors of bullying at school.
                                  And for those who want to help.
                                • Alexander G. M. Smith
                                  ... I d been playing RuneQuest quite a while before KoDP, and the cults background helped. Not very oddly there are several myths that were written for KoDP
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Oct 4, 2006
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                                    STEPHEN HUNT wrote on Wed, 4 Oct 2006 16:11:23 +0100 (BST):
                                    > Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                                    I'd been playing RuneQuest quite a while before KoDP, and the cults background
                                    helped. Not very oddly there are several myths that were written for KoDP and
                                    are now leaking back into RuneQuest / Glorantha. Mostly because the myths well
                                    worn by paper and pencil players didn't cover everything so the KoDP authors
                                    had to make up the rest.

                                    - Alex
                                  • David Harper
                                    ... I d played a single session, but it never grabbed my attention. KoDP did because it was so well put-together. It would take a very good GM to do the same
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Oct 11, 2006
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                                      STEPHEN HUNT <chipchat@...>'s evil twin Skippy wrote:

                                      > Out of curiosity, how many folks out there came to this game having not been fans of Runequest beforehand?

                                      I'd played a single session, but it never grabbed my attention. KoDP
                                      did because it was so well put-together. It would take a very good GM
                                      to do the same thing with the paper and pencil version of RQ, and I
                                      doubt the plot would be anywhere close to the same; most games I've
                                      heard of involved world-spanning adventures with a few totally
                                      unrelated adventurers trying to save the world. Bit of a far cry from
                                      KoDP...although that one meeting with the 'adventurers' was a
                                      hilarious spoof.

                                      Dave
                                      "If you can cut the people off from their history,
                                      then they can be easily persuaded." -Karl Marx
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