Review | 2023.01.14

Tiny Tina Wonderlands photo mode sniper

Maybe not all the genres, but FPS, 4X, tabletop, and a meme game are a good sampling.
Spacivilization (Stellaris)

Stellaris Reddit meme eat the envoys

Since /r/stellaris is often on Reddit's default front page with funny posts, I thought I'd give it a go (Steam sale). Civ made #3 on my all-time list and Stellaris seemed to have many of the same 4X elements. Long ago I played Sins of a Solar Empire and appreciated the scale of the game while feeling it largely suffered under its own weight for playability.

Stellaris Jehetma Dominion civilization select

There are a bunch of unique civilizations in the main game and lots more available via DLC. Similar to Civ, each faction has default strengths and preferred government policies.

Stellaris game details setup screen

The game creation screen is also familiar. I went with a small galaxy to minimize clicking.

Stellaris star base fleet corvette

Defense comes in the form of starships, in Stellaris you build a variety of (tech-gated) warships and assign them to fleets. Fleets can have rules of engagement, admirals, and user-defined ship designs (shields vs hull and a variety of weapon types). Cobbling together ship designs is awesome though I wonder how useful it is (unless you know you have a primary opponent whose ships are weak to specific weapons).

Stellaris events Comet Sighted

Stellaris has random narrative events that often provide resource rewards or objectives. Since 4X games are basically a sandbox, it's neat to have narrative elements (that are sometimes funny or cultural references). Alas, I found that they pop up far too frequently. They're not a nuisance, they just feel more like an income source than a neat find.

Stellaris colony ship human Stellaris systems sector map Stellaris galaxy civilizations Urzo Earth Shantar Hathgum

In Civ II, the dominant strategy was to build cities every fourth-ish tile. So the clicks per turn got really bad. Subsequent games penalized overdevelopment/overpopulation by increasing city size and having science and culture output normalized by population. Stellaris provides its own natural growth threshold by limiting the number of habitable planets. And since Stellaris has aliens, everyone has their own suite of environment needs and technology to terraform inhospitable planets.

Stellaris planet window Earth buildings governor

Having just a handful of habitable colonies means you don't have too many planet management screens. But planet management is important to keeping your colonies happy and growing.

Stellaris Hillos Wormhole Stellaris Eye of Hawking

The Stellaris galaxy has some neat scenery.

Stellaris space squids Stellaris first contact alien vessel Stellaris contact alien Star Trek Tamarian Stellaris excavation message in a bottle

First contact in Stellaris is kind of like Civ except that sometimes you find space whales or primitive civilizations.

Stellaris fleet combat battle Stellaris squid whale combat outliner

Combat is pretty. From a distance you see lasers and contrails, you can zoom in and watch ships chase each other in circles. The tactics are all left to the game, user input amounts to fleet size and makeup.

Stellaris archaeological project combat 4x

"Wait a tic, is this game turn-based or real time?" It's real time with frequent/automatic pauses. It works. The pausing is necessary since there's so much to read and click. Nondiscrete time allows for a more fluid pipeline of events.

Stellaris trade Urzo Dynastic Union Stellaris Galactic Union UN proposals

Stellaris has the usual 4x elements of trade, diplomacy, and denouncing frenemies.

Final thoughts

Since it's no longer xmas break, I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to resume my game (or start a new one now that I have some idea of what's going on). Though I have limited seat time, I suspect Stellaris has the "4x doldum" period where in the mid-game you are trying to simultaneously:
This was pretty common in Civ and Sins. It's an un-fun period that sometimes doesn't happen but often does.
Gunfire

thumbnail Gunfire Reborn squad thumbnail Gunfire Reborn squad Elite Beetle thumbnail Gunfire Reborn squad scope ads thumbnail Gunfire Reborn dog load screen
thumbnail Gunfire Reborn squad Anxi Desert

The lolbaters squad played some Gunfire.
Gloom

Gloomhaven Elder Drake invisible low hp Gloomhaven Vermling Nest bear

A Party Has No Name killed a challenging elder drake and a bunch of squishy vermlings.
Come See My Hole

Come See My Hole stars clouds moon Come See My Hole trees stars Milky Way

The lolbaters meme game this xmas was Come See My Hole.
Wonderlands mop-up

thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands cannon attendant thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Sunfang Oasis load screen thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Sunfang Oasis waterfall thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Blank Slate armor
thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands witch doctor cannon ghost ship life aquatic thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Sentinel Aphris snake thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Chaos Chamber
thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Rude Alex thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Joyful Roy ADS sniper
thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Short Cullis

Me and J finished the Wonderlands sidequests and a few rounds of the Chaos Chamber. My favorite part was how visibly angry J became with the "The Ditcher" questline. He's a huge Witcher fan and practically ragequit over the Wonderlands parody character being written as a smug a-hole.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands Stop Habitually Reloading ring
No u.
Next

Elder Scrolls Online content flowchart 2023 Reddit

We grabbed ESO and a few other games, but have moved to The Ascent (more on this in another post). I did watch a quick ESO vid, here are my notes:
Elden Ring/Amogus/Moment of Zen

Elden Ring Among Us Reddit DLC map
Source. From OP: "Has anyone noticed this? This is the shape you get when you draw it. Future dlc location?"

GreyGanado GreyGanado Goatse: gen x and millennials

Dickbutt: millennials and gen z

Among Us s: The future is now old man.



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