I got today off, and that was nice. I went over to my parent’s RV and had a tasty breakfast and then went to go see the third Hobbit film. It was very entertaining. I especially liked the scene with Bard and the black arrow. I’m not giving anything away that isn’t already common knowledge for anyone who has read the book. When we last left the movie, Smaug was on his way into Laketown to punish someone, anyone. They really handled that whole sequence really well. The special effects were outstanding, and so devastating. The movie was full of emotional moments, as the story played out in almost the same fashion as it did in the book. Bilbo is the driving force behind waking Thorin from the sickness of gold he becomes infected with upon retaking Erebor. And they did a good job of portraying Thiron’s mental collapse, and his redemption. The two orcs that they set in opposition to the dwarves were quite nasty. Azog the Defiler was truly deplorable and Bolg was not much better. Very realistic and grotesque. Overall I thought it was well done. It needed to be dramatic and heartbreaking and it was. The end of the story is always a little sad. But the conclusion of the Hobbit takes us right up to the point that The Lord Of the Rings begins, with Gandalf’s arrival at Bag End for Bilbo’s 111th birthday. Still some gratuitous action scenes, but the battle itself was amazing.
An Unexpected Journey = B+
The Desolation of Smaug = B-
The Battle of the Five Armies = A-
Today I had a couple of good games of Age Of Empires III. I had the Japanese on Large California first, and that one was a hoot. The AI was the Dutch, and they were rapidly up in my business harassing me from early on. They killed the small number of troops I had milling about in age 2 and marched on my town, destroying two or three houses before I could get enough units to rally to my defense. It was dicey there for a bit. I built up about 5 -10 ashigaru musketeer and I think I had two samurai go in there and force them out. Then I noticed the entry point: a gap between to plateaus where the conduit from their base to mine was shortest and easiest to traverse. They ignored my northern trading post even though I left it undefended. It should have been destroyed, because my hold on those two posts (that, and having my shrines all producing xp instead of resources) enabled me to dump nearly all of my home city cards, save the hill fort card and the extra rice paddy shipmen, which I had decided I didn’t need. My economy be game a juggernaut around age 3, and I managed to get into age 5 by the time I had made my offensive push. I built nearly all infantry: melee with samurai and ranged with ashigaru musketeers, American riflemen and culverins. It was effective. But the enemy was not foolish, they came back at me with artillery, primarily field guns, and they smacked me around for a bit. But like I was saying, once I had all my home city shipments bought, I was left with the infinity 6 samurai card. I bought it several times, and had 15 – 20 samurai all on artillery destruction duty at the front of my gathering point. And they ripped up those field guns with ease when they came back, and sealed the advance of my units. I marched in with several culverins from the third tier export armies which also include a number of riflemen. I had two dojos producing musketeers so I imagine that by the end I had more of those than anything else. The AI surrendered after I had razed the second town center and the third of four banks. In the final score, I had been out paced on coin, but had a substantial lead on the other two. I had the military advantage, but it was only 65 – 85 units difference. I can’t remember the exact numbers. 36 minutes of gametime and the computer had accumulated 32000 coin. But they didn’t spend it on mercenaries, as I would have. All in all, a fun game.
Tomorrow I’m back to work, and I feel good about that. I like having a day of rest here and there. It doesn’t need to always be two in a row. I can do the things I like to do in just one day. Fuck, one afternoon even. I got in a game of ROTWK today and tested the program fully to see if it would crash (like it had in the past, since the last time I used the crack). It did not shut down prematurely with the new hacked .exe file I got. And I played at least three games of AOE 3 as well. My brain is happy. I had a different strategy for each match. I like that I have to invent a new way to win depending upon the opponent or map. The more the primary variables change, the more interesting I find the battle. I get to a point in some games where I know when I have to switch over to farms/mills and plantations (or rice paddies). I call this the internal economic shift, because primary resource gathering goes from hunting/mining to gathering at a slower pace at a building with infinite resources. Some maps enable a coin shift before the food shift, because there were more herds and less mines. Or some such situation. And I don’t often take the water, if there is any. I only really consider it with the European civs because their navies are so much more developed. But for the most part, if I can avoid the water, I do.
Well, I suppose that’s enough rambling for tonight. Be safe.