summer and strategy

Apparently I haven’t written any posts here for almost two weeks. I suppose I should change that, shouldn’t I?

I don’t know that I can think of anything recently that’s particularly exciting, since I’m still working, taking a writing class, and corresponding with F (the young woman I’ve been texting since late February).

The night of the 4th of July wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be, but of course the next day, when I had the kitchen to myself, was the day that more people decided they wanted pizza. I managed, and I’ve heard that my hard work is appreciated, so that’s always good to hear. Days off are always nice, particularly this week – I had last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off work, worked Friday and Saturday night, and then I have three days off this week, which I just realized are about half over, since I had Sunday (for once), Monday, and Tuesday night off.

Last Tuesday I drove to campus and sat outside the classroom for several minutes before one of my classmates pointed out, as he was leaving, that there was a sign posted that class had been canceled. I had received a wake-up call from my mother that morning, which meant I was awake 45 minutes to an hour earlier than usual, and I later saw that the teacher had sent the e-mail canceling class around 8:30 that morning. Driving to campus only to find out that class was canceled was slightly frustrating, but it was nice having class canceled on a day off (even if I had trouble imagining being ill in July, as the teacher apparently was).

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned Europa Universalis 4 or the Super States mod here before, but I’ve been thinking about it lately. Europa Universalis 4 is a game from Paradox Interactive (the company that makes Crusader Kings 2) that allows one to play as any country between roughly 1444 and 1820. About a year ago, I discovered that someone had made a mod (the Super States mod) that allows you to play as a US, Mexican, or Australian state or Canadian province that somehow wound up in 1444. Now, of course, there are a few additional scenarios, but playing as a US state thrown back in time has appealed to me. I’ve thought before that it would be interesting to play a game with that mod and then write a history from “the beginning” (1444) to European contact in the late 1400s/early 1500s. European interaction with the new world would be very different if there are equally advanced states of European descent occupying the New World.

Previous ideas for writing this “history” have included Missouri (because I’m a life-long native of Missouri) and California (because it offers more interesting opportunities, like the possibility of having a navy and Pacific colonization and exploration). The creator of the mod, however, has been busy with vague “real life” issues, and has not been able to keep the mod updated for the current version of EU4, since several expansions had been released since the last mod update. However, an update for the mod was released on July 4, which unfortunately wasn’t working but did get me thinking about the interesting possibilty of a strategy game, like RISK or Diplomacy, set in the United States. Or perhaps I should say the Divided States.

Initially I thought it would be interesting to have the players playing as different states, and that led to the idea of having the players start by fighting over a particular state, uniting it, and then moving on to try uniting the States in their image. I drew a few rough maps of Midwestern states (Missouri by hand, Iowa and Nebraska on the computer) for this game, but it’s somewhat hard to do that when you’re not familiar with an area of a state and there’s not much in a region. It’s fairly easy to designate a metropolitan area as a “territory”, or to draw a shape around a town that’s obviously going to dominate an area due to having the largest population in a particular area, but beyond a certain point I feel like it would be difficult for aspiring governments to hold on to territory beyond a certain distance if they’re limited to pre-modern technology.

I’ve also been thinking about the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, probably because thinking about the Divided States and pre-modern technology reminded me of it. Lately, for some reason, I’ve been thinking it would be interesting to play in the southern US – I’ve never been east of Chicago, but lately I’ve been thinking Florida, the Carolinas, or Virginia (among other places) might be interesting to play because of the possibility of naval combat. Who doesn’t like ships, right? At the moment I’m considering a project, similar to my Chariton after-action report, for somewhere in Florida, but I don’t think I’ll start that until some time after the Horse Lords expansion is released tomorrow and the After the End mod is updated with whatever new mechanics they decide to integrate.


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