Perspective Unlimited

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Rise of Nations

This is not a real post, but a description of a computer game that I had spent hundreds of hours playing. Actually, I was so drained after writing the piece on Economic Geography that I had decided to stop writing for a while. But then I saw this post Wurk Wurk that described what seemed to be an interesting game -Warcraft. Praise be due first, Xenoboy is one of the best writers in the Singaporean cyberspace, his prose is so beautiful that it sometimes brings a tear to my eye. I don't know whether Singaporean life is quite so dark, or it is just Xenoboy's morose style of writing.

Anyway, on the topic of computer strategy games, my game of choice is Rise of Nations. I don’t think it is too dissimilar to Warcraft (I have never played the latter, so pardon my ignorance). Like most of these strategy games, the basic idea is to build an economy in order to support an army, which then allows you to expand your territory or defend against invaders.

Instead of peons, there are only citizens in Rise of Nations. One builds the citizens, and they can be employed to farm, mine, collect wood, oil and the various resources needed to build an economy. When there is nothing to do, the citizens will just go into idle mode and sit around. Citizens are not quite so helpless. When the invaders arrive, one can garrison the citizens into forts, from which they will shoot at the enemies around them. Or, one can turn them into militia and fight off the invaders, although they are understandably not as powerful as the regular army.

The second version of the game is called Thrones and Patriots. In this version, you will have to choose your system of government. Each type of governance will give a particular advantage. A despotic government is good in building military units; socialism allows you to assimilate conquered territories faster; capitalism allows you to collect resources much faster; and democracy is best for technological advancement. You choose the type of government depending on the strategy you wish to employ.

But one has to be careful with the choice of government though, it also depends on the characteristics of your opponents. If your enemy is the Mongols for example, be warned that they usually employ the ‘rush’ strategy – attack you very early on in the game, and try to overwhelm you quickly. If you sit back and take your time to build your economy, you can get caught by the Mongol horde and it will soon be game over – “Your nation has been defeated”, damned! But if your opponents are the more peaceable sort, you do have the luxury of time to do more technology upgrades, have more social advancement, and then try to beat your opponents economically.

Admittedly, this game is a little old already. But it is still good fun. Before I forget, in all these strategy games, remember to save every now and then. You can always go back to the previous point if any thing bad happens in the game.


  • Hi Bart,

    This is interesting. Other than sharing similar interests on self-organization theories and economics, perhaps, football (and I dun know which team you support), I did not know that you like to play "Rise of Nations".

    Btw, I am still playing the game for 2 hours every week just to let off steam. During one evening in Cambridge, while playing off a group of online gamers (which two of them screamed at me when they found out that I decimated them), I was so pissed off that I nuked all other players in the game and earned a notorious reputation for saying, "Make no mistake!" :)

    By Blogger BL, at 9:25 am  

  • Hi BL,

    I support Liverpool, because they were the strongest when I started watching football in 1980s, so it got stuck. Good game last night.

    Back in Spore, I used to play with a couple of friends. I brought the game here and continued playing. To date, I have NEVER beaten the computer with the TOUGHEST level, even when I cheated by 'pausing', and reloading. I gave up about 3 months ago.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 9:48 am  

  • Hi Bart,

    I actually started watching club football when I started with my research on football managers. I see myself more as an anti-Man U fan stronger than being a Chel$ki fan. The reason I like Chelsea is because of the manager Jose Mourinho. Among all the premier league managers, he can make one substitution and the entire tempo of the game can change.

    Hmmm, back to Rise of Nations, I always play Egyptians, because it's the two wonders per city thing, so that I can lay out a beautiful stretch of wonders for my own entertainment. My success rate with the Toughest is 1 per 20 games, which is damn low. If I play toughest, I will just play military expansion.

    By Blogger BL, at 1:03 pm  

  • I prefer Starcraft, but I admit that that's at least partly due to flavour.

    By Anonymous XH, at 2:21 pm  

  • Bart,

    Good luck with the Liverpool vs Man-U game in this coming Sat. It will be great if you guys can stop them with 3 points lesser.

    By Blogger BL, at 2:24 am  

  • hi
    i dont know who u are but we have 1 thing in common
    we both like RON

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:26 am  

  • if u can give me some hints on RoN it would be very nice

    By Anonymous sudeep, at 10:29 am  

  • Quit playing, it is a waste of time.

    By Blogger Bart JP, at 12:58 pm  

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