It’s a Tower Defense Tuesday: Incursion 1 & 2

Since Clicker Heroes isn’t exactly a game that you actively play (at least not for more than a few minutes at a time), I’ve run through both of the Incursion Tower Defense games.

I’m not sure how I feel about them. I mean, I enjoy them, but they don’t bring anything new to the table. Yet despite not bringing anything new to the table, for the most part they are able to synthesize the pieces they borrow from into something that’s colorful and entertaining.

I’ll go right out and say “they’re no Kingdom Rush”, but the elements that are borrowed from Kingdom Rush are a big part of what makes them enjoyable.

It uses the common rock-paper-scissors mechanic that is similar to Cursed Treasure, with archers (light), soldiers (heavy), and mages (magic, duh), with light attacks being strong against magic armor, heavy attacks strong against light armor, and magic attacks strong against heavy armor. The most striking difference between Incursion and Cursed Treasure (towers only, no ‘units’) or Kingdom Frontier (towers and ‘units’) is that, like Demon Rift, towers ONLY create units. Unlike Demon Rift, however, towers can create mixed units (one tower can have an archer, a mage and a soldier, though there are disadvantages to that approach; archers & mages are terrible in melee until they reach high levels, so you want to keep them off the roads, usually too far away for any soldier grouped with them to auto-engage).

The difficulty of having your mages and archers being physical units rather than a tower is, like your soldiers, they can be killed. This is a particularly bad problem with the first game; since you couldn’t set target priorities, all units would attack the enemy farthers along the route, regardless of what was happening around or to the unit. Therefore, the most frustrating enemies were the archers, who would pick off your guys who were fighting against baddies further along the path, and Necromancers, who would continuously raise skeletons who gave you no money and would prevent you from ever getting to the Necromancer unless you mucked around with your deployment flags. Fortunately, this was fixed in the second game, which makes it a much easier and less frustrating experience.

The second game gives you a couple unique characters to play with, which also really helps in dealing with those obnoxious enemy archers and spellcasters. So much so that the fact that you can specifically target enemies with any of your troops doesn’t come into play nearly as much. The heroes (particularly when you’re given two) make things pretty dynamic.

The cool thing about the Incursion games is that each level has a unique thing going on, whether it’s an ally with a strange or difficult method of activation or an element of chaos, some monster who will kill everyone around it willy-nilly regardless of whether it’s your guy or a bad guy.

The look is similar to Kingdom Rush (one might go so far as to say a “borrowed aesthetic), which isn’t a bad thing. It plays similarly, though perhaps less frenetic. There’s kind of a strange difficulty curve in second game, where the middle few levels are extremely difficult, while the last few levels are fairly easy (last two levels I got perfects on the first try). The goblin chaingun IS gamebreaking and you WILL get a perfect against the final level if you stock up a couple of them. You might find yourself frustrated by how much slower you’re upgrading things (you are essentially having to upgrade 3 different towers per location), but it’s an understandable game balance issue. You’ll eventually figure out that a bare minimum of soldiers in the right places combined with as many ranged units as possible tends to work out best. At least in the second one. I might need to give the first one another go and test things. I feel like the first game had more waves of quick moving medium health regenerating monsters that had to be stopped, while the second one focused more on slow high HP high damage giants with a range of abilities. You needed lots of troops to slow down the former, while it was best to stay out of the latter’s way and just wizard zap and arrow them.

I won’t say that the Incursion games are my favorite TDs, but if you enjoyed either Kingdom Rush or Cursed Treasure, they’re worth checking out.  You can play both for free on Kongregate.

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Doxxing, Dwarf Fortress, and Defense via Towers

What broke this little girl so badly that she felt that the best thing she could do to help feminism was to send highly specific and threatening messages to some man on the internet she’d never met?

At least this story has a happy ending and maybe she learned something.

Also, Joss Whedon thinks you’re a Klansman.

Joss whedon

In  non GG news, I reinstalled Dwarf Fortress to mess around with for the first time in three or four years. The main thing I noticed was that it felt even more unplayable than before. Now, when I used to play it with a bit more regularity, while I was never able to do the weird crazy stuff I’ve seen where people make awesome traps and dwarf-robotics to protect the fort, I was always at least able to make a functional fortress where dwarves went about their lives and works for a few years until finally more goblins showed up than I could handle.

The Mirror of Keys, however, did not fare near as well as any of my older forts. For whatever reason, i could not grow enough food (apparently wild vegetables and fruit aren’t food, either?), and no matter what I toggled, my dwarves would just let things lay where they died on the floor of the fort. Animals from cats to large hoofstock would meander aimlessly and hungry until they died from starvation. No dwarf would touch a carcass to butcher it. Even animals flagged for slaughter merely wandered until they died, lost in the mines, because none of my dwarves felt like occupying the butcher shop for half a minute to actually chop anything up.

Starving animals turned to rotting carcasses turned to piles of bone, all going unmoved, untouched.

Most Dwarf Fortresses only get to experience one death. Because the game crashed, Mirror of Keys got to experience two.

First off, I got a warning message telling me to hide because the dead walked. Only two years into my fort’s history, a giant horde of undead (upwards of 50!) came flooding across the land lead by a dwarven necromancer. It did not take long for them to stream down my entry-hall, overrun the garrison squad, and slaughter my dwarves to a man. I was down to one last dwarf-child hiding in the crypts when the game froze up and crashed, taking me back to my previous save state.

The second death of Mirror of Keys was far more ignominious. The fort had tremendous wealth of gold and could theoretically buy its way to food security. When elves showed up, I brought up a bunch of gold and bought ever unit of foodstuff that the elves had with them. Somehow it was no use. Though they had the crops, they would not plant them. Though they had the food, they would not cook it. The fortress sunk, a mere 2 months after buying TONS of foodstuff from the elves, the Dwarves took to eating vermin and each other. Those who tried cannibalism were killed. Those who did not starved in short order.

I just don’t understand how, despite my previous semi-successes, I just could NOT keep my fortress fed nor could I get the dwarves to clean up after themselves.

Even though i love dwarf fortress in concept, it’s not something I can just keep coming back to.

Meantime, I’ve been playing Kingdom Rush, which has been feeding my occassional deep-seated need to play some medieval-themed Tower Defense.

I love the infantry concept, something that you don’t really see in a lot of tower defense games, which adds a bit of RTS strategy to it. Infantry do damage to the enemies they engage with, but, more importantly, they also slow them down to give the shooting towers more time to shoot at them. This makes the reinforcements tactic a very interesting part of the game. Once every 10 seconds, you can drop a pair of conscripts anywhere along the path. Usually (unless you’ve taken a lot of upgrades), they get taken out pretty fast, but they can make all the difference against a particuarly fast-moving mob, buying just enough time for a tower to take them out. Additionally, I like how you can change the deployment location of your troops within a certain radius of your baracks. Things not going well on one end of the road? Move your rally point to the other end of the path. The mob has to move past more of your shooting towers only to be met again by a squadron of your troops.

Anyway, I’m about half-way through and been digging the hell out of it.