Category Archives: Ronald Recommends

Ronald Recommends: “Pathfinder: Kingmaker”!

There is a computer RPG that is getting growing praise and is being compared to the greats of the past such as Baldur’s Gate and the original Fallouts of the late 1990s and early 2000s. After a buggy launch, the first computer RPG based on the Pathfinder ruleset is now in a more-or-less stable state and it is currently on sale at 20% off!

Why to get it:

  • It is being compared to classic isometric party-based RPGs of the past such as Baldur’s Gate in terms of the quality of its story, NPCs, and for the consequences of your decisions.
  • The sheer number of options you have to make your character. It is based on the Pathfinder RPG ruleset: its 13 classes come with 3 archetypes each, and you still have many of Pathfinder’s feats, spells, and gear that make building your character a game in itself. The ability to customize characters is far greater than what you find in any other computer RPG of the past 10 to 15 years. While you can make only your own character by default and recruit pre-made NPCs, you can forego the NPCs and fill out your party with custom characters if you hire mercenaries. You can see the character creation in action at this video.
  • You get to RUN A KINGDOM!
  • They are planning expansions including an “Endless Dungeon” mode, and adding tieflings and the kineticist class.
  • If this is successful, we will see more computer games using Pathfinder RPG!

The Steam reviews are mixed, but for two reasons that I don’t really care about:

  • The difficulty. The majority of gamers are not aware of Pathfinder rules or aren’t expecting the design philosophy of this game, where the “Normal” difficulty setting is actually pretty hard and requires real effort to win! This game hearkens back to classic computer RPGs from the 1990s like Baldur’s Gate and Fallout 1 & 2 in terms of having to think, be creative (and reload!) to get through tough spots.
  • The bugs. This game’s state upon release was super-buggy and unfinishable. But the game is now more stable and the programmers have been putting a lot of effort in supporting the game.

Here is the best review of the game I’ve found that conveys what I like about this game.

And a balanced video review from early in the game’s release when it was buggier

So get it! Ronald Recommends!

-The Grandmaster

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Posted by on November 24, 2018 in Ronald Recommends, Uncategorized


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Ronald Recommends: Faster Than Light (FTL)!

You like tabletop RPGs,
And I do, too.
Since these games please me,
They might please you.

First in the “Ronald Recommends” series, this is not the first time where I wax eloquent about a game YOU ALL MUST PLAY. Today I extol the virtues of FTL: Faster than Light, an indie game that is 75% off on Steam until July 5 and only costs $2.49. It also available on iPads. GET IT NOW!

The premise of the game is what I like to call “Star Wars in reverse”: you have vital information that you must smuggle through hostile space, but you work for the Federation and the people hunting you are the Rebels.

You focus on managing your ship and crew, as you encounter aliens and random encounters along the way. You must make decisions as to how to deal with mysterious abandoned vessels, or offers for trade. But the main gameplay consists in BATTLES. Many, many battles. And with Rebels and pirates who get progressively harder as you reach your destination.

You will need to make decisions like whether to focus power in your weapons or your shields, or for your engines for a quick getaway! Or open and close doors to deny oxygen to fires that have started on your ship to keep them from spreading, or to deal with hostile aliens who have boarded your ship!

As with tabletop RPGs, you get to grow more powerful over time. Here, your spaceship is your “character” — you get to outfit it with better armor and weapons. Your ship has engines, shields, weapons, doors, sensors, cloaking devices, and a reactor that powers all of these subsystems. You get to spend “scrap” (the currency of the galaxy) to make improvements to your ship. One improvement is to add robotic drones to defend your ship, attack other ships, repair . You also get to find (and lose!) crew members due to the dangers of space. There are many other things you can add, including teleporting systems to send your crew over into hostile ships as boarding actions!

So who will like this game? People who like a CHALLENGE — the game does not let you go back to a previous save, so consequences are PERMANENT. It forces you to think about your strategies and how to optimize against various perils you will face; and how best to defend against a wide variety of dangers. You will like this game if you enjoy learning through trial and error, hard work, and eventually vanquishing a worthy foe. You will also like this game if you’ve ever wanted to think of yourself as captain of a starship,

Who will not like this game? You will not like this game if you don’t like managing a lot of elements. You are juggling a LOT of plates: it can be frustrating to focus on protecting your ship from hostile fire and finding a way to penetrate three layers of shields, only to find that you neglected a breach in your hull that caused your ship to lose all its oxygen. Thankfully, you are able to pause the game at any point to reflect over your decisions, and in fact the game assumes that you do. (Only true masters are able to play without pausing the game.) Also, this is not a lore heavy “Star Trek” exploration experience. The core of the gameplay is improving your ship and overcoming increasingly difficult battleships.

Here is a YouTube review of FTL if you want a video review. (Great review, but I disagree with it being “a little too luck based,” as skilled players can consistently beat the game.)

That’s it for now! And I assure you this won’t be the last thing that “Ronald Recommends”!

-The Grandmaster

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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Ronald Recommends