Monday, April 23, 2012

Frozen Synapse shows me up.

Finding myself at a bit of a loose end I trawled through my collection of unplayed games and decided to give Frozen Synapse another go.

Frozen synapse is a highly regarded turn based tactical game using the "We-Go" system. You plan the moves of your small team while your opponent (human or AI) plans theirs. Then you press a button called Prime and both sets of moves are simultaneously executed. Frozen Synapse scores over previous "We-Go" games in allowing you to predict your opponents moves and play out the resulting scenarios in full before pressing the Prime. It removes all elements of chance and allows you to accurately predict what will happen if: "Will he get caught in the splash from my rocket if he walks towards that room?"   / "Will I be able to shoot him first if he tries to come around that corner?" and questions like that. 

The game is very well made has a good single player campaign and excellent multi-player support. I like puzzle games and I like games with a bit of strategy but I completely suck at Frozen Synapse. Completely.

I know why too.

I quite enjoy planning my own moves but I seem to lack the patience to factor in the other guy. I get all excited about my own plans and strategies but forget to take their possible moves into account. When I try to force myself to do so I generally make a few half hearted attempts before shouting  "ah screw it" and hitting the Prime button. Invariably my predictions turn our wrong and I am annihilated.

I am pretty sure that this reluctance to think through what the other guy might do is a fairly deep seated personality trait rather than just a lazy approach to one game. On several occasions over the years I have tried to learn chess and I have always come up against the same blockage. I head off on wild flights of tactical fancy completely ignoring the actions of my opponent. I have long recognised the problem too. At one stage I tried to force myself to abandon my own plans and instead meticulously analyse every possible move my opponent could make and react accordingly. This resulted in uninspired reactive gameplay but it says much that I actually did better taking this cautious approach.

Needless to say this inability to factor in the other guys moves doesn't bode well for pvp games where my opponents are unpredictable humans.

6 comments:

Tesh said...

This is the part where the learning curve is most crucial, yes. I'm still climbing that curve, but I do like it still. I still like Chess, too, though I find that most of the time when I'm gaming I want something that I can just cruise through.

FS makes for good PvP when I'm in the mood, though.

mbp said...

Do you think if I stick with it I'll get better Tesh? I have started the game quite few times but I still seem to get bogged down at the same point.

Azuriel said...

Ha. I'm slogging through Frozen Synapse too, at the moment. "Slogging" because I hated the game when I first tried playing it, and although I have gotten much better in the mean time, I still don't like it all that much. I'm convinced the ~10 seconds inbetween turns is entirely superfluous, bad coding on the (indie) dev's part, and I dislike any game in which you can go from a strong position to instant defeat in the span of 1 move.

Tesh said...

Y'know, I'm not sure about getting better. I'd like to think that it's always possible to get better, but at the same time, sometimes things just don't click for me for one reason or another. Maybe it's just because I don't spend enough time in it, or because I don't look at it the right way... lack of experience in one way or another.

I like pushing myself to develop new skills, but I do think that at some point games especially cross the line into "not worth bothering" territory, if only because I could be developing skills with wider real world application. I play games to have fun and learn a bit. Once I stop learning or the pace slows greatly, it really does stop being fun, and I don't mind moving on. That's not always the game's failure, sometimes it's mine... but either way, I figure it's OK to move on. It's just a game.

Cap'n John said...

I'm reminded of when a friend and I multi-played WH40K:Chaos Gate, and I played the same way against him as I did against the computer AI. That is I moved each of my Space Marines a few squares then put them all on Overwatch.

On his turn my friend began moving his units, and as he walked each into LOS of my Overwatch units he was gunned down with no opportunity to return fire. It was a short game, to say the least, and although I won, I found my victory ringing somewhat hollow.

mbp said...

Well I have more or less given up again. This is probably the fourth or fifth time I tried to get into the game without success. Probably time to write it off as a loss.