Tag Archives: Civilization 3

December 2008: Some Comments

31 Dec

Books

  • Jo Beverley – Christmas Angel
  • Suzanne Brockmann – Body Language
  • Kristin Hardy – Bad Behaviour
  • Kristin Hardy – Hot Moves
  • Julie James – Just the Sexiest Man Alive

beverley-jo-christmas-angelJo Beverley – Christmas Angel

A marriage of convenience
This is book # 3 in the “Company of Rogues” series and while some of the characters from the previous novels appear 1) they are actually integral to the story and 2) Christmas Angel is well able to stand on its own. It’s the story of Leander, Earl of Charrington, who “wants a home, a wife and a good old-fashioned English Christmas.” Thanks to the marriage of his parents, he’s afraid to fall in love – he honestly believes he just can’t – and so he looks for a sensible wife who isn’t likely to fall in love with him either. Enter Judith Rossiter, a impoverished widow with two young children. She has a reputation for having loved her late husband a lot and after his death, she is known as the “Weeping Widow.” Judith can’t turn down Leander’s proposal for the sake of her children, and they enter into a marriage of convenience.
I enjoyed reading how the characters adjusted to each other. Leander is a few years younger than Judith for example (not much of an issue but I liked it), and Judith worries about doing the right thing. After all, marriage means giving someone a lot of power over herself and her children. I liked this part of the story the most. Later, the focus shifts to the mystery surrounding Leander’s inheritance, and there are more revelations about Judith’s poet husband. But despite the title, it’s only at the end that the “Christmas spirit” invades the story a bit much.

Grade: 4 / 5

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brockmann-suzanne-body-languageSuzanne Brockmann – Body Language

Friends-turned-lovers
I bought this one because I liked Kiss and Tell. It’s a friends-turned-lovers story and it’s quite sweet. If there is one drawback, it’s that both characters are actually in love before the story starts. One of them for years, while the other realized it only recently. So the realization part is actually over before the story starts. But there are still quite a few awh!-moments to be had because before Clint can say anything, Sandy tells him she’s in love with someone (figuring she would always just be seen as a good friend by Clint). He agrees to help her get that man, wanting the best for her, and so he teaches her about body language. There are quite a few fun scenes and despite Clint being and expert on body language, the mis-communications continue. At the end, they got a bit much and I wondered why they didn’t talk about what was happening. I mean, they ruined their friendship with pretending to be lovers and I don’t think they once voiced concerns about the potential for that when they got into it. But all in all, a good and nice read.

Grade: 4 / 5

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hardy-kristin-bad-behaviourKristin Hardy – Bad Behaviour

Second chance at love
This is the sixth and the last book in the mini-series “Sex and the Supper Club” by Kristin Hardy about six girlfriends making their way in life and finding love. Delaney Phillips held out the longest of the women, always on the lookout for fun and leaving the men before it could get ugly or hurtful. On a vacation, she meets her first boyfriend, Dom Gordon, by accident (and you could make the case that her way to deal with men comes in part from that time). They spent a few wonderful days full of fun and sex, and for Delaney, that’s all that it is supposed to be. But Dom, even though he has a lot on his plate with his expanding business, doesn’t want it to end just like that, so after some time, they resume their affair again back home.
This was a fun read. I probably liked it a bit less than Hot Moves but this could easily have to do with the fact that I read them both on the same day and Hot Moves was the first that I read. Incidentally, the heroines are nearly opposites in the way they deal with men. Delaney, always the one to leave, and Thea, the heroine from Hot Moves, always the one unable to leave.

Grade: 4 / 5

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hardy-kristin-hot-movesKristin Hardy – Hot Moves

A one-night stand turned into something more
This is the fifth entry in Kristin Hardy’s “Sex and the Supper Club.” As always, the other women of the “Sex and Supper Club” are part of the story, but it’s not like you need to have read the previous novels to read this one. Thea just turned thirty and her one wish is for her to get her life back on track. She worked as a model in her past but something happened in New York, and she turned her back on that life and now works “Mcjobs” to keep her occupied even though she doesn’t need the money. A call from a friend leads her to Portland to help that friend with her dance studio. Dancing was the first and is now the only passion of Thea’s life. There she meets Brady and – totally blown away by the instant attraction between them – she has a one-night stand. Only, Brady doesn’t see it that way, for that it was way too good. But there is something in Thea’s past that made her swear off men – she has a clean record of always picking the wrong man and Brady shows all the signs to be one of those controlling assholes.
I really liked this story. Their first meeting and their instant attraction – very good. And despite the short page count, there was enough room to deal with Thea’s issues with men in an satisfying way.

Grade: 4 / 5

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james-julie-just-the-sexiest-man-aliveJulie James – Just The Sexiest Man Alive

Lawyer meets movie star
Overall, I liked this story. I had a few problems with Taylor. Her sarcasm seemed too forced at times and in general, I felt there was a bit too much “nudge-nudge, look-look” going on with Taylor’s character (especially for the first half). I also wondered a bit about her willingness (and having the time) to be seen repeatedly with several celebrities when she’s in trail.
That said, I loved the beginning of the novel. The cross-examination scene of Jason is great. Taylor’s reluctance to be impressed by Jason was understandable – she had already done the womanizing-man thing, so no. I thought the middle part a bit sagging and off. But the last few chapters, reminiscent of Notting Hill IMO, made up for that. Jason’s line, “Not this time, Taylor. No sarcasm.” Awwh.

Grade: 3,5 / 5 (for the sagging middle part)

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Comments planned*:
– Ann Aguirre – Grimspace
– Lisa Kleypas – Devil in Winter
– Sherry Thomas – Private Arrangements
– and look at this:

laurens-stephanie-a-secret-love_draft

Stephanie Laurens – A Secret Love – draft written on December, 4!

If A Secret Love wouldn’t be a re-read, I probably would need to read it again to finish writing that draft.

* We’ll see how that turns out!

Games

Shadow Hearts: From the New World (PS2)

see: Currently Playing: “Shadow Hearts – From the New World”

~ * ~

Civilization 3

Yes, I’m trying for a Deity game in Civ 3. So far, no chance because I don’t even manage to get a decent starting location. I have started over 10 games now and I always – always – end up with the worst starting location for my civilization compared to the AI’s starting locations. No water, no iron, no luxury in my immediate surroundings. I play til the Middle Ages come around and then I’m so ticked off that I quit and start new. I mean, is it too much to ask for at least a decent starting location and not the worst when I’m already heavily handicapped on this difficulty level? Bah!

~ * ~

Titan Quest

Finished this game on the first difficulty level. I don’t think I’ll play the other two. I liked it but (at the moment) I don’t want to take the time to really get into it like I did with the similar Diablo 2. Titan Quest is more comfortable in the gameplay than Diablo 2 (it’s also not as “old”) but something is missing. I don’t know. My Grade would probably be 4/5 or 4+/5.

Also:

titan-quest-next-difficulty-level

For all my troubles I just get this measly info window informing me I made the next difficulty level?
Meh!

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Currently Playing: Civilization 3 (PC) Again

11 Dec

I guess the fact that I finally finished Diablo 2 with my screwed up amazon character reawakened my old dream for Civilization 3: beating it on Deity difficulty (the highest difficulty level of the original game).

Sunday evening, I sat down to play. I started a game on Emperor difficulty, the fifth highest difficulty level. Back when I last tried becoming good enough to beat Civ 3 on Deity difficulty, I was fairly comfortable on that level. I didn’t always win, but I knew what to do and had my chances.

So, a game on Emperor. I choose to play the Ottomans. They have a good Unique Unit and I like their civ traits.

This is the game one turn after I founded my second city, the other civs have at least four already:*

second-city-1950-bc

I’m orange, the Sumerians are teal, the Mayan are blue, and the Chinese are rose. The white spots mark the places of the future cities (this picture and the two following are taken from after the game; I didn’t think to take screen shots).

The Sumer bothered my a lot, so in 1450 I declared war on them (this was Tuesday evening). This is what the map looked like then:*

war-declared

This is after I made peace in 1530. The Sumer (teal color) had lost four cities, and I not only had caught up to the other civs, I had a slight lead. Things were finally looking better and I decided to stop for the night:*

peace

I picked it up this evening (Wednesday, that is). I consolidated my tech lead and settled down for an easy space race victory. This is 1760:

looking-good

One turn later (one hour ago):

ups

OUCH!

(How could I be so stupid to forget that possibility?!?)

* pictures from after the game

Project Of The Month: Civ III On Deity – Final Notes

30 Nov

What I did:

  • I started a fair number of games on Deity difficulty setting, around 2-3 each week
  • I created even more starting positions, around 5-10 for each game started
  • of all the games started, only one made it into the Middle Ages (France, posted about it earlier); all the other were abandoned due to be even more unlucky with resources than in the game with France

Lessons?

  • Deity difficulty doesn’t like me. After I reveal a bit of the map, it always turns out that most of the AI civs have better starting positions or at least better surrounding terrain than my own civ. So it should be possible to get something good for my civ, too
  • I need to work on my warring skills – a lot. Not that I was involved in wars in my games on Deity difficulty (for that I didn’t play long enough), but with my “special charm” regarding resources the key to get them is by war. So – I started an “Always War” game on Regent difficulty (the link is to the first “Always War” game ever played on the Civilization III Succession Games Forum, back in March 2002) this Monday to overcome my tendency to wait and wait I don’t know for what ’til it’s too late. It’s coming along quite well (= I don’t think I’ll lose). But then, there are players that win this variant regularly on Deity difficulty …

Final thoughts?

  • maybe I should get back to my France game. After all, it was my longest game and at least I had two extra furs which I could use to trade with the AI
  • One day I’ll win Civilization III on Deity difficulty. I just have to work on my starting moves and my warring skills

That, and finally getting lucky with resources …

Week In Review: November 2005, 4

27 Nov

I really am in a slump at the moment. Again, there is not much to tell. Okay, here goes:
Reading:

  • ?

Gaming:

  • I played some Disgaea and went nuts on the map 9-1. Result: all character with a 3×3 area attack (or something similar like the spear skill “Asteroid Drop”) are now around level 75-80. More levels are possible, but I went nuts and you can only go nuts for so long before you get really nuts.
  • I started a few games on Civ III’s Deity difficulty and quit them all due to lack of resources (strategic and luxury). Why is it that all the starting positions of the AI’s have at least some resources near them and I haven’t? Give the human player a starting position with no resources around – is this something coded for that difficulty level? It sure seems like that to me.

What I didn’t do:

  • write a review of Jo Beverley’s The Shattered Rose.