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February 07, 2008

Quick Jagged Alliance Update « Jagged Alliance »

Things are going quite well.
I'm about to take on the Bugs, which means I have pretty much all the cities taken now; only Grumm and the capital left.

This time, no dissatisfaction that would cause me start over. The group is a little smaller...but I've decided to let Shank live. He's way behind, but what the heck, he's not hurting anyone, right? No Thor, no Stephen, no Trever, no Fox. I'm not going to worry about getting Carlos or Miguel, either. I just don't feel like hiring any one of them and having to let them take most of the shots just to increase level/marksmanship. I'll continue trying to increase the levels of the ones I have.

But the people I do have are fun.

I went ahead and hired Conrad, just for his training ability and auto-weapons skill.

Vince is level 5, with 82 markmanship. My character is my only level 7. Everyone else is level 5 or 6.

I think (I hope) I actually finish this time. Really.

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posted by Nathan on 03:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 13, 2007

Another Jagged Alliance Download Link « Jagged Alliance »

Just what the title says.

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posted by Nathan on 09:42 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
I Restarted Again « Jagged Alliance »

Geez, I have no idea how many times I've restarted.

The point this time is to maybe try out some different Mercs.

The last few re-starts featured attempts to get Vince more quickly and not bother with Flo. It looks like the first is difficult to do, the second idea is a good one. You just waste too much time getting Flo up to speed, even as a trainer. She does eventually become equal to most of the others in level and Marksmanship, but only about the time you get to the Omerta/Meduna endgame.
Even then, she is still quite deficient in Health, Strength, Dexterity, Agility.

I think Shank may be worthless for the same reason. Dynamo is a good lock-picker, though, and picks up Marksmanship pretty quickly, so I'll let him stick around.

But I'm beginning to think it isn't worth it to recruit Miguel and Carlos. Sure, they're free...but by the time you take 5 villages, all that is left is Omerta and Meduna. Miguel is level 6, which is good, but only 88 Marksmanship. He also has good Leadership, but the village militias should already be all trained up. So what's the point. And Carlos is a Level 4 guy with Marksmanship in the high 60s and no significant redeeming strengths.

Whereas, I've learned that I like a number of different mercs. The problem is earning enough cash early in the game to have a credible force. But I've figured out how to do it.

"Freebie" mercs:
Yourself, Ira, and Maddog can all be obtained within the first 36 hours, with Dmitri by early day 3. If you get your own merc with martial arts, then he goes to San Mona to participate in the Ultimate Fighting bouts, and right after he wins one the first night, you send him down to Estoni (to increase in Level/Marksmanship on the way down, to pick up the bonus equipment like Compound 18 and bipods from Jake), and you can recruit Maddog then.

You get Vince after you get something like 30 militia trained in Cambria and a high loyalty percentage (I think 80%, but it may be 90%), usually after finding Joey in San Mona.

Then you have to stick with the hires until you can get Dynamo and Shank from Tixa.

For hires, I start off with:
Barry (need him for locks)
Igor and Buns (for combat ability while everyone else improves)
MD (To pair with Ira for training, and to give him a chance to start improving his Marksmanship early, and any healing if necessary)
Buzz (to get a longer range weapon, plus excellent combat ability, gives her an early chance to improve her atrocious Dexterity).
Buzz gets hired for one day. I used to hire Shadow and after I rescued Maria and win $15k from the bouts, I was able to extend his contract another 2 days, by which time I had enough to extend a week; by the end of the week (with a few extra Ultimate Fighting bouts and selling weapons), I could get him for long-term while still extending some of the other, cheaper mercs. But with Buzz, hiring her for one day is far cheaper than Shadow, and although I haven't done the math, it may be possible to get to the 2-week extended contract by day 2 or 3. That will just leave more cash for other hires.
I hire Igor, Barry and Buns for 1 week each; I get equipment for Buns and Barry, but Igor has to grab guns to arm himself.
With this set, there is enough to hire MD for a full 2 weeks; but it isn't worth it to purchase his equipment; you get enough med kits from Ira and the airstrip at Drassen.

As soon as possible, I hire Fox (keep her separate fro Buns!), Wolf, Spider, and Dr. Q.

Counting the freebies, that's already 14 of the 18 mercs you can have! So you can see that keeping Shank, Miguel, and Carlos fill up your slots with less useful, less fun mercs. I still haven't decided to dump Dmitri or not. His low Dexterity and forgetfulness is irritating...but his Marksmanship starts at a respectible 78, and he's good with throwing knife. I'll probably see how good he is by the time the numbers get tense.

I still want to try hiring Raven and Sidney. They have Wisdom in the high 70s, so they won't learn as fast as the others I try to hire (my original rule was: no hires of anyone with less than 85 Wisdom...but I ignored that rule for Fox because of her high Dexterity, training skill, and ambidexterity which made her deadly with two MAC-10s...but now Vince has all that, plus amazingly high Wisdom to help him rapidly overcome atrocious Marksmanship (starts in the 30s)). Their Marksmenship is good enough to not worry about their advancement speed.

That's 16.

But other mercs I want to hire include Shadow, Thor, Stephen, Colby, Danny, Victoria. I like Shadow. Danny is arrogant, but quick. Thor and Stephen are awesome, too. But that's 6 Mercs when I only have room for 2. Do I skip Sidney or Raven? Avoid Wolf? I thought of skipping Fox, just because she and Buns don't get along. Both Fox and Buns are weak, get tired easily. Buns is not as good with medical...but she starts good with guns, and is an Expert Trainer. I don't want to skip Fox because she and Wolf work well together, but thinking it through, I guess I'll have to. And then I'll have to choose one between Thor, Stephen and Colby. Victoria will probably wait to see if I want to dump Dmitri or not.

So without Fox, I can choose 3, and I guess it will be Danny, Shadow, and Thor. I'll report on who I hire as I do so. The money shouldn't be an issue, because in the last iteration, I had my Merc hires maxed out with at least 13 day contracts by Day 9. Money no longer becomes an issue at that point, because your mines outpace what you spend on contracts, especially with selling stuff and the fighting bouts. Before, money would be tight until Day 16 or so, sometimes Day 20. But I've got it worked out now. It's all about extending contracts before people level up.

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posted by Nathan on 09:17 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

July 17, 2007

"Mules" « Jagged Alliance »

Forgive me if I posted this earlier.

I don't know why some people consider Ira to be a "mule". She learns relatively quickly with her fairly high Wisdom. Any time she's not training an area, I have her working on Marksmanship, and by day 10 she usually is closing in on 80 MRK, which is dang useful. I usually give her the first long-range rifle, sniper scope, bipod, and laser sight, and then let her take lots of head-shots. That helps pump up her MRK more quickly, too. It means sacrificing the occasional long-range hit someone like Buns or Shadow could get if they had the long-range weapon, but intelligent tactics usually kills off the bad guys without taking much damage, anyway, so getting an automatic hit on long-range shots isn't necessary. Moreover, Buns and Shadow (and Igor, once he gets past 90, which can happen by day 7-8), have a good 50%+ chance on long-range shots, too, so you aren't totally foregoing the distance kill.

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posted by Nathan on 06:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2007

Jagged Alliance 2 Update, 4th of July Edition « Jagged Alliance »

I'm on day 9.
I've fought 37 battles, with 2 Bloodcat encounters.

My main guy is level 6, as is Shadow.
My team is now:
Me, Shadow, Barry, Buns, Dmitri, Fox, Dr. Q, Ira, Igor, MD, Maddog, and Spider. Wolf has been hired, but is in transit.

I forgot to tell you:
My original team was me, Shadow, Barry, Igor, and MD. Of course, I got Ira right after the first battle, then picked up Maddog pretty quickly afterwards on my first trip to Estoni. I got Dmitri a day after clearing Drassen, too, per normal. I stuck with those guys while I saved up to extend Shadow's contract. I was trying to hire Buns (whom you have to get before Fox; if you get Fox first, Buns won't work for you), but Buns was unavailable due to being "on assignment" (just a little detail the game has to increase verisimilitude and increase the challenge somewhat). So I hired Spider first. By that time, I had enough money, and had just taken Cambria so had enough income to add to it, that I was able to hire the rest in quick succession, over less than 30 hours. I'll probably stick with this crew for a while, until after I add Shank and Dynamo.

I decided to go without takes so long to get her to a good marksmanship, and despite having teaching skill, her leadership is so low that she's not much help. Her lack of strength really slows things down. Even if you work hard to get her up to 70+ Marksmanship and 30+ Leadership and 70+ Strength (which you won't get to until the game is 85% done and all you have left is Meduna), her Dexterity and Agility are still woefully lacking. On top of horrible Health. Not worth it. At least Ira has good Dexterity, adequate Leadership, and useful Medical from the beginning, to go with her horrible Marksmanship and weak Strength. Her Agility and Health are below average, yes, but not horrible. And she seems to learn faster than Flo anyway.

I don't know why people consider Ira a "mule" (only good for carrying stuff around and other non-combat functions, like healing and training). She learns to shoot well pretty fast. Load her up with a long-distance-weapon and let her have the first scope and laser sight. You won't get the easy hits you'd get by giving it to someone like Buns or Shadow, no...but it helps her improve rapidly, especially if you don't use her as a distant sniper as much as just a regular fighter, making sure you give her lots of easy 'head shots', which raise Marksmanship faster.

I haven't decided what to do with Shank yet. Let him die off quickly (like Hamous) once he arranges the gas in Estoni, or continue to try to improve him. His Wisdom is so low, and he has all the same problems of general low stats as Flo. But he is good with throwing knives, and I've had a few battles where I was able to kill the first 4-5 guys just with thrown knives (in the later stages of the last time I played, before starting over with this crowd). I didn't let Hamous die deliberately this time, and I don't think I'll let Shank die, either. I don't want to play so cold-bloodedly, and maybe he will be useful as my first real 'mule', until his Marksmanship is good enough to make knife throwing useful.

We'll see.

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posted by Nathan on 02:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 27, 2007

Thoughts on Turn-based games « Jagged Alliance »

Tangentially related to Jagged Alliance.

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posted by Nathan on 01:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

June 25, 2007

Update, 25 Jun 07 « Jagged Alliance »

The campaign is going fairly well at this point.

I foughts lots of battles on the first 2 days, but lately I've had to spend quite a bit of time building up militia, resting, and healing. I'm on day 5 now, and about ready to position all 8 Mercs (Me, Maddog, MD, Shadow, Ira, Dmitri, Barry, and Igor) for the recklessly early attack on Cambria.

As I said, I don't usually tackle Cambria until I've taken Chitzena and the Chitzena SAM. Doing that usually gets me at least several Level 6 mercs, which are thus high enough to not be surprised to the ambusher in the Cambria Hospital. This time, however, it is only barely possible to have Shadow and/or my personal merc level up that high before we get there, especially if I save it for last. The only reason I want to do that is to get Dr. Vincent earlier. It's going to be a tough challenge, to say the least.

I've had some incredible luck, however. Due to some knock-out+weapons-grab maneuvers, I managed to end up with two G3A3 assault rifles with sniper scopes. Ammo is scarce, but the sniper scopes have come in handy, making the SKSs in Shadow's and Igor's hands quite deadly.

I also already have a Rod&Spring I'm saving for my first FN-FAL, 2 sets of ceramic plates, and 2 cans of Compound 18 I'm saving for the day I get the Spectra Vests.

Did I mention I also stumbled across the Ice Cream Truck on Day 2? That makes moving around much easier. I've only used 2 of the 4 gas cans I had found so far, too. Hopefully I can rescuse Shank before I totally run out. That'll be right after Chitzena, which will be right after Cambria.

And that's where we stand.

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posted by Nathan on 02:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2007

Well, But I Can't Quite Stop Anytime I Want...I Tried « Jagged Alliance »

A discussion of gaming "addictions" by James Lileks at his blog.

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posted by Nathan on 08:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 19, 2007

More Jagged Alliance Pages « Jagged Alliance »

A review. Note: this was written in May of this year. That demonstrates the staying power of a game written a decade ago. And demonstrates that I'm not crazy. Well, at least about being a fan of JA2.

A review of a recent mod of JA2.

The mod itself, including a listing of features.

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posted by Nathan on 11:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Never Sleep (Except in the Car) « Jagged Alliance »

One interesting thing in Jagged Alliance 2:
Your characters tire the longer they are awake. But rest helps them recover. Sleep helps them recover faster.

...but they don't ever actually have to sleep. Continuing to rest for long enough time (during which they can be studying/practicing to improve an attribute) will fully replenish all energy points.

If they do happen to fall asleep because you worked them too long, you can go to the screen and click on their comatose body. They will rise wearily to their feet and sway with exhaustion...but you can then give them a study assignment which will make the most efficient use of their time.

But when traveling, you can't study anything, so you might as well let 'em sleep to get their energy up as rapidly as possible.

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posted by Nathan on 05:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 18, 2007

Jagged Alliance 2, Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Revisited « Jagged Alliance »

Well, I'm starting over again on Jagged Alliance 2.

To commemorate the event, I've decided to do two things:
1) Start blogging about Jagged Alliance in all its forms, as I play them. Currently that amounts to an extremely heavy focus on JA2, as that is the game I've played over and over (without ever finishing) since 2002. I figure, I'm not blogging much recently, maybe if I blog about something I'm interested in, it might get me to open up the blog interface and start hacking away more often. It might turn this place into KC Chiefs + Jagged Alliance 2 Central, but there are worse things I could get known for.
2) I'm going to start a section called "Jagged Alliance" in my categories to reflect this old obsession (newly re-confessed).

Anyway, JA2 is a blast.

The reason I'm starting over is because I made a mistake by not training militia in Cambria right away. As it turns out, having something like 40-50 militia trained in Cambria is a requirement for being able to recruit Dr. Vince, not just a high village loyalty, as I assumed.

Dr. Vince's best attribute is that he seems to learn marksmanship and level up very quickly. He can be deadly with two silenced Mac-10s, especially if you put laser sights (improve accuracy), barrel extenders (extend range), and spring/bars (improve cycle speed) on them.

Plus, for some reason the .45 AP ammo was really lacking, and I want to make sure I buy as much as possible from Bobby Ray's Guns as early as possible, so that Vince (and maybe Fox...not sure I'm going to use her or not) have plenty of ammo in the end game.

I've also decided not to use Flo this time...she just requires too much time to get up to speed on marksmanship, strength, leadership...and then she's still way low on agility and health. Not worth it. Shank is the same way, but I may keep him for knife throwing...there was one battle this time that MD and Wolf (levels 6 and 5, respectively) killed something like 6 guys instantly with throwing knives. I usually let Shank and Dmitri get killed off to leave room for all the mercs I like and still be able to get Miguel and Carlos after freeing 5 villages...but without Flo, I could keep at least one. I'm also not sure I want to bother with Miguel and Carlos. Carlos is all-around weak. Miguel is good, being level 6 with 85 marksmanship to start with...but by the time I've freed 5 villages, that's a little less than average. But if I try to take 5 villages more quickly, the mercs probably won't be high enough level to take the 5th (Grumm) without doing the "save/reload until you get the result you want" cheat method...which I really want to minimize if I can. You really can't avoid it early when everyone sucks...

I also want to try and take Cambria early to get Vince even earlier, if possible.

And then I'm going to have 3 guys who will be my trouble-shooter team to seek out and take on all the counter-attacks, as well as spearheading all town attacks. The main one will be my personal merc, who will make the San Mona-Estoni run several times to acquire Compound 18 (makes armor better) and other stuff, as well as level up quicker, while earning cash in the Ultimate Fighting contests. The idea is that if I can get 2-3 guys to level 6-7 quickly, they might be able to take Grumm early enough to make recruiting Miguel and Carlos worth it. Everyone else will level up more slowly (having less opportunity to get the necessary kills), but that should even up after, I hope.

Here are some links for those interested in JA2:
Main page.
Jagged Alliance Galaxy
JA2 Wiki

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posted by Nathan on 09:17 AM | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0)