Friday, June 3, 2005


Viktory is not a game I would play of my own volition, for better or for worse. If a game is basically home-brewed by an unknown, small-time game designer/publisher, it's got to have a simple marketing hook that tells me why this is worth trying. Like Burn Rate did. Viktory's website is a bit of a mess and doesn't tell me why I should want to play if I'm past the Risk stage of my life, and it takes a long time and a lot of bolding to not say it.

But I guess they have an awesome associates program if you put a banner ad on your site. A friend got a free promo copy for this purpose. We checked it out.

Viktory is vaguely Risk meets Diplomacy, with a (very) light spicing of Settlers of Catan. Cities on the hexagonal tile based map support units, with the type of territory they are in dictating the types of units (infantry, artillery, cavalry, ships). As in Diplomacy, these units never permanently die; at the end of the turn, if you are below your quota, you just add enough back to get to your limit. You then trek around in the tried and true fashion, bashing your neighbors over the head with lots of dice.

I didn't hate Viktory (which was definitely a possibility). There are some interesting choices on where to build your cities. Judging how much force to send where is modestly interesting. The dice generate some tension.

Then again, I didn't much like it either. The big problem with this class of games is that the first person to attack usually throws the game to a third, uninvolved player who will scoop up whatever is left of the combatant parties when it's done. Viktory has tackled this problem admirably by making units recycle quickly. But, this has now generated a huge amount of inertia: because of the generally low numbers of units, if you mass the guys to take one of my cities, as a result your guys are now out of position to defend your own territory and I just take back one of your other cities. All the units lost in such an exchange now just pop back up. You sit there doing tit-for-tat stuff for ages (we ended up quitting our game, because it appeared that it could, in fact, go on forever). Unfortunately, this is then compounded by the fact that it is likely that in a 3- or 4-player game, one or two of the players will be eliminated pretty quickly, and then the last two will slug it out for ages.

Bottom line, I wouldn't play it again. In this particular genre, I liked Targui better - it at least has some flavor, while Viktory is pretty dry. If you just want to beat up on your friends for a while in good fun, it's certainly a lot less entertaining than Clash of the Gladiators or Nuclear War. It's possible that it actually isn't that much an improvement over Risk, although I will leave a definitive judgment on that count to someone who has played Risk sometime in the last 17 years. This whole category - low- complexity die-rolling empire-building multi-player free-form battle-games - is one that just doesn't have a whole lot of potential for the discriminating gamer.

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