Thursday, March 18, 2010

Solium Infernum Beginner's Guide (Part Four: Orders)

If you haven't downloaded the demo, please do so here, and start with part onepart two, and part three  of this guide.

Okay, if you're seeing the inner game frame on your screen, press "X" in the upper right-hand corner of that frame to close it, and you'll be at the larger, outer frame. Here's what it looks like:

That screenshot doesn't quite do the game justice, because it's not as sharp as the game looks, but it gives you a general idea of what the frame looks like. The game is quite striking, actually, with top-notch art for a game with such a small budget.

Okay, back to the frame. Your starting Legion is that red figure, and your Stronghold has a funky red wing thing around it. Your borders are also in red.

Those chocolate Easter Island statues are your opponent's legions, at least for the part of the map that's presently visible. The map wraps, so you never reach the end of the world, which is both cool and important to remember.

The funky looking buildings are Places Of Power, and like I've mentioned previously, it's critically important to control them. As you can see, many of the Cantons are unclaimed right now, so phase one of any game is an acquisition phase, where borders get defined and you try to get as many PoP inside your borders as possible. Places Of Power have their own defenses, so even if they're inside your borders, they must be conquered.

To claim Cantons, you move a Legion into the territory. There are two important things to remember about moving a Legion:
1) You can't move a Legion into enemy territory unless you have a Vendetta or Blood Feud against them (which we'll discuss later), of if the enemy has been excommunicated.
2) Don't move onto an uncontrolled Place Of Power unless you want to engage in battle, because combat will be initiated.

There are two ways to move Legions. You can just click on the Legion and a pop-up gives you options (one of which is to move the Legion), or you can do it from the Order screen. Once you're a little more familiar with how the game works, you'll probably always just click on the Legion, but as a beginner, you learn more quickly if you process everything through the Order screen, so let's go there now.

The Order screen is contained the inner frame known as the Ministerium, so click on the Ministerium tab in the bottom left of the outer frame and it will appear. Once it does, click on the "Orders" tab at the top of that frame.

The Orders screen, initially, consists of six blank squares, labeled Phase 1 through Phase 6. Each one, potentially, will be filled by one of your orders (although you probably only have two per turn to begin with, depending on the choices you made when creating your Avatar).

Each of the blank squares has the red wax seal beside it. Click on the first seal, and here's what you'll see:

Yikes. That's quite a lot.

Think of it this way, though--having that many options in a turn makes the game far more robust, and basically learning how each action works isn't going to take that long. Think of SI as analagous to chess in the sense that the basic rules can be learned in a day, but you can spend hundreds or even thousands of hours learning the nuance.

Here's something very, very important to remember about Phase Orders: they're executed in sequence. In other words, when a turn executes, all the orders in Phase One are executed first, then orders in Phase Two, and so on.

Why does this matter? It matters because (as an example) if one of your opponents moves a nearby Legion with his order in Phase One, it might well block your own Legion's movement order (that you foolishly put in Phase Two) from executing. Early in the game, when players are trying to claim Cantons and encircle Places of Power, this is particularly crucial.

Here's a basic principle to remember: demand Tribute or bid on items in the Bazaar with your last available Order Phase. Tribute is not dependent on phase order (someone asking for Tribute in Phase 1 isn't going to get better Tribute than you will in Phase 1 by virtue of the order position). And Bazaar item bids are processed after the other phases are executed, so there's no advantage to use an early phase to put in a bid.

Next week, we're going to discuss all possible turn options, but for now, let's take our turn using two common actions. Click "Give Legion Orders" and a list of your Legions will show up on the right-hand side of the screen. Click on the Legion, then choose Select in the bottom-right corner of the frame. A pop-up box will give you several options--in this case, you'll see "March Legion" or "Dismiss Legion." Choose "March Legion" and you'll be taken to the map screen (the Real frame, as I call it). You'll see your Legion in red, and your movement options will be shown. The cursor will show a number, which is the number of movement spaces you have remaining for that Legion (very nice touch). If you don't want to use all your movement points (you only want to move 1 space with a 2 space Legion, for example), then right-click when you've finished moving the legion.

Remember, there's no guarantee that your Legion will actually get to execute that move, depending on Orde Phase and what your opponent's are doing. It's just an order.

The Orders screen will pop back up when you're done, and you can click on Phase 2. This time, select "Demand Tribute," and you'll see two options in the right-hand frame: "Demand Resources" and "Consolidate Tribute." Later, you'll also see "Seek Out Curiousities" (which gives you a better chance of finding rare Manuscript fragments), but that's not available yet.

"Demand Resources" explains itself. You use "Consolidate Tribute" when you want to transfer the resources from multiple cards onto one card.

For this turn, click on Demand Resources, then click on Select in the lower right-hand of the frame. The Order screen pops up again, and you can see that both of your available Phase Order slots have been filled.

Wondering if you have any orders left? Look in the bottom left-hand of that frame at the "Orders Remaining" number.

Now, you need to process the turn. First, click on "X" in the upper-right hand corner of the Ministerium frame, and when it disappears, then click on "End Turn" in the upper-right corner of the main (Real) frame.

If you're wondering why you need to do it that way, just remember that these frames aren't transparent--you can't click on the outer frame and bring it to the forefront. If you want to see the outer frame, the inner frame must be manually closed first.

On Monday, we're going to start looking at all the possible actions on the Orders screen.

Site Meter