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[RD] The most intellectually challenging PC game

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by dusters, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Warlord

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    For an RTS, I'd nominate Company of Heroes. Machine guns suppress infantry; units have to use cover; certain weapons are strong against certain targets and weak against others; vehicles and gun crews have facings. A situationally-appropriate deployment of units is key - there were many games I screwed up by producing, say, a 3rd rifle squad instead of a support weapon because I didn't correctly evaluate what my opponent was doing.
     
  2. cardgame

    cardgame Sensual Kitten

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    Conceptually that game is sound, in execution I find parts of it flawed. For example, reliable anti-tank units don't exist. AT guns have no ai, you literally have to micromanage them or they will get knocked out without resistance. :\

    This makes tanks OP and the meta gets screwed.
     
  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    If you don't care about AI being given bonuses, it is easy to make something very difficult/impossible for the human player :)
     
  4. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    The thing is, Civ on Deity pretty much railroads you into a small set of strategies. It's not intellectually challenging in terms of combining mechanics to come up with something that is a great strategy - though you could say it would be (assuming you never visited the strategy section of CFC) to come up with a way to take advantage of the AI such that you could win. I don't count that the same as really being deep on a fair playing field, though.

    EU's diplomacy layer does add a significant strategic element that Civ does not have, and it does lend itself to some real thinking about the best path forward, in a way that Civ (I - V) often don't offer due to the limited diplomacy. As a small-midsize nation who's still trying to work its way up to the world stage, you really do have to plan your way, and occasionally things blow up in your face. That's my favorite stage of the game.

    I still need to try Balance of Power. It works on my Core 2 Duo laptop with XP x86, just need to have the manual up on another computer as I try to figure it out.

    ----

    Overall, there's a fine line between intellectually challenging/deep and just plain annoying/overcomplicated in games. For example, a lot of puzzle games - some would say it's challenging puzzles, I'd usually say it's annoying. It depends on what your background with the puzzles is most likely, and since I didn't grow up playing puzzle games, my familiarity with them is lower (although Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a great game). Hearts of Iron III is a game that I'd say tries to do too much and (IMO) falls flat as a result, not being deep so much as overcomplicated. I'm still trying to decide where Victoria II falls - the more I play, the more I think it is actually a deep game, but it's an extremely gradual transition. And the level of control is still so abstract that I'm not sure it really lends itself to the intellectually challenging part, unless you are trying something intentionally combustive.

    Democracy 3 is a game I was hoping might fall into this category. But so far I've found that (playing as the USA), it's all too easy to raise taxes and cut military spending early, and by the end of term 1, everyone's so happy with everything else you've increased with the improved budget (not to mention running a surplus) that you get re-elected in a landslide. Which means either real-life politicians are missing out on a super-easy win, or it underestimates how much Americans love their guns and low taxes. I'd like it to be the former, but it's probably in large part the latter.

    RTS's I generally pass on due to it often, IMO, becoming more of a clickfest than strategy. I prefer my strategy to be thought-out, like it would be in real life. Obvs some people are way better at RTS's than me, but I get more satisfaction from a long game of Civ or EU than I do from a bunch of short games of Age of Empires or (even more so) Dota.
     
  5. amadeus

    amadeus めっちゃしんどい

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    I ran it through Windows 3.1 on DOSBox.
     
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  6. trader/warrior

    trader/warrior Chieftain

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    Paradox games are a piece of cake, just pick the biggest nation and steamroll everybody. :p
    Haven't tried Cap+, but I'd definitely put Capitalism Lab on my list, an updated and expanded version of Capitalism 2.

    Also Dwarf Fortress, OTTD and other transport/logistics/optimisation games like Factorio. Common to all these games though, much like Paradox games, is that they are actually very easy to win (even DF these days due to balance being such a non-focus), but there is always something to do better and dig deeper into with larger "margins" than high level multiplayer and the like which require more repetitive practice than always having new things to dig into and stimulate intellectually (IME anyway).

    In terms of more pure challenge, probably chess or something. Personally I find games that give more freedom to experiment with complex systems to be the most stimulating. I would for example say inability to pause or even to savescum in some cases actually makes me feel games need to be played more like a "recipe book" than actually intellectually challenging.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  7. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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  8. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    When I hear "intellectually challenging", I mostly think of things that are deeply impressive or moving in some way, as, ugh-I-hate-to-denominate-it-as-such, art.

    Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is probably the deepest game I've stumbled upon.

    Not that it's that deep as such. It's outleveled by several books I've read. But it's up there.
     
    dusters likes this.
  9. amadeus

    amadeus めっちゃしんどい

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    I tried Capitalism 2 when it came out and wasn't as happy with it as I was the original/Cap+. Maybe the improvements they've done to CapLab make it worth buying, but the truth is I just haven't been playing games much lately. I'll play solitaire on my phone on the train, but that's about it.
     
  10. abradley

    abradley Chieftain

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    "The most intellectually challenging PC game"

    What does that mean, some posts imply it's about intellectual game play like puzzle, ect..

    Other's seem to say war games, FPS, or CRPGs.

    What is the title looking for?
     
  11. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Your view. That's what we call a "discussion forum."
     
  12. abradley

    abradley Chieftain

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    Thank you.

    So my view would fit with this:
    "Full Definition of intellectual
    1. 1a : of or relating to the intellect or its useb : developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : rationalc : requiring use of the intellect <intellectual games>

    2. 2a : given to study, reflection, and speculationb : engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect <intellectual playwrights>
      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual "
    What strikes me as 'Intellectual' and 'Challenging' is
    Advanced Civilization


    IIRC it's officially abandonware, along with Kingmaker and 1830 Railroads and Robber Barons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
  13. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    I gotta look for this Advanced Civilization. Kingmaker is a very cool board game because it has deep diplomacy, but as I recall the AI was completely incoherent so the diplomacy is absent from the computer game.

    I gave this question some thought, and this is what I came up with:

    The greatest intellectual challenge offered in gaming comes from economic simulations. As has been mentioned, Capitalism in whatever form of the franchise you prefer is a candidate, though I think there are better. The key elements that make them challenging are; an economic system based on consistent (not necessarily 'real world') rules that have to be identified; a multitude of tools for automating how you participate in the economy requiring that you learn how to use them; and interactions among those tools that have to be understood to use them even after you have learned how they work.

    So my top pick is the X Universe franchise, culminating with X3. Sorting out how the decision making of NPC traders is driven and other basic rules governing the economy strictly by observation is a long term challenge. Even analysis of the various NPC trader scripts only makes it easier, not easy. The array of automation options for your own traders is large, and most of those options are complex enough to keep you thinking. And to the last point, it is really easy to use multiple automation schemes only to find that you have set your own traders competing against each other so sorting through the various interactions takes learning by experience as well as a lot of thinking.

    Of course, it has the 'imperfection' that all computer game econ sims have, in that you really can't lose. This makes it possible in almost all cases to just "brute force" the game, and not have to really think about the economy at all. But if you want to think about optimizing play you can.
     
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  14. Oerdin

    Oerdin Chieftain

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    Good old fashioned chess.
     
  15. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I'm gonna say "chess, but also there is a wizened crone jabbing you in the arm and whispering 'your parents are not proud of your life-choices'". It's just that little extra pressure, y'know?
     
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  16. Takhisis

    Takhisis is it fall yet

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    I recommend that you play Hex-a-hop if you want an intellectually challenging game. It starts off as an apparently easy game. No enemies, no weapons, just hop, hop, hop across the board and make all green tiles go away! Suddenly you need to do several dozen attempts just to find out how to get rid of that one hex.

    Try it, seriously.
     

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