Archive for August, 2009

Zanzarah: Ideal Squad

zanzarah-londonSince I have fairies for every single element now, I should probably figure out the ideal combination. See, you can only carry five fairies at a time. Those that aren’t in your inventory at any moment hang out at Amy’s home in London, which is therefore the only place where you can swap different fairies into your inventory. Whenever you go back there, you can see them all fluttering around 1Actually, it’s kind of unsatisfying how they basically just stay in place and turn to face Amy all the time. I’d rather see them flitting hither and thither on their own business, getting into the kitchen supplies, making mischief, etc., providing a colorful contrast to the first-twenty-minutes-of-The-Wizard-of-Oz decor. One wonders what will happen when Amy’s parents get back from wherever they’ve been for the entire game.

zanzarah-gridNow, Shadow Elves tend to favor Dark and Chaos-type fairies, but really, they can be armed with any type. Sometimes unexpected types are found roaming wild as well — for example, there are bits of greenery capable of supporting Nature fairies even in the Realm of Clouds. So an ideal loadout has a combination of fairies that’s strong against every element. There are many combinations that do this, but it’s also a good idea to try to have some redundancy, and to minimize the number of elements that each is weak to. It’s notable that those Dark and Chaos types are weak against a lot more elements than they’re strong against. The designers really want you to favor the “good” types.

There are a couple more constraints beyond that. Magic cards, needed to overcome terrain obstacles, can only be used by a fairy of the appropriate element. So if you need to clear thorn bushes, you need a Nature fairy with you, and if you need to smash boulders, you need a Stone-type. Once a bush or boulder is gone, however, it stays gone, so the need for nature and stone is temporary. The Air card lets you ride updrafts, but doing so doesn’t alter the terrain at all, so an Air fairy will likely be in my final pack. Presumably the Fire card also won’t wreak any permanent changes when I find it, but its utility is limited to a single area, the lava caves, while those updrafts are found all over the place, and are sometimes the only way to cross chasms to where you need to go.

So, my final team will have an Air fairy in it. Probably a Light fairy as well, because of the preponderance of Dark and Chaos types in the Shadow Realm, and because there’s only one element that Light is weak against: Psi. Also for that reason I’ll need a Psi fairy. I haven’t had to fight many Light-types yet, but I’m willing to bet that the White Druid has some and that I’ll need to beat him before this is over. That leaves two slots, and the only potential foes not covered are Nature, Air, and Energy. An Ice fairy covers all those gaps, leaving me one slot free for a back-up fairy. Or for whatever I’m trying to power-level at any given moment in order to evolve it and complete my Fairédex (which, despite what I’ve said before, does seem to be completable — some of the “unique” fairies aren’t really.)

1 Actually, it’s kind of unsatisfying how they basically just stay in place and turn to face Amy all the time. I’d rather see them flitting hither and thither on their own business, getting into the kitchen supplies, making mischief, etc.

Zanzarah: Short session

My last session was short and uneventful. I made a more thorough exploration of a couple of locations, and I managed to level up a couple of my fairies, and that’s it. It strikes me that this is not a bad way to play RPGs — a little bit of incremental progress now and then, as time allows — but that I haven’t been doing it lately, because of this blog. If I’m committed to writing about each session until I finish the game, I feel every session has to yield something worth writing about. But how many insights can a game like this provoke? Thus, I try to save up my Stack gaming for longer sessions, and on days when I can’t do that, I just play games that are already off the stack, or demos, or free web-based stuff. (Moneysieze has been a particular obsession of mine lately, and I should probably write something about it at some point.)

Thus, to the extent that this blog was meant to be a way to encourage me to finish up older games, it has failed. It is sometimes actually discouraging me from playing them. I’m not sure what to do about this. A modification of the Oath might be in order, or maybe just a shift in attitude.

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