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Tactical gaming

January 27th, 2005 · No Comments · Gaming, Xbox

There’s a huge lack of variety for Xbox Live games, which can be a little frustrating. The vast majority of games are shooters (first person and vehicle/giant robot based), followed by sports games. I can count four games for Xbox Live that don’t boil down to a simple battle of reaction times:

  • Chessmaster
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds
  • Ultra Bust-A-Move

That’s not to say that tactics and strategy aren’t a components of other Xbox Live games, but the coordination component is usually vastly more significant in determining the outcome of a game.

While pondering this problem, I thought back to a favorite networked game on the Mac: Bolo. Bolo was hardly pure strategy, there was a fair amount of control skill and technique to learn. But the plateau for these skills was pretty low. After that, it came down to tactics, strategy and usually teamwork.

One key aspect of Bolo was dynamic teams. Everyone started off on their own, but teams could be made (and abandoned) on the fly. This allowed weaker players, who later in the game would find themselves without resource, to join stronger players.

Besides the standard drive a little tank around and shoot people, Bolo made building defenses and maintaining supply lines essential. This often meant that smarter, but less skillful players could eventually defeat a player who may be deft at combat but bad at tactics.

It made me wish that a game like Bolo would exist for Xbox. But it got me wondering. Has anyone ever made a version of Bolo for OS X? Turns out the answer is yes. So once I can figure out a good way to make a voice chat for the players, there might be some Bolo matches in my multiplayer gaming future.

If you are interested, get in touch.

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