Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I thought I would drop in and let you know of the progress of the promised guide, and what the task of writing it entailed. It sounds boring (and yes some of it was), but it was also a lot of fun.
Lunaria was kind enough to allow me to use his guide, but I felt that for an official guide, more needed to be written; I wanted to provide a comprehensive guide that answered a new player's every question, while still being enjoyable to read for intermediate (and maybe advanced) players.
The task of outlining how the menu and basic gameplay worked was fairly simple. Lunaria had done most of it, but I mostly just edited his work and added a bit more onto it. The real challenge began when I started to delve into the units and describing them. Since I am a predominantly random player, I have experience playing with or against all of the units and if I didn't have a clue how to use certain units, I quickly got one from playing against top players such as Mongolian. Nonetheless it was still difficult to write descriptions for units that don't see much play, such as the Captain or write descriptions about units that had just come out, such as the Supplicant or the Abbey. With that said, I made a huge effort to go into detail with units such as the Acolyte and the Scout who appear fairly straightforward, but allow for interesting strategical possibilities.
The part I enjoyed most about the guide was helping to create videos for uses of units and unit combos. After employing almost all of the mentioned tactics and playing agaisnt them numerous times, I definitely had a lot to say about them. The videos include a description of the units and combos, and shows actual footage of how to use them. My tasks included recording the gameplay and writing the script and after the assembled videos come back to me, I will be doing a voiceover for them. I hope you enjoy reading the guide and watching the videos as much as I enjoyed putting them together (hopefully more :D ).
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The guide is packed with information for new and experienced players alike, featuring tutorials on how to navigate through the menus and chat windows of Zatikon to more advanced ones discussing special abilities and unit combinations. In the units section of the guide, you will find a picture of every unit organized by class with a description of the unit which gives a rundown on its strengths, weaknesses and abilities, and also gives some ideas on what units work well with it and how it is generally used.
The best part is there are also 2 videos in the works that will be embedded into the guide. The first video will be oriented to newer players who may have questions on basic gameplay concepts. The second video will be geared towards more adept players, and discusses using the classes and showcases some awesome unit combos in action.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Special Abilities: Coordinate Type: Skill
Whenever this unit performs an attack, all allies able to attack will also attack the same target. These additional attacks do not cost commands, but do use the individual units actions and skills or spells. In coop or 2 vs 2 mode, units from an allied player are unaffected.
Welcome to THE UNDERDOG! The past week(s) focused on a more noble side of Zatikon, as The Diabolist has less friends than imagined since he didn't receive a single comment! Our charismatic captain is much more likable, often compared to the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, Gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius, Robin Hood, Joan of Arc, and Jason of the Argonauts. With his ability to lead the mislead, we find a captain goes perfectly with any band of misfits.
With leadership comes efficiency. Loners will unite to act together under the same command, and this translates literally in Zatikon play. While the captain himself is a fierce warrior, a cross between a bowman with three attacks and an archer with more mobility and life, his ability to use one command and have several pieces all attack makes any battle he is in a slaughter fest.
His major weakness is simply getting other pieces in position to follow orders. Like a middle school gym teacher, it's not so easy to get a group of barbarians and berserkers into a straight line! For this reason, the captain really likes to work with any piece with a range of more than one square.
Pikemen, bowmen, shamans, archers, fire archers, longbowmen, confessors, and, of course, fellow captains all work well under his command. Still, there is one lost soul which under the right leadership shines the brightest: The Fanatic!
With a range of two and the ability to re-position enemy pieces, a few fanatics can bring a werewolf, dragon or paladin within range of multiple attacks unleashed under the single command of a captain!
While captains and fanatics make for a medium-ranged army full of attacks every turn, their armor level is sacrificed for speed. Not to mention the fanatics simply don't have an attention span of more than a few seconds, so this army likes to head full steam on to that castle by turn 3! Thus, 2 generals start out the positioning, using up 300 points, and letting the entire army deploy the first turn.
Here's what it looks like so far:
With the Abbey, those fanatics start out like scouts with a range of 2, and able to move pieces back into the range of the captains for certain death. The healing ability is rarely useful, as attacked units don't often survive, but the forgiveness vs confessors can save the day! Variations can utilized the Abby more, adding a paladin at the front, or even 5 fanatics to start instead of 3.
After the Abbey, we're left with 150 points. This is probably best used with an archer to shower long range with coordinated Captain attacks. Other potentials include a Confessor if 50 points are freed up, a Paladin in the front ranks, or even a Templar 3rd option that the fanatics bring enemies to for a kill and constant heal.
With the Archer, the first 2 turn set up is simple: Turn 1 deploy both Generals, Abbey, 3 fanatics, 2 Captains at the castle corners, and Archer right in the middle. Next turn move the Captains to the corners, Archer next to one of them, and a fanatic as needed to provide pressure. After that its an onslaught as the opponents are pulled into range. Mages with 5 range can be attacked by Captains and Archer, and anything within 4 or 5 can be brought forward by a single fanatic for the beat down.
For co-op or 2 vs 2, any partner adding an Armory makes this army double the danger. Fanatics with 4 power and 2 armor combined with similar captains that can be healed when not killed makes for unusually fast games.
Is the Captain really an Underdog at all? There's no reason that he should be unpopular, and he certainly isn't a weak piece or over priced. Still, just like Maximus and my 7th grade gym teacher Mr. Sullivan, he has to deal with a group of savages, and for this he deserves to be cheered for!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Welcome back to THE UNDERDOG! The past week of Zatikon play brought out the nature of an underdog so loathed that even the other pieces won't play with him: The Diabolist! Don't be fooled by his power, deep down the Diabolist is nothing but a glorified sycophant, desperate to be liked by Warlocks and Necromancers, but lacking the coolness to hang. Simply put, the Diabolist has no friends. Why? He kills them all.
So who is able to fight alongside this temperamental snob of death? To start, lowly tacticians seem to be his favorite pushover. Maybe they look up to his superior intellect? Maybe the are traitors to another army? Maybe they want to die?
There is one "friend" to the Diabolist, but only in the sense that someone who kills his friends would define "friendship". The lonely Channeler. See, the Channeler is not a team player; he's just a ball hog. Just like the Diabolist growing up, when things didn't go his way he took his toys back and went home. "Warning: does not play well with others"- Mrs. Burntwitch, grade 1. In this behavior, the Diabolist and Channeler are best friends, so it's not a problem for the Diabolist if his friend the Channeler wants to use ALL seven actions EVERY turn.
But really, with a bunch tacticians and two almost unlikely friends, who else wants to join this? Who would be willing to face an Abjurer, Wizard, Warlock or Dragon with this as backup! Answer: no one of course, but there are plenty willing to get away from them as fast as possible. Horsemen, Cavalry, even Elephants; anything to get the heck away from the Diabolists mood swings.
Finally, let's not forget the Quartermaster. With a battle at hand, this guys wants nothing more but to pony-up on that donkey and fight fire-breathing dragons then have to have another bowl of soup thrown in his face with "next time I will explode you" haunting his sleep.
So, let's go over... Turn 1, deploy Quartermaster, Diabolist, and Channeler. Turn 2, deploy Tactician, Sacrifice Tactician and gain 3 actions, move Channeler and deploy Cavalry, then deploy second Cavalry and Tactician. ... Boom! That's how it's done son! Save the one last Rider in reserve, just to capture the castle in case Diabolist has to blow up his friend, and the rest.
Against the computer, maybe up to level 40 or so, blasting pieces with a blitzkrieg of Channeler and Cavalry seems to give you an advantage. If the Diabolist allows the Channeler to live long enough to be within range of the enemy Gateguard, a saved up release of energy (that's what she said) is usually enough to kill him with an added Cavalry attack.
Diabolist has a name for player vs player: Sacrifice. Channeler takes down 3 guys to be killed next turn? Perfect move. Attack with Cavalry, kill a piece, explode Cavalry to kill another. Perfect move. More ghosts. Let the Quartermaster or Tactician take the castle, or blow them up next to the Gateguard for the diabolist to walk in.
Sometimes the Diabolist tags along with a Warlock or Necromancer. Really, it's no act of pity, as the Warlock and Necromancer always seem to out survive the Diabolist. White Wizards avoid him altogether, although the Magus can be helpful with feeding spirits of will o' the wisps. War Elephants have had their place, even two of them deployed second turn can be threatening, but Diabolist is usually a bit too happy to let them die.
You might not want to hang out with him in real life, or even in a chat room, or even play Zatikon against him, but the Diabolist isn't so bad if you're in control. Just don't try to change him. Sure, ghosts are nice, throw 'em out there at any opportunity, and sometimes it's possible to resist killing your own guys. Still, when the smoke clears, and body parts are identified, there's no doubt the Diabolist will still have no friends.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
While some may think that the enchanter is the star of this army, the archer is really the keystone here. In order to play aggressively, it is best to protect the archer with your acolyte and shield maiden, and boost the archers damage by 1 with the enchanter right off the bat.
I generally use the archer to take out targets of opportunity and push up the map, and I use the enchanter to keep my opponents melee units at bay and make sure my archer does not get overwhelmed. I keep my priest slightly behind my enchanter to act as another safeguard against swarms of melee units. It is also worth mentioning to keep your acolyte and shield maiden close to each other, so that the acolyte can heal the maiden when she takes damage.
The short run objective of this army is to boost your archers damage, and push across the board as quickly as your enchanter will allow. The quicker you advance with your buffed and powered up archer or "power archer" the lesser the likelihood that your opponent will be able to find an answer for it. If you can push your opponent's army 1 or 2 ranks away from his castle, you are in an extremely good position.
The middle to late game for this army is somewhat of a dice roll. Armies that are heavy in the use of horsemen pose a significant threat, because their mobility allows them to spread out rapidly and nullify the area of effect stun that your enchanter has. On top of that, their high damage and ability to strike at multiple pieces can overwhelm or circumvent that protection that your acolyte and maiden offer. Other casters, especially ones that stun are a big threat, because they can nullify your archer.
In a late game standoff, continue to power your archer up and look for a way to bring your enchanter up to break the stalemate. Move your shield maiden and acolyte with your archer, enchant and priest to allow you to shift protection to the pieces who are being threatened. Just remember, the longer this army is on the board, the more your opponent can position his pieces and get them set up for a crippling attack. Also, another interesting tactic is to buff the priest with the acolyte and shield maiden and aggressively use your enchanter to try to land a stun. Then bring your priest up and convert those units; even if you do not have the commands to effectively utilize them, you have "1 shotted" your opponents units, and they have to waste time dealing with their own pieces as well.
-Fairly rapid to deploy
-Very strong initial push
-Handles a variety of situations well
-Since it relies on a powered up archer for damage, it is extremely vulnerable to getting overwhelmed
-Scouts and Rogues can cause huge problems for this army
-Priest offers only a soft counter to threatening melee units
-Lack of commands
Monday, March 8, 2010
Special ability: Cancel enemy movement, any number of times, any range, when the enemy tries to move in a direction away from this unit. Enemy still pays costs for attempting to move.
Welcome to THE UNDERDOG! Last weeks focus was on the historically lovable, easily beatable piece: The Chieftain. A classic underdog, the Chieftain is used to being underestimated. Similar to William Wallace, Shaka Zulu, or the Ice Queen Boudica, his moral boosting influence doubles the armies power with sheer courage and ferocity, leaving every battle a fight to the death...
At first, it seemed like the Chieftain was an all out powerhouse to be sided by barbarians, berserkers, werewolves, and other bruisers for a steady beating advance. So wrong. Out of harms way is exactly where the Chieftain leads from, far from enemy archers to rally his units and enter the battle after the clash has subsided, decimating stragglers with his power as the enemy tries to flee.
Not trusting magic, and with 'no heavy cavalry', the Chieftain's army is best when made of a variety of low cost units to suit any situation. One of each: Pikeman, Rider, Cavalry, Ballista, Quartermaster, Berserker, Barbarian, Bowman, Strategist, and lowly Axeman.
With the Quartermaster down followed by a Ballista, Berserker, and Axeman, we start the assault. With the Ballista aimed at any magic user from the start, thus taking away their usual 1 action a turn for movement, the Axeman and Berserker can move as quickly or as slowly as they want into the battle field, depending on the enemy's deployment. With the Pikemen ready for cavalry or attacks to the ballista, Cavalry and Rider for added pressure to Magic users, healers, and other low power/ life units, and Bowmen covering the defensive or offensive position, the set up begins.
As the offensive slowly develops until the opponent engages, the "check mate" opportunity is scouted. Maybe an advance with the Berserker is pushed, him wiling to die for a one turn slaughterfest, or between Cavalry, Ballista, and Rider, there is a key piece is attacked with little maneuverability. Whatever the move, there is that Chieftain ace-in-the-hole waiting to cement the play.
Backed up by a barbarian or two, enemies who have over-extended themselves into the Chieftains territory are about to face Mr. OneHit, and some ever growing opportunistic savages just waiting on the enemy units like sheep to the wolves.
Changing it up a bit, subbing in a mason or two does wonders, forcing your opponent down the middle instead of around your walls. Switch in a catapult, and maybe even a ranger or sergeant to free up some actions, and suddenly you've got an opponent running at your walls into waiting pikemen! While this adaptable arsenal of units is solid, and if well played can be a real pain against most anything, the Chieftain is truly his best with one particular unit...
Another Chieftain! That's 600 points of headlights headin' right for the deer! With one banger on each side of the board, there's no where to run but down the middle. What happens when Double Trouble gets too far up the board and there a straggling piece lunging for the castle? The piece sits there stuck, unable to move a single space for victory! "Hold of the Chieftain" is everywhere, even in your house, so there's nothing but shooting ducks in a barrel.
Question is, what are you shooting with? With a first turn Quartermaster, Chieftain, Barbarian, there aren't many more points left of the remaining 400. Second turn Chieftain, and then what? Well, what would the Chieftain do?
Ballista seems like a necessity. Any Witch or Abjurer is a problem for our kings, and there are few counters within 400 points. Ballista out ranges all magic users except warlock, and in this case is still a distraction. For one action a turn, negating a magic user is crucial.
Gotta protect that Ballista too. Knights, lancers, Elephants all advancing before we get the lockdown, so some pikemen are recommended, or, for a bit more, a shaman fits the bill.
What about the slaughter? Really, with the Quartermaster and Ballista, we're working with 200 points left before Pikemen or Shaman. Scratch the Shaman, we need units! The quartermaster is just too good to let go of, as the Chieftains can be susceptible to ranged attacks that don't have to move, so we need some healing out there. Even a ballista that finds it's way to knocking into a Chieftain on the side can't kill it in one shot, and with healing every turn, the Chieftain is just as effective taking Ballista bolts to the chest every turn as moving up the board.
One thing I found was the more pieces I could put on the board, the scarier the Chieftains looked. A single ballista, or even a warlock, just made 3 pieces in total. What is a Chieftain without a hoard? Thus, for 200 points, we need to pack a hoard. Pikeman, Bowman, Barbarian, Rouge? Scouts aren't bad, as we let the opponent melt away in a pool of poison while unable to move, and foot soldiers deploy fast and keep with a non-movement theme, but I like flexibility, so with some pokers, shooters, hackers, and stunners, it's sure to get messy in that barrel.
It's easy to look straight for an abjurer or warlock, envisioning a winning record, and that's OK. Some people need fancy robes and cleverness to feel good about themselves. The Chieftain only knows one thing for certain: If there's to be a fight, it's a fight to the finish.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
As you can see, the ranger does not cost any commands to deploy, and also acts without using any commands. Due to these attributes, it is generally a good idea to deploy your ranger on your first turn When deployed during your first turn, the ranger will allow you to gain board control early on while still allowing you to use all of your commands on getting units out.
The ranger is also a great answer to early scout pressure. Since the ranger has 3 commands and 3 range, it can hover outside of the striking range of the scout, get in range, and still have enough actions to both trigger the scouts dodge ability and deal a lethal blow.
The wolf is also a nice add on to the ranger. While it is neither a high damage or high life unit, it can move large distances rapidly and therefore reinforce where needed or threaten weak parts of your opponents army. Like mentioned in Mongolian's post, the ranger can summon infinite wolves if paired with an abjurer.
Last but not least is the ranger's ability to switch to melee mode. Probably one of the more neglected skills in Zatikon, it is definitely very useful in certain instances. At times, someone may have your ranger cornered, or you may be playing with your back to your castle, on top of that they may have parked a unit such as a general 1 space away from your ranger because they did not take the rangers melee skill into account. You may have just attacked the general 3 times with its ranged attack, and only do 3 damage. A much more effective move would be to use 1 action switching to melee, and attack the general twice, doing a total of 6 damage, which is more than enough to kill it. Overall, many seem to hesitate to switch their ranger to melee mode because it uses 1 action, and the ranger can hit and run much more effectively when in ranged mode. With proper support though, such as shield maidens and acolytes, the extra 2 damage that the ranger gains from its melee mode switch give it the power to easily dispatch your opponents hardiest units.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In my opinion, the assassin is one of the most unique units that Zatikon has to offer, its unique method of deployment and its 1 time stun can be used synergistically with a large amount of units.
The assassin is essentially a paper cannon. Its extremely low life and action points coupled with its nonexistent armor make it a sitting duck after deployment. Do not be mistaken though; the "Stuns all surrounding units upon deployment" gives you the opportunity land a large stun on your opponents troops, which allows your units to move up and get in advantageous positions that they otherwise would not be able to get into without taking large amounts of damage. On top of this, if you can keep your assassin alive after deployment, you have the opportunity to take out 2 units within 1 turn.
In order to use the assassin effectively, you must first choose which unit you would like to deploy it on.
I personally prefer riders, due to their ability to close large distances instantly, and deliver an assassin deep into enemy lines. If a great opportunity to use my assassin presents itself, it is best to try to deploy the assassin on the unit that has the opportunity to do so, given the cost of taking that unit off of the battlefield is worth the strategic advantage that is provided by the deployment.
But undoubtedly the hardest, yet most satisfying part of using the assassin comes with where to deploy it.
Clumped up units offer a juicy target for 1 large reason, you can use your opponents stunned units against them. Tightly clumped stunned units create a wall, and if your opponent lacks units with the ability to attack over units and their friendly melee units are far enough away or blocked by the wall, you will be able to use the assassins "Kill enemy unit" ability.
Boom! Since I was able to peel open a gap in my opponents lines with knight, and burn the pikeman's action points with my knight and my footman, I was able to move my rider in there and deploy the assassin on him. I have sacrificed my knight and my footman to take out his archer and warrior, but I have gained the strategic advantage by retaining my archer.
When your opponent knows you have an assassin, they are much more difficult to use. The best way to incorporate an assassin into your army is to have a large amount of low cost units. When you have only a few high cost units out on the board and an assassin waiting to be used, it is fairly easy for your opponent to see that you are hiding a unit. If you have a large amount of low cost units, sometimes your opponent gets lazy and does not take the time to count the total point value of fielded units, much to his detriment.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Strong against: Low HP, low armor, low power armies.
Weak against; Things that stun(e.g. rogue), dodge(e.g., rogue), or 'incapacitate'(e.g. geomancer),
Best Paired with: Healer, abbey, and artificer all work decently with the dragon.
The dragon is one of the few units I recommend playing before deployment cost reducers like the general are down, if you have to make such a choice. This is because the dragon becomes increasingly feeble as more units enter the field; after a certain point, your dragon will probably be annihilated right after sticking is smoke-exhaling nose near your opponent's side. It simply will not be able to take down units fast enough.
Its effective attack range of 6(including 3) and movement speed of 3, however, makes it excellent for putting very quick pressure on your opponent; low power, low HP units are typically the first units your opponent will deploy. With some luck, you'll be able to land a crushing explosion on a white or black mage, along with a number of fodder units.
Unfortunately, even with only 2-3 turns before your dragon is a threat, your opponent will typically be ready for it.
Strong against: Armies with low power and/or little in the way of commands
Weak Against: Armies with units that do not 'kill' units, but typically remove them from play for an extended duration, if not for the entire game(e.g., geomancer/witch), higher level AI.
Best Paired with: High armor, high HP units, heretic.
While its other abilities are certainly nothing to spit on, the FS ability to raise army-wide reduction by one is, insofar as I am concern, its most potent one. It is the only way any unit can reduce more than 2 incoming damage. Most units in this game do 3-4 damage; these units now make no, or a very small, dent in your already two armor units(footman, warrior, etc). Very few have five or more power, and these tend to be clumsy and expensive, so that it's hard to land multiple powerful attacks on units that now have an effective three armor.
Some things to remember about fighting a feathered serpent army:
-If you didn't kill a unit, you might as well have not damaged it at all. It's getting a full heal next round.
-If you didn't kill at least two units, your attack was only a minor setback for your opponent, as he can just put the dead unit back on the field. On the other hand, you probably exposed your attacking units to a great deal of harm-and you can't get them back.
-It takes quite a few commands to successfully take out two mitigation-buffed units.
-DON'T FORGET that all of your opponent's organic units reduce one extra point of damage per attack.
FS armies have one weakness: they probably don't have that many pieces on the board, since the FS cost 550 points. This means that you can often maneuver around your opponent's pieces to knock out the FS(warning-the FS is a slippery unit)
Otherwise, you will likely have to slowly advance up the field in a conservative offensive formation: acolytes, units with dodges, masons, and/or healers are necessary to make this happen. Guard witches, geomancers and the like closely; they are your greatest asset.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
When I was new to Zatikon, the Dracolich seemed like one of the most impressive units in the game. Someone pulled one out in coop, and, after most of my units were mostly wiped out, proceeded to defeat the AI essentially single-handedly. I proceeded to request that my coop partners bring a Dracolich, and kept hoping the new unit button would bring me one.
At a certain point, however, I started losing coop games and the honeymoon was over.
Value: Very Poor
Strong against: Early AI
Weak against: Higher level AI, competence
The problem with the dracolich is this: you need to actually kill something for its most potent ability to be of any use. A dracolich costs 550 points, more than half your army; as you’re bound to discover, this doesn’t leave that much room for units that can kill something(with an effective attack range of two, the dracolich just doesn’t fit the bill). It also doesn’t leave much room for command units, so that, in the event you manage to kill a lot of the AI’s units, you can barely use them.
Early AI typically sends in only a couple ‘weak’ attackers, who you can typically kill and resurrect fairly easily. However, at higher AI levels, the AI swiftly swarms you with units that are not only normally strong(like dragons) but also have empowerments(Arcane, rampaging, etc). Any units you manage to kill will be promptly re-killed, and you will soon be overwhelmed.
Drawing a dracolich in random is typically a death sentence, as your opponent almost certainly got more value for their 550 points. You only have 500 points left(excluding general and gate guard), and chances are a substantial chunk of those points went into one or two units. Your opponent should have absolutely no problem maneuvering around your three mildly threatening pieces, and typically needs to be playing sloppily to allow one of their units to die. If one of their units does die, chances are they will be able to rekill it before you get a chance to use it. They’ll push your back to a wall and go for the kill.
If this wasn’t already clear, make sure that you bring enough units to not be easily outmaneuvered by a player or swarmed by the AI if you insist on using a Dracolich(A mason would probably be helpful)
And lastly, a ‘fun’ fact:
If both players have a dracolich on their side, there is no limit to how many times a unit can be resurrected. In one game, in which I had a dracolich and my opponent drew a mimic(and mimicked the dracolich), we must have swapped control of this poor footman some twenty to thirty times. It took me an hour and a half to eventually beat my opponent as I slowly won the game of reversi, making for what remains the longest Zatikon match I’ve ever played.
Thanks to Mongolian for the random construction points correction.