Friday, May 06, 2005


Supreme Overlord Gazak-Thul XXIV,

I have completed my reconnaissance of the puny meatling squatter camps located in sector ZZ plural Alpha. It is a pathetic, squabbling world of carbon-based, bipedal monkey things with a strange fascination with mammary protrusions. In particular, I was amused to discover a small group of three of them playing simulations of their attempts to fend off invasion. Hah… should we choose to destroy them, rest assured there would be no cardboard counters or randomized plastic cubes involved! GAAAGH GAAGH GAAAGH GAAAGH! *snort*

Their first nonsensical simulation was called “They’ve Invaded Pleasantville”, a hypothetical invasion set in the bucolic country-side bumpkin town of what they call “America” from fifty of their orbital periods ago. It is a poorly decorated game, with a bare minimum of attention given to artwork or style. It depicts the effort of a “Sub-Commander Zebulon” (wouldn’t Planetary Tyrant Zebulon from sector GK epsilon be amused!) who is taking over the monkey-people of the town of Pleasantville using implants which render them slave-like zombies. One of the monkeys takes the lofty role of Zebulon, while the other smelly hominids (well, usually one other hominid, but this play-through was modified for three competitors, instead of the usual two) play the wretched inhabitants of the town who are alerted to the invasion. In a careful game of hidden control and randomized movement, the Zebulon simulator must try to take over as many inhabitants as possible before 12 turns pass, while the human simulators must convince other sceptical townspeople of their cause, converse with potentially converted “uncontrolled” townspeople and capture implanted humans to interrogate or remove their implants. Combat and influence are handled by charts which related to comparative odds, an ancient and primitive method typically called “Combat Result Tables, or CRTs” by other ape-man simulation enthusiasts. There are also tables of “Die Roll Modifiers, or DRMs”, though they are not called as such. I am lead to understand that these CRTs and DRMs are primitive even by Earthling standards, especially in comparison to more modern hominid simulations (though still primitive when set beside our own HolOlfactoryMoist-o-Rama Simulatrons). Using a simplistic but effective method of counter substitution, the Zebulon player conceals which townspeople are under the control of his superior forces. He must then carefully move both implanted and non-implanted uncontrolled townspeople to deceive his opponent(s) about which townspeople are actually under his control. There are other aspects of the game, but to delve further would take up entirely too many chronopulses. Victory is sustained for the Earthling-side player if he discovers and kills the immobile (heh, not unlike our own chubby-wubby Zebulon, eh?) Sub-commander Zebulon or if he maintains control of at least half of the influence value of human townspeople by the end of the twelfth turn. If these conditions are not met, the obviously more deserving Alien simulator is victorious.

In this event, apelings Hapi and Shemp quavered in their loafers and heels as the townspeople, while unworthy Kozure simulated Zebulon (rather poorly, I hasten to add). Kozure made critical errors in marshalling his forces early on, tipping his hand too soon as to which were alien-controlled and which were mere townspeople. Hapi and Shemp effectively gained recruits (though not helped much by the Bartender) and had a fair-sized posse by turn three. A few random movement rolls moved some of the implanted apes right into the clutches of the growing alerted town forces and Kozure was too foolish to simply ignore the optional random move. Although Kozure was recovering and getting more slaves by turn 7, a simplistic and unexpected method of interrogation by left-to-right, top-to-bottom elimination of Zebulon’s location revealed the Sub-Commander’s position far too early. A posse of angry townspeople descended on the supermarket, brushed aside the ineffective resistance put up by the only alien-controlled townspeople in the area (the Sheriff and the Check-out Girl) and lynched Zebulon in a most undignified manner. Overall, a feeble effort by the Kozure-player and a very effective and coordinated game by Hapi and Shemp. Of course, our forces would have simply Blasto-Rayed the whole town, leaving nothing but monkey ashes and melted malt shops. GAAAGH GAAGH GAAAGH GAAAGH! *snort*

The second pitiable simulation was a similar “Old School” game designed by the man-ape Tom Wham, originally for TSR, but repackaged for Steve Jackson games in a clumsy but cute “video-tape” box. The game is called “The Awful Green Things from Outer Space” and, while also meant for two monkeys, can be played by up to six or so with quick modifications. This game represents the struggle of a curiously non-hominid crew to fend off an infestation of “Awful Green Things” picked up as geological samples from a strange world. The crew of the Znutar, made up of four different sentient races and one kiwi bird-like mascot, once alerted to the presence of eggs, babies and adult Awful Green Things on their ship, must make use of various weapons like pool sticks, stun guns, welding torches, communications beamers, fuel tanks and even the packaged foodstuff “Zgwortz” to kill the invaders, or, if things become desperate, abandon the ship. It is a childishly simple game of area movement and dice-based combat – the only really distinctive feature is the random combat effects of the weapons, which can kill, stun, grow, shrink or fragment the aliens into multiple pieces (which can then grow themselves). I know if someone came at me with a high-frequency demodulating etha-net transponder/communications beamer, I wouldn’t be standing in the way, Garthoz be my witness! GAAAGH! *snort*

In this simulation, the puny earthlings forced the Shemp-ape to play the AGTs, while Hapi and Kozure split up the crew. Shemp made a valiant effort, but unfamiliarity with the game and some early bad random-cube roll breaks had him on the defensive for the majority of the play. Kozure and Hapi managed to contain and eliminate the AGT menace with a loss of only five crew members. Surprisingly, your humble servant found this game amusing and quick, despite its simple and dated pedigree. All of the monkeys flapped their ingestion holes and announced that they would enjoy playing both games again. The one known as Kozure wanted to play “The Awful Green Things from Outer Space” again immediately, but their self-imposed chronospan was insufficient to allow completion.

Instead, the meatlings opted to play a game called Zero!, a simulation of one of their laughably small-scale conflicts of 60 orbital periods ago. This game of airfoil-craft powered by piston-drive internal combustion engines was familiar to them already and play proceeded quickly. Kozure played against Shemp and Hapi. Man-ape Kozure pounced on Shemp early in the game, scoring a quick damage result, while Hapi and Kozure’s other element tangled below. The play went very well, as all players now seemed familiar with how to fly their simulated aircraft. After a whirling dogfight, Kozure’s “IJN” emerged victorious, having destroyed one opponent’s aircraft and damaged another, while the “USAF” played by Hapi and Shemp only managed to damage one Zero. Surprisingly, Kozure’s element of weak Oscars were unharmed.

The puny humans seemed pleased with their laughable simulations, even going so far as to permit one of their slug-like offspring to burble and drool in observation. There was much ingestion-hole flapping and intake of a disturbingly odorous food called “curry”, and also mention of an absent member named “Easy”. What a sorry and pitiable race, to find amusement in such primitive and inadequate diversions.

I conclude that this race is ripe for conquering, or should that prove to be more trouble than it’s worth, simple liquefaction for storage as a high-protein meal supplement. However, my most bilious Supreme Overlord, perhaps a few more orbital periods of study are merited to further document their pathetic paper and plastic simulation techniques. While meagre and positively archaic, there is a certain… charm… to their execution and use.

Yours ever obediently,

Scout-Captain Yup-Lodjaq
Reconnaissance Craft Halsaf the Trenchant
Invasion Force Grak Vanguard
Sector ZZ Plural Alpha



  1. I am saddened that my absencewas considered amusing. I am further saddened that my posts for the past month have been made to look about as bland as white bread.

    Good post! (despite my sadness)

  2. Sad.

    Easy, that is. Neither the games played nor the post was anywhere close to sad.

    I'm not sure how to comment on these games - I enjoyed Pleasantville much more than The Awful Green Things, but I'm not sure if that is because I was a "victim" in the first game vs. the "invader" in the second.

    I would have like to play Green Things again, though, to come up with a better assessment. Damnable Chronospan!

    Briefly, Pleasantville: 7.5, Awful, 6.5.

  3. AND, my ingestion hole was pleased with this "curry", though it did have the Earth-stink about it.