Friday, July 20, 2007

The Final Battle!

Statutory warning: This post is meant for game freaks, others may not find it too interesting!

For those who came in late, Age of Empires is the Microsoft Game made for the laziest people on earth. It is a game in which you can create your own virtual world, empires, armies, trade, people, buildings....the works! “Hardworking” is one adjective that nobody ever insulted me with. Put two and two together and you come to the logical conclusion that I played the game as if there was no tomorrow.

But, even I stand in deference to that legend (read freak), the one and only Zanub Hassan! He was the looniest, craziest, gamer to set foot on terra firma (or at least my part of terra firma!). He played all sorts of games ever invented, right from those 80’s model Mario to the ultra modern half life and Max Payne. The type of guy, who had his priorities set straight. Games, before studies and exams, were his motto for life..:) There are rumors about him that he actually dreamt games. Like, why else would someone cry out “Attack! Alarm! Goal!” etc in their sleep???!!!

There were three computers in our hostel that we interconnected to “maximize our gaming experience”. On normal days, nobody bothered to even switch them on. But come exams and all of a sudden there would be this huge rush to play the games. It was no surprise then that yours truly and the legend in question were seen one exam eve playing furiously.

I will not go into my painful score card of playing with this guy. In fact, I considered a game “well done” if I could hold out for an hour against him. But I had thought out a well planned strategy for this one, in this one I was going to win!

Things started off as I expected. Zanub selected the Japanese civilization and I selected the Spanish civilization. Zanub also selected his favorite “big Islands” scenario for the game. He got an island to build on, I got an island to build on and we both built on without bugging each other for quite some time. But with all that testosterone floating around the room, war was not only a possibility, but a way of life.

To attack somebody you need at least 3:1 to 5:1 superiority in numbers. But that is for the real world. Here in the virtual world, you could easily manage with a 1.5:1 and come back singing your national anthem or whatever. My strategy was to tire him out. So instead of focusing on attack I built forts and towers around my island. Since I was pitted against such a good player, I had no illusions on the speed or ferocity of his attack. As expected, by the time I had made about 10 soldiers and a few towers, he came in by the hundreds in transport ships to attack.

But the towers held firm, a number of my virtual soldiers died heroic deaths and the day was saved. But to Zanub, this was just another “probing” action, not an all out attack. He would just keep coming back, bigger, stronger and faster. Fortunately this first round win had given me a small advantage in time. I used it to build some ships and raise a decent army. The economy was going just fine. Builders built, traders traded, wood cutters cut and basically everyone did a fine job of what they were supposed to do. No strikes or labor hassles in the virtual world!

That was when the second attack came. This time, I was even better prepared and was able to repulse it almost immediately. But in the back of my mind the writing on the wall was all too visible. This guy was just going to hammer me out till I gave in. Time for improvisation!

My plan B was that there was no plan B. I mean, I had the perfect strategy right, why would I need plan b. By this time, a number of fellow hostellers had taken front row seats to watch the action. The next best thing to gaming, is to see somebody else gaming! Every one was shouting out ideas, tactics and advice to both of us. Above all this din, I finally got my idea. I would sneak in a few workers to Zanub’s island and start building there.

But how would I sneak in without him noticing? A diversionary attack was all that came to mind and that’s exactly what I did. I recruited a few “would be martyrs” and sent them on an impossible mission. While that attack progressed, I sneaked in about 3 villagers to the opposite side of Zanub’s island. As expected, he made short work of my martyrs (poor guys! I still remember them in my prayers) and sent in another attack. But who cared, I had already engineered my silent coup. Now it was only a matter of time!

My villagers were on steroids I think, those champs made a town center, castle, tower, armory, stables and almost every other building in a very short time. On top of it they even dug out his gold from right under his nose. Ha! The satisfaction of a spy master! It is hard to explain the joy I felt.

I had started making an army right on his soil without him noticing it and boy, a big one it was too. In the mean time, he put in attack after attack on my island. But not with much ferocity I must say, the second attack must have demoralized him a bit. I lost a few towers here a few castles there and good number of people everywhere. It was all working out so well. I was lulling him into the illusion of a win, while I was getting ready to land that sucker blow!

At last my large army was ready. I just needed to give the orders. Finally after tweaking the formations a bit, I gave the order to attack with cries of "VIVA LA REVOLUCION!!!" (I am Spanish, remember?). The trebuchets were the first to set base and attack his castles (you should have seen the look on his face!). He had just wound up his final campaign, in which he destroyed all of my ships and achieved complete naval superiority when right in his back yard, I was throwing stones at his castles!

This was my day! The day of David! Goliath was gonna hit the ground anytime now. Sensing an imminent win for the underdog, the crowd of supporters who had gathered to watch the game was now cheering me on! I felt like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, going in for the final punch.

But that is when I noticed a small red patch on my island right next to my town centre. A small irritant, that. He might have sneaked in a small ship full of soldiers into my territory. Nothing big, I could handle it easily with my home guard and towers. But the fact that he did this irked my ego a bit. How dare he! I was going to show him who was master and lord, once and for all. Charity begins at home, right. So I was going to fix him up in my island before I finished him up in his island.

Now, for quite some time, I had been a bit negligent about my island, except for warding of a few serious moves, I had pretty much focused on getting things done “undercover”. When I went back to look at home good home, I was in for a shock. Yeah, you guessed right! That slippery b****** had set up shop in my island and what is more, he had incinerated most of it by this time.

In about five minutes of intense fighting he took out my entire home guard and the rest of my island, while I had by that time taken up the rest of his island! Talk about going back to square one! It was declared a “perfect draw” but I guess, me being the underdog and taking the rocky factor into account, I won!*

*If Zanub ever writes a blog about this, you might find some interesting changes to the ending..:)


Zanub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
N!$#@N^# said...

da... aby don't listen to zanub.. u r an important resoucre.. after all u don't get to see bench warmers who have been on bench for .. well i don't remember for how long now ..:-) I bet the bench now has deepened impression of ur A$$.

10 to 15 years down the line, when you become famous (just in case) W!P&0 will sell replicas* of ur A$$ along with diapers.

* obviously the bench will be the cast... so sit n sit for long hours & write to you hearts content after all its a free entertainment.. for us :-)

Abraham Menacherry said...

Nishu: though I am a big fan of the "casting couch", I must graciously decline your idea..:) I am goin full steam ahead to get my next project....)