civilization revolution – iphone

so if you’re wondering, should i check out the civ rev lite for the iphone, the answer undoubtedly is YES. you’ll play it for about 3 hours before you decide to purchase the full iphone game which is currently about 7 dollars and its a steal even at that price. i myself am a sid meier sim city fiend from way back in the day and really fully enjoy a strategy game that is so polished and addictive, its near perfect in every way.

so the iphone version, yeah the graphics aren’t the best but its simple and very usable and the core of the game comes shining thru. i’ve decided to post a few of my tips on how to play and win at this fantastic game.

1. units, cities and movement.

so this is easy – each unit has an attack rating and a defense rating. when you start out with a warrior unit, its attack and defense ratings are both set at 1. an archer unit however has a higher defense rating (3) and a relatively low attack rating. when moving your troops  always always always bring a strong defensive unit along with you to cover.

for example, you have a warrior unit or army, a legion unit or army, an archer unit AND an archer army. depending on whether or not the city you are defending  (probably your capital at first) is at risk of being attacked, you should take your archer army along with your warrior and legion when attacking another city, leaving your archer unit behind to cover your base. if there is a shot that the enemy may get to you from an alternate route, leave your archer army in your city and take just the unit along for the siege.


so there is an ‘experience’ system at work for units and armies. after defeating a comparable foe, your unit gets X number of experience points, fewer for defeating a much lesser foe and more for defeating a stronger opponent. if you hold off a legion army from your city with a single archer unit, they will gain much more experience and be eligible for an upgrade. now depending on what your current objective in the game is, combined with what type of unit it is should dictate the type of upgrade you go for.

if its an attacking unit (legion, warrior, horsemen, knights, catapult, etc) by far the most valuable upgrade is the infiltration upgrade (+100% attack on cities). this is always my first choice for stronger units as you’ll need a super powerful army to penetrate the archer, pikemen, riflemen or infantry armies that are defending.

the scout upgrade is also invaluable, allowing you to preview city attacks – basically whether or not its worth it to attempt an attack.

word of advise: if you have an attack rating of 12 with a veteran legion army and you scout that the defenders are an archer army with a defense rating also of 12, save yourself the effort and don’t attack. chances are you’re going to be slaughtered.

tips for a successful siege.

1. bring a spy or two, make sure to cover them with other units all the way to the city or they’ll be captured!

2. if the city is next to a hill, park ALL your units on said hill. its attack advantage is absolutely required most of the time.

3. scout the cities defense if possible, then attack with your strongest unit first. (they’ll be defending with the strongest defender)

4. block the roads. you can sit and attack for round after round after round, demolishing tons of enemy armies but if there is a road into town chances are they’re feeding troops to you from elsewhere to keep the city. park a strong defensive unit (pikeman army or archer) on the road and defend. cut those troops off!

5. bring at least a couple strong attack armies. (knights, catapults, cannons). its harder to take cities with just legions and warriors.

homeward bound pt 2

we’re getting ready to embark on our annual trip north, this time up thru the rockies via golden, east on the number 1 highway, thru calgary and onwards to moose jaw. the kids are chomping at the bit to go, in fact i’m pretty sure if they had any bits they definitely would be chomping on them. abby and cameron have already been packed for about 2 weeks with their backpacks stuffed ever-so-ready to go beneath their beds. yes the anticipation is killing them!

really its not just the young ones that are geared up and ready for this trip – i am too! although i did get to go back home to visit mom and gord for a few days in april, i am seriously looking forward to turning off my phone and powering off my laptop and disconnecting from all the stress and urban fury of living in a ‘big city’.

there is something very humbling and comforting about returning home, and i look forward to it with great anticipation. strangely i’m even looking forward to the drive out, even though it’ll take us 3 days to get there.

i remember vividly the trip my grandparents took me on when i was a kid, thru the rockies. we went with a big camper motorhome thing, and i recall riding above the drivers seat in the bunk, waving out the front window at on coming traffic. we stopped at the radium hot springs and just about every road side attraction along the way. i was in awe of the mountains, so awesomely huge. they made me feel like a little speck of dust who just happened to be floating thru, on my way to the ocean.

i’m happy that i’ll be able to share that same type of experience with mandy and the kids, none of whom have ever been thru the great canadian rockies before. i’m pretty sure we’ll be stopping quite alot for roadside view and picture ops.

and if we can, hopefully stop in calgary to see my sister, alyssa. the last time i saw her she was just a kid, maybe like 7 or so and now she’s all grown up! lol can’t wait to see her again and introduce her to mandy and the kids 🙂

so if all goes well, we’ll be leaving bright and early on saturday morning. sure makes these last couple of days at work draaaag….

brush & font tools

i spend enough time online finding new and interesting resources for design and typography – okay, i’m a bit of a typograph (is that a real word?). in any case, its hard to manage all the fonts that a typical designer has in his or her proverbial pocket, sometimes the number reaching well into the hundreds of typefaces. at one point it would take photoshop a good 10 minutes to load all the fonts i’d dropped in my windows font directory. so after recently re-staging my laptop and cringing at the thought of managing all the fonts in the same manner, i did some poking around and found a few resources that led me to the extensis suitcase (for windows!), which will manage your fonts for you and only ‘activating’ the fonts or subsets of fonts that you put together, making things a whole helluva lot easier to administer. fully recommended for anyone who uses more than a few typefaces…

another bit of a pain in the ass that any designer can tell you about is dealing with photoshop brushes. because of such a grand proliferation of folks out there crafting and making accessible via the web all sorts of great, interesting and must-have brushes out there, its uber easy to throw away a couple hours finding brushes, unzipping, putting in your presets folder, testing them out – and perhaps only to find that they’re not what you want. or even maybe they are cool, but its not easy to always remember what brushes look like by name. enter the ABRviewer: for mac, win, linux. this software will ease the pain of previewing all your photoshop brushes – quick, easy and free. just the way i like things…


having been a scrabulous fiend for several months now, i awoke this morning to find a most disheartening and sad message posted on my beloved facebook apps page

Scrabulous is disabled for US and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here

oh god no! they’ve taken away my scrabulous!!! so apparently the two indian guys who set up scrabulous knew what was coming. despite the many petitions online and huge daily active user base, they were forced to close-up shop (on facebook at least – the original scrabulous site still works)

and so the hasbro/ea folks have whipped up their own version of the the classic ‘scrabble’ game and posted it up on facebook too. however, its only in beta and still has all sorts of little problems. i signed up, started a game and returned later to find this:

We’re working on some tech problems and Scrabble will be ready to play as soon as possible!

so not only did they kill off the most popular facebook app and try to replace it with their own, theirs doesn’t even work! either that or they’re flooded with ex-scrabulites in a mass triple word score exodus and their servers just can’t handle the refugee blitz.

either way, it blows. anyone wanna play tetris?