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     Fun: New games for Windows Vista (Tradewinds)
    Games: Computer Games
    While going through some of the features available on my new HP Windows Vista PC, I came across the HP games. The Games are packaged by Wild Tangent and you get coins to try each one. Previously I wrote about my top ten favorite PC games. I also wrote about the Windows Vista Plusses and Minuses following my Windows Vista 2007 Launch Tour.

    Tradewinds is a turn-based strategy game from Sandlot games. The scenario is that you are a trader with a fleet working the sea around China. You have to contend with pirate fleets while sailing between ports. You purchase commodities in one port and sell them in another port to make a profit. With your profits you can purchase more ships and carry more cargo. You can also purchase cannons to use in attacking the pirates. It looks to be the next generation of the old TRS-80 and Apple game called Taipan. This game was based upon the James Clavell book Tai-Pan. The Tai-Pan is the head of all the traders in the Sea of Japan, South China Sea, East China Sea and Yellow Sea. The cities are located on Japan (Edamame), Korea (Tanchon), China (Jia Ching), and Southeast Asia (Lama Sut). A floating pirate city, (Shangri La) also appears to pirate captains or after defeating a pirate fleet, when the location is revealed.

    Some famous pirates can be defeated and a bounty for their return to the port authority is paid. The more named pirates you turn in at one time, the higher your cumulative reward. The pirate attacks come while traveling between ports. It seems that the more ships you have and the more you attack and defeat them, the more ships they get too. I have read that it is a good strategy to flee early in the game so that the pirate fleets do not build up. I am not so sure that it will work.

    I found it fascinating to play. The travel between ports gets to be repetitive, slow and monotonous. Even though I always click the space bar to speed the animation, I wish there was a way to forgo the animation entirely. Same with the music, it gets repetitive too.

    I also have not figured out whether it is profitable to own warehouses. You can store items there you buy locally at a discount and then sell them later at a profit. But thieves can break into your warehouses. As you build up your ships, you can defeat larger pirate fleets. According to the tips on line, it is best to flee in the early going. Each time you defeat a pirate fleet, the next fleet is supposed to get bigger. But they also seem to bring more ships to the battle to match your ships. Defeating pirates and dealing in dream dust are the only ways to really make big money on voyages.

    A good strategy is to buy more brigs and sloops instead of just junks. Check what is for sale at each shipbuilder and only buy and sell a junk once in a while.

    Some of the other games I have tried and enjoyed are:

    Zuma is a shooting game from PopCap games. It has a Central American flavor to it in the game design. The shooter is a rotating stone frog statue.

    Players start with three lives in total, but extra lives can be earned by scoring points. Shooting a coin with a ball, making multiple groups of balls explode with a single shot, shooting through gaps in the balls, or finishing a level within a certain period of time will give extra points.

    The objective is to eliminate all the balls rolling around the screen on a path, before they reach a skull-shaped drain. As soon as one ball reaches the drain, the rest of the balls follow at high speed and the player loses a life. To prevent the balls reaching the drain, the player can destroy the balls by firing a colored ball from the mouth of a stone frog idol towards a group of two or more of the same colored balls. When three or more of the same color come in contact, they explode, possibly triggering other explosions as part of a chain reaction.

    My four year old likes to watch the line of balls grow and then go down the drain. The shooting does not even enter into the picture. I like the synthesized glass breaking sound when the balls bounce back and smash each other.

    This is fun for the kids to watch, but you need a little physics background to understand how to bounce your penguins. The kids like to watch this one.

    Big Kahuna Reef
    This fun game from Reflexive Games works by showing undersea icons which you must bring together to clear spaces. This game is fun to play to listen to the smashing sounds when you clear the squares. It is somewhat like playing a slot machine which goes wild when you win all the coins. Early Pachinko machine manufacturers had this all figured out. On a Pachinko machine, you get all the steel marbles falling down onto a bell to get the rewarding ring sound.

    Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2007 @ 07:29:18 UTC by BB
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