Welcome to another fun filled edition of the Cub Report!

In this episode, we find out what happens when I give the Cub my old computer.

A short while ago, the Cub’s computer took a data dump, and left us scrambling to come up with a replacement.

We ended up getting me a new computer, and passing my old one on to him, leaving us both with an upgrade.

The only thing I had to do to get the computer set up for him was to install the backed up Minecraft game/world saves for him.

So, hey, Portal is on the desktop, he played that a bit. And it had World of Warcraft, of course. And I installed a painting program for him to get his art on.

Over the weekend, he was bored, and asked me what this other icon on the desktop was. Starcraft II? What’s that?

More importantly, can he play it?

Sure. Why not? He’s ten, he can give it a shot.

I explained to him that it wasn’t a World of Warcraft style of game, instead it was like a science-fiction version of Warcraft III, which I let him play a bit a year or more ago.

“You make a base, fortify it, build armies and go out to smash other bases.”

Okay, cool. He’s excited, he wants to try it.

I set him up with a fresh start in Campaign mode, and let him at it.

He did a few missions in campaign mode, but he didn’t really care for it.

“Is there any way I can just do a battle? I build a base and the bad guys build a base and we fight?”

Why yes… yes there is.

I showed him how to set up a match against the AI, the different variables, how to browse Blizzard maps, what team AI was and all of that.

Then I let him go to it again.

He got his butt handed to him by the enemy in his first match. He was kind of upset.

So I told him that if he’d like, I’d replay the battle, and show him some of the things I do to defend my base, build resources and kick butt.

“Sure!”

I sat down, he had Terran set up against Terran on a 1v1 map, and I showed him how you can set up your SCVs to harvest minerals and gas, build more SCVs to farm faster, send an SCV down to another nearby mineral site to start a second command center and bring in more resources, and have a couple SCVs off on their own building missile launchers, barracks and bunkers with Marines around the perimeter.

I showed him how to group armies with Ctrl+#s, I introduced him to the concept of avenues of approach, and how to upgrade weapons and armor and perform research.

I showed him how some forces can only attack ground targets, some can only attack air, some reveal the surrounding area, and some units can attack both types.

Then I built a force of 5 Battlecruisers and turned the keys of the kingdom over to him.

He likes Battlecruisers.

He played several more AI matches over the weekend after that. He tried some of the 2v2 maps, with an AI on his team and two AI opponents, and also one match with two AI buddies on his team with one lone little AI victim.

Does everyone do that at some point? Set up a completely one sided and horribly unfair situation where the poor bad guy is just screwed right out of the gate? It’s not fun to actually play, but it seems like a rite of passage for an RTS game, gives you plenty of time to build up impregnable defenses, a ridiculously large and overpowered army, and then have the AI bad guy die because your two AI allies lost no time in zerg rushing him?

Anyway. He had a lot of fun.

He loves the battlecruiser, he likes the looks of the Thor but I don’t think he’s built them much. So far he seems to go for dominance of the skies rather than open-field tank battles.

He likes the Viking, he asked me if I knew that the Viking was a flying gunship that can land and transform into mecha. Very cool. Also, there are medic ships!

I came in on him last night, he was whooping it up, I wanted to see what trouble he was up to.

He’d started a 1v3 battle, with 3 Terrans against his one Zerg force.

When I popped my head in, he was grouping zerglings into armies. Lots and lots and lots of armies. And giggling.

“I’m going to send THIS army to scout the enemy camp, and THIS army to attack his weak point, and THIS army to cover the way to the enemy base so I’m not surprised, and THIS army to defend my ramp here, and THIS army….”

Um, yeah.

Okay, so, note to self. Do NOT buy a second copy of Starcraft II. I can just see getting my butt zerg-rushed from thirteen different armies while still trying to finish building my first barracks.

Also, those giant things that Zerg can make that look like dinosaurs? Why can they burrow? He was building them, burrowing them and giggling.

Why? Why make something that massive a sneak attack? “La la la, walking along the trail, all is quiet, HOLY CRAP INSTANT MUTANT RHINOS ARGGGHHHH!”

My son likes the Zerg more than the Space Marines?

That’s just wrong, man.

12 Responses to “The Cub Report – Battlecruisers are Cool”
  1. Kobay says:

    Come on, Bear! The Bad guys are always more fun, every kid knows that. All Hail the Queen of Blades! (I don’t know if she’s Zerg or not, I don’t really play the game. But I hear SC players say that a lot)

  2. Hasteur says:

    If you can hold 9 different things in your head simultaneously then RTSes are for you. I’ve never been that big of a RTSer because I more enjoy playing the story line, playing different scenarios, or building a Finger of God battle group that devastates the opponent.

    If only EA would pull their head out of their ….. they would modernize the Westwood studios titles they inherited (Command & Conquer) they’d be able to make oodles of money.

  3. Thunderspank says:

    BBB, Alex sounds like quite the creative type.

    Have you heard of Scratch? It is a pretty cool way to introduce coding to someone and you can make a lot of very cool stuff with it.

    My own son is a bit too young for it at 5, all he wants to do is come up with ideas for what the “cat” should do and then asks me to implement those ideas lol.

    Anyway, check it out at http://scratch.mit.edu/

    I’ve not tried v2 that just came out, but it has cool things like webcam integration ala Xbox Kinect. Its free and really allows for a lot of creativity.

  4. Riegnman says:

    I was wondering why you’ve been logged onto Starcraft for the last 2 days. LOL

    I almost downloaded it to try and see what could keep a grown man enthralled for days on end.

  5. DeGei says:

    Why do I have a feeling the data dump was partially my fault, with FTB and all.

    The cub is probably better than me at Starcraft or any of the RTS games.

    Glad to hear he has given Portal a try. Great series.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      He’s played the first Portal through several times until he gets to the mission where the drones will shoot at you. I stop the game at that point. He has great fun with Portal puzzles until then, though.

      • DeGei says:

        Portal 2 added in a fanmade map browser, allowing you to get new puzzles and challenges, though Portal 2 has more things in it and more turrets. Eventually he’ll have to face those turrets. They are just another layer of puzzle to solve.

        “How does one get from point A to point B, while avoiding area C or deactivating turret D?”

  6. Theodoxus says:

    The Horde base camp on the Isle of Thunder has Blood Elf arcane golems carrying supplies around. They port in from somewhere (Silvermoon, probably) and they announce “Carrier has arrived!” when they do.

    It’s a 50/50 shot I’ll log out and play a protoss map when they do that. I love me some carriers, especially that voice that announces ‘Carrier has arrived!’ – heck, I say that every time I see a Carrier air conditioner unit… My little corner of geekdom.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Wait, there are carriers in Starcraft II? I thought there were only the battlecruisers.

      Damn, I love me some Starcraft I carriers…

      • Theodoxus says:

        Oh definitely! With a Mothership cloaking them, and an observer following along faithfully, like a happy puppy that sees everything. I <3 Protoss.

        • bigbearbutt says:

          After you mentioned a carrier I had a look in the Terran list and mentioned to Alex it must have been SC1. He started up the game on a 1v1 map, no opponent, and explored the protoss tree until he found it and, yes, the mothership. :-)

  7. I, too, had been wondering what was up with you logged in to SCII so much lately. I haven’t played it in a few weeks…I bought the new SimCity and have been busy driving myself crazy with that game.

    I’m glad Alex has been having fun with SCII. It is a fun game no matter how you play it. I’m kind of like Alex too. I prefer the Zerg and make boatloads of Zerglings to tear up the enemy also. The bigger, tougher units stay back to defend my bases while the Zerlgings make life miserable for the enemy.

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