Rise Through The Ranks

Rise Through The Ranks
A Tactikon 2 special edition:
Game Review and Interview with Eidolon Industries founder James Payne


Tactikon 2 game logo


   Tactikon 2 is a FREE turn based strategy game available in the Google Play store  here.. It launched the 17th of April 2014. It was created as an upgrade to the original Tactikon with more units available, better A.I., and even more features.


A tank in Tactikon 2

   It is reminiscent of other 16-bit TBS games like Advance Wars. It has a retro look that doesn’t hamper the gameplay. In fact, don’t let the graphics fool you, the larger the armies get and the more units are on the battlefield;  I’m sure your device will thank you for the simpler graphics.

  While the gameplay is fairly simple, it does take some strategy to win on a map. Gameplay consists of you starting with one city (your HQ) and at least one unit. The initial goal is to grow your army as best as possible and to reach the map goal: which is one of 3 Victory goals, Total Annihilation, Take over Enemy HQs, or take over all Enemy Cities. Only 2 unit types may take over a city that is neutral or razed, Infantry and Tanks. Each unit type take a certain number of turns to build and each city has a maximum of 4 slots.

   The additional unit types are:
*Destroyers (massive ships that can attack up to two squares away).
*Carriers (Can hold/refuel/repair aircraft).
*Transports (boats that can move 2 ground units at a time).
*Submarines (can submerge).
*Choppers (can carry a max of 2 infantry).
*Fighters are Jets with aerial superiority.
*Bombers are Jets designed to target ground units.


A view of some of the units in action

   These units get upgraded to skilled veteran status for each successful fight they’re in that they survive. In addition, unit may be healed/repaired in any city you own after receiving damage. This will stop any current unit being built until the damage is resolved. 

   Terrain plays a pretty big role in your overall strategy as ground units move over different terrain types at different speeds, water units are (obviously) limited to water tiles unless docked at a city; and air units have the longest range but have limited fuel and must land on a carrier or in a city to refuel or fall from the sky. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses and there is a robust help file in-game to help you see how they stack up. Plus, each time you attack, you’ll be able to see the odds of your success.

   This game is difficult to master and the A.I. is pretty intuitive which will give you some challenging gameplay. If playing offline, you can play against the A.I. in a single player mode or multiplayer by handing your device to your friend/family member to take turns (Local Multiplayer). It is recommended that you put some time into the Single Player & Local Multiplayer modes before taking on the online multiplayer mode as you’ll need to learn how everything I’ve described plays out and how the pacing works. You can play with up to 8 players total in a multiplayer game.

>>>Tactikon 2 Online Multiplayer

   One of the best things about this game is the multiplayer support online. It uses its own setup and servers to host and run the games. You’ll have to make your own profile by choosing your Commander’s name and your Army’s Icon and colour. After that, you can join or set up online games. The servers keep track of your total number of games you’ve played, how many you’re currently playing, your win/loss ratio, and provide you with two sets of rankings.


A massive war brews on

  The first ranking is your Rank as a Commander (following military titles of rank) and the second ranking shows how you rate overall amongst all of the other players at your rank worldwide. After further research, it appears that your Rank improves by virtue of the number of games you completed. You move from Private after 10 games and the remaining Ranks open up at the double of previous Rank. So 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, etc. How you rate at that Rank is determined by your W/L ratio out of all of the other players with the same Rank. To my knowledge, there aren’t any perks with each promotion…just the ability to show that you have risen the ranks to be the best player (or not) in your overall rank.

   You can also add friends from the other players you face (long press the match from the title screen to bring up this option) and even block players should they be an issue to you. I’ve never experienced any issues which have led me to blocking any player, but I have to add that there is even a simple and effective game chat built into each match. You simply drag a tab located at the top center of the match you’re in to access it. There is a character limit, but you also have the option of whispering to certain players instead of just talking to everyone at once.

>>>Maps and replayability

  The other superb portion of this game is the map editor which features in all modes. You have many different options available to you to play with in regards to the map you play on which include but are not limited to:
*Basic size of the overall map.
*Amount of water available.
*Ability to turn on/off forests and mountains.
*Ability to set city densities.
*Ability to mirror the maps with many options for mirror types.
*Many randomly generated maps for you to work with.
*Set online games for friends only
*Turn on/off Fog of War
The only thing you’ll not be able to do is actively edit/build the maps on your own on a tile-by-tile basis. The game handles that all for you by using what appears to be Simplex Noise. You will also get a balance rating before you start a game based on how balanced the map is overall. Finally, you can set a time limit for each turn, number of players, victory goal, and one or two other options to tweak.

  These map options alone give this game a massive amount of replayability.
With so many options to tweak and permutations available,  you may never play 2 games on the same map (unless you specifically try to). It adds to the overall gameplay because nothing will ever be very stale and also enriches the mind to ever deepening strategy.

!!!-The Verdict-!!!

   I’ve never been one to really use a number review system, but there is no better time than now to start. So, to make it fair, I’ll be using a maximum of 5 stars (*) in each category of:
   Each category will have a small blurb about why the rating was given and at least one Pro & Con. The ratings for each of the first four categories will be averaged to get the final overall score followed by my final thoughts.

¤Tactikon 2 Gameplay: *****
   The gameplay is fairly deep for a game that uses very simple gameplay mechanics. It is simple to learn and difficult to master.
~The simplified gameplay allows for anyone to play.
~The maps can be made to incorporate many different strategies and massive replayability.
~For its simplicity,  the rules could use a few small additions.
~Some have asked for additional units/unit types and/or a tech tree or upgrade system.

¤Tactikon 2 Graphics: ****
The game uses simple 16-bit graphics to give it a retro feel and keep the processing power down. The Sprites and tiles are animated to give it a sense of motion and make the maps feel alive. Simple palette swaps for color differentiate between player’s Armies.
~The simple style allows to easily make out units and terrain types with relative ease.
~There are also small icons to show veteran status on the units and to alert you of lost units or cities when your turn starts
~The simplified graphics may be overlooked by many who would miss out on a great game by judging the graphics alone.
~The terrain needs more variable tiles like roads, bridges, sand, snow, etc.

¤Tactikon 2 Sound: *
As of yet, there is no background music or sound effects to accompany the gameplay. As you’ll see in my interview (see after the final score), those ideas are currently in the works to be added;  possibly in a future update.

¤Tactikon 2 Multiplayer: *****
This is really where the gameplay shines. Whether you are playing against friends in the same room or playing online, you’ll have more fun playing this in multiplayer mode. This game does MP in such a simple way that many other Developers need to take notice.
~ Up to 8 players on one map
~ Chat is built in and can also be used strategically
~ Turns can be set to 24 hours so you don’t have to miss out. There are also notifications that pop up.
~ The community has yet to really embrace this aspect fully.
~ It would be nice to see Google Play Games Achievements, Quests, and Scoreboards

¤Tactikon 2 Overall score: ****
While the actual score was 3.75 as an average…it is closer to 4. This game is still early and there are many things that can and will hopefully be added to make it an even better experience. If you are a fan of strategy games and especially TBS, then this game is a must have. There is a toggle for difficulty, so anyone can try it out. Like a fine game of chess, it gives back when you find a good strategy that works. Plus, it can be a on the go game when you have a few minutes to kill or can eat hours away. There is a lot of promise to this game and I hope that a community grows around it even more and embraces it.

There is a Google+ Discussion group specific to this game and that can be found in the About option. There is also a Facebook page dedicated to it. Tactikon 2 Facebook page
The stage is set for some explosive community activity.

If you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend trying it out. It will continue to grow and just needs dedicated gamers to help it grow further. The main website is Tactikon 2 main webpage

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2014 : Day 20


Somehow yesterdays post was lost in the ethereal limbo. It should have saved as a draft, but didn’t. Actually it should have just published…but it didn’t. Barring that, it normally saves as a local draft but magically disappeared.
Oh well.
Have a bad migraine today and it is playing havok with my thought processes.  Especially my writing.

Yay me!


Hilarious little comic.

Speaking of comics… visit fallen comics for a little window into our world. You can also visit our fanpage here.

Also check out www.gamers-heaven.info. They are a good source of video game fun and knowledge. There is also a group on FB, if you’re so inclined. 



I did finish The Raven. Really damn good movie. Can’t help that I almost teared up at Poe’s death. He has been one of my literary heroes since I first started reading.
Also watched Kickass 2 last night. It was ok…but nothing to go on about. Really only recommend it if you’ve seen the first one.

Well that does it for me today. Migraine making it difficult to focus on any more. Until tomorrow. …

~ Harbinger Owl of Syn

Grand Theft Auto 5 Review

Although I am NOT the only one to play or review this game, I just finished the main campaign single player about 2 days ago. It is very crazy to say the least I really enjoyed how they work all three characters together, and especially love the heist and planning them not;  just pulling them off. I am now after the elusive 100%.

To say that rockstar really outdid themselves with this game is an understatement.  It is the most ambitious game of the seventh generation of consoles and does quite a lot for gaming overall. I am very impressed with Los Santos as a living and breathing city. I’ve watched NPCs pull into their driveway and get groceries out of their car. I love the wildlife that was added and I am super impressed by the visuals. There are so many photo opportunities in this game as well as easter eggs to make one’s head spin.  While I believe Red Dead Redemption still had a better story, R* nailed the best GTA yet and GTA Online just keeps getting better and more fun. ( I play on PS3 as The-LordofSyn…add me if you feel inclined).

If I have to nitpick and complain a little, I have to go after the music chosen for this game. I am about 40 hourz into the game and have already found myself turning the in-game music off for two reasons. It has become too repetitive and I like to hear the world that R* built as well as the NPC chatter. If I want music, I now usually listen to my own music streaming from my tablet or smartphone over my blue tooth speaker close by.

I sure hope that more is added to the single player format of the game soon and that whatever DLC launches isn’t going to be super expensive. They’ve already added quite a bit to the GTAO.  Los Santos now almost feels like Second Life with all of the choices available to play between both SP and MP modes. I chose option C for those that understand what I mean as I still had so much to do with all 3 characters. 

This game easily has my vote for Game of the Year and although I cannot afford a PS4 anytime soon, at least I have a great game to enjoy until I can.

On a scale of 1-5 here is my breakdown:
Graphics: 5
GTA 5 easily is one of the most stunning visual games I have ever played. Rockstar’s attention to detail is amazing on this 7th Gen. The sunsets look real, the phases of the moon change as you play…even your character’s hair and facial hair grow back over time if you get clean shorn. I am playing on a small 13″ HDTV but have seen it played on a much bigger HDTV and have to say that I am amazed that it looks this good at 720p. It looks like 1080p.
Sound: 4
While the rest of the world in GTA is great, I have already given my complaints about the music. The rest of the sound is wonderful though. From NPC chatter to the sound of your car engine cooling off…there is so much to hear that you’ll be amazed at how much they stuffed into this game. Again, detail is the name of the game as even wearing sandals (flip-flops) will result in the flapping sound as you walk. Wet shoes squish until dry, and your car speakers give the frequency clicks when you have incoming messages on your in game cell phone.

Story: 5
While not as serious as the previous game in the series, GTA V has proven to still be mature and engrossing.  There is still the prevalent humour involved, but the game also judges you and your choices a little… in a good introverted way. It makes you think about your choices well and also makes you think about how you could have done things differently. The Three main PCs do break up the story well and allow for a good change of pace allowing the player to experience the world as they see fit and the characters themselves are complex broken people in a crazy and broken world.

Replay ability: 5
Not counting GTAO, there are so many choices in the single player campaign that you have to replay some of it just to see how things would have gone down if you had chosen other options. Now there is the ability to play previous missions and especially the side missions in order to get a higher score and ranking on them with objectives that will grant you a better score and bronze, silver, or gold medal per mission.

I may add more to this review later, but I am very happy with this game and have a very enjoyable time playing it. If this helped you, speak up. If you wish to discuss this game, leave a message…
If you know someone who may be on the fence about getting this juggernaut of a game, please share this with them. This game is a mature game and shouldn’t be played by minors without parental supervision. See you all on the flip side.


I am a G.M.

G.M. or Game Master. It is an older term for anyone who runs tabletop or Pen & Paper RPGs (Role Playing Games). As a natural storyteller, I was drawn to the 1st edition AD&D. I had played the tabletop DnD too, but found it awfully limiting in scope. With Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (the older TSR products) you were only limited by your imaginations and were free to get out of the dungeons. It allowed for far greater story themes and epic chronicles. 
I had even written my first PnP RPG game mechanics and world setting by the time I was 10 years of age. It was influenced by those medieval hack and slash adventures with a wonderful twist. I moved on to over 40 other game systems created by others. Everything from Traveller and Call of Cthulu to ElfQuest, and Shadowrun. So many games. I found I preferred Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, and Horror games especially. I even modded Shadowrun rules into White-Wolf’s Storyteller system to make the games even more interesting and very nasty.

Since 2003, I have been working on my newest game. Legion: Universal RPG. I have folded many of the older games I have created within its engine/mechanics and have made it easy to play any genre/setting. I did allow it to be downloaded for free to help push RPGs as a wonderful way to spend time with friends, entertain imaginations, and to do my part to spread the joy of real RPGs. I felt they were a dying art, and in many ways; I still feel that way.

I am now in the vein of restructuring the rules a little. Streamlining them for easier gameplay and fleshing out areas that need a little meat. With the advent of much easier self publishing (via internet and especially epub), I plan on hopefully getting the core book published into a few formats, especially on Amazon, and allow those with tablets/smartphones the ability to play and run games still on tabletop without much need for actual pencils and paper.

So, I am indeed looking for Playtesters in the Tucson, AZ area. Everyone who playtests will not only get their names mentioned in the credits of the game, but will also get one digital and one print copy of the core book(s) for free. My move to getting published means that I will indeed be charging for the revised game, but I will not be charging very much at all. Again, I am a gamer and I understand the need for inexpensive gaming habits. I know piracy being what it is that I won’t make much money on it, and I am no artist. I hardly have any commissioned artwork in the game, and have had to use whatever copyright free images that are suitable.

I may also eventually have another interesting publishing format available down the road. More on that at a later date.

Inspired by Tolkien and other authors who went above and beyond the scope of merely creating characters and a few set pieces, I really enjoy the creation of worlds and settings. I love Role Playing games in their truest forms where anything is quasi probable. Where Player Characters drive the plot and action and allow for suspension of disbelief within the confines of Free Will and Imagination. To me, there is nothing more pure than a group of friends coming together to collectively tell stories and engage their creative minds. There are no real linear rails, no right or wrong way to play; no true winner or loser.

I, like many GMs, used to play with pre-written adventures…but found them rather limiting too. I prefer the wonderful ad libbing and impromptu nature of gaming on the fly of stream of consciousness. I like to keep an outline of where the game might be headed, but allow the players to shape how and where the storyline is headed. Give them a great sandbox and allow them to play. Give them the descriptions that tease their minds eye, engage their 5 senses of their characters…and make the game world a living and breathing thing; and you’ll have gamers that will keep coming back for more.

As of late, I have been looking at free Apps for smartphones and tablets to help run games and I am chomping at the bit to play almost any tabletop RPG right now. Aside from playtesting Legion, I am looking for other games to play and troupes to play with. I need to get my game on…
And soon!


A lil bit for him, a lil bit for her…

So this week is interesting in the cultural sense of the word. By that, I mean movies and video games. I will take a quick look at what is in store for him and her this week. Very quick, as I don’t have much to say on either account, except that a happy couple can still exist after the week is done…we all hope.
* Tomorrow: 11/13/2012 is the launch day for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
This will appease the him in most households. Guns, missions, bloodshed, and Zombies, oh my! Having never really played much of the first game, I have been urged strongly by my old Socom clan-mates to pick it up. Money being a rare commodity for me as of late, it went to my Amazon wish list instead. Now, before I get ripped to shreds for not being a real gamer, or not playing the first game (one of the most selling games ever); allow me to stress that I chose not to play for a few reasons.
-I have played FPS games since the first Wolfenstein on PC and of course the game that got most people onto FPS: Doom {and the sequels}. Don’t think that just because I haven’t played much of bOps, that I am a push over or a real gamer. I can dance around most, and hold my own in a game. Thank you very much. I chose not to play because 1) couldn’t justify the new game purchase. 2) when it came down, I no longer had a PS3 to play on. 3) cannot stand hackers, lag-switchers, or campers. They ruin most of any fun to be had playing Multiplayer.

That being said, while you have XBox fans foaming at the bit for Halo 4, you have most of the rest salivating for Black Ops 2. Me, I could care less, more because I can’t afford the game; and haven’t bought into the hype. If someone got me an early Christmas gift, I wouldn’t let it go to waste though. Oh, and although I have been bit by the Zombie bug (finally), why is it that Zombies get all the fuss. I guarantee that it would be a hell of a lot scarier having to take on Vampires and Werewolves. Especially werewolves…a pack of fast healing giant killing machines is much more shuddering to me than a horde of shambling zombies.

Friday: or Thursday night @ midnight if you will…
(And keeping to a monster theme) the final Twilight movie hits theaters. The epic ::cough:: tale of a sickly looking stoner chick, her disco-ball skinned blood sucking husband, their pet lycanthrope, Fido and a weird vampire/Dharmpire super baby, or something. I still haven’t read the books, but will get around to it after someone claims that Rice still writes better Vampire books, and can write a better love story on a napkin.
Ok, I am a little biased. Vampires aren’t supposed to sparkle in sunlight…they are supposed to burst into flames. End of story. I did see most of the first movie, something I am loathe to do when there are actually books that will always ne better than any movie: simply because your imagination doesn’t have to keep to a budget. When I saw him shimmering like a bad Bee Gees video, I was lost, threw up in my mouth, and instantly wanted 2 hours of my life back.
So, since every other being (under the age of 60) in the U.S. and possibly abroad with XX chromosomes will probably be giddy over this final chapter of movie-dom devoted to selling more swag to tweeners and tying in every feminine product possible to this movie franchise. {Twilight Douche…it works on so many levels :D} May we all live happily ever after…at least until Sunday when NFL games start.

This has been the Harbinger Owl of Syn reminding you that it doesn’t matter if you are Team Xbox, Team PS3, Team Jacob, or Team Edward…someone is vying for your money this week. It isn’t me, sadly. If I had my way, I would make some DLC for bOps 2: Twilight. Then I could fight against the werewolves I mentioned earlier, and show a vampire how to really sparkle…
…with a Phosphorous Grenade in his groin.
Dance that one off, dead boy!

~H.O.o.S. (gonna drive you home. Tonight)

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