Advent of Carcosa

Language in Advent of Carcosa

I’m still working on rules set for AOC – here’s a section I recently wrote on the use of language in the game.

The Corporate Unity has its own language that, when fully accessed, is weighted toward accurately expressing scientific and other technical knowledge in the most concise way possible. A citizen’s access to the language, however, is defined by their profession, with full linguistic use available only to a few (many of whom belong to MJ-12). The language very rapidly evolves, updated constantly via an individual’s Ginsert by the Unification Ministry of Culture and Science. This makes the language nearly impossible to learn by foreigners except on the most basic levels. When traveling or otherwise representing the CU, citizens will simply upload the languages of the places they are visiting into their cortical stack.

The CU would like their linguistic method to be the universal standard for humanity, but of course this is far from the case. AGs promoting nationalism and other forms of cultural, religious and racial supremacy will often insist that their traditional language be the only one spoken inside their borders. Travelers should make sure that the most up-to-date dialect is uploaded into their cortical stacks to prevent incidents.

Each Uplift species also has its own unique language – software is available for understanding the vocal intonations and body language necessary for comprehension.  Speaking an Uplift language requires simple modifications to one’s Morph involving an interior or exterior voice modulator for species closely resembling humanity (Apes, Chimps) with optional cues for body language, with more complex mods being necessary for Corvid speech (prehensile feathers being required to alter the meaning and/or context of certain phrases and to provide nuance – it is very easy to get into a lot of trouble very quickly without them). It is nearly impossible to communicate with other species (dolphins, porpoises, octopi) without the use of AR interface to simulate the correct combinations of sounds, gestures, expressions, coloration, etc. Uplifts will rarely engage any sort of communication with Homo Sapiens, however, as it was for the most part only possible through the irreversible alteration of their synaptic structures, which was not done with their consent.

Finally, there are the forbidden languages – Enochian and Aklo. Use of either of these languages is outlawed in most of the places inhabited by humanity. In the CU, use of these languages in the line of duty is always submitted to a board of inquiry for the purpose of determining if such use was justified.  MJ-12 has sole access to Enochian and Aklo language software, which is to be uploaded only to a mirrored aspect of an individual’s consciousness which after use is immediately destroyed.

Use of these languages is most prevalent among Outsiders, with even physically constant but more cognitively robust species like the Deep Ones and Mi-Go using it to add an extra layer of context to exchanges of information that involves hyperreal mathematics, movement of energy from one dimension to another (magic), or non-Euclidean geometry, architecture and geography.

These languages are also used by cultists in rituals, with Enochian being favored by most and Aklo being used almost solely by the followers of the King in Yellow. There are even collectors of words of the Aklo language who aren’t affiliated with any cult, appreciating it for its consciousness altering properties. Single words fetch a high price, while books written in the language are considered priceless.

board games

Ogre Review

This game is best described as a futuristic look at armored warfare, with many different types of armored vehicles, including the Ogre itself, an AI driven behemoth anywhere between a few to a dozen meters in length. The game is tactical in nature, with pieces representing a single vehicle or up to three squads of battle suit infantry. Given the number of armored strategy games out there, what makes this one worth your time, you ask?

  1. Compelling setting. The game takes place in the far future, pitting the Pan-European Alliance against the forces of the Combine. Armored battle suit infantry, tanks of different flavors (light, heavy and super-heavy), ground effect vehicles (GEVs), artillery and the massive Ogres slug it out on battlefields created with a set of beautifully rendered geomorphic map boards. The Ogres themselves are the centerpieces, bristling with railguns and tactical nuclear missiles that can often decide a battle all on their own.
  2. Components. There are two different versions of the game – small (the pocket version) and extra-large (the Designer Edition). The small version fits easily into a handbag or large pocket, but has all the components necessary to enjoy a game. The individual pieces could be more colorful, but the maps make up for this, being both functional and attractive. What the large version loses in portability it makes up for in presentation and production values. The maps are still beautiful, only much larger, while the tanks, infantry and other pieces are sturdy, functional and pleasing to the eye. The real masterpieces are the Ogres themselves, rendered colorfully in 3D cardboard pieces (some assembly required).

Update:  There is now a mid-sized game with the big components, but less of them and fewer map boards.  My advice is to shell out the extra cash for the extra-large version – there’s just not enough game in the mid-sized box to justify the expense.

  1. Playability. This is one of the game’s strongest points. The entire ruleset can be read in an hour, and you can teach someone the essentials in about 15 minutes. Gameplay is fast and straightforward – a small scenario can be finished in 30 minutes while the largest scenarios might take 2 or 3 hours. The rules are very intuitive so one can focus on enjoying the game instead of having to stop and look something up every five minutes.
  1. Goofy, over-the-top fun. It’s difficult not to cackle maniacally as you use a ludicrously well-armed land leviathan to stream roll infantry and other lesser vehicles. Meanwhile, tactical nuclear weapons fly to and fro in what is probably board gaming’s most lethal battlefield. The only game that comes close in its sheer, overblown combat zaniness might be Warhammer 40K.

 

Cons. Simplicity, one of the game’s selling points, is a two-edged sword. While lending itself to accessibility, tactics in the game are unsophisticated, mostly involving mobilizing enough firepower to take out the units you’ve chosen to target that turn. Thankfully, the game’s simple ruleset allows for easy modification in form of scenario special rules that can add a few levels of complexity in order to simulate a particular event or circumstance.

While well-designed, Ogre is definitely for a niche audience and won’t appeal to everyone. The people it will appeal to – war gamers who don’t take themselves too seriously – will probably like it right away.

So which version should you buy? If you don’t have the time or inclination for modding the game, go for the pocket version for quick pick up games. If you’re into the idea of adding or changing rules here or there, or just want to experience the wonderful production values on a large scale, go for the Designer’s Edition.  It’s expensive, but well worth the money for the beautiful game you’ll receive and the hours of enjoyment it will provide.