Much like Space Alert, XCOM, Space Cadets (whether the original or the head-to-head Dice Duel), or the deck-assembling portion of Millennium Blades, Meteor is a real-time game, meaning you’ve got a limited span of time to complete whatever objective has been set before you. With only a scant handful of minutes on the clock, tasks like navigating around an asteroid field, counting off how many turns until that stealth fighter drifts into range of your cannons, cobbling together a tournament deck, or calculating the odds of a squad of soldiers beating back an alien invasion — all simple assignments on their own, given enough time to actually evaluate your options — the stress ratchets up to, dare I say it, meteoric heights.
And yet, though I’ve played many real-time games, I’ve never seen anyone react with quite the same level of incredulity as when I start explaining Meteor.
I don’t often read about politics, pretty much because they’re boring and deflating, but the other day I found myself totally spellbound by the President’s recent State of the Union. In it, he was talking about “levels of contribution,” the idea that we have different things to offer to our society, and using himself as an example. I won’t bore you with the details — I’m sure you can find it online with a quick search — but the basics came down to him arguing that his personal lowest level of contribution costs a red gem but provides three victory points. Not very much at all. At the next level he requires an additional yellow gem but gives four back, of any color, which is a two-for-one return on our investment. Then at each successive level he could contribute something more; for example, a boost to the nation’s scientific community, then an increase to our magical capacity. But he would also consume more gems. Because gems don’t come easily, this isn’t always an easy decision, but in the end a nation that most carefully invests its gems is the one that rises to the top.
Best State of the Union ever. Politics finally make sense.