So, J theatrically bemoaning the fact that I never like any games he buys me was an effective guilt trip – and I pondered the game for a while thinking of what I might be able to do with it. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up again today if I hadn’t just had a pretty good board game run at the in-laws anyway; Kingsburg has some of the same “choice paralysis” elements as LLTQ does (dialed up to 11). And I crushed my opponents in Kingsburg (a very slow, low-energy girls-only game; the guys were playing Ivanhoe) so I figured that if I used a similar “focus on one thing” tactic maybe I could pull a win from LLTQ.
Which I then proceeded to do as my activity for The Traditional Do-Nothing Day of the Christmas break. I actually “beat” it twice, using two different plot progressions; the key was realizing that being a “generalist” was a recipe for utter failure, and figuring out which three or four courses of study one could master in the limited time available. The first run-through, I decided to ignore the magic system entirely, and ended up concentrating on becoming the most “proper” Queen I could be, maxing out stats like Royal Presence and Court Manners. This allowed me to successfully navigate the internal political tangles but gave me a bit of trouble at the end. Oh, and also my father tragically died, but in the “epilogue” the kingdom was well-off so I suppose my dynastic duties were fulfilled.
The second run-through, I thought I’d give the “magic” route a try – and because of the way the game is set up, doing this basically means I have to totally ignore the “proper princess” set of stats. Economics gave me a boost, and while I was worried that not having good Conversation skills would give me trouble, I actually managed to win through that round, too. Unfortunately the way I managed that was less satisfying, since the epic shamanic smackdown isn’t even shown and then the kingdom ended up suffering some unfortunate witch-hunting episodes and financial difficulties during my reign. Ooops. I guess Dad was right and that magic business isn’t very good after all.
I also took a look at the “achievements” list and I’m thinking that perhaps I might enjoy tweaking things a bit to unlock certain rabbit-trails in the plot. There are a few implied victory conditions that look intriguing and would probably be best set up early; and a few things that just look like they’d be amusing even if they would undoubtedly lead to my demise at the tender age of 14.
Remembering to save your game every round in a new slot certainly helped too. Somehow it still seems like cheating to be using my knowledge of future events in my favor, though. Divination? Who needs divination when you’ve already played the major events through and know what’s coming!