Sunday, 19 August 2012

What is the Attraction of Triviador ?

I don´t ask this in a sarcastic way. I´ll tell you what prompts this post. I´m still in Spain, of course. We didn´t bring the kids with us this time, so it´s just Mary, me and the in-laws. This kind of dictates the pattern of the day - basically do what you have to do during the day before lunch, siesta after lunch back at the house, then maybe out again in the evening. And please don´t misunderstand me, I have no problem with the leisurely rhythm of life here, either. However I do struggle to have a sleep in the afternoons - something which can´t be said for all of the kids I teach, but I digress. I did promise myself that I´d take the visit as an excuse to try to break my Triviador habit, and for the first few days I was successful.However being at a loose end for those few hours in the afternoon has taken its toll. To cut a long story sightly shorter my mother in law caught me at it this afternon, and asked me what it was all about, and what the attraction was. Good question.

If you´ve never played Triviador before yourself, well, it´s basically an online game you can play in Facebook. I have mentioned it before on LAM, although I don´t think that I ever went into that much detail. You log in to play, and you will be joined by two other players, who could be from anywhere in the world - so long as you´re on Facebook you can play. The playing area is an outline of the world. Each of you is given a base consisting of three towers somewhere on the map. The first stage of the game consists of fighting to win points and soldiers, which are placed on the map wherever you choose to deploy them. You are asked 4 questions which require numbers for answers. The closest to the correct answer gets to place two soldiers on the map, and the next closest gets to place one soldier. In the event of two or three of you having the same answer, fastest wins. Having the soldiers is important. You can only attack a soldier or a base which one of your pieces is adjacent with. Unless you have a booster, but we´ll come to them afterwards. Attacking is ne of the ways there is to win points.

There are 4 rounds. You take it in turns to attack one of your opponents. When you attack you are both given a multiple choice question. If one gets it wrong, the other one wins the question. So an attacker would change the colour of the defending piece to his own colour, and take it over, along with however many points the soldier is credited with. If the defender wins the question, then they get credited 100 more points. If nether player has the correct answer - which is rare - then neither gets any points. If both have the correct answer, then we move to a tiebreak number question. Whoever is closer to the correct answer wins, and if both have the same answer, then fastest wins. Once your base has been destroyed, you´re out of the game. In round four, the final round, you can attack anywhere you want without being right next to it. Of the surviving players after round four, the winner is the one with most points.

Which, in itself probably wouldn´t quite be enough to keep me interested for the amount of time that Triviador has already done. However your results in each game do add to certain statistics. The game tells you which of your Facebook friends are playing this week, and what their cumulative score is. You can also see how well your weekly score compares with everyone else playing the game - ideally the aim is to be within the top 1%, and if possible, within the top 100. Also, every time you reach a certain threshold of points, you go up a level. Shouldn´t make a difference to how much you enjoy the game, but I´m afraid that I am immature enough that it does to me.

The game is not without its frustrations though. For example, when you start, in fact , whenever you play the game, it doesn´t seem to me that there´s any seeding . So for all you know you might end up playing someone who is in the level 80s, 90s or even more than 100. It doesn´t matter how good a quizzer you are going into Triviador - until you´ve worked your own way up through the levels then your chances of beating them are extremely slim. The nature of the game is such that knowing some pretty obscure numbers is vital, so it can really take a long time to feel that you´re getting to grips with it at all, and to start winning. Another frustrating thing is the boosters. There´s a range of boosters which can be available to you to help you get a correct - or at least a close - answer. Kind of like the Phone a Friends in WWTBAM. I don´t know , but I´m guessing that it´s possible to buy more game gold, which you can use to buy more boosters. You get some for free during the course of the day, but they only go so far. They are a legitimate part of the game, and you´re fully entitled to use them, but it an be frustrating when you see someone beating you up by coming up with perfect answer to a succession of nummber questions which nobody can realistically be expected to know.

Mind you that is a problem which eventually cures itself - if you keep playing the game long enough, for the questions do tend to recur. The nature of the game is such that questions do recur over a period of time, and they do eventually start to stick. The questions are a curious hotch potch too. The format of either multiple choice questions, or questions with numerical answers does impose limitations upon the game, and they are supplied by players as well, which means they do vary in accuracy , of both answer and grammar. It´s also going to happen that questions are going to apply particularly to one area or country to the detriment of others. In my experience Brits are pretty well served in this way - there´s a lot of Brit specific content in the game. The way the questions recur as well seems to highlight some obsessions among the people who set the questions. In discussions in other places I´ve seen it said that there are more questions on Harry Potter, for example, than Shakespeare.Not that I am saying that there´s anything wrong with this, but I know some people who don´t like it. Certainly if you haven´t played before, and are thinking of doing so, it would be well worth becoming familiar with the boiling points of various metals, and Karl May´s "Winnetou" - at least one question setter seems very taken with that.

Long before I finished explaining all this to my mother in law she had fallen into deep slumber, though. Which suited me fine, because it meant that I could go back to my game . . .

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