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Contest: Soul Ladder: A geeky TriviaRPG (current prize pool: 935GG)
Nick Reed
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Hi everyone!

I was looking at my user account the other month and noted I have a lot of spare geekgold floating around in there. We also have a goal over on VGG to create and promote a videogame this year. Combining the two together, and in the upcoming spirit of Christmas fun and festive sharing, I spent a few evenings and came up with this contest.

YOU HAVE BEEN CURSED!

You have until midday of Day 29 to reclaim the Soul Orb and reverse the curse or you will DIE! In the meantime, every step you take across the land will infect it and start its change back to its original form.

To move about the land you will need to answer "ordering" questions. Four answers will be presented to you - one will move you 1 square, one will move you 2, one will move you 3, one will move you 4. Choose wisely.

You will need to become strong enough to defeat the Dragon. Try honing your skills in combat.

Your heirloom weaponry and armor is lost to you. There may be people willing to sell you replacements...

You will need a Soul Shard to bypass the magical barrier. You only know of one type of creature that carries them, and they won't visit the land in its current state...

The more your curse affects the land, the more powerful will be the random monsters you encounter.


I have created a Flash game (summarised above), and made it available on my website. It's a strange combination of RPG and trivia game (even including questions about games you might find on BGG, RPGG and VGG!) where your goal is to kill a Dragon who has cursed you and retrieve the royal Soul Orb.

At the end of each game, you'll get a score (and Validation Code), so for the next 14 days (ending 11.59pm GMT, Dec. 14th) I'll be running a high-score contest. The more people that enter, the more money I'll put into the pot to be gifted at the end of the event. For now, the pot stands at 935.

(You can find more up to date information here on how the pot will be split)

There will also be free microbadge awards! mb mb mb mb mb mb mb mb mb mb

There's a bit of strategy involved that'll likely take a few replays to discover, so don't be discouraged if you don't succeed on your first try. I'll be posting a HINT each day (in the first geeklist entry here) to help you on the way. And I really advise not skipping the instructions the first time through...

If you'd like to have a play, you can find the game here: www.radivarl.com/games/soulladder.php
(I currently estimate a successful run to completion would take 30-60 minutes)

On completion, either submit your Validation Code and your Geek Username on my site (apologies for it being a manual process - time caught up with me), or post a screenshot of the final state+code here to this list if that seems too bothersome. Submit as many codes/scores as you like - there's no limit! Of course, this might be a good place to discuss strategy too with other people playing. (And please let me know if the code is being rejected or any other bugs appear!)
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1. Video Game: Soul Ladder [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1246]
Nick Reed
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Hampshire
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HINT #1: "Dreaded" characters are better at combat; "Beloved" characters get lower prices at most shops

HINT #2: At the early levels when money is sparse, take advantage of the free healing at the Chapel

HINT #3: If a question is too hard you can sacrifice a turn and simply let it time out

HINT #4: Monsters will spawn on a square at roughly the level of its curse

HINT #5: A chest on a heavily cursed square will have a more secure lock and more loot inside

HINT #6: Lockpicks reduce the complexity of a lock by roughly one curse level

HINT #7: Blue-locked chests are blasted open with magic; Red-locked chests are bashed open with strength

HINT #8: Only half the monsters drop money and items - learn which they are

HINT #9: Each monster has a preferred and uncommon land to appear on, out of the grass, sand and rock

HINT #10: Angels and Demons will only appear on maximum cursed squares, and even then rarely

HINT #11: Damage inflicted in a hit is roughly equal to ("Atk." minus "Half Opponent's Relevant Def.")

HINT #12: At the mid to high levels, don't underestimate the benefit of buying healing items

HINT #13: The more cursed a square is, the less time you will have to answer a question on it

HINT #14: Don't panic ...you all know the game as well as I do at this point
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2. Video Game: Soul Ladder [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1246]
Nick Reed
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Okay, let's add something beyond the one geeklist entry here. So, based on HINT #1, which characters is everyone playing / first tempted to play, and why?
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3. Video Game: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:254]
Janne
Finland
Helsinki
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Item added as requested.

Finished as lvl 10 Assassin with 271016 points.

I was lvl 9, equipped with mid-grade bow and brown armor (i.e. increasing both physical and magical defense), both having +10 enchantments when I killed the dragon sometime during the 28th day.
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4. Video Game: Soul Ladder [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1246]
Mr. Stabs
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Adventurer's Log: Attempt 3

My first two attempts have ended in abject failure. The first one saw me collapse on D2 with a score deep in the negatives. It was my second attempt that gave me the epiphany on how to powerlevel. Charging through highly purified land when you don't know the question answers is terrifying.

On my third attempt I made it to Level 7 as a Marauder, but the Chapel was completely purified. I would strike out for one of the three access points to fight above my level and then immediately heal, but every once in a while one of the pope questions would come up and completely screw over my finesse movement choices. I decided to take on an Angel with my +5 weapon and +5 armor - it was close, but I didn't make it.

I really enjoy the 1-4 movement deal when you're actually aiming to move exactly 3 spaces or something like that. It's fun to play around with. I think 1-2 more attempts and I'll be able to take out the dragon.
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5. Video Game: Soul Ladder [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1246]
Nick Reed
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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Following on from a couple of comments in the list already: What question categories do you find the most difficult and hate to see appear? Which do you deliberately add when you level up and which do you avoid?

(I'm genuinely curious how diverse the areas of trivia knowledge are across everyone here)



For me: "History" is difficult, "Music" and "Movies" catch me out more than I think they should, and "Measures 2"... hahaha: nope!
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6. Video Game: Trauma Center: Second Opinion [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1828]
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Hint..... Watch your health and learn where the best places are to heal up! You can get a "free" full heal from the Cathedral so learn to use it. And save those healing items until you really need them!

Of course now my high score is 4th on the ladder so your mileage may vary.
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7. Board Game: Say What!?! [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:12437]
TC Petty III
United States
Carlisle
Pennsylvania
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I felt I had to add a screenshot of my epic failure!


I killed the dragon, and the dragon killed me.

My reaction: YEA! WHAT?!? BLAARRGGHHHH!! (thats the sound I make before I transform into The Hulk)

The LAST fight of the game! Aggh! Addictive press-your-luck RPG game; I like. I'll have to try to beat it again, once I have calmed down from my Rage-Quit.
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8. Board Game: Death Angel [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:10723]
Eddie
United Kingdom
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I just realized that I don't have the full complement of microbadges for this game, yet. (Despite the inordinate amount of time I've already spent playing it...)

Time to go slaughter me an angel. devil
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9. Board Game: Chaos Marauders [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:5624]
Joshua Miller
United States
Holland
Michigan
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Thought I'd post here to show the current #1 score on the ladder. I played a Marauder, finished at level 11. I think I defeated the dragon on Day 23.

I haven't tried any of the beloved characters yet. I probably will at some point.

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10. Board Game: Master of Rules [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:5575]
☆ ✧ ☆ ✧ ☆
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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I'm really glad this game gives you time without score penalty to write down the questions and answers.

And that I can look up the questions before they come up (even if point penalized) is really nice.
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11. Board Game: Craps [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:14705]
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United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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I died to the stinking curse three squares away from the dragon.

I think I need to speed up my early game somehow. It feels like it takes me a long time to get moving.
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12. Board Game: Witch's Brew [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:652]
Jon Ben
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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Got my first win on my sixth attempt

Level 11 Witch (dreaded), 336420 points (5th place at the moment)

mid-level weapon with +10 enchantment
mid-level +7/+7 armour with +10 enchantment
+100 HP amulet



I switched characters and alignment a lot, this was my first time trying out the Witch. I had learned to be a little cautious from my earlier decapitations, but not too cautious. Fighting at lvl+1 or +2 with full health seemed fine with the basic equipment for the low to mid levels. Of course you buy stuff so this rule basically remains true.

I was super scared a couple of times that I was toast, and miraculously survived a bungled encounter with a lvl 8 monster and the subsequent limping broom ride back to the chapel :S

In terms of points the big thing seems to be levelling. You have to try and make every attack XP and health efficient. You essentially turn health into XP with tons of help from the chapel (free heals and potions). I was also noticing that certain creatures, especially certain level 7 and 8 monsters, drop huge amounts of gold. I found myself trying to optimise my ability to attack lots of them. Cash is tight earlier on when you want to drop thousands on equipment so knowing which monsters pay out is important.

Thanks a lot for this pleasant distraction Nick I'm looking forward to playing some more tomorrow.

Also a note, the game does pause just after you answer a question but before you click to allow movement. It took me awhile to realise I didn't have to ignore the rest of my life completely while I was playing
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13. Board Game: Billboard Top 40 Trivia [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Tyler Martin
United Kingdom
London
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Well I finally made it into the Gold LEVEL 10 bracket but am the only one there not to have finished the gamecry. Here's what I ended with


When I was suitably powered up I couldn't get a demon to appear. When one finally showed up I kicked it's butt but was done in by the curse.

Are there any tips on how to make demons or angels appear?
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14. Video Game: Soul Ladder [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1246]
Jonathan Tullsen
United States
Tigard
Oregon
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The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet.
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Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.
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I am exactly in the middle of the winners, with 9 above me and 9 below me. I also had the most plays (17) of all the winners. I played as a Valkyire. I think I killed the Dragon around day 24-25. Great game! Very addicting. All I need to do now is kill an angel.
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15. Video Game: Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:1467]
Sarge in charge!
Germany
Bremen
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That was super fun, and highly addictive!cool

Thanks for making this, I'll be returning to see how different characters end up...

20th place ain't too shabby, I think.

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16. Board Game: Addiction [Average Rating:4.77 Unranked]
GodRob
United States
Culpeper
Virginia
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We are all half-Centaur.
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"Just one more try and I'm done with this..."

It took me 22 tries but I finally won! Most of my attempts were good characters; Valkyrie, Paladin, even the Seer once. This evening I switched to the Marauder and damn does he make a difference.

No longer was I barely being killed because I stumbled onto a monster two levels higher than me. With some +5 weapons and armor I could even take on plus 3 levels easily. And the money! By the gods of chaos and plunder, the money just kept rolling in! (I think those hermits must secretly be ex-mob bosses in the witness protection program. The dryads are their extremely wealthy mistresses.)

Great game, look forward to beating this with the Valkyrie some day. Maybe I should try getting drunk first.

Robert
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17. Video Game: Battletoads [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:1710]
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United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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This is one of the hardest games I have ever played.

You have to take the right path so you can still reach critical areas like shops and the chapel. You have to run over the land to get decent monsters, but by the time you hit monsters you want to fight the next time you try to hit that area they are too big. You have to have money, which means not only be lucky enough for money monsters to show up, but also know the trivia that will take you to them. You have to hope that an angel shows up if you finally are doing well, because if one doesn't there is nothing you can do (and yes I saw the powder, bought it, spilled three bags of the stuff and nothing).

And of course you need extensive knowledge about snooker, the planets, popular music, atomic weights etc...

I am shocked at how many people have beaten this game. I've played it 25 times and am certainly familiar with the questions and strategy as discussed on the site. And have been using almost exclusively the Assassin which interestingly is the number one class in the top ten scores.

There is almost no margin for error in this game.
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18. Board Game: A Victory Lost [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:915]
Original Dibbler
Germany
Aachen
NRW
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What's one damage?
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Darn. I was just playing the perfect game (150k points on day 19, several demons killed, leveled up once more and bought both +10 enchantments after killing the demons) and than I azzacked the dragon a little too early...
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19. Board Game: 26! [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
☆ ✧ ☆ ✧ ☆
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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After 26 tries I finally won.



Had nothing to do with me though, I was just following Original Dibbler's advice.



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20. Board Game: Dungeon Raiders [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1643]
Mark Bird
Australia
CURRAMBINE
W.A.
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Second play through, trying to spend less "idle" time and focussing on the game completely.

Well, kind of whistle

Didn't think anything of the Mantrap until halfway through combat I realized it was Level 4 shake

May not have lasted as many turns as my first attempt, but at least my score was a few thousand less negative
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21. Board Game: The Victory Day [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Jonna
Finland
Helsinki
Uusimaa
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"Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering." ― Steve Maraboli
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नमस्ते (Namaste) – I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.
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Yay!! I finally managed to finish the game. I finished already yesterday, but didn't realise I needed to survive until the noon of 29th day and got myself killed cry So no Soul Orbit badge from that game.

This morning I decided finally to beat the dragon with a good guy (the Paladin) and did, so at least I now have all the badges even if my final score is not nearly as high as the highest score.

Victory dance
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22. Board Game: Paladin in Hell [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
TC Petty III
United States
Carlisle
Pennsylvania
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I beat my goal of 600K! Woot. 637,170

Now I'm curious if NCIK knows what the score limits might be.

I knew I was ahead of the curve on my last run, so I wrote down some "checkpoints" as I went along. I figure people can gauge how close they are based on my scores.

Day 10 12pm: Level 7 - 57,096
Day 15 12pm: Level 10 - 190,002
Day 20 12pm: Level 12 - 335,532

And I finally crossed into Level 14 for the first time!
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23. Video Game: Soul Ladder [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1246]
Nick Reed
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
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A couple of items higher up this list, Mohrlock mentioned he hadn't realised a Mantrap would be a threat to his Level 1 Valkyrie until half way through the fight when he noticed its level.

What monsters do you think under or overstate their difficulty, just from the graphic alone?
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24. Board Game: Gold! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:3509]
Kim Williams
United Kingdom
St Just
Cornwall
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I finally got a score over 100 K - but only just at 100373!

I think the last time I played a computer game on my own (as opposed to just cheering on the rest of my family's Minecraft habit) was on the Dragon 32, when I was about 10; they've just never appealed to me. I'm also not a trivia fan, so I have no idea why this game appeals so much, but it does and I'm hooked.

Thanks so much for creating this, and for all the lovely microbadges!
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25. Board Game: Snooker Dice [Average Rating:3.08 Unranked]
George Buss
United States
Muncie
Indiana
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"It seems, that is, I may have become, quite by accident, the chosen, what what?"
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“Here is my secret. It's quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Petit Prince
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Pro Tip: It took me three games before I realized that snooker was a game. I kept googling this.



I am now forever destroyed thanks to this little gem of a game.

And I never did win...

ugh.
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