Beginners Tips for the Great -Not- Underground Empire
My previous post about Zork generated some interest in the game, which is really cool. So I thought I’d write out some tips for people who want to start and enjoy the game.
First thing to mention is that your AP are limited, you get 30 each day to spend. These are saved for you up to three days worth, so when I played I waited until the third day so my gaming sessions were longer than the 15 or 20 minutes it normally takes. Your time is intentionally limited to encourage you to pay for AP potions in their “perks” store.
Which brings me to my next point about the store. If you’re willing to spend money to buy replica Coconuts of Quendor and then spend those in the perks store, buy an Aimfiz Amulet first. For six coconuts ($4) the amulet gives you the ability to return to your base at any time for no action points. I can’t stress how useful this is, as having one completely changes the dynamic of the game. You only bank loot and coin you collect adventuring when you return to base, and if you die while exploring you drop everything you’ve collected. It is much more efficient to be able to explore a bit, get some loot and return to base for free, then explore some more… and if you’re injured while exploring no more decisions to continue on or spend that precious point going back to base to heal. If you’re going to buy anything in the perks store, buy an Aimfiz Amulet.
The next important thing is not to ignore the Fanucci cards you gain occasionally from battles. The game is balanced heavily toward using these cards to their fullest extent in your gambit, as you can see in the screenshot above. A couple important things about Fanucci the game does a poor job explaining on the help screen: always put your strongest card combo into your gambit, then use the leftovers in the other three groups. The Gambit translates into a direct boost to your attack and defense in combat, which is a much stronger benefit than any gains you get to combat skills from Body or magic from Spirit. My current gambit as seen above is 27, which adds a bonus of 135 to each of my attack and defense. Also, watch the interactions between different card suits and how they change the hand’s power rating. You can see above that Fromps work well with Faces, and Hives with Books, etc. Don’t stack more than two cards of a suit in a hand, it ignores the effects of more than that. It’s not a hard system to figure out, but if you really want all the spoilers they aren’t hard to find. Where’s the fun in that though?
Once you have a good gambit if you’re having trouble making money you can fight in the Arena and bet on yourself to make good cash. The key is to find players that have significantly lower attack/defense than you, and if their magic and attitude are weak against yours that helps too. You can wager an amount up to 100x your current level, and make that back if you win the fight. Unfortunately you can’t game the system and beat up on one weak player over and over, you can challenge someone only once per day. It gets tedious, but by carefully choosing targets you can make excellent money at lower levels using these tactics.
Hopefully these tips help you get more out of your early Zork playing, and watch next time to see more of my wanderings!