Welcome back to The ChickenHead Chronicles - This week I am previewing the upcoming (04/03/2020) game Hired Sword II for the Commodore 64. This is a great RPG in the style of Ultima games on the C64, and falls squarely into the "Rated M for Mature" category with it's Racy images and story. Publisher: www.doublesidedgames.com @Dsidedgames Coder: Roy Riggs @furroy Music: Mike Richmond @RichmondMike www.Commodore4ever.net - Supplies hardware such as the Breakout Box for your C64 or C128 My contact info: www.10marc.com @10marc1 Here is a bit more information about combat, Direct from Roy: Combat Quick Notes At the start of each combat, the battle screen is shown. On the left side is the player, the hearts & skulls show how much life/ouch you have, there is an icon showing you the player, and then your four currently active abilities. On the right side is the same for the monster. Every ability is either an attack, marked with a sword, or a defense, marked with a shield. At the start of each combat you are given three options, Fight, Init, or Flee. Fight begins the combat, Init doesn’t do anything, but selecting it shows both sides’ initiative stats so you can better decide what you want to do. Flee lets you run away from a powerful monster, to have a chance to drink a potion, etc. You can also move your cursor up to highlight all of your abilities and the monster’s as well, again to see what you’re up against. Once combat starts, both sides roll for Initiative, if you lose nothing happens, but if you win you get to see what ability the monster will use each round for this turn. Their next ability will be marked with (Angle Bracket) before it. Rolling the dice! To determine the outcome of each dice roll, it works like the boardgame Risk, where the highest dice from each side are paired against each other. The dice are all compared, from highest to lowest, and any side that has extra dice not matched by the opponent are counted as wins as well. The side with the greater number of wins is the winner of the roll. After the Initiative roll for the turn, there are four rounds of combat. You pick your ability and the attacker’s dice are compared to the defender’s dice. For every die roll that beats the defenders, the defender will gain an ouch/lose a life. What happens when both players attack or both defend you might wonder? This is where your ability’s speed comes into play. All abilities have both a speed and a power, generally faster abilities have lesser power and vice versa. In the event of both players picking an attack, one side will randomly intercept the other based on comparative speeds, so the faster side is more likely to win the intercept. The loser has their attack dice turned into defense dice and the round continues as normal. If both players pick Defense, again speeds are compared and a random winner is chosen to riposte, and the winner has their dice turned into attack dice. Smart players will use the riposte/intercept mechanics to their advantage, if a monster has a very powerful attack and you don’t trust your defense to withstand it, you might want to plan to use one of your own very fast but light damage attacks to thwart their strongest attacks. Combat continues if neither side is not dead or flees. After each round the last ability is marked as used with an * asterix. After four rounds a new turn of combat begins. You roll for Initiative again, or have a chance to Flee if things are not going well, and are free to pick from all four of your abilities again. Of course, you can always just spam the fire button until your foes are vanquished and ignore all of the above!