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Old September 12, 2022, 20:04   #1
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Advices on older variants: Steamband & Unangband

I finally dived in the endless pit of angband variants, and Steambands is often cited as one of the best (at least in the two or three posts mentioning it several years in the past ).

The setting looks awesome and I'm curious to discover the skill system, etc.

Question for those who played it: is it balanced/bug-free enough to worth investing time in it? I read that the mecha/automaton where OP and there's a warning when starting the game saying that the wonderland mode is broken. But apart from that it seems "complete"/winnable?

Any quick tips/resources/references to share? Easiest race/class/playstyle to begin with?

While I'm at it, I'm also interested in your take on Unangband!
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Old September 12, 2022, 22:43   #2
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Steamband is definitely balanced enough to be playable and winnable. Any class can do some spellcasting (IIRC), so I would recommend picking a fairly robust race and starting as if playing a warrior, adding spells when you're looking for variety. The big features to look out for are the hitpoints/woundpoints system, and the different types of melee damage (sharp/blunt/pointy). I tip to save your ID scrolls - to get full value for books from the library (?), you only need to 'I'nspect them, not ID them.

Un I haven't played as much, in my limited experience it's a bit uneven - lots of great ideas, but not always fully implemented. Don't let that stop you though, people do play it for long periods.
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Old September 13, 2022, 17:24   #3
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Both Steam and Un have been won; both are buggy in my experience though, and also arguably incomplete.

For Steam: Automatons and Steam-Mecha are pretty powerful right out of the gate, but they may encounter problems later depending on class/build. Personally, I've had good luck with Adventurers, and I've seen someone have luck with Engineers. One of the important things to know about Steam is that HP isn't your life meter, it's more of a stamina meter where the lower it is the more/likely you are to take actual damage. WP is your actual life meter, and under normal circumstances it DOES NOT regenerate naturally in the dungeon—expect to make frequent trips back to town just to heal early on. Another thing to know is that skills have a current maximum level of (CL unlocked plus two); it's in your interest to unlock skills earlier rather than later, because if you unlock them too late you'll find yourself roadblocked by low current skill maximums. Skills have an absolute maximum level of 20. Lastly, Steam has weapon damage types in addition to elements; the weapon damage types actually really matter, the further into the game you go the more often you'll find something resisting any given type.

For Un: Un is does a bunch of weird mechanics. There's more stats than other *bands; Agi(lity) and Siz(e) at least off the top of my head. Spellcasters care about more than just one stat for casting; I think they actually care about three? Books take up two inventory slots once you know a spell from a given one. Carryable containers exist which can contain a number of related objects, but they also take up two inventory slots. Lastly, I believe Un has a timer going on in the background; things about the game may change if you haven't done X by Y, etc.

Lastly: there's a webserver where a number of *bands (including Un and Steam) can be played online and spectated. There's an accompanying chat, which is more likely to get immediate answers than here. YMMV on actually playing on there, depending on the variant; I can run Un offline for instance, but it won't work for me on there (but I have seen other people playing it).
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Old September 13, 2022, 21:08   #4
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Thanks both for your helpful answers, appreciated!

Now I just have to find the time to play those variants in addition to Vanilla, Sil-Q, Frog,... my days are too shorts!

I tested in the past but I'm too used to the SDL(2) interfaces as well as certain shortcuts (ie. shift-direction to run) to play comfortably there.
That plus I'll be embarrassed to show my sloppy & careless play to other players.
But I may as well hang on just to chat & ask questions, that's a good idea!
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