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Archfiend Interviewing Kanga
I interviewed Kanga about a variety of subjects including scripts, who he thinks is the greatest player of all time is, and whether he will return to Utopia next round.

First off, what is your age and where are u from?
I am 29, and I live in Adelaide, Australia.

How long have you played Utopia?
I was introduced to it shortly after Christmas last year, and I played it until the end of last round. I've made an account this round, about 3 weeks in, but I haven't logged into it in over a week now.

Losing Interest?
Yeah, lost interest, I started playing other games, like space merchant. I actually tried one of the other games you had on your page first.

Which game did u try first?
Monarchy. I didn't really like that much.

But you do like Space Merchant?
Then I tried SM.. yeah, I'm still playing it 3 weeks later and I've recruited a few big name utopians into it.

Is it still locking up every day?
I can't see myself playing it for 11 months like I did Utopia but it's ok for now. No, runs pretty well now almost no crashes. Only slow in peak times.

That why I didn't keep playing it.. great game but it would lock up every day and if you get stuck out in space and have to log off...r.i.p.
I think they are going to stop the beta soon and make the "official" release. I haven't had that happen yet in 3 weeks.

What do you think sets you apart from other players?
Dedication, and analysis, time spent thinking and playing the game.

What type of analysis?
It was working out what buildings to build when, and working out the best way to find targets. I was always monitoring my province very closely trying to work out what was the best thing to do.

Do you find that in order to stay on top you have to be almost obsessive over Utopia?
Yes, not really an almost about it :)

hehhe.... I know... loaded question :)
It was a very time consuming game to play it very well, I would find myself spending several hours target hunting. Plus the time spent working with the kingdom and generally chatting about the game.

Do a lot of people you've never met try to add you because you're the "Kanga"?
Yes all the time. I just let them add me and then either go invisible or just ignore them.

Out of Curiosity.. how large is your ICQ list ?
Not very big. At it's biggest, i'd only have had 100 utopians including 25-40 kingdom or ex kingdom players probably much less than 100 actually. I just don't add people I am not likely to talk to.

A lot of people say you have to have people thieve for you, find targets etc, from your ICQ list to be on top... do you agree?
Yeah, I dont know about *have* to have it, but without it you are going to struggle. Even back in Age 2 I asked for help most days though not all.. I did have an awesome thief ratio back then :) One thing though - I almost never used targets given to me I always found my own. But I would ask for Survey/spy help if I couldn't get through myself.

Why is that?
I dont like sharing targets around and usually the targets given to me on icq are sh*t and I can find much better myself.

Given out perhaps for personal gain?
Usually I would say that in 5 rounds of Utopia, I used shared targets 10 times at most and I tried not to share the targets I hit around.

Now just to clarify.. when did you just first use a script and how long did you use one?
Right at the very end of age 2, a friend of mine created a script, I think it was in the last week of the game. I used a script in age 3 all through the round.

But not beyond 3 correct? Just to clarify for the audience, scripts were not illegal until round 4.
The script I used was a bit cumbersome, certainly didn't save me any time :( I didn't use one in age 4.

I just wanted to clarify.
When you are in the top 20, there are only a few targets you can choose from anyway.

I've heard people rip you a lot saying Kanga was a "cheater and script user". But when you used them back before 4 they were not illegal.
That's right, they were legal, though obviously not all that well accepted.

A lot of people, including me would say you are the greatest Utopia player ever... would you agree (=
There are a couple of others who have been as good as me, often in different ways.

Saurons Pets has an incredible record though he's been banged from the top a few times. There are a few others I have the utmost respect for.

Yeah, he is a great player...
Flip is one, despite some of the controversy around him.

Flip is probably my equal in knowledge and understanding. Flip = Celestine Horror last round also top 3 in Age 3, went thief in Age 4.

I've heard of him but I'm not as familiar with players after round 4...
I get the province names confused in the earlier rounds, so I can't remember exactly who he was in age but there was me, Flip, and that big exploring faery :)

Twinklespring? Quantum?
Twinklespring I dont know if Quantum's ever played seriously since Age 1 - if he has I didn't know who he was :)

I know he's played under Malachi
Yeah in age 2 I remember him. He gave me some tips and advice when I hit the top.

If Mehul let ya take over Utopia and make any changes you wanted.. what changes would you make?
Hmm... not an easy question.

But an interesting one :)
I'd seriously consider some of the options I've seen in monarchy and space merchant.. like: no Hotmail addresses 1 account per household but I realize that there are disadvantages - big ones - to each of these. I'd probably slightly lower the nw % above which you get good returns in age 5, it was 66.5%.

That is insanely high if you ask me.
That really forces the best players to go all out military, no thieves and it makes it damn near impossible to find targets when you are in the top 20 or so.

I can imagine, It was much lower when I played.
Yes the age 2/3 limits of 30% (approx) were probably too low but making it 50, or 55% would be better. Last round, when I finished 3rd - I had less than 1000 thieves all round they just boost your NW, but don't increase either your offense or defense.

Lol... that's changed.. one round weren't you top 5 in the world with 14 thieves per acre?
Yes in age 2 and 3 I had about that because you didn't need the same level of offense.

And it still didn't help vs. the specialists
yeah, back then of course there was no 1/5th rule stopping little guys I would make the 1/5th rule into a 1/4 rule and leave most of the rest the way it is.

It must be very frustrating to see a month and a half worth of constant work go down the tubes because of obvious multis
I was saying that the damage done to me the worst of it wasn't by multis it was from 2 individuals who had exploited the problem with thieves perfectly.

Anybody we've heard of?
Callista had a 1000 acre 800k nw, 60:1 thief ratio province.

Why yes it is :)
:) In age 3, Callista would burn me out whenever I reached number one we had this rediculous scenario for a couple of weeks where I was giving away huge amounts of aid trying hard to stay out of number one while Twinkle and Flip were doing the same thing I singlehandedly boosted one of our bigger provinces from outside the top 50 to 12th in the world.

But in the end Callista was just a pain, this other guy, Orc of Baliluba in Age 2, no idea what his ICQ nick is, he burned me totally out of the game. He also had about a 30:1 ratio and there was literally nothing I could do to stop him he was a bit smaller from memory - maybe only 700 acre but could still destroy me. Others got ruined by 200 and 300 acre multis. I got hit by the big thief provinces Callista didn't want me to win twice Baliluba- probalby the same, I dont remember, certainly nothing i'd actually *done* to him age 3 was basically pointless but I enjoyed it because my kingdom won but even that was helped by the sheer amount of damage done to Hydra.

Let's do some word association.. I give you a person or thing and you give me some quick thoughts, Callista....
Powerful player, very powerful, one of my greatest foes, but also a regular icq contact of mine. I've chatted as much with Callista as anyone else bar kingdom mates.

I havent had any time for them since age 2, they are fun for some, but mostly are game ruiners.

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time (** Kanga's name one age was Tel'aran'rhiod. which is the world of dreams in that series **)
My all time favourite fantasy series, it is just awesome I just hope he finishes it before he (or I) dies! it's got potential to go for a long time. I've read the series from start to finish at least 3 times, probably 4 each time a new book comes out I start from scratch

I'm on book 6 :)

Kadagar - seems to make lots of enemies and I've not paid much attention to him so I don't really know much more than that

Posts good stuff in forums, though I don't always agree with him. I haven't had anything really to do with him though, never chatted on ICQ etc.

The Utopia Forums
I used to spend too much time there. Good for new players to read and get some tip but also a lot of crap in there.

Utopia Web Pages
They seem pretty good to me I don't usually worry about style, or graphics etc.

Which ones do you prefer? Are their any current ones?
I actually almost never used any I used to check a few out from time to time, some were better than others. I used to love your page though (seriously) .

Oh.. thanks.
Just checked my bookmarks.... your page is the only one that I've got that is strategy based.

Wow... that's high praise to have my page the only bookmarked one from the greatest Utopia player of all time.
I do remember going to Rob Ellis's page for formulas occasionally but I think i used to use your page as a base, and get the links from there.

Do you think players should be able to select their own kingdoms?
probably not - not unless Mehul introduces rules like no Hotmail and one account per kingdom. I'd be in favor of more reshuffles if you could hinder account swapping more, that would benefit the game. but choosing own kingdoms would just make feeder accounts too easy.

Do you see yourself going back to Utopia in the future?
No. 2 reasons, 1 lack of interest - it does get a bit stale but mainly time. In 1999 I have had a lot of free time in my evenings, due to my wife doing a placement in the country but now she's back, I actually like to spend time with her instead of playing game. Utopia demands constant and regular time.

That's a wise choice :) Do you think you could ever play casually after being at the very top?
I've tried a couple of times, and I dont do it very well I made an account this round and found myself spending hours in kingdom forums giving advice on how to play better :)

lol.... I can't play casually either
I was exploring, but no matter what I do, I seem to want to do it "perfectly" I was working through trying to work out the best way to explore which I think involves regular logging in, especially mid game so once again I'm hitting the old demand on time problem again so i quit :)

I think I've got everything I'm going to need..anything you'd like to promote, shout outs, etc?
Umm, well you could point out to people that I dont answer Utopia ICQ messages anymore :)

Heheh.. will do :)
Also, thanks to Mehul Patel for making a great game.

Ok, that's it (=

- Archfiend (02-Jan-2000) - http://www.brassknuckles.net

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