By Joseph Walter
I soon purchased the Battle Chest for my Mac, which included the original PC game and its expansion set, Brood War. The main attraction was that, unlike StarCraft 64, where the multiplayer was local, I could now take my space wars online through the Battle.net service.
While I have many fond memories of the excellent "Use Map Settings" custom matches that players created (my favorite being the epic "Heaven's Last Defense," which tasked players to assume the roles of angelic or demonic generals and forces while either defending or assaulting God's throne in a final, apocalyptic struggle) I soon found out that my concept of StarCraft's basic multiplayer was far from the norm.
Instead of building up your forces and having prolonged wars, the main strategy seemed to be "rushing," in which players would birth out as much cannon fodder as possible and then suicidally attack their enemy with the hopes they hadn't done the same.
That wasn't my cup of tea.
I preferred the slow build up, the wild arms race, the depleting minerals, and drawn out tactical conflicts. This led me to create my preferred "house rules" for all StarCraft 64 matches.
So, how do you play?
The main idea is that you're forced to live peacefully for a set time limit, typically 20-30 minutes. And in that time, you build your forces, expand your bases, lay defenses, construct buildings and so on and so forth. This is meant to be done as stealthily as possible. You're in a cold war, essentially, trying to interpret what your opponent will be building during this time. What machines, soldiers, aircraft and defenses will they have prepared during this peaceful interim?
When the time is up, regardless of production or things still being constructed, both players send their armies out to do battle in the center of the map in a brutal display of open war.
Once this war is over, it's time to pick up the pieces and play normally from there on in.
Smart players will have forces and structures being built, or at least in the queue to be built so that the necessary defenses and reinforcements will be ready to send out after the initial blood bath.
By this time, most minerals and Vespene gas geysers will have been severely drained or flat-out depleted, giving players limited resources to pick up the pieces, forcing them to have thought ahead before first blood.
With all participants thoroughly drained, and with all militaries critically dwindled, players need to use whatever they have left as cleverly as possible to finish off their adversaries and claim victory.
And that, my friends, are the house rules for StarCraft 64. All in all, you're in for a tactically-charged experience, where foresight is key and strategy is critical.
Now that the original StarCraft has been thrust back into the limelight with the awesome remastered edition, perhaps you can give "Heaven's Last Defense" a whirl or, if you're feeling dangerous, my house rules!
What about you? Did you have any special game types you invented and want to share? Let us know!