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Lux - World domination made easy Pick of the Week
Lux icon The macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
  • Developer: Sillysoft
  • Price: $20.00 [20 free games trial version]
Growing up, our family and friends used to pass hours taking over the world, again and again ... by playing Risk, the "classic game of global domination." The objective in Risk, peaceful and fun-loving game that it is :), is to control the entire world by taking over the various countries with your armies. No diplomacy here, just world conquest via takeover! Although Risk is a great game, it suffers from the "Monopoly effect" -- games can take literally hours to play, which makes it hard to break out the game for a quick bit of relaxation. Though I haven't played the board game very often recently (usually just at Christmas time with the family!), I've been looking, off and on, for a decent Mac-based replacement ... which I think I've now found in Lux.

Lux is Risk ... and much more. You can choose from the "classic" Risk map, eight other pre-defined maps, or use a map generator to create a random map on the fly. You can even create your own maps, complete with your own background images and more. Up to six people can play, in any combination of human or computer opponents. The computer opponents' skill level ranges from easy to hard, with several "personalities" in each bucket. Even better, there's a network mode that's as easy as clicking a button -- the game finds other servers for you to join automatically (you need to buy Lux to host games). Lux is also available for Mac, Linux, and PC, so you can dominate a cross-platform online world!

The gameplay in Lux is much as I recall Risk -- lots of thoughts on where to put armies, and then battles coming down to the luck of the roll and the number of units in each country. What I really like about this version, though, is the speed with which you can play a game. After you've taken your turn, the computer opponents' battles go very quickly -- it's almost like a fireworks display as you watch the explosions from their skirmishes. The explosions are a very cool way of showing the battles in progress; the image below shows a couple explosions in northern Canada ... or watch a movie of the entire sequence of the five computer opponents taking their turn.

I played against five computer opponents, and the entire group took maybe 10 seconds or so to make their moves each time, as you can see in the movie. As a result, you can play an entire game of Lux in a reasonable amount of time -- 20 to 30 minutes or less, depending on how good you are :).

If all that's not enough for you, there are even plug-ins, such as a game set entirely in California or Hawaii, and quite a few Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings) based maps (again, registration required to use the plug-ins). Quite fun, and well worth $20 in my book.

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: boysimple on Aug 25, '04 02:39:48PM
I have not played Lux, but I REALLY enjoy iConquer:

Another OS X risk based game, with TONS of plugins and maps.

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: dustox on Aug 25, '04 06:31:24PM

I encourage you to give Lux a try as well if you never have. It is really easy to start and join public network games, and there is an online rankings ladder that tracks the winners.

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: dustox on Aug 25, '04 03:20:53PM

Wow, thanks a lot Rob. I am the developer of Lux and have been a loyal macosxhints reader for a long time. It feels really great to be featured here.

A note to everyone: The recent Mac OS X 10.3.5 update has caused Lux to become less stable. I am still working on a fix for this.

Dustin Sacks

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: tqwhite on Aug 25, '04 05:24:05PM

I'll be trying these programs but I encourage our new friend from Sillysoft to examine the ideal Risk game, Strategic Conquest. It added navy and air forces to the mix. You could automate processes. It was AWESOME.

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Lux Rox!!!
Authored by: bakalite on Aug 25, '04 08:45:10PM

Wow! Thanks for featuring my favorite game. Lux is a ton of fun, easy to start playing, and the online community of Lux players is great. The only problem is that my eyes are bloodshot in the morning, because I end up playing till all hours of the night.

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Aug 25, '04 09:28:27PM

Jeez, not another "world conquest" game. We try to get our politicians not to think this way, and then we do it ourselves at the kitchen table. I've played games like this, and I found them fun as long as the people I was playing with were sometimes easygoing and willing to compromise, but ruthless at other times (sounds like a paradox) with a sense of humor, so I know the lure of these games. But I got tired of them fast because I got tired of pretending to be a demented Alexander the Great.

What about a "PREVENT world conquest" game?

Sorry to rain on anybody's parade, but it's something to think about.

Now let the flames begin!

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Jonsaw, you got it wrong
Authored by: bakalite on Aug 26, '04 02:06:41AM

Part of the beauty of Lux is that it's so simple. If you don't like the world domination metaphor, think of it as blobs of different strenghts rolling dice at each other. I agree with you about the political aspect, but I think that rolling Lux into this is a mistake. Take a look at it, and play the "power of Hex" map, and then tell me that this has anything to do with world domination, or even the Scaluxtrix map, which looks more like a childs car racing game.

It is what you make it, and what you bring to the table and how you look at it affect how you perceive the game. I think it's more of a battle of wits and strategy, then a megalomania. Just my opinion of course.

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Jonsaw, you got it wrong
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Aug 27, '04 05:21:14AM

Well, it was largely watching the Lux animations of nuclear bombs going off in other countries and imagining it was funny that got to me. I grew up during the 60s and 70s when a lot of people were still worried that this could actually happen. I was always optimistic it wouldn't, and that it was limited to movies and books, and I guess I was "proven" right, but I still breathed a sigh of relief when the Soviet Union went under, and I still do every now and then. It really was a serious deal--both the Soviets and the US military were really nuts about it. I like strategy games, but years of exposure to the nuclear worry made me dislike the ones that involve domination and destruction.

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Other board layouts sound good
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Aug 27, '04 05:25:31AM

Forgot to add: if Lux has other maps that don't involve tossing bombs, etc., that sounds cool. Maybe I'll check it out.

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: BlindDuck on Aug 26, '04 06:32:24AM

I think it's funny how ever little developer that makes the smallest, most basic software will always charge you $10-20 on the Mac, it really irks me, because on my windows machine I can usualy get 'the basics' for free, on the mac, a program that lists programs like the start menu - cost bucks.

on a diffrent tune - when was the last time you saw anyone try to SELL a windows version of risk? come on, the world had it's 'sell games like risk' back in the 80's. they have been done and done, and these guys do it again and collect your $20 for the same ol garbage.


(end troll)

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Geez, is it Lux bashing day?
Authored by: bakalite on Aug 26, '04 12:28:18PM

If you don't like Lux, just don't buy it. You can try it for free, you know? The author of the software puts a lot of work into it, and it's NOT just "risk on the mac". The game is much more complex, there are automatic map generators, plug ins, and all kinds of cool stuff. Updates are frequent, and so far, free.

If you would like a free version of risk on the mac, I suggest you sitdown and program it. I very much doubt that Dustin is living the life of luxury based on the few bucks he makes of Lux.

It is, btw, also available for other platforms, including ANY platform that runs Java. -end anti-rant

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BlindDuck - I wonder how this would go in the "Uncle Mephi" thread...
Authored by: jwd on Aug 26, '04 01:00:45PM

Is this thing on? Ok, good.

BlindDuck -

Well, at least you're open about this being a troll post. Admitting you have a problem is the 1st step to recovery.

However, if this were in the "Uncle Mephi" thread in the Lux forums, I believe that many there would suggest that you are a very confused and sad young man, w/ an Electra complex. I did mention very sad and very confused, yes?

In all seriousness though, give it a try.

It has a 20 game demo. It's not like you pay $20, download it, then get tired of it in an hour. I tried it playing the 20 demo games. Trying to decide if it was worth $20 for a game, if I would use it enough, etc. I paid for it, and have told others about it that have also paid for it and enjoy it.

YMMV, but from what I've seen and heard, you're way off base on this. This developer has not only made a great game, but is a good developer.. Responsive to bug reports, and feature requests.. Active in the user forums and games.. I've only seen one or two other developers *ever* (in over a decade of computer use and tech support) as responsive to emails, or posts, etc.. I'd rather encorage developers like this w/ my $20, than pay anything for what we all get from M$ any day..

So, BlindDuck, download the demo, read the Lux forums, sit in on a game or two, and then decide. Look over the forums, watch some of the chats in-game.. It's a great community of Luxers that would be more than happy to convert, er, help you, yeah, that's the ticket. :-)

Have a nice day!

Is this thing on???

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Lux - World domination made easy
Authored by: dustox on Aug 26, '04 01:55:37PM

Dude, you are crazy! Have you ever looked for windows Risk games? There are a TON out there that cost $$$. Clearly you don't know what you are talking about.

Lux is free to try, so there is no pressure to buy. The fact that it costs a little money encourages the developer to make it a nice and polished game. Capitalism does work, believe it or not.

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