If you've been lurking around my blog here at Non-Fungible Stew lately, you've probably noticed that I'm heavily involved in the KOGs community. What you may not know if you have not yet gotten involved is that this is one of the most incredible communities I have found in the blockchain and NFT space.
Let's face facts. You can throw a virtual stone in any direction in the crypto world and chances are it'll smack some pompous and elitist jerk right in the back of his swollen virtual head. There are a lot of people in this world who care only about themselves, and a lot more who think that only the projects that they know about are the ones with futures. I'm happy to loudly admit that these ways of thinking are wrong, and almost hopelessly so. I will continue to do my best to open eyes to new opportunities and projects to which attention should be paid, but neither reading nor learning have ever been for everyone, and the majority of people will always mistrust things that they do not understand.
The early community of KOGs collectors are fantastic people. They help each other. They do the research. They appreciate something that has been well put together, and they have the patience to see it through to glorious completion. Thanks for being such an inspiration in such a murky crypto world, KOGs and RFOX Games!
First, I'd like to talk about this game on its most basic level: Its simplicity. The game appeals to the child inside me. Of course that may be because the actual child that I used to be played this game after school with my friends in a simpler time, but I think even those born to different decades than the incredible eighties can find joy in its simplicity for themselves. When we played with Pogs, they were cutting edge gaming. Sure, there were video games at the time, and I spent tons of time in my basement playing Tetris on NES or Earthbound and the like on SNES. But I don't remember the moments with video games the same way as I remember the ones with Pogs.
I remember walking through the mall with my mom on a dreaded clothes shopping trip (an activity that I still despise to this day), hoping to catch a glimpse of that magical kiosk where Pogs were sold, like an oasis in the desert to a man dying of thirst. I would tear through bins of bargain caps just looking and admiring the art for as long as my mom would let me. I would drool over the expensive slammers in their fancy packaging, the ones that I had no hope of ever saving enough money to afford. I would write blueprints and devise plans to create my own slammers from household materials, and I would spend hours convincing my after-school friends that they were in fact "regulation."
These are some of my completed Ultra Rare sets from the 1st Edition - image from WAXPLORER
I remember the "no fear" Pogs. They were my favorite. If a little piece of printed cardboard said those two magical words on it, it had to be mine. Sure, I collected skulls and Poisons, Yin-yangs and sports themes. I even collected Pogs that were Pog themed, inscribed with phrases like "Slam this," or "World Class Pogger." Maybe it was the right place, the right time, or too much of both, but I absolutely loved these little cardboard bastards. My parents hated them, but even they couldn't deny the joy that I found in playing with the absurd little printed circles.
Pogs taught me a lot of what I know about gambling today, for better or worse. I personally have no regrets about being a terrible gambler for most of my life. I didn't do it for the winnings... I did it for the thought of winnings. I have never really learned when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, and I sure as hell haven't learned when to walk away. Honestly, those are a few lessons that I'm glad I never learned. Gambling and losing have taught me some much more valuable lessons, albeit lessons that are tougher to put into catchy song lyrics.
For the work that I currently do and the speculative market risks in which I'm currently involved, one valuable thing I've learned from all those thousands of dollars lost is recognizing the difference between a gamble and... what's the opposite of a gamble? A sure thing? Why not. I'm now able to tell the difference between a gamble and a sure thing. That's why I support and back the companies that I support and back today, like KOGs. I am able today to take all the joy that child felt for collecting scraps of worthless printed cardboard and combine it with all the wisdom gained by that stupid throw-it-all-away poker player to build something truly magical from myself: My outlook. That is what I'm hoping to share with anyone who will listen.
I know the above has been a strange series of seeming non-sequiturs, but the things in my life that have culminated into the collector I have become are nearly impossible to define. I don't suppose anyone asked me to explain why I love KOGs so much. Whatever the reasons, I think that KOGs have the potential to touch the lives of countless other humans with different backgrounds in equally magical ways. Not only that, but they have the team (and the plan) to actually make it happen. Now let's talk KOGs Slam!
The SLAM! Experience
The first KOGs game is currently available only as an Android app, which makes it (for me) part of a strange and foreign world. Honestly, I never got onboard the whole phones as computers wagon. I do my computing at a comfortable desktop PC, and I'm happy to say that I still do not even have a mobile phone. Every year it becomes increasingly difficult to live a normal life without one of those little tracking devices with me at all times, but I'll continue finding ways to manage without one.
The Bluestacks Emulator makes it pretty simple!
Luckily, my friends over at KOGs were able to present to me an option that allowed me to run the app on my PC, called Bluestacks. It's a hefty program that uses quite a bit of my computing power, but it's well worth the download if there is a mobile game that you just have to play. In this case, I'm 100% obligated to not only play this game, but to present valuable feedback to the team about my experience. I'm not obligated because they were nice enough to invite me to participate in closed Beta testing, and I'm not doing it to score points with them. Hell, I have so many collector's KOGs from 1st and 2nd Edition that if anything they should be trying to score points with me, but there's no reason for that since they have already gone way above and beyond my wildest expectations with this project.
Basically, Bluestacks is an emulator that lets me download Android apps and interact with them through the program. With KOGs Slam, it was presented as a downloadable file on IPFS (web 3.0) and I was able to simply download it into Bluestacks. Then once I signed in with my WAX wallet, I was ready to get slamming.
Every day since Beta testing began about a week ago, I have played a few games. I have learned some tips and tricks along the way, but I'm no hardcore gamer. Words are my favorite game, and one that I spend almost all my time playing. Still, KOGs Slam has been really enjoyable so far, especially since I'm able to finally throw down with some of the other OGs that I know from the daily Discord community calls. Yesterday I was even able to crush the CEO of Red Fox Labs, Ben Fairbank himself in a match of Slam. I've got to say, that felt pretty sweet!
I would share videos but they are currently too difficult to upload with the crappiness of my internet connection. I apologize for that inconvenience, which is never far from my mind. I'll figure out a solution of of these days.
Taking Benny's Bitcoin!
I don't have much in terms of critical feedback on the game. Like I said near the top of this article, it's quite simple. I'm sure there will be plenty more griping to do once more layers of functionality are released, but for now it's a downright pleasant experience. I'll keep the critical points small and detailed, for they were they only ones I could find.
1. WAX wallets are displayed - I'm not opposed to this personally, as I understand the basics of blockchain security, but I know that quite a few others will have a problem with it if it is not changed somehow. There are plenty of people out there with ill intentions, and they especially like to surround projects that have a ton of value and success (like KOGs). I honestly don't know what those people are capable of, but in this space it's always better safe than sorry.
Besides, most players would enjoy some degree of mystery and anonymity in their KOGging. I think it would enrich the entire experience a bit if players were able to pick a pseudonym or special SLAM name to hide behind. If the team really wanted to play up the mystery, they could go as far as to allow each player to enter a new unique battle name in every single match. I think it would be awesome if part of the fun was trying to figure out through thin hints and clues who you were actually playing. After all, the premise of the game seems to be that it takes place in secret, on the top of a secluded rooftop. There are no screaming fans surrounding the mat like in the old Street Fighter games. It creates the idea that this game is a forbidden, fly-by-night adventure in a dystopian world that has forgotten what creativity is all about. I would like it if an identity-protection premise was also pursued.
2. No in-game Chat - There is no option for players to taunt one another during gameplay. It's not that I was expecting one, but it would be nice to see something of the sort. It doesn't need to be a whole chat interface; maybe just selecting from a few different options of preloaded phrases. They could pop up for the other player as sudden speech balloons as though they're being shouted. Things like...
"I was robbed"
"You got lucky, punk!"
"Go ahead. Report me."
"All your KOGs are belong to us."
"Happy trails, kemosabe!"
note: If the KOGs team would like me to write a whole mess of these, I'd be happy to do it free of charge.
3. When Browser? - I know that a huge majority of people have turned into androids attached to their phones all day long, but if there are not browser versions of KOGs games, I won't play them. I can't even say for sure that anyone else agrees with me, because as Benny likes to say, "The world's gone mad!" But seriously. I need a browser version, or a downloadable PC version.
4. Containers Limiting Creation - I'm a bit worried that with the "container" system of having prepared sets of KOGs ready to play, that players will simply never browse their collections. The collection interface is really incredible, and I would hate to see everyone just using the same KOGs over and over because it's the most convenient thing to do. I'm not sure how to remedy this, but hey, I'm trying to point out potential problems. I didn't say I could solve them.
While Containers save time, they will probably limit variety to some degree.
I think that's enough criticism, at least for this article. Now let's dig into some tips, tricks, slams and scores.
The game is simple. Each player selects 40 KOGs and 1 Slammer, then they go head to head.
Each players' KOGs are shuffled together and placed in a single stack on the mat between the players. Then the players take turns slamming. This literally means that they slam their Slammers down onto the top of the stack in a chaotic attempt to flip as many KOGs as possible.
It doesn't necessarily matter how many KOGs actually leave the stack. What matters is which ones flip over to reveal their back sides. After a slam, the slamming player collects into their winnings all the KOGs that were flipped, no matter whose collection they were part of to begin with.
After each player has taken 3 Slams, the player with the most flipped KOGs is declared the winner.
Now you know how to play. So here are some more details, and a little slamming advice.
1. There are 4 variables skill meters that must be filled for each slam.
These are tests of timing. The Super Nintendo game that this reminds me of is Kirby's Dream Course, a mini-golf game in which Kirby is the ball. In Kirby, you must choose through timing aspects like strength and spin, and your shot succeeds or fails depending on your accuracy and intended goal.
The first (and arguably most important) is Arm Height. There is probably some level of strategy and finesse that involves using a lower Arm Height, but I have not discovered it yet. What I do know is that the remaining three skill tests are limited by and dependent on your success with the first. So go for height.
The second is Arm Strength. This is quite literally the power with which you slam your Slammer, using of course your virtual hand. The great thing about virtual arm strength is that your arm will never actually get tired. Your eyes might, but that is a problem you can solve by buying some sweet blueblocker shades from KNOCKAROUND. Anyway, your arm strength will now determine the range of angle you are allowed to use on the next meter.
The third is the Angle Meter. This determines the angle at which your Slammer is slammed. 0 means that you are holding your Slammer perfectly flat, 45 means that it is being held at a 45 degree angle relative to the stack of KOGs, and so on.
The fourth and final meter is the Spin. This is probably the most complex meter in terms of strategy. In order to get it to do exactly what you want, chances are you have needed to nail every other meter leading up to this one.
2. It not always about Power
KOGs Slam! seems to be more a game of finesse than power. If the simplest way to go was simply to slam as hard as you can every single time, the game would get stale pretty quickly. I think that you must use every meter in combination, along with a plan, to achieve a solid and consistent result. This should be evident by taking a look at what makes the perfect slam. I have not achieved the perfect slam, nor do I expect to, but I can tell you what it would look like.
In the perfect slam, the entire stack of KOGs would flip over. I imagine that it would happen almost as a single unit, with the pile reversing its order and moving slightly on the mat. This may look something like a Slinky "walking" down the stairs, to reference another brilliant toy of my childhood. As you can imagine, such a slam (one that flips 100% of the KOGs) may not even be possible. Instead, we have the chaos of single KOGs flipping off the pile in all directions, typically one at a time. Good luck putting order to that chaos. For now, while I have played less than 100 games, I have barely begun to analyze the patterns and strategies. Plus, many other more serious players are sure to take it a lot further than me.
The KOGs do a fancy little dance as they prepare to put themselves into piles!
3. Pay Attention to Spin
The clearest meter in which I have noticed patterns so far is the Spin Meter. The greater the spin, the fewer KOGs generally leave the stack. Still, spin does not necessarily make for an inferior slam. What I have noticed is that while the number of KOGs that leave the pile may be lower, the number of flipped KOGs is generally higher. This piece of info may come in quite handy in many situations of the upcoming full release of the game.
When playing for keeps, which will undoubtedly be an available option in the future, players may wish to pay close attention to the stack as it's forming, or perhaps they have a special interest in the KOG on top. Using spin, they can almost make certain that the top KOG is one of the flipped ones. I have seen a strong spin with a strong slam disturb only five KOGs from the pile, but in the same instance, 5 of 5 KOGs were flipped. I repeated this trial a few times and got the same results.
I love the Moon. Seriously. I have hundreds of them.
I won't say that the game is perfect. I won't say that I'm going to play it all day, every day. I won't even say that it will replace Splinterlands as my favorite play-to-earn game. Still, KOGs Slam! is a fantastic way to kick off the games of RFOX, which I have been eagerly awaiting for months. There are certainly a few more things they could do to make the game a bit more charming, but it already captures the childhood magic I described in the beginning of this article, and it captures it quite nicely.
I hope that KOGs Slam is released in its final glory very soon, and because I know how quickly RFOX likes to get things done, I probably won't have to wait very long. Once the flagship game is released and the 3rd Edition sale begins, I look forward to playing with thousands (or perhaps millions) of new players and collectors from all over the world.
I have also noticed that Red Fox Labs (the parent company) has plans to tackle not only the gaming industry with RFOX games, but the E-Commerce game as well with their next venture. If you see what I see, you'll be bouncing with anticipation while watching the below video from Red Fox CEO Ben Fairbank.
Yep. The future is certainly bright for Red Fox Labs, KOGs and the RFOX token... and this is only the beginning.
Thanks for reading Non-Fungible Stew!
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