Johnny Cison

Johnny Cison is Too Much Stupid's founder and sole developer.

On this blog, he shares details about Too Much Stupid games and happenings, including tips for playing the games more effectively.

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Smartichoke Tip #2: Target Words


Target words are basically extra goals you can use to earn bonus points, or just something to work towards if you're stuck!

The words are generated at the start of each game of Smartichoke. When a target word is submitted, a new one is chosen to replace it. You can view your target list at any time by clicking the bullseye () in the top-right corner of the screen.

The longer the word, the more bonus points you earn!

Example #1

Let's start with a completely new game. Glancing over the list, the 12-letter target word can be found immediately!

In just the first submission, we've gone from zero points to 86,907 points, and to Level 4, and have three swaps! Scanning the remaining petals, it looks like we have quite a few of the letters of BRACHIATIONS, the new 12 letter target word that was just generated. Refilling the Smartichoke just happened to provide the rest of the letters we need:

The points are a bit lower since the word included a few penalty petals, but we've still shot up another 54K points, two more levels, and earned two more swaps!

Scanning the target words again, we're pretty close to having EARWIGS. And once again, a refill delivered!

As you can see, one of the risks with target words is not having as much flexibility in the petals we're choosing. So, we really loaded that F petal up on penalties!

At this point, though, we can get the DRAWEE target word without even needing a refill:

Example #2

Sometimes you'll have to clear some words and refill the Smartichoke a few times to try to get the extra letters you need. Take the following example, where we have all but one letter of MASQUERADES:

We can try clearing around the letters we do have and see if a refill gives us that final S:

No luck, so we can keep clearing words and refilling. Or, we could also use a swap to try and get it.

Since we're trying to complete a word, we'll want to tap the asterisk to select all of the petals, then deselect the petals we want to keep:

Not only did that gives us the S we need, but it let us now select the word using all connected letters (which means we're not adding any new penalties)!

Have questions? Would you like to see tips on a particular component of Smartichoke? Leave a comment, send me a note, or send me an e-mail!

If you don't already have Smartichoke, download it, play it, love it, and then please don't forget to leave it a glowing review!

Smartichoke Tip #1: Bonuses and Penalties


Smartichoke's manual has information on how bonus and penalty petals work, but let's expand on it with some examples!

To recap, petals start at a normal shade and are worth 100 points. Petals also earn bonuses (green) and penalties (red), which also affect their point values:

Bonuses and penalties are all about connected letters! You can select letters from any petal, but connected letters help you earn bonuses and disconnected letters lead to penalties.

If a petal is adjacent to three or more connected letters, then it earns bonuses. If a petal is adjacent to one or more disconnected letters, then it earns penalties.

Now, let's take a look at some examples!

Example #1

We'll highlight the word BRACE, with B and R disconnected and A-C-E connected:

Now, let's highlight the petals that are adjacent to the connected letters. You can tap the image to turn on/off highlights that show how each petal is connected:

Now, let's highlight the petals that are adjacent to the disconnected letters. Again, tap to toggle the highlights:

One of those petals overlaps. It's adjacent to two connected letters and one disconnected letter. So, one of each cancels out and you're left with a petal that's adjacent to one connected letter:

After you submit the word, notice that the petal with a negative ends up with a penalty. Tap to flip back to the highlighted word:

Example #2

What's happening with all of those connected letters? Why aren't there any bonus petals? Remember that petals earn bonuses when they're adjacent to three or more connected letters. So, let's take a look at an example that does.

In this case, all of the letters in DOUSES are connected. (There's a break in the middle of the word, but each letter is still connected to another letter.)

Let's highlight all of the adjacent petals and their counts. Tap to toggle the highlights:

In this example, we have two petals that are going to receive a bonus. One petal (+3) will receive a single bonus and move one level up. The other, though, has +5, which means it's going to go up three bonus levels (the bonus from being adjacent to three petals, plus two more)!

Again, tap to flip back to the highlighted word:

Have questions? Would you like to see tips on a particular component of Smartichoke? Leave a comment, send me a note, or send me an e-mail!

If you don't already have Smartichoke, download it, play it, love it, and then please don't forget to leave it a glowing review!

World War I: Planet Earth comes to Global Triumph


ImagePlanet Earth has come to Global Triumph!

World War I begins with 198 countries and their capitals, exactly as they exist today!

This amazing new world incorporates the following new features:

  • Predetermined Countries. Players can claim a single existing country on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Declaration of War. All countries begin with 28 day treaties, which means peace will exist until a player declares war.
  • Sector-Based Alliance Limits. Alliances are limited by sector totals rather than the number of countries, which allows a larger group of smaller countries to join forces.
  • Capital Restoration. A player can capture and restore a fellow alliance member's capital, even after their country has been eliminated. Having a country's back has never carried so much weight!
  • Revised Attack Algorithm. Global Triumph now uses a new Gaussian attack algorithm, adding more unpredictability to attacks.

Country selection begins !

Be sure to mark your calendars, set a reminder, or sign up to receive a reminder e-mail on Sunday, September 27th.

You can help promote this exciting new world on social media by sharing this article, the World War I teaser, and your own comments and photos using the hashtag: #gtworldwar

If you have friends who may be interested in playing, please share an Introduction to Global Triumph.

World War I is just the beginning in a new World War series. Let's spread the word and make each new world even more dynamic, entertaining, and full of epic battles than the last!

Introduction to Global Triumph


Global Triumph is a free, multiplayer, purely Web-based war game with a focus on military strategy. Players join a wide variety of worlds and compete for control of territory via land, sea, and air.

Unlike most online games, though, Global Triumph is not real-time. You log in, build up, and set your attacks. Everything's processed in cycles, which means you can play on your schedule.

Each world is made up of a grid of squares known as sectors. The objective is to battle your opponents and capture as many sectors as possible, either individually or in a team (known as an alliance).

Over the years, I’ve heard people compare playing Global Triumph to playing Risk, Storm Across Europe, chess, even a grand-scale Command and Conquer!

Playing Global Triumph

Global Triumph

When you join a world, you're given a capital, a few dozen sectors, and a bit of starting cash. You'll earn additional income based on how many sectors you own, so it's best to start expanding as quickly as possible!

Your expansion and attacks take place via land, sea, and air.

A land base will let you build construction trucks, infantry, jeeps, and tanks. Trucks can then build more land bases (important for reinforcements as you expand), as well as air bases, sea bases, defense turrets, and bridges (which allow land units to cross water).

Air bases can build jets, missiles, and bombs, which let you attack your targets from a distance.

Sea bases can build transports (used to move land units across water), aircraft carriers (which carry jets), missile frigates (which carry missiles), and warships. Warships are powerful naval units that provide cover, attack other sea units, attack land units on the shore, and can fire at units several sectors away.

Global Triumph’s beginning

Global Triumph was first launched in Alpha mode in early 2009 and has been continuously developed ever since. Initially, I set out with a very specific vision:

  • Massively Multiplayer. I wanted hundreds of people fighting to take over a massive world over a long period of time.
  • Strategy. I wanted a game that focused on strategy rather than reaction time. (Think general staring at a battle map rather than soldier aiming a rifle.) That means developing the right units and setting the right attacks, of course. When playing a game with dozens of human opponents, though, it also means a good deal of diplomacy!
  • Convenience. I wanted people to be able to play anywhere and without having to become a devout gamer. It would operate in any modern Web browser without any additional plugins. Attacks would process once a day (in the middle of the night), so people could play when it was convenient for them. You didn’t have to quit school or your job to stay in the game.

Global Triumph actually started as a single world with very specific rules, but has evolved into a game supporting multiple worlds (from thousands to millions of sectors) and a large variety of game modes. (For example, the game now also includes mini user-created worlds for a much shorter gaming experience.)

Global Triumph’s players

Thousands of players have played Global Triumph since its launch. Some just dabbled, some played for a stretch, and some have been playing since the beginning — well over five years!

More than anything, Global Triumph’s players love strategy. I’ve had several players tell me they’ve spent lunch hours staring at a world’s map just thinking through their strategy. Family, friends, and coworkers have played, allied, and competed throughout various worlds for years, huddling around a screen discussing battle options.

Of course, the game isn’t just about attacks. There’s a time for war and a time for peace! Diplomatic strategy also plays a very important role in Global Triumph, more so than I think many players realize. Global Triumph has both alliances (i.e. teams) and treaties, which block players from attacking one another while the treaty is in effect.

Via notes and the message board, players can communicate to work together, determine boundaries, exert pressure, and, for those opting to play less virtuously, perhaps even try to manipulate their opponents! You have to choose your allies and enemies carefully, choose when to fight and when to make peace, and decide whom to trust.

The dynamics of playing against other people is why I think multiplayer gaming is far more enjoyable than playing single player games.

Learning more

Information about Global Triumph and how to play has primarily been located in three areas: the Video Tutorials, the Help section, and the Message Board.

  • The Video Tutorials step you through the basics of playing the game and are a quick and easy way to get started.
  • The Help section has quick reference details on the game’s components. It’s especially handy when you need to check stats on different land, sea, and air units.
  • The Message Board is much more geared towards discussions. However, it's chock-full of posts containing detailed information about all aspects of the game, as well as questions other players have asked and I (or others) have answered.

This blog will serve as a more clear, organized, and detailed resource on all aspects of the game. In time, the Help and Video Tutorials may be replaced entirely with resources shared on this blog.

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