Puzzle Quest recently joined the elite ranks of “games that I have played to completion more than once.” Months ago, I had played and finished the Nintendo DS version of the game — I enjoyed it so much that when the Xbox Live Arcade version was released in October, I bought it again and replayed it. I recently polished off the campaign mode and got all of the achievements (with the help of Sandy, who got probably the hardest achievement, the Master Craftsman achievement), so now I think I can safely say that I’m done with Puzzle Quest.
I briefly thought about doing some analysis on optimal play at the top of the game board, since I think it’s the one aspect of the game that’s dominated by chance more than any other. I also haven’t really found any good existing analysis out there — I only found analyses of character builds, along with speculation that Puzzle Quest is a game that’s “vulnerable” to optimal AI play in multiplayer. (I disagree, because the many different character builds and spells make it difficult to truly play optimally. I frankly find it hard to conceive of a Puzzle Quest AI that can play the match-3 game optimally and utilize all spells correctly and with maximum effectiveness.) I think that I’m lacking the motivation to follow through with a project like that, but we’ll see. Apparently the PC version is moddable, and the game is driven by XML files and Lua scripts, which should make it easier to find information about piece drop probabilities.
There aren’t that many games that I play more than once — I have such a huge backlog that I naturally gravitate towards trying to clear some more of that, rather than playing an old game again. I know that I’ve played Jagged Alliance 2 and the Fallout games multiple times, but beyond that, I’m having a hard time coming up with additional substantive (>1 hour) games that I’ve replayed.