Next week I’ll be heading on vacation with the family to sunny California. I’m dreading it for a couple reasons. First of all, this involves flying and I probably wrote some of the code that’s keeping the plane in the air. As the editor will surely tell you, self-confidence isn’t my strong suit [no shit -ed.]. Secondly, I’m heading out there with three kids, one of whom is 16 years old and angry at all times. Earlier this week I got my first “fuck you” from him and I’m just super excited to sit next to him in confined quarters for 4.5 hours and then a hotel room for a week. Kill me. Before I leave, however, we have a weekend to kill and that means playing games. What, you ask, will we be playing? Come see after the break.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Last Friday we skipped our normal Scrying article to bring you a new screenshot of the upcoming Leaders & Wonders expansion for Czech Games Edition‘s magnum opus, Through the Ages. Well, my embarrassing pleas to Vlaada to be noticed and get into the beta have born fruit! I’m not helping playtest the new expansion (they’re not stupid), but I should be in the beta once it goes live. Also, they sent me a couple more screens from which we can extract completely erroneous information. Let’s put on our deerstalkers and get to work.
PC, iPad, Android Tablets • While the name Marek Pańczyk might not ring a bell, no doubt readers of Stately Play are aware of his work. One of the co-founders of Big Daddy’s Creations, they were at the forefront of bringing board games–particularly heavier euros–to digital. We’re talking gems like Neuroshima Hex and the brilliant, yet perennially undercooked, Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy. While Big Daddy’s has seemingly gone to that big compiler in the sky, Marek is alive and well and still making games. His new company is Red Zero Games and their first foray on the App Store is an original title that pokes fun of good ol’ Chris Columbus and imperialism in general. It’s called Here Be Dragons.
PC, Xbox, PS4 • Listen up, nuggets. You should all be familiar with Black Lab Games‘ dark horse tactical gem, Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. Quite possibly the best licensed game this side of, heck, Dark Forces. A terrific tactical starship game based on the paradigm-shifting show of the 2000s, one that I’d put in my top five — count ’em, five — games of all time. Well, there’s a new expansion coming out very soon, and it sounds all manner of tasty.
PC • When Terraforming Mars first hit the cardboard scene back in 2016, the hype was up there with the likes of Agricola and Dominion. You couldn’t listen to any game podcast, Twitter feed, or YouTube channel and not be overwhelmed with tales of just how good this game was. I held off as long as I could but, when I finally got Terraforming Mars to the table, I had to agree. It was a keeper. Maybe not the best game I’d ever played, but it came with enough variety and decision points hidden beneath a fairly simple facade that I could see it hanging around and being a family favorite for a long time. That was the cardboard version. Today I’m starting a new Terraforming Mars hype train, but for the digital version. It deserves it. The PC port from LuckyHammers and Asmodee Digital is nearly flawless and is easily one of the best digital board games I’ve ever played.
As the weather turns brisk it’s a busy, busy weekend here at Stately Manor. Alex is currently sweeping the chimney, Tof is putting up the storm windows, Tanner is tuning up the snowblower, and Nick is out splitting our winter supply of oak and birch. Where’s Kelsey? Making the tea, of course. What I’m getting at is that we’re all a bit on the busy side this weekend and gaming opportunities are going to be harder to nail down than those few loose shingles over on the north wing (that’s where Other Nick is, by the way). So, no glimpse into the future today, but I don’t want to leave you with nothing to talk about all weekend, thus I present a new screenshot of Through the Ages I stole found on Twitter. Part of me is incredibly excited–this is our first glimpse of the seemingly-forever-promised new Leaders & Wonders expansion. The other part of me is sad–what have I done to piss off Vlaada that I’m not in the beta for this? WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME, VLAADA?
PC/Mac, PS4/Vita, Xbox, Switch • You sneaky bugger. At least, that’s what you should aim to be, and Nintendo Switch owners can work on their window-smashing, wall-sliding, robot-braining, loot-grabbing, computer-hacking antics with the fresh release of a modern classic. Dan Marshall’s The Swindle has arrived.
PC/Mac/Linux, PS4, Xbox • XCOM2 might just be the most evergreen video game I’ll ever have the pleasure of playing. It never gets old and, honestly, I can see myself sitting down at a laptop ten years from now and blindly rushing into ambushes and getting all my best troops slaughtered. What I’m trying to say is, XCOM2 is really good and I kind of want to marry it. Imagine my shock when, yesterday, I noticed that there was new DLC for XCOM2. NEW DLC! Are you kidding me? I contemplated quitting my day job just to stay home and try it out today but, instead, went to work so I can write posts for Stately Play on the company dime. To quote Bugs Bunny, ain’t I a stinker?
iOS, Android, Switch, Consoles, PC/Mac/Linux • My history with Stardew Valley is a tale of two extremes. I first started hearing about it on other mobile sites wondering if it would ever make the move to phones and tablets. Looking into it, I decided the cartoonish graphics weren’t my style and, other than Agricola, farming doesn’t do a lot for me. I tried to forget about it, but its immense popularity ensured it popping up in Twitch streams or YouTube reviews of people I followed. It became too big to ignore. Eventually, it came to Mac and I caved. Thus begins the second act of my experience with Stardew Valley, the phase my wife likes to call “that time you were obsessed with that one game and you didn’t talk to anyone in your family for about four months”. Yes, she’s very verbose and, unfortunately, not exaggerating much. I fell for the open-ended game pretty damn hard and loved just about everything it offered and was only saved by the fact it wasn’t available for mobile, confining my addition to a desk. That’s changing, however. Not only is has it been out for Switch for a bit (yes, I own it there, too), but it’s coming to iOS on October 24. My wife has already threatened divorce.
“The world is ashes and the gods are a horror.” – Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold So what does it matter what day it is or what time? On time, early, slightly tardy, late, who cares? [I do! -ed.] Patently not on time, early, or even a little late, it is my excruciating pleasure to present to you the fourth installment of the Chronicle of the Lightbearer, the latest in a series of unwarranted grotesqueries by yours truly. TW for body horror.