Tardiness being my calling card, I didn’t have my Steam Sale recommendations ready in time to for them to go up with the rest of the Stately Staffers’. I’d apologize, but I believe that an apology is supposed to express regret and a willingness to change… so I’ll just say “I can’t change I can’t change I can’t change I can’t change my mould, no no no no no…” The Magic Circle So, I love games where the world isn’t what you think it is, and my seven-year old wants to learn how to take pretty-much everything apart and put them back together again, plus he’ll probably know more about programming by age 10 than I ever did. With The Magic Circle, I think we’ll both have a chance to get into this game about fixing a broken, over-budget, and way past deadline game… from the inside. It’s not as serious a programming game as Quadrilateral Cowboy or Shenzen I/O, and it’s not creepy as fuck (unlike the brilliant Pony Island). UPDATE: Tardiness has its perks: we both love the game. I mean who wouldn’t love a game where you can steal the “walk” property off of a vicious beast and give it to a corpse: voila, instant zombie. The best one may be what happens when you give a melee attack to a rock: it sprouts some mean-looking green eyes and rocky fangs. I’m not sure this game would normally be 100% age-appropriate, as much of the plot revolves around the petty infighting between the game’s devs and the machinations of an entity trapped in the game who wants you to… KILL THEM… y’know, virtually… but as a co-played game it’s actually a chance to talk about whether we should trust the rock monster, or the dev who is trying to get fired, or late capitalism in any form. Well, I trust capitalism to provide me with hefty discounts on games that represent thousands of hours of work for their (real, not-to-be-killed) developers. The Magic Circle for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $4.99 (75% off) Shadowhand Shadowhand is a unique solitaire/dueling card game from the creators of Regency Solitaire, about a noblewoman who literally moonights as that scourge of the highways, Shadowhand. Shadowhand is a rogue in the vein of Robin Hood and Han Solo, and the plot turns on her relationship with a woman she has sworn to protect and holds dear. Flintlocks, deckbuilding, traditional cardgame mechanics, and a plot that sounds like Alexandre Dumas meets Thelma and Louise: what’s not to love? Shadowhand for PC/Mac via Steam, $7.49 (50% off) Midboss Not to be confused with MidBoss Games, the creators of queer retro cyberpunk epic 2064: Read Only Memories (also on sale, also recommended), MidBoss is a rougelike where you play as an Imp, one of the dungeon’s lowliest and weakest monsters, and you’re sick and tired of being bullied by every zombie, dire rat and hairy spider with a chip on their shoulder. This dungeon is a mess and you need to rule it. Thankfully, the one good thing about being an imp is being able to possess your fallen foes, and their radically divergent ability sets are the ladder you will climb, rung by rung, deeper into the dungeon. You’ve going to have a word with the Final Boss… Power Word Kill, preferably. MidBoss for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $7.49 (50% off) Crisis in the Kremlin Remember Mikhail Gorbachev, he of the receding hairline and truly impressive birthmark? Remeber Perestroika, the moment when everyone wondered what changes in the CCCP meant and which way the Kremlin would jump? Remember Crysta lPepsi? No? Okay, I’m old. But that’s irrelevant. Crisis in the Kremlin puts you in Gorbachev’s shoes, dealing with the decline of Soviet power and deciding which economic and political reforms to adopt. The graphics are simple but lucid, and a good chunk of gameplay consists of making decisions from lists of options, so this one’s for folks with an interest in the period, and those who want to explore how we got from the Cold War to present-day Russia. The Perestroika! Democracy! Glasnost! bundle includes “The Accident” DLC (Cherynobyl and more) and “prequel” Ostalgie: The Berlin Wall. Crisis in the Kremlin for for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $2.44 (51% off)
Well, this is it. The last weekend before I head off to work at a “real job”. Why real? Because it makes money and we all know that money is the most important thing there is. Do I sound bitter? I am a bit, I guess. It’s hard to love doing something only to be told it’s not relevant because it doesn’t make you any cash. Next Monday I start that real job and, while I’m looking forward to the mental challenge that engineering supplies, I’m going to miss being able to hang out and email publishers and developers, write about the things I love, and post gifs in the forums. Oh, I’ll still be here (I’ll be posting more about this later today, or maybe over the weekend), but writing won’t be my main gig anymore. I know, poor me. This being my last weekend of freedom from the boss’s unnerving gaze, let’s look at what everyone is planning on playing while I’m counting down the hours.
It’s that time of year again, when gamers whose digital fireplaces are already full of unplayed games will toss more kindling onto their metaphorical woodpiles. I’ll admit, that all sounded way better in my head. If only I had an editor [The BGG crowd told me I wasn’t funny, so I’m on vacation -ed.]. In other words, it’s the Steam Summer Sale and I’m already spending money I don’t have on games I don’t need [lately, all you need is Factorio. Oh, wait, I’m not here -ed.]. The gents have put together their lists of the best deals you’ll currently find on Valve’s money-maker.
PC • In 2016, Stonemaier Games released the engine building mech/farming crossover board game Scythe to much acclaim. The game quickly shot up the ranks on BoardGameGeek and currently sits firmly at number seven, ahead of classics like Agricola and Puerto Rico. That’s in no small part to its worldbuilding –a post WWI fought with giant mechs– along with the addition of strategic 4x gameplay and Jakub Rozalski’s outstanding art. For those reasons, Scythe: Digital Edition, developed by The Knights of Unity and published by [our dark overlords -ed.] Asmodee Digital, is one of the most anticipated titles of 2018. Recently it landed in Early Access which seemed like a good time for us to attempt the conquest of Eastern Europe.
PC, PS4, XBox One • There’s an inbound Steam summer sale bearing six-two-two-carom-one-eight, Statelies. You know what that means? That means, with any luck, Battlestar Galactica Deadlock might be had at a lovely discount, alongside the most recent and most wonderful DLC, The Broken Alliance. That is, if you’ve not already played it. And if not, here’s impetus in the form of an internet-grade list as to why Deadlock is worth a punt.
iPad, Android Tablets, PC/Mac/Linux • Sentinels of the Multiverse was deluged with constant updates, new content, expansions, and more after its release and at a pace that would make most developers shut down from exhaustion. You’d think Handelabra would have a hard time replicating that with their latest baby, One Deck Dungeon, but it’s starting to feel like déjà vu. They’ve already added the Phoenix Den and tomorrow the roguelike card game is getting not one, but two new characters to kill with poor dice rolls: Fanatic and Caliana.
iPad, PC/Mac/Linux • Ah, nothing like a warm island breeze cooling you off as you’re sipping a daiquiri from a comically tall glass on a hot beach. The only thing that could make it better would be pocketing away millions of corrupt dollars while doing so, all while avoiding being handcuffed and taken away to a reeducation center because you happened to mention that El Presidente’s mustache was looking a tad droopy this morning. If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, welcome to Tropico, the city building game where you play the corrupt leader of a banana republic. The original Tropico is more than 15 years old now, but it’s had a slew of sequels and, later this year, it will make its debut on iPad.
iOS, Android, PC, Switch, PS4 • We mostly know Nomad from their continuing love affair with Games Workshop’s fantasy classic, Talisman. Last week they released The Woodland expansion which, if you’re not counting, was the 7,426th* expansion released for Talisman since January. Of course they’ve done some other games as well, most notably a team up with Alderac Entertainment Group for a digital port of Smash Up. Well, they’re teaming up with AEG again, this time bringing 3 of their titles to PC, mobile, and some other platforms as well.
PC/Mac/Linux (today); iPad, Switch, Consoles (later) • While it’s one of the most polarizing titles available for the iPad, Darkest Dungeon on Steam is less divisive. The game still sports a “very positive” rating on Steam more than 2 years and many updates later. Today that will be put to the test when the latest major DLC, The Color of Madness, arrives. From what I can tell, the expansion is sure to be a hit. The test is going to come from the changes being made to the base game at the same time. Let’s just say the list of changes coming to DD is massive.
I’m making an infantry fighting vehicle for my three kids, which can also read as “guy makes 1:4 scale miniature under camouflage of parenting”. There’s more to it than that, though. Sitting back, nine-odd months on from starting this outrageous project, the act of making my kids an insane billy-kart is a pretty powerful allegory, and though that ball of gristle I call my heart doesn’t suffer cheese lightly, the journey continues to be an important one of personal growth.