Tof managed to get me excited for a game called Boyfriend Dungeon. How do they do it?

Our most anticipated games of 2018: Tof Eklund

[Right around New Year’s, I’d asked all the writers to pen something about games they’re looking forward to in 2018. I had assumed one or two from everyone, which would lead to a single article with everyone’s picks and that would be it. Instead, each writer sent me a bevy of games making me realize that one article probably wouldn’t cut it. Hey, I love 4000 word articles as much as the next guy, but it’s easy for games to get lost in something that vast. So, I decided to split it all up and give each member of the Stately Staff their own day to shine. Today, Tof. -ed.]

Boyfriend Dungeon

Kitfox‘s next game isn’t slated for release until 2019, so I’m cheating a bit by including it here. I’d be excited about their next release regardless, given the way they’ve worked solid game mechanics and original storytelling together in their hard-to-describe (Magika meets King of Dragon Pass?) game Moon Hunters and the Lovecraftian cult simulator The Shrouded Isle. But Boyfriend Dungeon sounds super-awesome: it’s basically an ARPG/dating sim mashup where you liberate magic weapons from “the dunj” and go on dates with them to level them up. If the weapons were anime girls who become progressively less-dressed as they “level up,” this would have been a hard pass for me, but Boyfriend Dungeon has a woman-friendly queer vibe, a self-aware sense of humor, and a diverse cast of weapons that apparently includes women as well as men… and, if we can trust a briefly shown silhouette, a cat. Will there be any nonbinary characters? Dare I hope?

  • Coming to PC in 2019

Battletech

I first played tabletop Battletech and the Mechwarrior tabletop RPG when I was a tween, but I never got into the Mechwarrior computer games: I didn’t want an action/sim about piloting a single mech where you were stuck looking out of the cockpit the whole time, I wanted a TBS where you commanded a lance of mechs on missions. The first Battletech game, The Crescent Hawk’s Inception (’88) kinda-sorta did that but was mostly a CRPG, and there’ve certainly been games that scratch that itch, like the Cyberstorm and the Front Mission franchises. But now, in 2018, I’ll finally get to play videogame Battletech like tabletop Battletech. Maybe. The new game isn’t going to hew to the tabletop rules, but as long as the feel is right, that may be a good thing. It should be: director Jordan Weissman was part of the dev team for the tabletop game. In all honesty, my biggest concern with this game is that my anticipation may be founded too much upon nostalgia rather than mechanics, story, or style.

  • Coming in 2018 for PC/Mac/Linux

Sunless Skies

I’ve been playing the Early Access version of Failbetter‘s Sunless Skies, sequel-of-sorts to their 2015 Sunless Sea. I’m not yet sure if I will love it the same way I loved its predecessor, but it definitely has potential. To begin with, it is built on a concept of “outer space” that is just as bizarre as everything else in Failbetter’s Fallen London world, an aether populated with strange lights and unthought of forms of life that goes very well with the Londoners’ sinister Victorian fashions, here more steampunk than ever, but without losing the singular look that set Failbetter’s previous games apart. It appears that tensions between Londoners who dream of a new empire and the “Tacketies” who want independence will be central, but, as in any tale of “colonization,” one has to ask: who is already there? How the game deals with non-human life among the colossal twining space vines, fungal clouds, and assorted ruins, new and old, will be just as critical as the improvements to trade and combat Failbetter is working on. For my part, I want to see the Rubbery Men and the Flukes play a significant role: as I understand it, this is where their ancestors came from.

  • Coming in 2018 for PC/Mac/Linux

Phoenix Point

A new worldmap-tracking, base management, and squad tactics game from Julian Gollup? With lore and story co-written by Allen Stroud and Jonas Kyratzes? Sign me up! Phoenix Point looks to be the most original and interesting “X-COM” game since Julian and Nick Gollup (functionally) created the genre. No slight to Firaxis’ XCOM and XCOM 2, which are great games in their own right, but mysterious aliens with a secret plan to conquer humanity and then bend us to their will and put us to use advancing their hidden agenda? So 1990s. An utterly inhuman alien infection that has already wiped out most of humanity, brought about catastrophic climate change, and mutates rapidly to become resistant to whatever you throw at it? Combined with remaining human enclaves whose goals often don’t align with yours and whose leaders are untrusting and untrustworthy? That’s an apocalypse for 2018.

  • Coming in 2018 for PC/Mac/Linux

Dominions 5

I’m cheating again here, as Dominions 5 was released without fanfare in November of 2017, but I haven’t had time to play it yet, and a month spent with a Dominions game is barely enough time to lick the surface… I should say “scratch the surface,” but Dominions offers such complex and nuanced set of strategic experiences that you (by which I mean I) want to start slow and savour the entire experience, from the amuse bouche of new factions derived from world mythology to the main course of months-long asynchrounous games. In many ways, you could consider this Dominions 5.0: devs Karlsson and Osterman have spent over 15 years revising and honing this game.

Dominions 5 is a grand strategy game that makes a radical break from Tolkeinesque fantasy in favour of nations inspired by mythology, folklore, and history, including Chinese, Indian, Aztec, and Mesopotamian traditions. You play as a pretender god striving for predominance against other such aspirants, and cultivating belief (“Dominion”) is almost as important as holding territory. Battles are automatically resolved, but you can customize formations, set orders, and even queue up spells for your priests and magicians ahead of time: combined with simultaneous movement of armies, this creates a fog of war unlike any I’ve seen in any other game. Dominions is extremely moddable, and past incarnations of the series have seen fans do everything from maps, balance tweaks and filling in “missing” peoples and traditions to re-creating the full range of Warhammer Fantasy armies. Dominions offers so much, and all it asks in return is that you climb a steep learning curve, get used to keyboard + mouse play in a TBS, and shed any desire you have for “cutting-edge” graphics.

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Notable Replies

  1. Phoenix Point cannot possibly be as good as I want it to be.

  2. The BF Dungeon seems soo out of left field for me that it could be a truly awesome game...or trash crashing and burning spectacularily after a handful of hours :slight_smile:

    Regarding Battletech....

    I was one of the not so cautious backers of Mechwarrior Tactics a couple of years ago and was burned badly...nevertheless I am expecting very good things of the Battletech reboot. I hope they get a truckload of money (above is my contribution :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) to continue the franchise. After this iteration. Only gripe I have is that it plays in the middle of nowhere.....but if everything else pans out as the marketing-speak suggests I am happy nonetheless.

    Oh....and I would sell my soul for another Front Mission game...a TRUE FM game not the early 21 century crap riding on the "let's reboot cool franchises as crappy shooters"-wave FM:Evolved mess (like XCOM Bureau and Syndicate)

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