Kill the wabbit, KILL THE WABBIT!!!

Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

Alas, another week is ending which means there should be loads of free time to get some gaming in. Unfortunately it’s also a holiday weekend here in the States, which means my game time will be spent not playing games and, instead, doing family things. The horror! Actually, I was supposed to have an overnight gaming holiday with my game group, but that was nixed by the wife and, instead, I’ll be heading up to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan to fish. When I say “fish” I mean put worms on my kids’ hooks and remove fish from said hooks when they get lucky. I rarely get to drop my own line in the water. Could be worse. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again on Tuesday.

Brouge, Tales of Maj’Eyal, and The Witness

I’ve been noodling around with Brogue on iOS, and it is indeed the prettiest of the ASCII roguelikes, but it’s also reminded me of how much I like roguelikes with modern conveniences like character classes and and mana points. Oh, and tilesets, I guess, but let’s stop there lest we become decadent and embrace the excesses of full animation and 3D rendering. So, I’ve finally dipped my toe into the ocean that is Tales of Maj’Eyal, and it’s good, good enough that I’m okay with the fact that you have to unlock “true” magic users through play and that a near-genocide of the orkish peoples is part of the backstory. I’m looking forward to playing an orkish survivor and driving back the human and halfling menace, but I’ll have to pick up the Embers of Rage expansion for that.

The family game of the weekend is going to be The Witness (on iOS), I think.

-Tof Eklund

Zen Pinball, Alien vs. Predator, BSG: Deadlock, Phantom Doctrine

After having a hearty old time trying to survive in Legendary Encounters: Alien – and that was just describing the card sorting – I returned to a few interesting entries in the Alien digital landscape.

First of all, on the Mark Hensby of game consoles, I’ve been muddling through Zen Studios’ Alien pinball tables on Vita. They’re very slick affairs, spread across the original film, the disastrous Alien vs. Predator and Creative Assembly’s retro-futurist masterpiece, Alien Isolation. Good tables, replete with the usual missions and required showcases of skill. I couldn’t pick a favourite, but there’s always a fondness for the original.

The other investigation is Rebellion’s 2010 underdog reboot of Alien vs. Predator on PC and console. At least, it was on PC, but licenses have run out and the game has been digitally delisted, such as the ephemeral way of our modern age. Thank Weyland I nabbed it when I did, because while not perfect, it’s a decent entry that has become perhaps more enigmatic in its digital absence. Is it as good as the original Rebellion effort, AvP Gold? No. Monolith’s AvP2? Maybe. Always an interesting thing to revisit.

Other than that sojourn, always room for more Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, because it’s just That Game, and some more Phantom Doctrine.

-Alex Connolly

Into the Breach

After almost exactly six months of waiting, Into the Breach is finally on the Nintendo Switch, where it belongs. Everyone’s favorite Robot Kaiju-Trolley Problem-Chess Puzzle can now be taken anywhere you can pull out your Switch without feeling too silly. The transition to console from the PC release was as smooth as you’d expect from the folks who brought us the amazing iPad edition of FTL, barring some clumsiness with how tooltips are handled. And that’s easy to overlook when I can play my favorite game of the year thus far on the toilet without my MacBook Air rendering me sterile.

-Tanner “TMI” Hendrickson

Barbearian, Into the Breach, Bad North, and Unexplored

Due to a recommendation from Nick Vigdahl–recently taken up residence in the Stately sewers–I downloaded Barbearian on my iPad last night. It’s kind of like Diablo, but more structured? I mean, there aren’t just wandering creatures all over, you have to move to an area that contains about a thousand bad guys in a huge group and beat the hell out of them with your axe. It’s remarkably fun and there’s a lot I have yet to discover, having met my end rather quickly against the first challenge. If you’re looking for a quick, fun, roguelike, Barbearian is worth the price of entry. Actually, I wrote up a little review that is totally all my own words and doesn’t plagiarize Nick’s review at Pocket Tactics at all, because copying parts of a review and labeling them under another author’s name is a bad thing that we’d never do…

Barbearian is a real-time action/RPG that features frenetic combat full of huge hits against vast hordes of enemies. The constant motion, explosive hits, and overwhelming odds of it reminds us of running around Diablo III maps looking for more things to kill. It looks great, is loaded with smashy goodness and visceral feel, and is a ton of fun to play. It offers plenty of challenge without nearing the rage-quit-and-never-look-at-the-game-again reaction some similar games seem to elicit. The ability to micromanage the difficulty and completely control the UI layout is just icing on the cake.

Yep, I totally wrote that with my own brains.

Other games on the agenda will be a trio of games that I’m dying to play on my Switch. I picked up Into the Breach, Bad North, and Unexplored this week and all of them look fantastic. I played a little Unexplored already and kind of love it. The combat is a little more twitchy than my two thumbs can handle, so we’ll see how far I can get. Thus far my adventures have all ended on level 2. Pathetic. Bad North is a real-time game in which you direct your little guys to stave off a viking invasion. Again, looks amazing, and hope to get some time in. The last is Into the Breach, which Tanner talked about above. Unlike Tanner, I’m all for sterilization so I might play this one on my Mac whilst pooing.

-Dave Neumann

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Notable Replies

  1. I'm back playing Just Cause 3 and just flying straight the fuck into walls head-first again. Beautiful.

    When I'm not causing complete havoc and blowing myself up, I'm relaxing with the Strangest Things board game and shooting people on sight in Rainbow 6, the original gay pride FPS.

    No rush on Terraforming Mars: Prelude and Root arriving, BTW, game distributors. Whenever you like. In your own time.

    Pricks.

  2. @Neumannium I feel your pain when it comes to fishing. I love to fish, but since I’ve had kids my fishing has devolved into casting for my 3-year-old and diving out of the way while my 5-year-old casts. I’ve learned that my kids prefer a more active cast and retrieve fishing to a passive bobber-watching experience. It makes me busier, but the kids love it more and it tends to produce more fish. I set them each up with a tiny little 1/32 Dardevel spoon (probably meant for trout) and a rattling bobber a couple feet up the line. It is fairly safe as I can’t see them doing too much damage with that small a hook and it absolutely kills with the bluegills. You could probably increase the size of the lure with kids that are a little better at fishing.

    @AlexConnolly I like all three Alien tables in Zen. The classic is probably my favorite because of the source material, but I think Alien vs. Predator has some of the most interesting missions in all of zen. The problem with the table, though, is you don’t get any significant points outside of completing the missions, so it is also a higher skill table.

    As for me, I will continue to be terrible at F1 2018. I’ve qualified 17th at Baku and fully expect to flatten myself against a wall Wyle E. Coyote-style when I get around to the race sometime this weekend.

    Elsewhere, I’m going through this struggle where I’m trying to tear myself away from the PS4 because I am trying to demonstrate better habits to my son, so my gaming is becoming more mobile. I’ll probably play some Octopath Traveller at some point when he isn’t around; I’ve put 20 hours in and haven’t started a single 2nd chapter yet. I’ve got all the characters and all the secondary jobs, but I find myself grinding out levels and JP more than I need to.

  3. athros says:

    Switch: MHGU. There would be other things in there but I’m not going to kid myself. MHGU. Valor HBG maybe some Alchemy LBG and Guild HH.

    iOS: hmm. This one is tougher. With the new grind added to SW:GoH I’m just about done with it (again). I have playtime with Yomi sometime this weekend. Otherwise a smattering if things. My personal coding project is finally cruising along (funny how when you settle on an idea suddenly things take shape).

    And kids. And mountains. And of course time with my wife :slight_smile:

  4. My son has gotten into Minecraft and I play with him locally. That has also gotten me into Minecraft so I've been playing my own world on my Android tablet. It's a nice way to break up the day in the horrible office situation I'm in -- just hide away in an empty conference room for 30 mins and play a bit.

    A few weeks ago a friend recommended Renowned Explorers International Society, which I really like. It doesn't look like it, but I compare it to a time-boxed XCOM: turn-based tactical battle game. But only four levels...

    Personally I'm also finishing building a basketball hoop for my son, winterizing a camper, and probably bailing, er, mowing my backyard.

  5. Legend of Solgard continues to take up my time on iOS. Yes, it's F2P crap with monetization options out the wazoo. Yes, I'm enjoying it anyway. Haven't spent a cent and I've still progressed quite a bit.

    I've also gotten into Evergarden, which looks great and is a cool little puzzle game that is probably overpriced ($4.99). Of course, I'm not rushing through the story part of it, and I'll probably get at least 5 hours out of it, so by the old "$1/hour" rule of thumb, it might be worth it. How the devs justify charging $17.99 on Steam, though, I'm not sure ...

    I managed to not commandeer my son's Switch (yet) and buy Into the Breach a second time, so I'm still playing that on my MacBook. And I continue to bang my head against the wall that is Cultist Simulator, with each tiny bit of progress making it just worthwhile enough to continue playing.

  6. geigerm, totally agreed on Legend of Solgard.

    i have stumbled over it in softlaunch and was instantly hooked.
    gameplay is essentially the same as in "Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes", which i liked very much and played it through on NDS and iPad.
    but Solgard is no simple clone. many new twists and an online league system.

    we even have an offspring of our Gems of War guild in Solgard: TKKult (TAG: #LUNSS)
    me (lv 19), Holsten (lv 17) and robthomasson (lv 11) the Stately faction in the moment.

    all 20 slots are always filled, but i could kick a not so active member whenever a Stately Player wants to join.

    confirmative that the game is fun to play even when not spending real money. the basic battle mechanism is just too good.

  7. This just in...arrived at cabin only to realize I left fishing poles in the garage.

    Fuck.

  8. If you have some rope you could use the smallest child as bait and simply drag them through the water...

  9. Sounds like an opportunity for the ultimate dad move:

  10. Sounds like a reason to go buy more gear. It makes me think that next time I take the family fishing, I should “forget” my poles as well.

  11. Jamma and @geigerm. Any tips for Solgard? I’m assuming save my dust rather than upgrading early troop types. I joined an interim guild to see if the game grabs me. I’m still in the early ‘energy glut’ stage of the game, but I do like the core game mechanic.

  12. you will unlock many more events and instances when leveling up:
    The Dungeons, Treasure Caves, Bounties, Rainbow and Treasure Hunt events, Boss Arena, Underworld, Hero Arena.
    and more are announced to come.

    all play a bit different and ask for special tactics. very nice.

    when unlocking the Hero Arena you will be able to check other players' teams and will see that many of the top leaderboard players fight with "just commons" as team backbones.

    i would recommend common units Roughpaw (red), Elfling (yellow) and Tusker (purple). stick to them and try to level them up and to improve their abilities.
    very solid units even in later stages.
    only for green i would break the rule and go for rare Grimchop (best blocker) or epic Rock Gronch (great artillery).

    later you can try more fancy units. but they need much more gold, dust and soul gems before they get as strong as a highlevel common.

  13. I've found dust to be much more plentiful than gold, actually--gold's been the limiting factor on upgrading troops. But I do save my dust for the troops I'm frequently using.

    I will, however, upgrade a troop itself (not its special abilities) whenever possible, regardless of how much I use it. Some special events restrict the troop types you can use, so I want all troops to be leveled enough so they're useful if needed.

    I've taken a slightly different approach than @JammaTal. The Roughpaw's the only common troop I use regularly. I'll agree a common troop that's leveled up is better than a rare or epic that isn't, but a level 2 epic blows the doors off most common troops, IMO. I was lucky enough to pull Cracklehoof (yellow) early, before I'd invested a lot in my Elfling, so that was a clear upgrade.

    I'm running Roughpaw/Cracklehoof/Rock Gronch/Nightcast most of the time and doing pretty well. If I run into trouble with a particular level, I'll swap troops out.

    I started my own, pretty casual guild--didn't think to ask here if anyone else was playing. If that falls apart, I'll jump ship and join you guys.

  14. you will soon reach the point when this is not possible any longer. you will have to concentrate on chosen few creatures.

    when i started to play i founded TKKult and for a long time it was just a 3P guild.
    at global launch the 20 slots were filled in no time.
    nearly all players are very active and ready to spend gold, so we have reached some permanent bonuses: +2 HP, +3 crit chance, +2 block chance, halfway to +1 sun burst.

    in this season we have beaten all 4 Muspelheim bosses, the first Jotunheim boss Gormr and are about to finish Harborr.
    would be nice to strike down Lokvar too in the remaining 7d 15h of this season.

    our #340 position on global guild leaderboard is...well...i have no idea how good it really is :smile:

  15. Well, that's depressing.

    Your guild is definitely a lot better than mine. We're still working our way through the 4th Muspelheim boss and are #2507 on the leaderboard. I'm OK with that position, though--as I said, we're pretty casual.

  16. not really. isn't it the same in Gems of War, when concentrating all efforts on traiting a new legendary by all means?

    and as soon as my workhorses will have reached a decent strength i can turn my attention to the more fancy units again.
    i'm ok with it, and making steady progress without spending real money.
    i only bought the x3 value pack (5,49 euro) for once, out of respect for the developers having done a good job.

    in Hero Arena i'm #60 in the Grandmaster league now, struggling for promotion (position 1-50). my 5-5-5-6 team always battling against higher leveled opponents' creatures.
    very satisfying to squeeze out a win.

    btw a highlevel Elfling with upgraded abilities is a true monster.
    one of my most feared adversaries. he can hew down whole fields of units :anguished:
    another tip is the common unit Rotbite. great synergy with other fast attackers.
    he can overwhelm much stronger opponents and barriers.
    it's fascinating that there is not THE best unit for each color.
    different teams can all be good.

    for not littering this thread any longer i have created a Solgard thread.

  17. I mostly played WoW this weekend. BFA is fun so far, although I liked Legion better.

    I just downloaded that Solgard game, seems fun.

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