PC, Xbox, Playstation, Switch • Witching Hour Studios‘ Masquerada: Songs and Shadows had been sitting near the top of my Steam wishlist for about a year when I got around to it. You may know Witching Hour for their mobile and PC TBS Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion, and if you don’t you should. Almost everything about the game intrigued me: the hand-drawn isometric art style, the highly developed and original fantasy setting, a plot that sounded like it just might actually explore tensions between the rich and poor with some subtlety, and the promise of tactical combat modeled on fencing.
[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.]
iOS, Android, Kindle, PC/Mac/Linux • Before I begin, a personal note: I’m a big fan of Choice of Games, both because of the sheer range of themes and authorial voices in their library of gamebooks and because of their inclusive ethos – more on that in a bit. Oh, and I’ve known Jason Stevan Hill, Choice of Games’ COO, and Nissa Campbell, author of Heart of the House, for years. Heart of the House is a branching adventure with themes of mystery, horror, and romance, in a Victorian setting that eschews the goggles and cogs of steampunk in favor of the hauntings and seances of Spiritualism. Hold that planchard steady, my spirit guide tells me we’re not alone. Did you hear that? A single knock as upon a great door? Did you feel that? A touch of cold at the back of your neck? Did you see that? A tenebrous shadow, almost a face, then subsiding into a roil of tiny tentacles? They’re here.
iOS, PC/Mac• Failbetter Games just completed their Kickstarter for Sunless Skies, the spiritual sequel to indie smash-hit and certified (by yours truly) best game of all time, Sunless Sea. They blew past their goal of $125k, raising almost four times that much and unlocking stretch goals for Sunless Sea and Fallen London as well as Failbetter’s forthcoming spacefaring adventure. The only disappointment of the campaign was that it was conducted neither in pounds sterling nor the Echoes approved by the Masters of the Bazaar, presumably because the only thing riskier at the moment than raising capital in a fictional currency would be relying on the pound post-Brexit. Residents of the rebel colonies can take some small satisfaction in the estimation of the USD to be momentarily more stable than the currency of the crown, but they should have a care – there have been whispering of late that Mr. Iron has been seen in the Forgotten Quarter and, stranger yet, at the Cumaean Canal, working an abacus with inhuman speed and chuckling softly.
I love geeky tabletop games, especially the kind with a dozen different decks of cards, scores of specialized counters, multiple boards and player reference cards with charts and tables. Call me Ameritrash, but that’s the way I like it. Unfortunately, I have young children: my oldest is taking an interest in games now, but at age 5 he’s not ready for Twilight Struggle or Terra Mystica yet, and my youngest is mostly interested in teething on the pieces. As a result, I mostly play my board games on a tablet these days, and keep notes on which ones I might want to pick up when the kids get older. I say this because Space Food Truck is a digital board game. There’s no print edition yet, and that’s a shame because if there was, I’d have purchased it and put it in a place of honor in my collection, there to wait for the day we can sit down as a family and play together. If you haven’t picked up on my subtle hints, what I’m trying to say is that I love this cooperative multiplayer game.
This post originally appeared at TIGSource. A Good Bundle is a rag-tag alliance of a great many indie game devs, from big dogs to folks with one smallish title to their name. It’s a game bundle, sure, but it’s not your typical bundle. There are 151 games (and tools) by 115 different developers in here and it’s all for charity: split 50/50 between Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Tagline: “A Good Bundle is a bunch of creators sharing their works to combat some of the ugliness in our world.”
You probably haven’t heard of Nyx Hydra. Their biggest success to date has been Egg!, a FTP Tamagotchi game in roughly the same vein as Neko Atsume. Egg! isn’t Stately Play material, but it is cute and doesn’t push the IAP too hard. But I’m not here to talk about Egg!, a game I would never even have discovered it it weren’t for The Arcana, a passion project they’re currently seeking Kickstarter funding for.