Every year around this time, gamers try to predict which games will be nominated for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award, signifying the best tabletop games of the previous year. From the early aughts, I’ve been one of those gamers, always wrong with my guesses and then trying to nab each nominated title as soon as possible because, they have to be good, right? This year is a bit different. This morning it dawned on me that I don’t give a shit anymore.
Pete calls me Duke. I am his Very Special Dog. You are probably thinking that all dogs are Very Special. Great! You are a good person. I like you.
[What follows is an account of the campaign from the core set of the Arkham Horror: The Card Game, told from the perspective of a single card: Stubborn Detective. It contains minor spoilers, but, due to the variable nature of the campaign and the limited perspective of a detective interested in seeing the world through a comprehensible lens, keeps most of the discoveries hidden. Also, the Stubborn Detective remained true to his name, stubbornly refusing to be drawn during the final scenario, thus not being present to share any secrets from the campaign’s denouement. If you can’t tell, I followed Dave’s recommendation, and am very impressed by this game. – Kelsey]
Oskar Stålberg is an artist and game designer and we just realized he’s got some skills when it comes to making cool stuff for your laptop. Consider his Polygonal Planet Project, a browser-based Unity thingamabob where you can build your own planet. You can place continents and islands, raise up mountains, spread forests, and build massive cities. It’s a creative and fun tool with which to play. You can also download it to your computer for faster performance. Oh, there’s more. (Warning: gifs ahead!)
I’m sure a lot of you think I’m making it up, or at least exaggerating, when I talk about how terrible I am at games. Here’s another example. I’m currently winless in the Through the Ages beta and TtA is a game that I’ve played more than any other. Hundreds of games. I was the jamoke who created the official TtA Vassal module back before anyone had conceived of an online version. Just playtesting that involved playing, literally, hundreds of games. You’d think I’d have this game down to a science; a civilization building savant. Instead, I can’t stop tripping over my own feet. Oh, and James Cook is still a butthead.
I just want to say that James Cook is a big butthead. Thank you.
After successful contributions to game designs such as Snakes and Ladders, Candyland, and Monopoly, Satan returned to our tabletops with a single element of Magic: the Gathering: the blind-buy booster pack. Disliking the random booster is roughly as popular among players as the orgasm, so it was with great surprise that I realized, some time ago, that they also have virtues I value. The game which turned me around into trying to see the good side of boosters was Rodeo Games‘ Deathwatch. Players earned boosters slowly enough in Deathwatch that you either had to be smarter than me, grind, or buy, which is exactly the sort of arrangement which would normally make me hate the developer.
iOS, Android • Terra Mystica is a tabletop behemoth and, even though it sits at #4 on BGG’s list of the best board games ever made, my group likes it about as much as a fart in an elevator. As such, my pimped out copy with acrylic everything lies dormant in my basement, silently waiting for me to man up and get a new game group. Sorry, cardboard monstrosity, but you’re going to be waiting a long time. First of all, I kind of like my game group and, secondly, in a week I’ll be able to play as much Terra Mystica as I want without any eyes rolling or noses turned up in disgust. Actually, I’ve received a pre-release copy, so I’m playing TM right now, you damned old box filled with wood and plastic. Take that! Don’t worry, I talk to my games quite a bit. It’s a combination of being alone all day and staggering levels of mental illness. I’ve taken my pills, and I think it’s time to share a bit of how the digital version of Terra Mystica is shaping up. That, and we have the trailer just on the other side of the jump.
Switch • With a daughter turning nine in March, I had an excuse to pre-order a Switch and the new Zelda. The one-sentence review I would give of it is this: it’ll make you feel like a kid again, until you watch kids play. If I could add another sentence, I’d note that I’m only writing about it because I promised my kids I wouldn’t do the thing I just started doing in the game until they could watch me, and they’re in school. As I have now been gifted with an unsought opportunity to reflect, I’m going to make the most of it to try and excuse playing Zelda to the exclusion of writing for you wonderful people for weeks. It was “research” for this piece.
Much of our hope for this site was that it would attract readers smarter than us to generate superb discussions in our forums. From these, we would harvest ideas for articles. I kind of shot myself in the foot by misconfiguring our emails for a few months (though we think that’s fixed, so if you tried to sign up for a forum account and didn’t get an email, try again!), but today we have such an article.