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.
PC/Mac • It’s the flight model. No, no, it’s the visuals. Wait, it’s the muted pokka-pokka-pokka of the cannon. Whatever it is about recent shmup revelation Furious Angels, I’m ensconced in its cocktail of arena shootery like nothing else. As such, I reached to the man behind the game for a quick goosey at where, why and how.
2016 rather inured me to the tragedy of celebrity deaths, and when a man dies at age 97 after a life as a mathematician, logician, philosopher of eastern religion, stage magician, pianist, author, husband, and stepfather, it seems more an opportunity to celebrate his life than sink into despondency. Raymond Smullyan is best-known as the author of numerous books of puzzles, often puzzles which make advanced logical concepts accessible to an innocent audience (which is, perhaps, to be expected from a logician who extended Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems). I recommend these; they exude a playful light-heartedness rare in any discipline, without compromising their depth and quality. Indeed, much of my taste for puzzles was shaped by Smullyan’s work, and several other Stately Play authors joined me in marking his passing. Should you wish to learn more about Taoism, or serious logic, his writing on those subjects is also first-rate.
iPad, Android • Titan HD was the first game I ever decided to review for Pocket Tactics more than year after its initial release. Its tabletop version was famously deep, challenging, and counter-intuitive, and is still played at conventions more than thirty years after its introduction into a hobby famously obsessed with the Cult of the New. More importantly, it’s also surging in popularity among users of our own forum, drawn not only to its classic gameplay but to an app which has been lovingly supported by developer Kristopher Giesing for almost as long as there have been tablets capable of holding it. I managed to track down Kristopher and grill him about one of my favorite iPad apps.
Wartile is an upcoming real-time strategy game that is styled like a tabletop miniature war game. [And looks a hell of a lot like Heroscape. That’s not a bad thing. -ed.] The game is currently in alpha-testing with a planned Windows release sometime in Q1 (and later releases for Mac and tablets) and I recently had a chance to give the whole thing a whirl.
I was going to write a long diatribe about 2016 to wrap up the year, but instead I want you all to look at my GIMP skills in that header pic. Yes, that’s a crown. I also wrote in that really sweet “#1”. I figure I had to tell you that it was me because I’m guessing most of you would assume we dropped beaucoup bucks on a real graphic artist. I mean, I don’t like to brag, but I kind of like to brag. We’re finally here! Our number one games of 2016. What’s at the top? Will anyone pick a mobile game? Will anyone not pick a mobile game? Will David and Maddie ever hook up? [I’ve only seen seasons 1 and 2 of Moonlighting. I’m saving up for the season 3 blu-ray -ed.] All these answers (not all of them, actually) will be answered beyond the break.
[Insert witty opening] That’s all I got today, folks. I was doing my dadly duties today and looked at my watch realizing it was 4pm and I’d forgotten all about today’s countdown. No time to mess around! Head after the break to see our #2 picks for best of 2016.
We’re back with our countdown of the top games of 2016. Yesterday, I was a bit short on time so my introduction was on the brief side. Today, I had planned to regale you with tales of how I’ve yet to murder any children during Christmas break. After starting, however, I realized that it’s a rather boring tale involving lots and lots of Legos. Instead, let’s continue the countdown. Today we reach the midpoint with our #3 titles of 2016. Because we need clicks, check our picks after the break.