PC/Mac (Friday), iOS/Android (later this year) • Okay, so I had this story late Sunday night assuming I would post it yesterday only to suddenly realize that working a full time job really sucks when it comes to making time for a blog. I should clarify, it’s not the job that sucks, it’s the fact that I’m actually working on something that I find very interesting and, incredibly, am having a hard time pulling myself away from. I’m learning Python at work now and I’ve gotten to the point where I can actually write scripts that do things and it’s fairly mesmerizing. It’s been four years since I’ve coded with an end goal in mind (TIS-100P doesn’t count) and I’m kind of digging it. Anyway, I couldn’t stay away from the Stately Players [I thought we had stopped doing this -ed.] for long, which brings us to the board game port of the week, Exodus: Proxima Centauri.
iOS, Android, PC • A week ago Asmodee Digital surprised us all with the announcement of Gloomhaven and other games coming out later this year and in 2019. I was at the press conference and took pictures of all the games they listed for the next 2 years and nowhere did they list Kings and Assassins. So, it makes perfect sense that, this week, they released Kings and Assassins. [insert head banging into wall gif here]
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Fresh off the success of One Deck Dungeon you’d think the folks at Handelabra would rest on their laurels and, perhaps, slow down and enjoy the, I’m sure, millions of dollars that come along with being a successful indie developer of niche board games. As you can probably guess from the headline, however, that’s not the case. Instead, Handelabra have announced two new ports that will be heading our way in 2019, Indie Boards & Cards‘ Aeon’s End and Greater Than Games‘ Spirit Island.
Tabletop • Deep down in my soul I know that, mechanically, Dark Tower isn’t a great game, and yet few games have stuck with me the way Dark Tower has. I was 10 years old when Milton Bradley unleashed this cardboard and plastic monstrosity upon the world, and I remember it occupying my every thought as 1981 crawled towards Christmas. I didn’t get a copy of the game that year, but my cousins did, and it didn’t disappoint. A game with little plastic, sword-sporting figures, 3D plastic buildings and awesome art of kingdoms in decline, and, of course, the massive black monolith standing at the hub of this strange fantasy world? I loved the game, eventually getting a second hand copy a year or two later and then forgetting about it when my tower, like so many others, stopped working. It’s the one grail game that I’ve considered spending $300 or more via Ebay to get a working copy to play with my kids only to realize that I’d then be divorced and probably wouldn’t be spending much time with my kids. Luckily, Restoration Games has picked up the mantle and announced a re-imagining of Dark Tower set to release in 2020.
iPad, Android Tablets, PC/Mac/Linux • One thing I look forward to every year is a Jeremy Handel sighting at Gen Con. He’s incredibly hard to find, but when you do you won’t be disappointed because he’ll be dressed as someone else. Sure, there’s a lot of cosplay at Gen Con, but not many people cosplay as characters from Sentinels of the Multiverse. This year, my son and I ended up getting sick on Saturday and our time in the convention center was nil from Saturday morning on, so I didn’t get a chance to find Jeremy this year [for the record, we did meet up with Jean-Marc Giffin of Handelabra who was affable as always -ed.], but I did get a chance to play a ton of his latest game, One Deck Dungeon. That’s because Handelabra released the major expansion, Forest of Shadows, the Wednesday night before the Con opened.
PC/Mac/Linux • There’s something a little less exciting about a game releasing when it’s been available on Steam Early Access for a long time prior to going “live”. I mean, I’ve been playing Factorio for so long now that if they took it out of EA and into actual release, I doubt I’d really notice. That said, Star Traders: Frontiers is a Trese Brothers game and we kind of love those around these parts. If you need reminding, they’re the dynamic duo behind the oft-overlooked but much-loved Templar Battleforce. Star Traders: Frontiers went live while I was at Gen Con and I’m dying to dive into it.
There’s this obscure thing in gaming where some people, instead of or in addition to playing games on their a proper personal computer or mobile communications device, as HAL intended, attach things that look like gussied-up Blu-ray players to their home televisions and play “console games” on them. Well, some of these “console gamers” are in for quite a surprise, as the kind folks at Failbetter Games are bringing the best video and computer game of all time, Sunless Sea, complete with the Zubmariner expansion to a gaming console called the ソニー株式会社 プレイステーション 四, roughly translated as “Sony Playstation Quatro,” and sometimes affectionately referred to as the “PS4.”
I wandered over to the Renegade booth to pick up a copy of Spy Club (only to find that they were already sold out) when I ran into the crew of Shut Up & Sit Down. Being incredibly “with it”, I knew that the SU&SD guys were hosting the Asmodee Digital press conference later that day so I meandered on over and struck up a conversation. If you know me, you know that conversation isn’t my strong suit so I mumbled a few things and shrugged and may have had a droplet of spit land on one of their shirts. May have. My charm, naturally, shone through and, next thing I know, they’re sharing that Asmodee was going to be making a huge announcement. I mumbled something stupid and wandered away, self-loathing at peak levels, determined to discover what it could be. A few short hours later, there it was: the new board game darling, Gloomhaven was going digital.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • When something gets too much hype there’s a good chance that reality will never rise to meet the expectations already formed in your head. That was the fear when GMT started talking about a “major” announcement regarding digital games that would be coming in late July. I was expecting the announcement of something like Labryrinth or, if we were lucky, a digital COIN game being announced. Big, but hardly the earth shaking announcement we were led to believe was coming. Then I found out what the announcement was and, damn, if GMT didn’t actually surprise me with this one. Not only is Playdek making digital versions of GMT titles, but they’ve joined forces and formed a partnership which ensures we’ll be getting GMT games on our devices for a long, long time.
iOS, Android • If you’re not aware, there are two [actually three, you dolt -ed.] different Spiel des Jahres awards each year. One for a ‘family’ game that tends to be a little lighter than I prefer, and the other is the Kennerspiel des Jahres which awards more complex titles. Considering that my tastes run in the Vital Lacerda/Martin Wallace/18xx vein, these games tend to still be on the light side for me, but I still try to at least give them a go once or twice. Two years ago the award was won by Isle of Skye and it remains one of the few KSdJ winners that I’ve never played. In fact my only contact with the game came at Gen Con in 2016 when I was working the BGG Game Room and had people returning it to the library. As a rule I would be told two things about the game: it was great and the printing was really, really small and hard to read. Well, now Digidiced and Asmodee Digital have teamed up to bring it to digital and here’s hoping they blew up that text out so even old farts like me can read it.