Tabletop • At first glance you might be tempted to compare Catalyst Game Labs‘ latest card game, Dragonfire, to one of the favorites around the Stately Play grounds, Pathfinder Adventures. Both use cards to replicate the role-playing experience with the latter set in Pathfinder and the former in D&D 5E. Other than those similarities, however, the games couldn’t be more different. You already know I love Pathfinder ACG, so how does Dragonfire stack up?
iOS, Android, Kindle • While those of us in the US were spending Friday sleeping off hangovers, the rest of the world was still hard at work making things. One of those things is of interest to us, a digital port of the board game Metro from Queen Games. While it sells itself as a train-builder circa 1900, don’t be fooled. Metro is about as abstract a title as you can get and bears little resemblance to the Metro that currently runs under the streets of Paris. Still, if you like Tsuro but thought it was a bit too simple, Metro should be right up your alley.
PC/Mac, Coming Soon to iOS/Android • I was late to the Dresden Files but made up for it by reading all of the books in just over a year. Jim Butcher‘s alternate reality where magic, vampires, werewolves, faeries, and all manner of things that go bump in the night are not only real, but also looking for a late night snack of human, is a great setting. I think I’d actually prefer living in it over the rather mundane real world. Sure, there’s a chance of being torn apart by a werewolf, but the ability to shoot fire from my fingertips would be pretty sweet. I knew there was a cooperative tabletop card game out there where you could play through the events of the series as its characters, but don’t have enough friends interested in a Dresden Files game pull off a game session. When I learned Hidden Achievement was taking the game digital, I saw my chance to finally get the card game to the virtual table.
iPad • There were three board game ports that seemed stuck in development hell, never to actually make an appearance on our tablets. The first was Twilight Struggle which switched developers after years of development only for Playdek to save the day, releasing one of the best board game ports on the App Store. Then there was Through the Ages which was promised back when the iPad was a novelty, died when Codito’s license expired, and finally resurrected by CGE as one of the best board game ports on the App Store. Now we have 7 Wonders, which was nearly released several years ago, been through multiple beta tests, and has finally made its way to digital but, unfortunately, isn’t one of the best board game ports on the App Store.
Tabletop • My bike is a recumbent–basically a recliner welded to a bike frame–which is perfect for getting my fat butt around town. And that, ladies and gents, is the full extent of my cycling knowledge. Much like all sports, cycling is something I neither participate in nor understand. Several members of my regular game group, however, are active cyclers who not only own more bikes than I’ve owned in my entire life, but, when not cycling, will sit and watch other people racing their bikes. I bought Flamme Rouge for them, thinking that getting it on the table would be an easy sell. It wasn’t, but we did finally manage to play it which led to three consecutive games in a row. In other words, it went over well.
iPad, PC/Mac • Subsurface Circular exists primarily because of a willingness to experiment during a lull in the developer’s schedule, but it also seems to suit the needs of a maturing game-playing public. While its gameplay is aptly described as “text adventure”, the game deserves credit for establishing an atmosphere and an aesthetic using high-quality audio and visuals. This is possible in such a short window largely because it’s a single-room mystery: the game is played entirely on a train for robots, with the player taking the role of a robot detective smart enough that humans have rendered it unable to leave the train as a precaution.
iOS Universal • Since the release of Card Crawl a few years back, the Solitaire Card Game With A Cool Theme That Makes It Cooler Than Your Standard Card GameTM genre has really taken off. Tinytouchtales by themselves have released both Card Thief and Miracle Merchant, but there have been others as well, such as Guild of Dungeoneering and others that I can’t remember, not to mention that this opener is already getting a bit long in the tooth. Underhand is the latest game to arrive in the genre but, unfortunately, feels less like Card Crawl and more like the unholy love child of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books and Groundhog Day.
Tabletop • Games Workshop has been in the business of creating miniatures and games for more than 30 years. Earlier in their history, when this writer was much less grey, the company was known for creating a wide series of miniatures board games that served as entry points into their Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy universes. Some were great fun, while others were wild, crazy and unbalanced (and still a bit fun). Nevertheless, the company took efforts to attract gamers into their orbit and keep them there. GW underwent a change in focus for many years, purging almost all of those gems from their catalogue and putting their time and money solely into miniature games. It seems there has been a change at Games Workshop, however, and they’ve been quietly releasing a series of miniatures board games for the last few years. Many of these were not priced to appeal to mainstream gamers, focusing on the GW fanbase instead. With their latest miniatures board game, Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire, however, GW is taking a direct aim at competing with the mainstream products from their main competitors, Fantasy Flight and Cool Mini or Not.
iOS Universal • Some games just aren’t ready for release. Lets keep that in mind while we talk about the recently released Eminence: Xander’s Tales. Eminence was originally billed as a CCG/MMORPG when it was Kickstarted by Aeterna Studios in 2014. Now it’s 2017 and Aeterna Studios has finally released an iOS version of Eminence, without the MMORPG elements, leaving a odd card game that combines deck-building and random card packs but none of the other traditional elements of a CCG. It’s about as much fun as finding out your ice-cream sundae was made with hot fudge and cottage cheese.
Tabletop • While board gaming is still a fairly small niche of the hobby world, it’s made up of many smaller niches. Many of those I’ve dabbled in: war games, miniatures, 18xx, smelling like you haven’t showered in three weeks. One group I’ve never participated deals with something called Print-and-Play. These are the crazy people [I only say this because a good friend is one of these people and he’s only slightly not crazy -ed.] who spend a lot of time to handcraft beautiful copies of games released for free and posted on sites like BGG. I haven’t even been one of the lazy ones who just print everything on regular paper and tape it together with Scotch tape. Nothing in this process interested me in until I helped design a Print-and-Play game of my own, and now I think they’re the greatest thing ever. Well, this game is, at least.