PC • In 2016, Stonemaier Games released the engine building mech/farming crossover board game Scythe to much acclaim. The game quickly shot up the ranks on BoardGameGeek and currently sits firmly at number seven, ahead of classics like Agricola and Puerto Rico. That’s in no small part to its worldbuilding –a post WWI fought with giant mechs– along with the addition of strategic 4x gameplay and Jakub Rozalski’s outstanding art. For those reasons, Scythe: Digital Edition, developed by The Knights of Unity and published by [our dark overlords -ed.] Asmodee Digital, is one of the most anticipated titles of 2018. Recently it landed in Early Access which seemed like a good time for us to attempt the conquest of Eastern Europe.
PC • At the intersection of Hornblower-Tolkien cosplay, you find Maelstrom. It’s an enticing clash of high-fantasy and fighting sail, and is exactly the twist a certain type of popular multiplayer game needs right now. Behold, Battleship Royale.
Mobile, PC/Mac • Earlier this year my Kickstarted copy of One Deck Dungeon from Asmadi Games arrived and it quickly became my go-to solo game. It’s compact, easy to fit in a backpack, and plays fairly quick while still giving you something to think about each and every turn. Those gents at Handelabra have taken it upon themselves to convert this card game to digital and, just this week, they let me have a look behind the curtain to see how things are going. They’re going very, very well.
PC/Mac/Linux (First Access now), Tablets (down the road) • An alien spacecraft streaked down from the sky and plowed into the desert. It spoke to you when you arrived, and now you’re considered a prophet. It’s on you to lead your newfound followers through a desert wasteland in search of a new home, a journey fueled by the promise of the unlimited powers and ancient knowledge of an alien race.
PC • Bipedal cupcakes and mushrooms, spiders with knee-length socks, and rainbow-colored unicorns…sounds like a fantasy zoo straight out of the mind of Lewis Carroll or Dr. Seuss doesn’t it? These are just some of the many odd creatures that populate the fantastically bizarre, apocalyptic world of Pit People. Pit People is a strategy role-playing game that features tactical turn-based combat and a heaping portion of humor. It’s been incubating in Steam Early Access for a little over a year and is getting close to breaking free of the beta stage, so I figured now was a great time to give it a go.
iOS, Android • I’m officially over collectible-card games. I’m done buying packs and chasing rares all to play random people on the Internet. I do love the strategy of deck building and tactics of turn-based card slinging, however, which makes me happy we have people like the fine folks at Slothwerks making games for us all to enjoy. Games like the upcoming Meteorfall.
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.
PC • Uppercut Games dropped City of Brass into Early Access last week, and after having spent a good few hours with their Arabian Nights gauntlet simulator, I’m here to give it a mighty thumbs up from the bottom of a spiked pit.
PC/Mac • RimWorld is a colony building and survival simulation game that has everything you’d expect from the genre. You’ll act as the architect for a new colony and guide its residents to ever greater levels of survivability, self-sufficiency, and success. This includes zoning the settlement area for residential buildings, farming, and storage as well as identifying what structures should be built, how electricity should be generated, and what tools of production, furniture, and artwork should be used. There’s also the usual research function to build out a technology tree and open up new options. What’s cool about RimWorld is not that it hits these hallmarks of base-building and survival games. It certainly does. It’s not that it does it really well or better than most—though this is also true. What really makes RimWorld so good–I had to force myself to stop playing–are two things: a true open-world style and a relatively unique story-infused narrative.
You’ve crash landed on a strange planet and need a plan to survive. There’s a couple different ways you can go. There’s the Mark Watney way—eking out an existence thanks to potatoes fertilized by your own feces. Alternatively, you could build a massive, sprawling, and fully interconnected factory complex using your off-the-charts engineering know how. Which do you choose?