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 • I didn’t pay much attention to the Spiel des Jahres this year, so I’m a little behind on telling my Azuls from my Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburgs. Yes, that last one is a real game and it actually won the Kennerspiel des Jahres. Thus I was unaware of another nominee vying for “complex game of the year”, Ganz Schön Clever. A quiet release of a digital version has allowed me to give the game a go, however, and I’ve determined that the English translation of Ganz Schön Clever is “what the hell have I stumbled on?”
It’s been a long, news-less week behind the scenes at Stately Play. Too much stuff to do and too little time to do it. So, I missed the launch of Banner Saga 3 and…well, that’s the biggest news bit you didn’t get from our front page. Next week is looking tough as well. I’ll be on vacation Monday and Tuesday and then heading down to Gen Con where I’ll be getting all sorts of news (I already have an interesting tidbit from CGE that I will share as soon as I’m legally able to). Will I be posting it right away? Hopefully. My plan is to write up what I saw each day and post it the next day, so you’ll get Thursday’s news on Friday and Friday-Sunday’s news early the next week. That’s the plan, at least, but you know how those go around here. If you don’t, please see my Liberty or Death or Darkest Night videos for an example. Onward to the weekend!
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.
We’re less than two weeks from Gen Con and I’m kind of terrified. For the first time I’ll be going as “Stately Play” and not as a member of the BGG army, which means I’m on my own for getting interviews and whatnot. Now, I really want to go to Gen Con to have fun, so interviews and reports are cool and all, but I’m not going to be working 100% of the time. In fact, my whole family is trudging along with me to Indianapolis this year. My two older sons will help me with the whole “work” thing until they get bored and go play in the CGE room, but I’m also going to have to entertain my 7 year-old (the HABA booth should work) and my wife (nothing at Gen Con will work). Anyway, that’s what I’m getting ready for in my gaming life, let’s see what others have in store for the weekend.
Developers have distantly flirted with the idea of a Warhammer 40K grand strategy, but the commitment to rendering a colossal empire management sim in the grimdark future has yet to be fully realised. It would be an interesting undertaking, and while perhaps some conversions and mods have offered glimpses into what might be, we’re yet to see one with the official GW stamp. Along comes Gladius – Relics of War, from Pandora: First Contact devs Proxy Studios and published under the auspices of Slitherine, and while the game has aspirations to the grand strategy genre, it’s best described as a wargame. Or is that Waaaaarrrghgame? Apostates and the pious alike, read on.
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.
PC, Xbox, Playstation • Ex-Bioshock devs Uppercut Games have enjoyed a very warm reception to their Arabian-themed swashbuckler City of Brass. No tricks here, it’s magical. If you’re not already playing on PC, Xbone or Playstation, it’s worth rubbing the lamp on. Especially now they’ve unleashed two post-release updates, the latest of which is very tidy.