Tabletop • While the Cthulhu Mythos burst like a purulent, racist boil from the twisted mind of H.P. Lovecraft way back in the 1920’s, it’s only been in the last 10 years or so that Fantasy Flight Games has managed to turn it into a means to print money. Fantasy Flight has mastered the genre and has created a handful of tabletop titles rife with existential dread and, of course, tentacles. Their latest recalls their first, and most popular, game to tread these dark paths: Arkham Horror. Only this time, there’s no board, no 8,000 cardboard chits, and no FAQ full of rules exceptions. Just cards. Lots and lots of cards.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • Getting an original CCG up and running on the App Store isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just ask Stone Blade how tough it was getting SolForge to actually make them any money. That’s not stopping White Wizard Games from trying with their Epic Card Game. Already available in cardboard form, the digital version is now on Kickstarter and should be making its way to our phones this autumn. For backers, however, you can play it much, much sooner.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • Yes, I know it’s terribly flawed, but one of my favorite time wasters of 2016 was Gambrinous’ dungeon-builder-crawler, Guild of Dungeoneering. Featuring a combat mechanism that could have become rote, but instead was kept interesting via deck building and the promise of unlocking more stuff, GoD was one of my most played titles of the year. The problem came when there was no more stuff to find. Eventually the map is cleared and every new room in your guild has been built. Luckily, Gambrinous has kept adding new content starting with last year’s Pirate’s Cove and their latest expansion, Ice Cream Headaches, coming this week.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • One of Owen’s favorite developers was Simogo, the devs behind such weird classics as Year Walk and Device 6. He followed their every move and forced the rest of us to get as excited as he was about whatever mysterious and bizarre teaser trailer they were using to push their next gig. It must have rubbed off on me a little because very little about The Frostrune would have caught my eye if it weren’t for the Simogo-ness of it all. The trailers are beautiful, yet completely opaque regarding what the hell is actually going on. In other words, it looks pretty great.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • If it seems like it’s only been a few weeks since Nomad Games updated their venerable flagship, Talisman, I can’t blame you. It’s actually been over a month, but the Talisman expansions are so numerous at this point it feels like there’s a new one each time you load up the app. Today is like that, except when I loaded it up there really was a new expansion waiting for me, The Firelands. It’s probably waiting for you, too. Go check, we’ll wait.
PC • After just writing a story about HexWar it seems only fair to chat about their Commands & Colors partners in crime, The Lordz Game Studio. Today, Lordz and Slitherine released a new 4X fantasy title called Sovereignty: Crown of Kings for PC and it looks pretty amazing.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • HexWar, HexWar, HexWar. Seems like we can’t go a week without more HexWar news popping up. It’s not rehashing a release we’ve already talked about before, either, it’s all new stuff. First The Great War launches, then we find out they’ve teamed up with GMT Games for more Commands & Colors, and now we learn they’re going to tackle endless war by entering into the Warhammer 40K universe. That’s right, they’ve teamed up with Games Workshop and are bringing a new Warhammer title to PC, Mac and iOS: The Battle of Tallarn.
iOS Universal, Android • The retreat from Game Center has opened a hole in the iOS board game development world. With Apple’s commitment to asynchronous multiplayer looking uncertain and the value of a unified multiplayer solution high, publishers of popular board games are likely to seek partnerships with developers who have proven multiplayer systems. That’s going to be very interesting to observe over the next few years. Potion Explosion is a Horrible Games/Cool Mini Or Not product in the tabletop world, but Asmodee Digital and Studio Clangore have brought it to mobile devices, which means you can use an existing account for any Days of Wonder or Asmodee title. That’s a pretty impressive catalog–just in my own iTunes library, I have Ticket To Ride, Small World (2, he added, rolling his eyes), the recently improved Colt Express, Pandemic, and Splendor.
PS4, Vita • Mention the title ‘Dynasty Warriors’ and some folk blanch at the prospect of once again scything to hair-metal through hordes of hesitant Han. Truth is, the Dynasty Warriors games are actually pretty damn good, and they’re one of the last bastions of the moribund beat ’em up genre. I’m here to talk about one specific spin-off for PS4 and Vita in Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers, a fresh turn-based twist on the long-running series. The Omega Force gang were said to have been jonesing to create something like Godseekers for a while, give the series hasn’t seen a tactics game since the PS2, largely honing their Han-themed crowd control simulators. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and time in the wilderness has justified the return to cogitative griddery. Cutting to the chase, Godseekers is absolutely terrific and the rest of year ought to get its tactical act together, because this is 2017’s turn-based strategy to beat.
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.