If a gaming website were to have some type of “Best of” at the end of the year (spoiler, we’re doing it the week between Xmas and New Years), I think you’d find at least one writer putting in a vote for Twilight Struggle. If not the best app of 2016, it’s near the top and yesterday we learned that it’s going to get better before 2016 ends. Playdek announced that not only is the game making its long-awaited debut on Android, but it’s bringing with it an expansion pack and more. Oh, and it all happens next Monday.
Talisman may lack deep strategic or tactical gameplay but it more than makes up for it with the fun of exploration and so much damn content. Seriously, it’s gotten to the point that I can’t keep track of all the expansions for this beast. Dungeons, Cities, something called the Highlands? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s all good as every new expansion adds more unknown to each game until you never know what you’ll draw. That’s when the game gets really fun. Today, Nomad updated Talisman yet again with more content, two new characters to play with: Martial Artist and Saracen.
Silent Depth is a long-gestating WWII submarine sim, placing you in an American sub in the Pacific Theater in 1942. Success means slowing the flow of vital supplies to Japan, sinking troopships, and buying the U.S. industrial effort time to rebuild the surface fleet after the catastrophe at Pearl Harbor. And, in a cruel metaphor involving sinking ships, it represents the first Stately Play use of the tag “Windows_Phone. [and possibly the last. -ed.]
Kelsey took a look at Colt Express last week and thought it was a pretty great rendition of a board game with one huge flaw, the multiplayer system was broken. While online play existed, the ability to create or join games was enough of a mess to prevent him from playing even one multiplayer contest. It was bad enough that Asmodee decided to pull back their December releases to ensure that multiplayer hijinks wouldn’t be an issue going forward. Today, Asmodee took steps to correct what’s already out there and Colt Express has been updated to make multiplayer a little more palatable.
2016 has been a great year for digital board games, so much so that it’s easy to lose track of every great release. Luckily, some of them are aware of this and keep bubbling to the surface of our consciousness by releasing more content. The latest example of this is Peter Kossit’s one-man triumph, Baseball Highlights 2045. It was just updated with the requisite bug fixes, but also includes a new expansion pack that includes my favorite part of baseball, errors.
Battle of Polytopia, or as I like to call it, the artist formerly known as Super Tribes, is one of the bright spots of 2016. A simple 4X game that you can finish in 15 minutes, yet somehow manages to hit all the important 4X buttons. How do they do it? I don’t know, I just play the damn things. I do know that the game just got better with a massive update from developer Midjiwan.
Just to add more fuel to the dumpster fire that is 2016, Asmodee just let us know that their two December releases, Mysterium and Potion Explosion, are no longer December releases. Instead, they’re pushing them into next year. Damn.
As the grandson of a WW2 submariner, the war under the waves has always held a special significance for me. As a fat dude with claustrophobia, actually being in a submarine is the most terrifying thing I can imagine. I even get uneasy touring the U-505 in Chicago or the USS Cobia in Manitowoc, WI, and they’re just sitting there. I’m a wimp. Lucky for me, there have always been pretty decent sub simulations for PC with the Silent Hunter series and way too many others to mention. This week ushered in a new sub simulation called Silent Depth, and this one we can play on our iPads.
Colt Express has two things I adore: an Old West theme of bandits robbing a train, and programmed movement with character decks. Westerns are in sort of a tough place right now. The themes common to westerns are largely in tension with some now-common values, so it’s difficult to make them without effectively taking a controversial political stand (either to support those themes, or explicitly reject them). As a result, family-friendly western content is rare these days. Admittedly, I have never seen Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, but Wikipedia tells me it occurs in the town of “Nice and Friendly Corners”. I am now imagining Fred Rogers in a poncho, chomping a cigarillo, and my attempt to deride the western credentials of the Disney Junior show has gone totally off the rails as I embroider that fabulous image.* Anyway, a western family game stands out.
Two years ago the arrival of a new Hearthstone expansion would have been major news worthy of getting a certain Faraday out of bed to give us his thoughts on what was (and maybe still is?) the biggest game on mobile. Today it’s a bit meh. Sure, Hearthstone is still a pretty great game, but with this being the umpteenth expansion I find it hard to jump up and down and holler when a new one is released. That said, we still have at least one major Hearthstone fan chained in the manor’s wine cellar and I’m sure there are some of you who still pick it up and give it a go every once in a while. Today will be a good day to delve back in as Mean Streets of Gadgetzan was unleashed this morning.