iOS, Android • Last week we opened the doors for nominating your favorite mobile games of 2017 and you responded by, well, nominating games. If, instead, we were polling for worst opening sentence in a Stately Play post, I think we might be looking at a winner. We’re not, though, so, yeah. [Oh boy, he’s not getting any better. Actually might be getting worse. -ed.] Anyway [brilliant way to start a new paragraph -ed.], 2017 was an excellent year for gaming in general, but mobile gaming specifically had one of its best years ever. As such, we’re going to open the polling to let you pick your top three games of 2017 and we’ll tally them all up and give you the full run down of results on Friday. Poll after the break.
iOS Universal, PC, Switch • Every now and then you’ll see a screenshot for a game and realize you need to buy it even without knowing what the hell the game is about. I do this with board games all the time, and have shelves of games with gorgeous art that I never play because they’re dull as sin or just not something I could ever introduce to my game group. Gorogoa was released earlier this week and the screenshots are incredible–even the icon is cool as hell–so I immediately jumped on it. Would Gorogoa sit on a virtual shelf, unplayed, or would the gameplay match the visuals?
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • There are mornings when I wake up and read press releases and really wish Owen were around. Today is one of those days. There weren’t too many developers that Owen appreciated more than Luca Redwood, whose 1000000 and You Must Build A Boat were always on his top whatever lists. Luca has a new game in the works, Photographs, and it’s unlike anything else he’s done. Maybe unlike anything anyone has done. I know I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
iOS Universal, Android, Kindle, PC/Mac • Much like a nuclear apocalypse, Asmodee Digital publishing everything on the App Store is a foregone conclusion these days. Take, for example, Talisman. Talisman is a game that was happily developed and published by Nomad Games for years, but now resides under the Asmodee flag. Why? World Domination, my friends. Talisman today, Pathfinder Adventures tomorrow. Wait…hold on…Kelsey is trying to say something. What? They already got Pathfinder Adventures? No corner of the App Store is safe, it would seem. All joking aside, we welcome our new benevolent overlords and wish them good tidings and peace (and maybe beg for a job). Oh, and today they released a new expansion for Talisman, The Harbinger.
iOS, Android, PC • As can be seen in our Readers’ Game of the Year nominations, Race for the Galaxy is considered one of the best games of 2017. Temple Gates did a bang up job on it, crafting a wonderful UI, bringing in Keldon’s AI for solo play, and providing a robust multiplayer experience. As great as it is, the thing it’s lacking in comparison to its cardboard ancestor are expansions. It launched with two, Gathering Storm and Rebel vs. Imperium. The third, Brink of War arrived today, just in time to help it get more votes in our end of year polling.
iOS, Android, Kindle, PC/Mac/Linux • Before I begin, a personal note: I’m a big fan of Choice of Games, both because of the sheer range of themes and authorial voices in their library of gamebooks and because of their inclusive ethos – more on that in a bit. Oh, and I’ve known Jason Stevan Hill, Choice of Games’ COO, and Nissa Campbell, author of Heart of the House, for years. Heart of the House is a branching adventure with themes of mystery, horror, and romance, in a Victorian setting that eschews the goggles and cogs of steampunk in favor of the hauntings and seances of Spiritualism. Hold that planchard steady, my spirit guide tells me we’re not alone. Did you hear that? A single knock as upon a great door? Did you feel that? A touch of cold at the back of your neck? Did you see that? A tenebrous shadow, almost a face, then subsiding into a roil of tiny tentacles? They’re here.
iOS, Android, Tabletop • Tabletop games that emulate escape rooms are all the rage these days, with one version even winning this year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres award. These games tend to be $10-15 and are one-time deals. Once you’ve played through the puzzle, the game is useless to you. Some folks have an issue with board games they can’t replay, but spending $10-15 to get a group of your friends together for a fairly authentic escape room experience is way cheaper than paying $25+ per person for the real thing. Escape Team is a new escape room title that uses your phone as its centerpiece while getting rid of that pesky $10-15 bill you had to pay for EXIT or Unlock. Intriguing, isn’t it?
iOS, PC/Mac/Linux (Early Access), Android (coming soon) • My father was born in Austria and came to the US when he was a kid, which means I grew up with a rather inflated view of Austria’s importance to the rest of the world. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that Austria wasn’t the world power I had envisaged in my head and hadn’t been for nearly 100 years. Still, I’ve been over there to visit a few times and am heading back that way next year to visit once again. It’s a pretty neat place, but the Austria of Wolfgang Lueger’s vampire-themed deck-builder, VEmpire – The Kings of Darkness, seems a lot cooler.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • The original Reigns is a game that, to this day, makes me feel like an idiot [to be fair, it’s not hard to do -ed.]. It’s not due to complexity but because I don’t know anyone else who doesn’t enjoy it. It’s universally beloved and yet I can only muster a half-hearted “meh” whenever it loads up. What am I missing? I know there’s something that I’m missing, something that will emerge if I just keep swiping. Today the sequel landed for iOS, Android, and PC/Mac/Linux and, dammit, I’m going to figure this out. Today, I’m going to start playing Reigns: Her Majesty with a clean slate and figure out what all the hoopla is about.
iOS Universal, Android, PC • We’re starting to put together “best of 2017” lists behind the scenes and, to be honest, this year is a tough one. There have just been so many great releases this year that picking 5 or 10 and ranking which are better than others feels like telling one of your kids that you like them the least [it’s the middle kid, by the way -ed.]. There are a couple games, however, that are easy to toss near the top of the list and Race for the Galaxy from Temple Gates is one of them. A simply brilliant digital take on the classic card game, RftG has everything you’d want in a digital port. Well, almost everything. It is lacking the Brink of War expansion, but that’s going to change on December 14th.