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, 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.
PC/Mac/Linux • There are few games that take over my complete existence for periods of time, where nothing else in the world matters other than taking another turn. The Civilization games will do this, as will most city-builders. Another group of games that I tend to lose myself in for days or weeks at a time come from a small indie developer, Zachtronics. I instantly fell in love with them after my first foray into SpaceChem, and have loved just about everything else they’ve ever conjured up. Their latest is in Early Access on Steam right now and it’s just as good as anything they’ve ever made. If you’re looking for a puzzler that requires actual brain power, logic, and a dose of coding, look no further than Opus Magnum.
iPad, Switch, PC/Mac/Linux • It would shock you to learn how little I actually do around these parts [not really -ed.]. Sure, I’m the one writing up the blurbs you see on the front page, but the real work comes in tracking down these stories and that’s mainly done by everyone in our forums. They bust their backs to find cool stuff, then I steal it and report it like I stumbled on it all on my own. It’s a great system (for me) and really goes to show just how great our readers are…so far, they haven’t called me out on it. Today’s theft of a story is about one of my faves of 2017, Darkest Dungeon. New DLC is coming in Spring called The Color of Madness and it sounds even more Lovecraftian than regular Darkest Dungeon if you can believe it.
PC/Mac/Linux • 2017 has been such a great year for mobile gaming that I can’t even remember the last time I fired up Civilization VI, which was my top game of 2016. I know it’s been within the last few months, but there’s always been something else to pull me away from all that civ-building goodness [mostly the civ-building goodness of Through the Ages, I’m sure -ed.]. Looks like Civilization VI will be getting a bunch of my attention in February as Firaxis just announced that a full expansion, Rise and Fall, is coming on February 8.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Regardless of how theme-heavy you like your games, I think everyone, deep down, has a soft spot for abstract games. Something about the simplicity, beauty, and nostalgia of playing a game in which pieces only come in two colors with the winner decided by a battle of wits instead of labyrinthine combat rules involving card drafting, custom dice, and a DNA sample. Hell, Chess and Go have been around for millenia; will we be able to say the same thing about 7 Wonders? Well, not us. We’ll all be dead, but you know what I mean. Bottom line, abstracts are kind of cool and it looks like we have a new one heading our way from rookie developer, Bearwaves. It’s called Feud and, much like their name, I don’t quite understand what I’m seeing.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • It’s okay, you can say it. I miss a shitload of news. I know it, you know it. I’d like to blame it on the fact that I’m the only one working the Stately Play news beat these days, but it’s more an issue with me just being a lazy bum and focusing only on the stuff I really enjoy. I don’t think I need to tell you that the stuff I enjoy is board games. I’m going to try and be better and cover more than whatever Asmodee is currently up to, trying to write about at least one non-board game every day. Will I stick with it? Mostly. I’m sure I’ll have days where I slip, but it’s going to be better than it has been. Promise. Today’s non-board game is Card City Nights 2 which hit the App Store late last week.
iPad, Android tablets, PC/Mac/Linux • With 16 days to go in the Kickstarter campaign, One Deck Dungeon has successfully funded. That’s not huge news considering that when we spoke about it on day 2, it was already well above 50% towards its goal. What is surprising is the update Handelabra released today to announce that funding was successful. Originally, One Deck Dungeon was being pitched as a Steam title with mobile being something they would look into down the road. Apparently, the road was rather short because today’s update announced that One Deck Dungeon is coming to iOS and Android.
PC/Mac/Linux • Back when we ran another certain website a strange card game/roguelike/action combat game made its way to Steam. It was Hand of Fate from Defiant Development and wasn’t like anything we’d ever played, except for the combat which was like several other games we’d already played. That wasn’t a big deal, because the mix of everything into one big stew ended up being a tasty package indeed. I tend to not follow Steam as close as I should so I wasn’t aware of a sequel in the works but last week it stopped being in the works and became a full-fledged release. In other words, it was a happy surprise to be playing Hand of Fate 2 over the weekend.