iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • It’s about time I came clean. I know this will come as a shock to many of you, so you might want to prepare yourself. Ready? Here we go: Back when I was in college, I was a huge nerd. There, I said it. Take as much time as you need to let that soak in. Now, when I say “nerd”, I’m not talking about the kind that spent their time in the library on Thursday nights rather than at house parties, I’m talking about the kind that stayed in and played role-playing games with friends on Thursday nights instead of going to house parties. A lot of Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition was played in many dorm common areas, let me tell you. We even, for a short time, dabbled in something called Vampire: The Masquerade which was White Wolf’s more freeform answer to D&D’s mathiness and was all the rage thanks to Anne Rice and the lingering effect of a young Kiefer Sutherland in leather. Well, Vampire: The Masquerade is back and it’s on your phone.
PC/Mac • A long time ago I remember hearing rumors of cardboard publisher Lock ‘n Load getting into the digital game, then I hit a personal black hole and lost contact with the world only to reemerge last fall having completely forgotten about their digital plans. Turns out I should have written a note or tied a string around my finger to remind myself, because Lock ‘n Load published several versions of their light, fast tank battler Tank on Tank for PC/Mac last year and I’m just hearing about them now.
PC/Mac/Linux • Nearly three years after its release on iPad, FTL: Faster than Light is still one of the greatest games on the platform. Not only is it one of the most perfect roguelikes ever made, its port to touchscreens set the standard for all ports from that point on. Since then, the forge at Subset Games has been silent, but today we learned [Hat tip: Matt Thrower and Kotaku] that their next effort is well underway. It’s a turn-based strategy game called Into the Breach and it’s coming for PC/Mac/Linux.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • I worry about Scandinavians. They’ve been exporting bleakness long enough that it may actually have overtaken mythology as their principal cultural product. The Frostrune mixes peanut butter* with a bar of that bitter chocolate: it’s a point-and-click adventure in which you play the lone survivor of shipwreck, a thirteen-year-old girl. After washing ashore, you discover that everyone you encounter is dead, murdered by a legendary being with the power to create magical ice in summertime. I’ll spoil the happy ending for you: you use necromancy to stop it, but everybody’s still dead and you’re still alone.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • The Games Workshop licensing bonanza continues. Crazy Warehouse Man says all licenses must go by midnight tonight! No exceptions. Battlefleet Gothic: SOLD! Man-o-War: Bring your floaties, we’ve got the flintlocks! Necromunda: It just makes such perfect sense! And don’t think we forgot about your massed armour fans! Sadly, that’s as excited as I’ll ever get when discussing HexWar’s absolutely perfunctory turn-based effort. I’m beginning to think they’ve kept the art team on and sent the coders home. What makes The Horus Heresy: Battle of Tallarn a tough one to level criticism at is a by-the-book approach to both source material and its tactical crunch. If ever a game felt like it was helping a studio reach a monthly quota, Battle of Tallarn is it.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • When I wrote about my love for Fantasy Flight’s latest foray into the Lovecraft universe yesterday, I seem to have opened a gate allowing news of other Cthulhu-themed games to ooze into my inbox like the tendrils of a great otherworldly and indescribable beast. Yeah, it was pretty cool. The developer playing Nyarlathotep in this scenario is a new one, Strange Matter, who came together last year in France. Their first game is currently in development and, more importantly, now on Kickstarter. It’s called Rise of the Elders: Cthulhu and promises the tactical feel of XCOM, the globe-hopping adventure of Eldritch Horror, and the RPG depth of Call of Cthulhu. It should come as no surprise that I was interested in hearing more.
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.