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.
PC/Mac • This is something we’ve known has been in the works for a while, but were verboten to talk about until today. Fantasy Flight‘s new FFG Interactive digital studio is bringing one of their LCGs to digital, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.
PC/Mac • When you think of fantastically themed solitaire card games your mind should instantly head to mobile with games like Solitairica, Card Crawl, and Miracle Merchant. Fun, quick games like this are a staple on your phone, less so on Steam where you expect a bit more under the hood. A new solitaire card game, Shadowhand, was released yesterday and while it seems like mobile would be a perfect fit, you’ll only find it available for PC/Mac. As expected, there’s a little more under the hood.
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.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • Back when Tokaido landed on mobile, it might have been the prettiest board game port we’d ever seen which matched the sleepy, zen-like nature of the game itself. It’s a bit slow, but that seems to be how people (and the designer) like it. To each their own, I say, and now people can enjoy Tokaido without their mobile device as it has just been released on Steam for PC/Mac.
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 • Back in September, Czech Games Edition did what we’ve been waiting nearly 4 years for them to do: they released Through the Ages for iOS and Android. To say it managed to live up to the hype would be an understatement, as I still can’t get enough of picking Michelangelo even though I have no temples or wonders producing happiness. WHY DO I DO IT EVERY TIME? While the mobile version is about as polished as the underside of András Hadik’s horse, CGE did tell us that they were hoping to release on Steam, eventually, as well. It’s not out on Steam yet, but the beta is starting soon and signups are open.