PC/Mac • Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition began life as a digital marvel, removing the not-very-fun role of game master and putting it in the hands of an iPad or whatever other digital device you had sitting at the table. Thus, up to four players could play as a team while the mystery, map, and whatnot were held under wraps by a GM that didn’t care if you took a break to eat or talked about the latest baseball game while exposition was divvied out. It even allowed for friendless losers, like myself, to play Mansions of Madness solo, which worked better than I could have ever expected. Since its release, there have been many updates to the companion app, adding new mysteries and expansion packs. Today we learned that Mansions of Madness is getting a new digital form. It has nothing to do with the current board game+app configuration, instead it’s a completely new game that will drop you into the Mansions of Madness world in glorious 3D.
PC/Mac • It was my first year at Gen Con, four or five years ago, when we meandered over to the Harebrained Schemes booth to cover their miniatures/app-based game, Golem Arcana. While we touched on that, they were far more interested in showing us something that was only in the planning stages at that point: a return to digital of the classic miniatures game, BattleTech. We watched it grow year after year with our annual Gen Con visits only to hear last year that it had been picked up by Paradox, the company that can do no wrong. [Dave has been angling for a Paradox sponsorship for awhile now (unsuccessfully). He’s still completely unbiased. :insert rolling-eye emoji here: -ed.] Yesterday, thanks to the hard work of our citizen journalists, we learned that it’s time to start flexing your mech-driving finger–not a real thing but I’m not smart enough to come up with a better visual–because BattleTech is coming to PC/Mac on April 24.
iPad, PC/Mac • Are you despondent because your favorite genre of game, RPG, is criminally underrepresented on the App Store? Have you destroyed Irenicus on your iPad more times than you think it’s healthy to admit, mainly because the Baldur’s Gate series is the only “deep and thoughtful” RPG for your tablet? Are you angry because Divinity: Original Sin 2 still isn’t available for Mac and you Kickstarted it unaware that it was PC-only even though the first game was both PC and Mac? [ignore that last one, Dave is just bitter -ed.] Wake up, because there’s another set of RPG titles available for your iPad and they’re every bit as deep and wonderful as those 90’s classics. They’re the Spiderweb Software games and, as reported by Touch Arcade, the next one is raiding the App Store on April 18.
PC/Mac • Back in 2014 Mythical City Games released a turn-based military sim onto Steam and mobile called Battle Fleet 2. Some guy named Owen reviewed it back then and summed everything up with three stars, whatever that means. I could go and read the thing but, let’s face it, Owen’s writing is way over my head. An Owen metaphor, “A gruesome struggle of life and death becomes a badminton match played with high explosive shuttlecocks.” My metaphor, “A gruesome struggle of life and death becomes raccoons eating garbage on a Saturday night in my driveway while listening to the Original Broadway Cast recording of Cats.” See? He’s just way better at this than I’ll ever be. Anyway, Mythical City is back with Battle Fleet 2’s sequel that, due to a change in theme, isn’t simply Battle Fleet 3. That’s right, instead of steering mighty warships we’re driving nimble juggernauts of destruction: tanks. Welcome to Battle Fleet: Ground Assault.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • So, I woke up this morning and loaded up Terra Mystica on my laptop trying to finish a game I had started last week. As I believe I mentioned earlier this year, wrapping my head around Digidiced‘s excellent port of TM was on my to-do list in 2018. Upon starting the game, however, I was hit with a notification that the Fire & Ice expansion had arrived. One new game menu later and I was all set to lead Tyrion and Dany against evil bitch Cersei and her Gregor-stein only to find that this isn’t a Song of Ice and Fire expansion, but something completely different. Fire & Ice is still pretty cool, but I have to admit I’m a little bummed.
iPad, PC/Mac/Linux • The only things I know about Australia I learned from Monty Python, Flight of the Concords, and Alex Connolly. In other words, everyone there is named Bruce and teaches philosophy, they like to mock New Zealanders’ accent, and [redacted due to NDA]. Obviously, this is a well-rounded and comprehensive litany of everything Australia has to offer, but Civ VI is here to fill in all the empty spaces (even if it seems there aren’t any). I can’t think of a better teacher of real-world history than Civilization (how else would I have learned that Teddy Roosevelt founded America and will colonize space in 2023?) and now that Australia has become available in the iPad version of Civ VI, I can’t wait to learn more about Vegemite and Bloomin’ Onions.
PC/Mac/Linux • Remember when Kurt Russell dipped that hot wire into everyone’s blood sample in The Thing and Palmer’s blood squeals and jumps out of the petrie dish? That was pretty great. Okay, so that has nothing to do with Flash Point: Fire Rescue but I was trying to remember anything about Backdraft for my intro and couldn’t, so I went to the first Kurt Russell movie I could think of instead. How different can movies be when the main character is Kurt Russell’s hair? Anyway, the cooperative board game Flash Point: Fire Rescue is now available on Steam. Or something. Sorry, I’m still thinking about Kurt’s curly locks.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • If there’s one thing I’ve learned after doing this at 164, Owen’s old site, and here at Stately Play, it’s that big news will always drop when I’m unable to reach a keyboard. I’ve been behind the wheel of a 13 year-old minivan the last few days, so getting new news up on the site has been…challenging. Luckily, Kelsey filled in and wrote something I can only describe as “don’t miss”. Still, I failed Czech Games and my favorite title of 2017 by missing the launch of Through the Ages on Steam. So, here goes: If you haven’t heard, Through the Ages is now on Steam!
Steam • In which the author addresses the greatest philosophical problems in gaming I tried to do a brief look at Silicon Zeroes, the easy chair of the programming game mini-genre, but, like Proust’s madeleine biscuit*, a single level touched off a bunch of related thoughts I needed to address. But SZ deserves at least a brief overview: if you’re familiar with Human Resource Machine or TIS-100P, you’ve seen the basic idea before: simple programming tasks are basically just puzzles, anyway, so folks have started turning them into puzzle games. SZ does so more comfortably than most, with an easily-grasped interface and helpful features like the ability to bundle a code segment into a reusable chunk. But it also includes the level in question: a problem in which you’re briefly denied access to one of the functions you’ve been using (subtraction), and have to build something to accomplish the same goal. Months later, I think I have an idea of how to understand the intellectual product which makes games distinct from other art forms, and which tracks my intuitions about intellectual property. Though you might have different intuitions, we’ll at least be able to disagree more specifically.
Rise and Fall available for PC/Mac/Linux • iPad version available w/o Rise & Fall expansion • Mac gamers are used to being disappointed when it comes to new games not making their way to our preferred platform. I know, it’s my own damn fault for expecting my MacBook Pro to compete with a Windows machine but, dammit, I so much prefer my Mac for doing what I’m doing right now, namely writing. So, without the resources to have both, I’m saddled with a Mac for gaming. I’m still waiting for Divinity: Original Sin 2 to come to Mac (I kickstarted it not realizing it was going to be Windows only) and have been waiting patiently for Aspyr to bring the first Civ VI expansion–which arrived on Windows in early February–to Mac. Today, I was totally surprised when I loaded up Steam and, lo and behold, there was a 2 GB update. What could it be? Yes, Rise and Fall has come to Mac.