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.
Tabletop • Many years ago the folks at Ares Games created a miniatures game so easy that even non-miniature gamers, like me, could figure them out and play them. Even better, they sold the games with pre-painted miniatures and all the stuff you needed to play. No searching for a tape measure or blistering your fingers prying plastic off sprues. Even, even, better the theme was World War I and II air combat. Of course, I’m talking about Wings of War (now Wings of Glory) and, for a short time, I was hooked. This was followed up by Sails of Glory which takes the basic premise and moves it onto the high seas. All was well and good and then Fantasy Flight used a system that was…similar…in their blockbuster hit X-Wing and then followed that up with capital ship combat in Armada. Who wants to shoot shells when you can fire laser cannons and make pew-pew sounds as you play? Don’t count Ares out yet, however, as they just announced their own sci-fi miniatures combat game, Battlestar Galactica-Starship Battles.
Tabletop • I recently got an itch to play Sails of Glory, a game which wonderfully illustrates the joys which games, especially historical games, offer outside of the game itself. Sails of Glory puts each player in charge of one or two warships from the age of sail (late 1700s/early 1800s). Turns out, there are an embarrassing array of ways to commit to it, and it was with an eye toward justifying myself that I thought of writing an article on the topic.
PC (now), Mac and Tablets (coming soon) • Back in January of 2017, Nick gave us a preview of an upcoming digital miniatures game, Wartile, and wouldn’t shut up about how great it was. We didn’t get a chance to play the game, but just looking at screenshots was enough to get us excited about what Playwood Project was working on. As of last week we can stop window shopping and actually try on this new dress because Wartile is now available on Steam.
Tabletop • Games Workshop has been in the business of creating miniatures and games for more than 30 years. Earlier in their history, when this writer was much less grey, the company was known for creating a wide series of miniatures board games that served as entry points into their Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy universes. Some were great fun, while others were wild, crazy and unbalanced (and still a bit fun). Nevertheless, the company took efforts to attract gamers into their orbit and keep them there. GW underwent a change in focus for many years, purging almost all of those gems from their catalogue and putting their time and money solely into miniature games. It seems there has been a change at Games Workshop, however, and they’ve been quietly releasing a series of miniatures board games for the last few years. Many of these were not priced to appeal to mainstream gamers, focusing on the GW fanbase instead. With their latest miniatures board game, Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire, however, GW is taking a direct aim at competing with the mainstream products from their main competitors, Fantasy Flight and Cool Mini or Not.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac/Linux • Warbands: Bushido is a digital miniatures skirmish game from Russian developers Red Unit Studios aiming to bring the experience of tabletop minis gaming to digital. All the cards, dice, and miniatures without all the messy assembly and painting. The game is set in the later Warring States, or Sengoku, period of Japan’s 16th century and allows you to build warbands of varying sizes taking on all comers in PvP gameplay. Warbands had a rather difficult Early Access release on Steam which I, thankfully, missed. They appear to have weathered those initial difficulties, however, and have added a Mac and mobile release to the Warbands: Bushido stable. Make no mistake though, this is still an unfinished product. Playable and very fun but still not a done deal.
Tabletop • The last time Eric Lang and Cool Mini or Not joined forces on Kickstarter, it cost me just shy of $300 to get about a million boxes full of some of the coolest plastic figures I’d ever seen. While this made me happier than the birth of my 3rd child, my wife thinks Eric Lang is the devil incarnate and Cool Mini or Not a writhing den of pure evil intent on destroying our bank account. Not sure about the Eric Lang part, but she’s not too far off on Cool Mini or Not. Unfortunately, yesterday they launched their latest joint Kickstarter and, yes, I’ve already pledged.
Wartile is an upcoming real-time strategy game that is styled like a tabletop miniature war game. [And looks a hell of a lot like Heroscape. That’s not a bad thing. -ed.] The game is currently in alpha-testing with a planned Windows release sometime in Q1 (and later releases for Mac and tablets) and I recently had a chance to give the whole thing a whirl.