Tabletop • Before I left for Europe I was asked if I wanted to attend PDXCON, Paradox‘s annual navel gaze, in Stockholm. Of course I said yes, but before you think I’m a lucky bastard, I should tell you that I didn’t go. I’m traveling with my dad and deviating from our itinerary nearly put him in the cardiac ward, so I had to crawl back and turn them down. Luckily, there’s this thing called the internet and you can pretty much be there without actually, you know, being there. It’s been a big week of announcements thus far: Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Imperator: Rome, and more. That said, the biggest announcement (in my board game centric eyes) was made today. Paradox is bringing some of their biggest franchises to the tabletop.
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, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • When Prison Architect landed on our tablets earlier this year, it was a big deal. It not only marked another major PC title making its way to mobile, but it was also published by Paradox as part of their new focus on mobile gaming. We never got around to writing a review for Prison Architect here, mainly because it’s too damn big and I just never felt like I got deep enough to have an opinion that’s worth a damn [as opposed to your other opinions? Okay… -ed.]. The parts I did play seemed pretty polished and right in line with what I was familiar with from the desktop version. Apparently, however, the game had more bugs than an entomologist’s fever dream. Version 2.0 was just released and, judging by the patch notes, all the bugs have received a death sentence.
iPad, Android Tablets, PC, Mac, Linux • I’ll admit that when I first heard praise being heaped upon a PC title called Prison Architect, I was a bit suspect. I love builders and simulation games more than I love my second and third children (my eldest is okay, I guess), but the theme turned me off and I didn’t give it another look until well after it had been released. As it turns out, the only thing waiting did was keep me from playing a fantastic builder. This morning, Paradox released the mobile version of Introversion‘s Prison Architect for iPad and Android tablets and it sure is nice to test my electric chair while sitting on the couch.
iPad, Android Tablets • One of Owen’s ongoing lamentations about the App Store involved the absolute dearth of good city-building sims, and sims in general. Properties like Roller Coaster Tycoon, SimCity, and Dungeon Keeper were all available, but saddled with free-to-play shenanigans that robbed them off their joy. [For the record, a proper port of RCT was eventually released -ed.] A couple years ago we were told that our suffering was near an end because Introversion Software was bringing their funny, deep, and horrifying prison sim, Prison Architect, to mobile. While news has been slow since those initial announcements, Paradox (yes, Paradox…they’re publishing the mobile version) came forward last week and announced that Prison Architect has been released…in the Netherlands.
One of the things they don’t tell you before becoming a parent is that your kids will test the limits of your sanity. I’m not talking the sleepless nights, or worrying about them when they’re sick. I’m talking about the phase they all seem to enter around 3-4 years old called the Knock-Knock Joke Phase. “Prepare thyself for constant hilary, ma & pa!” is something that you’ll never, ever hear. In fact, I did some research and discovered that the words “knock knock” actually come from Latin and refer to a rather unfortunate form of ritual suicide. Your dinner table will be beset with knock knock jokes that, worst of all, don’t even make sense. Not one usable pun will be uttered from the back seat of your minivan following the words “who’s there?” With my youngest, I spent an entire year asking “Who’s there?” only to be answered with “baby butt”, which isn’t as funny as a 3 year-old thinks it is. Well, it’s kind of funny, but not the 4,378th time you’ve heard it.
If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Bundle Stars yet, now might be the time. Paradox makes some of the greatest strategy titles out there, and nearly all of them are on sale right now if you buy through Bundle Stars. What are you waiting for?
While 4X is a very close second, I’m pretty confident that my favorite game genre is the city builder. To this day I still play the great city builders from Impressions like Pharaoh, Caesar, and Zeus. And don’t get me started on my all-time favorite, Children of the Nile. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been high on Colossal Order‘s magnificent Cities: Skylines from the start. A brilliant and beautiful city-builder that was lacking only one thing since launch: the ability to destroy your creation. That omission has now been resolved with the just released Natural Disasters expansion.