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.
iOS Universal, Android, PC • We’re starting to put together “best of 2017” lists behind the scenes and, to be honest, this year is a tough one. There have just been so many great releases this year that picking 5 or 10 and ranking which are better than others feels like telling one of your kids that you like them the least [it’s the middle kid, by the way -ed.]. There are a couple games, however, that are easy to toss near the top of the list and Race for the Galaxy from Temple Gates is one of them. A simply brilliant digital take on the classic card game, RftG has everything you’d want in a digital port. Well, almost everything. It is lacking the Brink of War expansion, but that’s going to change on December 14th.
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.
iOS Universal, Android, PC • It’s a well known fact that the digital version of Tim Fowers‘ deck-building word game, Paperback, is one of the best word games available on the App Store. What’s less known–because it released at Gen Con and I didn’t have time to write a review that week–is that the digital port of his cooperative heist game, Burgle Bros., is pretty sweet as well. It takes a bit of work to wrap your head around what’s going on, but once you get it, it’s a nice solo puzzle to solve. Yesterday, Tim popped up on Twitter to let us all know that mobile isn’t the only way to enjoy these games, they’re also now on Steam.
Android, PC • The overall reaction when we heard that our overlords at Asmodee Digital were taking over Carcassonne was one of worry. After all, Carcassonne for iOS was the first “real” digital board game and is still one of the best you’ll find on the App Store. Why mess with a good thing? The worriers must all own Apple products, because once you leave the confusing confines of iTunes there’s not a real good version of Carcassonne for you to play anywhere. Sure, there was an Android version, but it couldn’t hold a candle to Coding Monkey’s magnum opus. Asmodee is hoping to fix that with a new version of Carcassonne releasing today for Android and PC.
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.