iOS Universal • Since the release of Card Crawl a few years back, the Solitaire Card Game With A Cool Theme That Makes It Cooler Than Your Standard Card GameTM genre has really taken off. Tinytouchtales by themselves have released both Card Thief and Miracle Merchant, but there have been others as well, such as Guild of Dungeoneering and others that I can’t remember, not to mention that this opener is already getting a bit long in the tooth. Underhand is the latest game to arrive in the genre but, unfortunately, feels less like Card Crawl and more like the unholy love child of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books and Groundhog Day.
Tabletop • While board gaming is still a fairly small niche of the hobby world, it’s made up of many smaller niches. Many of those I’ve dabbled in: war games, miniatures, 18xx, smelling like you haven’t showered in three weeks. One group I’ve never participated deals with something called Print-and-Play. These are the crazy people [I only say this because a good friend is one of these people and he’s only slightly not crazy -ed.] who spend a lot of time to handcraft beautiful copies of games released for free and posted on sites like BGG. I haven’t even been one of the lazy ones who just print everything on regular paper and tape it together with Scotch tape. Nothing in this process interested me in until I helped design a Print-and-Play game of my own, and now I think they’re the greatest thing ever. Well, this game is, at least.
Tabletop • I’ve never played a solo game quite like Nemo’s War from Victory Point Games. I went into it prepared for the usual solo/cooperative game tropes–turns divided by a “bad” phase, more fires to put out than you have hoses, a general sense of being completely screwed–but found none of those. Instead, Nemo’s War felt more like one of those open-world video games like the Elder Scrolls series. Do whatever the hell you want, when you want, and have fun doing it. There’s never that moment, as in other cooperatives, where you “beat the game”. It’s strange, yet mesmerizing.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Art is cheap, at least when it comes to mobile games. You know this is true because even the most crap-filled freemium abomination is filled to the bevel with the most precisely crafted artwork. Pretty pixels are the aluminum siding of mobile gaming. Consequently, a good game is often not even particularly about the visuals but about the way the developer creates a tension between the tactical options available to the player and the desired game outcome. That and timers. We must always have timers. The reason this is important is that one of the latest titles to make its way to mobile, Minos Strategos by Brett Lowey of Militia fame, is not a particularly ground-breaking game in terms of visuals and also has some surprisingly poor UI choices. Combined, these make Minos Strategos troublesome at first but are, ultimately, a slight blemish on what is a very good abstract strategy game.
iOS • Shakespeare once said, “…brevity is the soul of wit,” but he did so in the middle of 30,000 words in what would be his longest play. In other words, Shakespeare has been trolling the shit out of high school sophomores who have been reading Hamlet since 1609. That said, he was definitely on to something, which is why I try to keep all my posts as short as possible. LOOK AT ALL THIS WIT! When it comes to games, however, it’s commonly thought that brevity sucks. Wordwich would beg to differ as it’s the shortest damn game I’ve ever played. It’s not the wittiest, but it does manage to be somewhat addictive.
iOS Universal, Android • In a year filled with fantastic digital card games and solo time-wasters, Onirim stands out as one of our favorites. Its mix of quick, simple card play and a difficulty that seems just hard enough to keep you coming back for more is the peanut butter + chocolate combo we didn’t know we needed on our phones. Asmodee has been awfully generous with Onirim since its release, with it often going on sale for the price of a glass of tap water, but they also previously released a free expansion that added new glyphs and more doors (The Glyphs). Today another expansion arrived for Onirim (albeit not free), Crossroads and Dead Ends, and where The Glyphs made the game a bit easier, this one does not.
iOS Universal, PC • We’ve talked about it, we’ve reviewed it, and today’s the day it finally arrived on the App Store. We’re talking about Missile Cards, which landed on the App Store last night and joined a handful of other card games that are trying their best to make 2017 the best year ever for mobile gaming.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • While we love heavy, complex board and card games, sometimes it’s nice to just relax and play something a little simpler. Something that doesn’t tax your brain too much, but can still be considered a true game with your actions and choices making a difference. The king in this category is probably Card Crawl, but there are others out there that fit the bill rather nicely as well. One of those is last year’s Solitairica from Righteous Hammer. A fun, fast roguelike that kept you coming back for more because of all the new content you could unlock. For those of us who, long ago, unlocked everything Solitairica had to offer, listen up! More content is on the way via an expansion: Primal Champions.
iOS, Android • At some point, Tinytouchtales will release a dud but, to quote Aragorn, it is not this day. Over the past few days, while neglecting my Stately duties, I’ve been playing the beta of their upcoming alchemical card game, Miracle Merchant. It’s pretty freaking great.
iOS Universal, Android • Being of an unstable mind myself, I usually try to not diagnose the mental health of others on the internet. Regardless of how off-the-rails their comment or post might be, you’re only getting a small sliver of the person behind the keyboard. That said, I think we might need to send help to Asmodee Digital and make sure they’re okay. Over the weekend, they put their hit card game, Onirim, on sale and, for some reason, it’s still on sale. Oh, and when I say “on sale” I mean free.