Stormbound is an interesting take on CCG and lane defence titles and poses interesting tactical questions for players both during play and in deck-building. Like many games, there are some facets of play in Stormbound that aren’t immediately apparent. The purpose of this article is to shine a light on these aspects and get you up to speed as quickly as possible.
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.
iOS Universal, Android • To me, the best parts of any civ-building game are the Wonders. From the moment I built the Pyramids in Civilization II and was presented with a FMV movie showcasing my achievement, I was hooked. In fact, while I’m not a huge fan of FMV, I do wish they still had them in the Civ series. Nothing was cooler than adding that last brick and hearing the CD-ROM drive fire up. Through the Ages doesn’t have any FMV movies celebrating your achievements, either, but Wonders still play an important role in building a competitive civ. They’re also just fun to play around with, so let’s take a look at them Age by Age.
iOS Universal, Android • After posting yesterday’s mammoth strategy guide for Czech Games‘ awesome port of Through the Ages, I was asked by several people to go over one of the game’s most frustrating mechanisms, Corruption. Let’s do this!
iOS Universal, Android • I’m pretty sure I’ve stated my incompetence when it comes to winning games of Vlaada Chvátil’s masterpiece, Through the Ages. Now that it’s out on the App Store, many of you have been witness to said incompetence. For those who have yet to see it, t’s truly a wonder to behold. While I may suck at TtA, I have played the game, hundreds of times, actually. While my win percentage doesn’t back up that claim, I attribute my woeful performance far more to my adult ADD and less to understanding how the game operates. I cannot resist building a Wonder, even if everything in my current “strategy” screams against it. I like shiny things. While Through the Ages can seem complex, the rules are actually rather simple. The complexity comes from trying to juggle all of TtA’s parts so they work together. Let’s take a look at how this thing ticks.
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, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Minos Strategos is an abstract digital board game that traces its roots to a physical board game from none other than Through the Ages designer, Vlaada Chvátil. The game is called Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends and is one of the very few Vlaada creations I haven’t played. That’s because it’s a two-player, head-to-head battle game which, in my home, are less likely than Monopoly to hit the table. Luckily, Minos Strategos has an AI to play against so I don’t have to rely on my kids and, better yet, it’s now on mobile, so I can play on my phone.
PC • Not only were strategy fans left to solve the quagmire of Afghanistan last week, but the equally brutal Battle Brothers lumbered out of its stint on Steam Early Access on Friday. Because there’s clearly not enough you could be spending doubloons on. To arms!
PC/Mac • Forget Fat Leonard for a moment. Here’s some bigger nautical news. Killerfish Games, the fellows behind the rather well-received Atlantic Fleet, are closing in with their next naval effort, Cold Waters. Rehsink rehbbits yin Reyjavik? Not if you can help it.
PC, iPad (coming soon) • 2017, n. A year. See also: Brimming, overloaded, encumbered, stacked, chockers, totes too many good games, Tom Chick’s wallet threat level gone critical, hocked goods, remortgage, world gone mad. We’ve already seen a terrific payload of games disgorged in the opening few months, and it looks like there’s no stopping this train. But beyond Zeldas and Horizons and whatever else the kids are playing, the true masterpieces have begun hitting. Take, for example, the smartest wargame you’re likely to lock synapses this year in Afghanistan ’11.