Tabletop Remember those math puzzles your friends would quiz you with when you were a kid? They’d always begin by asking for your birth year, adding the day you were born, subtracting the hour, dividing by the number of eggs you had for breakfast and, viola, the answer would reveal, correctly, how many pet otters you’ve owned since the age of six. Having that answer always pop up correctly, no matter who you tried it with, was like a small miracle. It was like opening a portal to universe where magic existed and everything fit into a specific place. As I grew older and submerged myself in math, the magic was replaced with the cold dissection of numbers and seeing the trick for what it was: a simple math equation. Enter Black Sonata from Side Room Games, which feels like the most complicated math puzzle I’ve ever been dealt. The cool thing is, I can’t see the math and, even if I could, I don’t think I’d be able to suss out how the trick works. The only explanation that makes any sense: Black Sonata is magic. Real magic.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac I like to poke fun at the guys from North Star Games for being the Blizzard of board game app development. After all, it took Blizz 10 years to bring us Diablo 3, whereas North Star has been working on Evolution for the last five. Of course, that’s board game years, so its roughly equivalent. Still, Blizzard games are known for their polish and sheen right out of the box, and that was North Star’s plan with this elongated dev cycle: make the board game app that all others will be (unfavorably) compared to. Well, it’s out in the wilderness now, so you can go see if they accomplished their dream.
I’m going to save you a little time this week by not including my scry. That’s because you can go back to last week’s and just re-read that one if you’re curious. It’s all Slay the Spire all the time at my house, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. So, here’s the rest of the crew with their takes for the next few days. Get out there and enjoy your weekend, everyone!
PC/Mac Sorry for the lack of content this week, folks. Real job getting in the way of fun these days. Thus, I don’t have time for a lengthy post bemoaning the rise in viking-themed pop culture stuff and will, instead, just bring the thunder up front. Champions of Midgard is a viking-themed board game of worker placement and dice chucking and, apparently, it’s coming to digital.
I was a backer of the Kickstarter for Victory Point Games‘ recent release of Gem Rush Second Edition. I had never played (or even heard of) the first edition, but I love the “premier” stuff VPG has been putting out recently not to mention that most (all?) of their games are playable solo. Oh, and the designer is Jeremy Lennert, who I fell in love with via a previous VPG title, Darkest Night Second Edition. My copy of Gem Rush arrived before the holidays and has sat, untouched, since. Not the game’s fault, just my crappy time management. Anyway, I had forgotten (until prompted in the forums) that the Kickstarter had mentioned a digital version. With little to no fanfare, the digital version of Gem Rush was released way back when and has completely slid under our radar. Time to fix that. Gem Rush is a polished, tight app of a pretty great board game that no one is aware of. Let’s change that.
After our sabbatical we returned last Friday with a roundup of the upcoming weekend’s affairs. You may have noticed that contributions last week were…light. Well, not this week! We’re all back in the saddle, ready to tell you the games we hope to play, if we can just get our kids to leave us alone for two goddamn minutes. Ahem.
-PC/Mac I’m not sure how this happened, but suddenly I have two very good RPGs to play on my Mac. Of course, I don’t have time to play either of them, but they’re both downloaded anyway, just in case. One of them is Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire which added turn-based combat support in a patch mid-January. The other is the one right up there in the headline. Divinity: Original Sin 2 has just been released for Mac.
iOS Universal I love pinball, be it standing in an arcade or digitally on my iPad. I’m also one of the freaks that prefers the real tables of Pinball Arcade to the fanciful, and often physics-defying, tables of Zen Pinball. Give me Star Trek: TNG and a handful of quarters and I can die happy. The problem is that Pinball Arcade’s apps are hunks of garbage compared to the polished gems that Zen puts out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to either re-purchase my ST:TNG table only to have it disappear the next time I open the app. Thus, I was super stoked when I heard that Zen has acquired the Williams license and would be bringing real-life tables into the Zen world. What more could I want? A lot, apparently. Last week, Zen Studios released Williams Pinball for iOS and I don’t think it’s possible for them to have shit the bed any worse.
iOS Universal, Android At first glance, Legends of Andor may resemble other campaign-driven fantasy board games like Gloomhaven or Descent: Journeys in the Dark. There’s a fantasy map (you know it’s fantasy because there’s a castle and spooky caves), characters that fit the usual fantasy tropes, monsters, and even markets where you can buy your heroes better equipment. It may resemble those games, but Legends of Andor is nothing like those games. Not a bit. In fact, Legends of Andor isn’t a board game so much as a puzzle game wrapped in board game attire.
PC We don’t post a lot about bundles and sales here. I largely agreed with simulation maven and long-time indie dev Cliff Harris that unplayed games are a blight upon developers and players alike, and that we might all be better off if we just paid full price for games we really want and then played the mess out of them. My moral authority on this topic, however, is about nil: I have literally dozens of unplayed games installed on my PC, hundreds I’ll never touch in my Steam library, and, even after the 32 bit app-ocalypse, enough mobile games to last me a lifetime, if push came to shove.