iOS, Android, PC/Mac Mystic Vale, the transparent card-building board game from Nomad Games and AEG, arrived for PC/Mac back in January and has been raking in rave reviews over on Steam. Due to my ongoing gaming malaise, I haven’t yet given it a go instead opting to wait for the mobile version. Today we learned that we won’t have to wait much longer to do just that. Mystic Vale is headed to iOS and Android on June 6th.
Tabletop Earlier this year I fell in love with an unassuming little solo board game called Black Sonata. You can read all about it right over here. Just a spectacular solo game that combines tight decision-making with mechanisms that obfuscate the underlying math, ensuring you never feel like you’re simply solving a puzzle. Yesterday, publisher Side Room Games decided to go at it again. Leaving the Elizabethan era behind, their latest focuses on World War II espionage in a little title called Maquis.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac I mentioned this in last week’s news bundle, but Asmodee has been hard at work on bringing the Forbidden Sciences expansion to everyone’s favorite forgotten board game port, XenoShyft. Turns out they were working harder than I realized, as today XenoShyft updated and, lo and behold, Forbidden Sciences is right there waiting for your money.
PC/Mac Lorenzo il Magnifico is a heavier euro set in Renaissance Italy that is pretty much exactly like every other euro published in the last 4-5 years. By this I mean that it’s sitting in shrink wrap on my basement shelf surrounded by a bunch of other games I have yet to find time to play. Publisher Cranio Creations is here to help, bringing its tableau builder to digital via everyone’s favorite crowdfunding source, Kickstarter.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux Of all the games that I picked up on Steam last year, Cultist Simulator from Weather Factory was, by far, the strangest. It sells itself as a card game, but I don’t think that’s really what it is. There are cards, sure, but… Yeah, it’s weird. Let’s not equate weird with bad, because this weird is a fun mystery to try and work your way through and now it’s on a platform where we can really sink our teeth into it: mobile.
iOS, Android, PC Everyone loves games crafted from the mind of Luca Redwood and EightyEight Games. If you don’t, then you either haven’t played them or are a big ol’ doody-head. I mean, who couldn’t love You Must Build a Boat? There’s no option of building a boat, you MUST build it. Gold. Also, 1000000 which is a game I can never remember how many zeroes to add to it. Sure, they look like match-3 games, but delve into them and you’ll find they’re chock-full of deeper gameplay that belies their Bejeweled aesthetic. On Wednesday, we’ll get to see his latest foray into our collective gamespace when EightyEight Games releases Photographs, a game most definitely unlike the previous two.
iOS, Android, Steam The biggest news story around these parts last year was word that Playdek and GMT Games, two names that carry a lot of weight around these parts, had formed a partnership. Playdek would have access to the GMT catalog and announced the first product, Labyrinth, would be coming to our touchscreens. We were wondering which other titles from GMT’s vast library would be coming. Now we know the second title, Mark Herman‘s fantastic Civil War filler, Fort Sumter is on the way.
It’s been a crazy few months at Stately Play HQ. Work, family, and life in general have been putting up huge detour signs whenever I’d sit down to pen a poorly written screed about the latest Big Thing. You may have noticed. I’m on vacation this week (my kids are on spring break, which seemed as good of an excuse as any) so I’m hoping to have a little more time. I’m hoping this extra time stretches into the future even when I’m not sitting outside in 72 degree weather with a lovely ocean breeze to keep me cool. Work should be dying down a bit and the end of club volleyball is in sight. We’ll see, but I’m hoping for a more energetic front page in the coming weeks and months. A lot of stuff in Gameland has been happening and, instead of forcing you to read one dreck filled post of mine after another, I thought I’d pile all the dreck into one easy-to-digest morsel. See what’s been happening after the break.
I’ve been playing board games since the Reagan administration and, in that time, my tastes have ebbed and flowed from tabletop RPGs to euros to wargames to DOAM to…whatever. I fell in love with deckbuilding when it was the big thing, and then wouldn’t pass up a worker placement game even if the theme was exciting as toenail fungus. I bought every damn Savage Worlds and Deadlands rulebook and read them back-and-forth until I realized I’d never find anyone to play it with me and moved, instead, into engine building and resource management. I devoured every new title I could find for fear of not getting a chance to play “the next big thing”, and I relished with delight the most sought after and delectable European morsel: the Victory Point. Then I played 1889. The conversion wasn’t instantaneous, but the past five years have led me to an inexorable conclusion: 18xx is the greatest game on the planet.
PC/Mac/Linux, Switch There’s been a noticeable uptick in quality spatial puzzle games in the past five years. Games like Stephen’s Sausage Roll, Snakebird, Jelly no Puzzle, and A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build all take the classic Sokoban formula of moving/changing objects to their designated zones/states and put in their own little wrinkles, exploring the possibility spaces created by these tweaks to the formula. I like to call them “SokoButs”, as in “Sokobon, but…” because it’s fun to create microgenres and nobody has claimed this one yet. Feel free to use it, because I sure will. I attribute this recent boom at least partially to the release of PuzzleScript, a free toolset for designing SokoButs, in 2013. PuzzleScript streamlines the game design process via a simple markup for defining the rules that govern a SokoBut’s core systems. Baba Is You is a new SokoBut from Arvi Teikari, and its “but…” is huge: each puzzle’s rules are physical objects within the puzzle. By pushing around nouns, verbs, and adjectives, you rewrite the logic of the game in real time. Basically, it’s PuzzleScript: The Game. Baba Is You is an entirely new kind of logic puzzle, and it’s the best puzzle game I’ve played in a very long time.