It’s a holiday weekend and my family is spending all of Sunday in the car. Literally. We have a 19 hour drive home and are going to do it straight through, so we’re leaving very early Sunday morning and not stopping until we get home. No, kids, we’re not stopping. YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO HOLD IT!
Actually, I’m not that much of a road tyrant. In fact, I probably stop too many times stretching our 19 hour drive into a 22-24 hour trek. All this means I’m not playing much of anything this weekend, especially on Easter. Everyone else, however, is home and pulling out games. Let’s take a gander into the private lives of the writers…
Rise to Ruins
My PC gaming will be a continuation of Starbound along with Rise to Ruins, an early-access builder with Banished-style worker allocation—meaning you micro-manage the number of workers who build stuff, gather wood, grow food, and other tasks. Nighttime monster attacks add some threat and up the challenge level. Not the holy-shit-we’re-all-going-to-die threat of They Are Billions, mind you, but a more normal keep-you-honest threat. The graphics aren’t great, but the gameplay is, and that’s what matters to me, especially for that genre of game.
On the mobile side I find myself completely uninspired. 2018 has been a bit of a weak year for iOS from my perspective and not much has caught my attention for long. Hurry up Pocket City (April/May according to the dev), Bad North, and Battleheart 2!
- Rise to Ruins for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam Early Access, $10
- Starbound for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $15
Thanks to Kelsey’s wonderful deconstruction of art and systems, I find myself dabbling once again in Carnage Heart EXA. For the uninitiated, it’s a robotics programming effort from A-train luminaries, Artdink. Wrapped in a cloying, glacially unfolding visual novel — the game’s subjective downfall — players spend their time building the operating parameters of a combat machine. Lots of loops and daisy-chaining chips. Lots of wondering why my clunker keeps turning to the left. Lots of prodigal drawing board chin-strokery.
Also a return to Angels Fall First, which continues to be Battlefront if Battlefront wasn’t put through the ringer by avaricious suits. It’s also the perfect Dadcore shooter, given the prevalence of bots.
The weekend, however, belongs to Jalopy. If my woeful online K/D ratio wasn’t a dead giveaway, I tend to play games after the brood goes to bed, and in a state of hypnagogic fatigue. Somehow, I feel Jalopy will meet me half-way. A sleepy bypass of Budapest. A snoozy sojourn to Belgrade. A game that won’t jazz your lobes like a Cottee’s-addled pre-teen. Just a gentle journey to unfurl at your leisure.
Robots, starships and the open road.
Race for the Galaxy (and a bunch of other stuff, and maybe sawing some wood)
This weekend is the beginning of my kids’ spring break, so there’ll be some good family tabletop time in my near future. Probably that’ll include Bunny Kingdom, Smash Up, and surprisingly resurgent Isla Dorada. With my son now reading The Hobbit and my daughter on The Two Towers (parenting win!), I’m also considering reintroducing The Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. Digitally, I expect to assassinate some creeds and buy the second expansion to Race for the Galaxy. Satiety is a real problem for selling expansions to a game that good.
- Race for the Galaxy for iOS Universal, $7
- Race for the Galaxy for Android, $7
- Race for the Galaxy for PC via Steam, $7
- Bunny Kingdom via Amazon, $40
- Smash Up via Amazon, $24
- Isla Dorada via Amazon, $90
Dungeons & Dragons
While I’ve been on vacation and haven’t had much time for gaming, I have had the chance to DM for my kids and the kids of the family we’re staying with while we’re in Florida. I’ve been running Storm King’s Thunder for them for the past few month via Roll20, so it’s fun to actually play for a bit face-to-face. I will say that the game is a lot harder to play when everything is on paper and you don’t have all the rules, dice, and stats right at your command. I don’t remember having these issues when we used to play pre-internet in the 80’s, but I also used to have the books memorized back then. Today I have a hard time remembering that the underwear goes on before the pants. Anyway, I’ll be spending tonight and tomorrow with five kids between the ages of 7 and 15, trying to scare the hell out of them via character death. I’ll probably fudge the dice to make sure no one actually visits the Raven Queen, but they don’t need to know that.
- D&D Beyond for iOS Universal, free to download (books cost money)
- D&D Beyond for Android, free to download (books cost money)
- D&D 5th Edition PHB via Amazon, $28
- D&D 5th Edition Storm King’s Thunder, $33