How the hell did I not know this was on the App Store?

Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

I know that we missed our Scrying post last Friday and I have to apologize. It was completely my fault. The writers all sent me their blurbs but I chose to head to Chicago instead of writing them up and, well, I’m so ashamed…

…There! I’m over it. Hooray for mind altering medication! This week we’re back with our selections for the weekend. Enjoy, and we’ll see you on Monday!

Epistory – Typing Chronicles

With even more snow rolling in, I’ll have plenty of time for gaming this weekend. Luckily, I’ve got a lot of great options on hand. I will continue working my way through Epistory – Typing Chronicles, because the game is awesome. It’s a typing RPG with a compelling story, cool papercraft art style, and exciting battles. You explore a world and as you proceed the story is narrated. You type out words to clear obstacles and defeat giant insects that want to eat you. Also, you ride a three-tailed fox, so that’s cool. It is clever, fun, and quite well designed.

I also picked up Aven Colony for half off on and played through the tutorial missions and a decent chunk of the initial campaign level. It seems promising and I’ll likely put some more time in.

On the iOS side I’m rotating between three games. I started a new Warhammer Quest 2 game and am enjoying the return of ambushes (except when they happen on, say, three consecutive turns) and other tweaks made since launch. I’m also playing a good deal of Project Highrise, which just hit mobile, and had been sitting in my Steam queue for some time. They did a very nice job with mobile implementation and I recommend it without hesitation. Finally, I’ve dug back into Craft the World to feed my base building cravings while away from my computer.

-Nick Vigdahl


Took an interesting punt this week on the allegedly middling Gravel, an arcade breather taken by rally constant Milestone. Now, I’m one to wring fun from the most broken titles available, but broken or middling Gravel ain’t. Cursory examinations suggest a rough soul brother to king-in-exile, SEGA Rally. If Sega can’t, our Italian friends can.

In a genre drowning in terminally-boring simucade, Gravel feels like somewhat of an outlier. It’s got some commonalities with the Forzas of this world, but the game is not content to put reality before the rush. Little bit of Blur, little bit of Revo. It can even sometimes rise above its budget and look quite marvellous. Having an absolute ball, and it will continue dominate this weekend in a sort of weird vehicular continuation from Jalopy.

After all, the heart of offroad arcade action is a tri-coloured 1993 Celica with Castrol painted on its arse.

Oh, and if it isn’t sliding sideways around an alpine hairpin, it’ll be Rogue Aces or Angels Fall First.

-Alex Connolly

Slay the Spire

Last week, in a moment of fiscal and personal irresponsibility, I purchased Slay the Spire. I knew it would consume me, yet the sale price on the Humble Store proved too good to ignore. It’s possibly my favorite of the successors to my beloved Dream Quest, but there are still some shortcomings despite (or because of?) its polish. First off, I resent that I have to play it on my computer. Maybe that’s selfish, but I’ve been spoiled ever since the release of Ascension on iOS all those years ago. Secondly, two (eventually three) classes feels downright anemic compared to Dream Quest’s selection. I get that there’s more build variety within the classes than in Dream Quest, but I’d prefer to have more choice upfront than depend on card selection during a run. The card draft mutator in the Daily Run (which is easily Slay the Spire’s best contribution to this little subgenre) that was just added goes a long way toward fixing that issue, and I hope we’ll get the option to mess around with mutators on our own in the future. Nitpicks aside, I expect the game will improve over its Early Access period, and I’ll be playing it for a long time to come.

Aside from Slay the Spire, I also intend on playing more Yakuza 0. I love a game where I can take a break from clearing my name from a murder I didn’t commit and just destroy kids in slot car races for an hour. I mean, just listen to that menu music!

-Tanner Hendrickson

Boardgames (and no cutting of wood)

This weekend, I’ll be meeting with an old and treasured game group. At previous meetups we’ve managed to introduce solid eurogame fare like Village and Tzolk’in, so there’s definitely an appetite for brain food. However, we’ll be bringing nine young kids to an indoor water park, so I’m expecting some exhausted parents. I’m bringing Isla Dorada and Codenames Marvel, because they’re convenient, easy to learn, and play six. Not every weekend can be an A Study in Emerald weekend.

I mean, I guess it could. Now I have to confront the weight of the choices which have caused me to own an unplayed copy of a game I’d very much like to play. I mean, A Study in Emerald, Sekigahara, Napoleon’s Triumph—there’s some doozies on that shelf. Ah, well—man’s reach should exceed his grasp, and all that.

-Kelsey Rinella


I left it for a month or two, but I’ve delved back into Factorio and its mind-bending efficiency puzzle over the past week. I’ve finally gotten to a point where my base resembles something that I’ve actually planned out (I haven’t) and is efficient enough that I’m never lacking for raw materials. I figured out how to use trains and not have them smash into each other and I’ve finally figured out how to transport and build using liquids that I’ve refined from oil. I even started to use a logistics network and drones to bring me materials automatically, making my runs around the base to pick up materials a thing of the past. If you haven’t played Factorio, I really can’t recommend it enough. It gives me the same sense of accomplishment that I used to get from games like SimCity or Children of the Nile. Games that let you sit back and contemplate your future and build at your own pace. The amount of stuff you can build, tweak, and manage dwarves any other sim game I’ve ever played, however, and the sheer size of the game is a marvel.

The devs recently released version 0.16 and have declared that version 0.17 should be the release candidate, finally bringing Factorio out of Early Access. If you want to wait for that before picking it up, fine, but the Early Access version is already polished and nearly flawless so why wait?

It’s also board game night tonight and I’ll be teaching 1844 to my group. Yes, another 18xx game, this one set in Switzerland. It’s a doozy, adding a lot of mechanisms on top of the typical 18xx fare, so teaching it should be an interesting ride. With luck we’ll wrap up before 2am.

-Dave Neumann


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Notable Replies

  1. Alex, have you played Dirt 4? I’m just curious how gravel compares.

  2. It’s going to be Rogue Aces, Prey (still!) and the deeply silly Resident Evil 7.

    As for board games, 7th Continent is up, plus Food Chain Magnate, John Company, Heroes Wanted, and maybe Antiquity.

  3. Marvel Strike Force.

    (yes, on purpose)

  4. Gran Turismo Sport

  5. PUBG up ins. Probably get in a nice flight in Battle of Stalingrad, too.

  6. Tamsk says:

    Still playing Into the Breach, I need to get back to my XCOM2:WotC campaign in progress, and the new Hearthstone expansion’s recently released so I should look at what’s changed there as well. On the table, I have The City of Kings finally punched and sorted, so I’d like to give that a go.

    (And, always, Cinco Paus for the odd moments. Still a wonderful game.)

  7. Man, I can only speak to Dirt 2 and the bizarre Showdown, but Gravel feels closer to the arcade than the sim. Preview videos didn’t have me terribly excited, but I found my SEGA Rally thirst pleasantly slaked by this one. Flicking off most assists offers a really nice driving model, and I really love a lot of the track designs.

    Thumbs up if you can snag it on the cheap.

  8. I may check it out if I can find it for cheap. I mentioned Dirt 4 because I think it does a great job of offering everything from arcade to simulation depending on your assists and difficulty settings.

  9. I am playing also, and I kind of like it.

  10. Agricola solo series whilst on holiday in Uk with my family

  11. So Isla Dorada was a late scratch in favor of Colt Express, due to my wife expressing that she doesn’t like auctions. I feel like I ought to like Colt Express more than I do. Might be I just need to get to the point where I’ve played it a few times recently and am playing with four or more players.

    Also played Codenames Marvel twice, and the winning clue was “cleavage” both games. Sigh. I need to remember that, for all Marvel does for me, an awful lot of what they do, especially in games, ISN’T for me.

    Amusingly, one of the families brought the black box edition of Glory to Rome. We never had enough players awake enough to play it, but I was kind of excited to see it. I had kickstarted it myself years ago, but gave it to a distant friend after realizing it was precious to him and I was unlikely to get a chance to play it myself. Turns out I had kickstarted two copies; I was the person who gave them the copy I saw this weekend, but I’d totally forgotten that.

  12. Dead in Vinland. Which is feeling like if Agricola had a dark norse visual novel wrapped around it.

    8 hours clocked on that in one day. I guess I love it. Playing on medium difficulty with the True Viking mode (which is the same as Ironman in Xcom, one save only, no going back) and I’ve lost once and setting up my tiny viking camp a lot more efficiently this time around.

  13. Sounds like bargain bin King of Dragon Pass.

  14. This is basically a reskin of star wars - galaxy of heroes.

    I downloaded for a look. Not sure this is something I should get back into.

    Anything to convince me? :slight_smile:

  15. I did not play Galaxy of Heroes, I missed it somehow. Some of the people who have played both say this is better, but i don’t know the difference to say why. It’s all new to me, so it is probably a good few months of entertainment I figure.

  16. I stayed away from Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes due to EA being involved, but it looks like Marvel Strike Force has nothing to do with EA?

  17. Well, I grabbed and am playing. Trying to avoid reddit echo chambers and just take it steady…

    Up to 30 something and joined a guild that raids (full leech mode from me)

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