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Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

If you didn’t figure it out from today’s posts, it’s Father’s Day weekend here in the US. For a lot of dads this means going golfing, attending a sporting event, or just getting an uninterrupted couch nap. For us, it means that we get to play some games. Here’s hoping that goes for you too because, as we all know, golf sucks.

Invisible, Inc. (and more!)

This weekend, I’ll be playing Invisible, Inc. with my 7-year-old, and probably some XCOM: Enemy Within by myself. Why such not-new choices? I’ve been looking over my substantial library of barely-played iOS games and considering, if not my own mortality, the short and uncertain lifespan of a iOS app. I’m still running iOS 10 out of sheer stubbornness… maybe I’ll wait to update until the next time Apple invents a reason to purge the app store.

So, yeah, for the moment I’ve reinstalled Invisible, Inc. and Enemy Within, as well as Knock-Knock, Transistor, and Warhammer 40k: Armageddon, but I’m also thinking about Year Walk, Siralim, and Continue?9876543210. I suppose I could start with the games that didn’t make the jump to 64-bit, but I don’t want to overthink this.

I’m also got my hands on an early preview build of Hardback, and it is just as brain-bending and stylish as its pulpy predecessor, Paperback. I’ll have a proper preview for you next week, but for now, I’m going to continue my stroll down memory lane. Maybe I’ll load up UniWar, or Great Little War Game.

Huh, look,at that. The PC version of Invisible Inc. is 75% off this weekend.

-Tof Eklund

Ancestors Legacy and Hunt: Showdown

This weekend, I will mostly be playing Ancestors Legacy and Hunt: Showdown, with a few little morsels in between.

Ancestors Legacy is a real surprise, and I’m happy to say retains what I’ve loved about the RTS model while thankfully putting to the sword genre elements I’ve desperately fallen out of love with. It trades quantity for quality, emphasising unit proficiency over sheer number. Ancestors Legacy requires the deft shunting of small squads around intricate terrain, tactically activating an array of hotbar-style actions per mob that might find itself tickling MOBA fan fancy.

I mentioned it on a prior Scry, but the gameplay is very much a tryst between Pyro’s old Praetorians (terrain advantages, small unit encounters) and the strangely forgotten Celtic Kings/Nemesis of the Roman Empire. The latter gave the finger to the tired base-building genre abstraction, instead preferring to make established villages and towns the spoils of war and economic assets thereafter. No more of this terminally boring structure placement and peon manager malarkey. The sooner that dies, the better. Ancestors Legacy puts the notion to good use, with each village on a map usually sporting some kind of unique agricultural offering, be it farming or logging or mining. This honeypot approach helps keep the matches fast and directed, which is exactly what gets the dopamine squirting.

Hunt: Showdown. Well, this is interesting. Forget these boneheaded Battle Royale big-guns. Hunt is BR-like, but manages to do things quite differently. It’s about stalking an array of computer-controlled targets in 19th century Louisiana, or thereabouts. A hideously unsettling co-op game that you can play solo or, preferred, in teams. The dark fantasy aesthetic has you sneaking through the bayous of a weird world, toting some of the finest fictional firearms out. This is Crytek on their A-game from a design point of view, and the pacing is slow and measured. NPC shamblers haunt the fetid waterways and logging stations, or grotesque half-tree chimeras moan as they trundle the tumbledown ruins of an old church. If there’s one thing that survives the Early Access assault on stability, GPU heatsinks and internet connection, it is a peerless, frightening atmosphere not felt since the original STALKER.

But even more frightening is the fact that you’re fair game for other human players. One more player is one more chance at having the bounties stolen from you, and I’ve certainly felt the sting of a human ambush in my quest for the big bastards. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in these rotten swamplands, where the company of the lumbering horrors you’re tasked to kill is almost preferred to that of your fellow man. In the cultural desert of the Battle Royale gametype, Hunt: Showdown is a welcome oasis. But, see, the water’s poisoned, and you’re likely to cope a blast of buckshot to the back of the head.

Bite-sized efforts to bolster these colossi are most likely going to be a race of Gravel here and there, alongside some Atlas Reactor matches. Are you playing Atlas Reactor? You should be. I mean, it’s free for the most part, and one hell of a multiplayer turn-based strategy. Shame it never made the jump to tablet, because it would sing in some sort of cross-platform variant.

Have a good one, right?

-Alex Connolly

Arkham Horror LCG (and more!)

On iOS, I finally decided to branch out into other Everett Kaser games than Honeycomb Hotel, so I’ll be playing a lot of Willa’s Walk [Sherlock is still my go-to -ed.]. It feels a lot like a more graphical Hashi; there’s a similar interplay involving scattered local inferences which eventually affect the shape of the whole puzzle enough to enable some work at that level. There’s also a pretty robust hypothetical system the likes of which I’ve not seen elsewhere.

On consoles, I expect to poke around in the DLC for Destiny 2, which was on sale recently. It’s a perfectly adequate single-player experience, and I’ve made my peace with not being the target audience or seeing everything in the game.

Last week, I mentioned that I returned to the Arkham Horror LCG and found it more irritating than I expected to play on the surface I’d set aside, because it ends up taking much more table space to complete than to start. This has brought my interest in designing and building a new game table for my basement to the forefront of my mind, which might result in a future feature here.

-Kelsey Rinella

Black Orchestra

I’m not going to have too much time to game this weekend due to baseball games and the required visits with both fathers and grandfathers, but my family is usually pretty good about giving me a little bit of time to get some cardboard on the table. Unfortunately, these days they tend to all have their own thing going on rather than actually playing with the old man, so I’ll be solo gaming. I finally got my hands on a copy of Black Orchestra from Game Salute and will be giving it at least one run-through before the weekend is over.

Black Orchestra is a game rooted in WW2 history but only in the way Inglorious Basterds was. You play real Nazis who have decided the mustachioed boss is kind of a pill and now have to figure out how to blow a hole right in his stupid, Nazi face before his evil plans take form. That is, you’re trying to kill Hitler which is a fantastic theme and would really fit in any board game. Think of how much more exciting Agricola would be if you could take an action that allowed you to slip a bomb under Hitler’s chair!

The game is cooperative or, in my case, solo and I’m looking forward to the historical touches as well as the difficulty which, I’ve heard, is pretty harsh. Bring it on.

-Dave Neumann

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Notable Replies

  1. Probably gonna get in some Flashpoint Campaigns, maybe a little Command Ops 2, possibly a dash of Persona 5. Oh, and I picked up Crusader Kings in the Gog sale, the original, not the compromise second draft, er, DLC-laden sequel I own but could never really get into. Thought a more focused medieval intrigue simulator might be good for a laugh.

    I’d be playing Skies Above the Reich if GMT could get it shipped to me!

  2. I have my Blue Jays in the World Series in 2020 in the 2017 iOS version of Out of the Park Baseball (I forget what they call it on iOS).Game 3, up 2-0 on the Cubs.

    Maybe playing A Study in Emerald for the 2nd straight week on Sunday game day, but not sure. I’ll also be bringing Staufer Dynasty, a game I’ve played once before about 3 years ago. Got it cheap and hope to get it to the table soon.

    Probably some more One Deck Dungeon too, and Slay the Spire on the computer.

  3. Finally got a 70% “marginal victory” in the easiest non-tutorial scenario in Flashpoint Campaigns! Hurray!

  4. Some Fallout, as the first game didn’t impress, and some Climbers, Underpants of the Tyradark (no, never going to get tired of calling it that), Codeword Cromwell, and Flamme Rouge & Peloton.

    I’m also on Prey’s Mooncrash DLC because I love Prey. Getting right up ins and rooting around in there after spending 60+ hours on one play through of the main game.

  5. When I saw the Mooncrash article on RPS I immediately thought of you, Prey’s most vocal proponent.

  6. johnl says:

    Would you recommend Staufer Dynasty? I see it’s heavily discounted on the online site where I usually get my boardgames (greatboardgames.ca).

  7. I’ve only played it once, about 3 years ago.

    I did enjoy it, and when I saw that GreatBoardgames price, I had to buy it.

    Even with the shipping, I felt it was worth it.

  8. Hey @rinelk, if you’re digging Willa’s Walk, you should check out LOOPical. It’s from Kris Pixton, the maker of PathPix, so you know you’re in for a good time. The concept and solving methodology are pretty similar, but the extra clue types make things a little more interesting than Willa’s, in my experience. Of course, Willa’s is going to beat LOOPical (and LOOPical Pro) on the content front, but it’s a fun ride for as long as it lasts.

    Also, in the process of double checking that LOOPical made it out of the Appocalypse, I found out that there are way more PathPix games than I remembered. Holy shit.

  9. Totally forget Bugbear’s belabored Wreckfest got a final release.

    It’s delicious. Early Access undulated from superb to kinda iffy, but the finished product is an opera of rending steel and growling V8. Luvverly.

  10. I generally play my old standard of Patchwork on my tablet. That dang doll on Medium is harder for me than Hard. I don’t get it.

    The other day I played Lords of Waterdeep on my Android. The board games is one of my favorite games that I don’t get on the table. The implementation is ok-ish. My biggest gripe is that the writing on the cards is very small so it’s hard to read on my 7in screen. And, yes I need bifocals.

    In the physical world, my son was obsessed about No Stress Chess, a pretty good beginner chess trainer. And he’s pretty good (and I’m pretty bad). Now he’s obessed (and I mean obsessed ) about Monopoly Deal, which is similar to real Monopoly except it’s a card game, quick and fun. Ok it’s not like Monopoly at all except for the theme. Not my favorite game but I’ll play it cuz the family will…


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