Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

Almost a full week of “real” work is in the rear view mirror and it’s time to take a look at why we work: the weekend. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked so forward to 5 o’clock on Friday, but it’s not just because of my new gig. I received something via post earlier this week that’s had my game juices flowing and I’ve been dying to try it out. What am I talking about? Keep reading.

Lumines Remastered

Lumines Remastered will never be uninstalled from my Switch and I will not stop playing it until I can complete the 100 level gauntlet in one go. The game is just as good as I remembered it on PSP, maybe even better. The game uses the Switch’s HD Rumble to get you into the trademark music-puzzle trance almost instantly, especially if you’re using a good pair of headphones. I sit down to play and everything around me just melts away.

-Tanner Hendickson

7,62 High Calibre (and more)

Friends! TGIF, or in the case of us to the immediate west of the International Date Line, hope you’re having a killer Saturday.

This weekend, the usual suspects. Battlestar Galactica Deadlock, because it’s Deadlock and it’s the best. Smidge of Atlas Reactor here, maybe a touch of Shellshock Live there. But here’s an oddity that I’ve had the briefest of trysts with, and decided that it’s time to settle down and commit.

7,62 High Calibre, or more specifically, 7,62 Hard Life. And yes, those are indeed commas. High Calibre was the Russian successor to the venerable Jagged Alliance 2, and while busted, wonky and ugly, High Calibre took the increasingly geriatric combat of JA2 and gave it 3D fluidity a few extra layers of crunch. Hard Life is the free community mod that actually comes served with the game on purchase, to the extent that it’s a completely independent download to High Calibre. It fixes bugs, overhauls systems, and balloons the content payload. It is, for lack of a better comparison, the 1.13 of High Calibre.

It’ll be a journey not unlike freeing Arulco from the despotic grip of Deidranna, only with a lot more of those utterly Eastern Bloc fidelities.  Obstinate interface, brutalised translation, exhausting combat, inscrutable quest logs, but absolutely Soviet in its pursuit of an all-encompassing mercenary management experience. Flak jackets and ciggies for days.

Failing that, there’s always Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Allow me to die on that particular hill another time.

Have a lovely one, Statelies.

-Alex Connolly

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

It’s been a long-term goal of mine to get a Private Pilot License at some point in the future (when I can afford the thousands of dollars it costs) so I’m really enjoying flying small aircraft in Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition. Playing with a controller is not as good as I imagine a joystick would be, but it’s precise enough to actually make me feel like I’m actually flying a plane.

The best part of the game is that it offers several guided lessons that mimic the experience of learning to fly in real life. I can see why this game is such a mainstay for flight simulator fans. It’s immersive without being overly difficult for a complete beginner such as myself to enjoy, but you can also play it hyper realistically if you so choose.

If you’ve ever been curious about flying, I’d pick this thing up – it’s on sale for 9.99 on Steam for the Summer Sale.

-Nick Houghtaling

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Donkey Kong has joined Mario and the Rabbids in primary-color XCOM, and I’m quite looking forward to returning to that game. Looks like status quo on iOS for me (KoDP never stuck for me, so I’ll be giving these new ages a pass), but I’ll see if I can get my new Steam Link working for some new couch options. I tried it this afternoon, and I’m still in search of curses sufficiently mild to convey my ability to keep this in perspective but firm enough to communicate the foolishness of this design. It works with numerous controllers I own as well as a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, so you’d think I’d be all set, but you need a wired mouse or Steam controller, neither of which I have, to set up any of those. Once my eyeballs cooled to hot coals, I realized that my wireless trackball with the USB dongle will sort of work, but then I had to update some drivers on the Mac. Had some games which said they weren’t designed for controllers, but that you could use them anyway, so I got all the way to looking at a blank screen with a little blueish cursor before taking a break. Reminds me of why I gave up on building my own PCs and now do most of my computing on a Mac and gaming on iOS, consoles, or tabletops.

Speaking of tables, after much consideration of exactly what I wanted to do for a new basement game table, I just bought a simple one via Craigslist. It’s 4’x3’, which is the size I wanted for the interior of my vault, so I have plans for how to adapt it. But now I don’t need to buy chairs or worry about the legs, which was never going to be the interesting bit.

-Kelsey Rinella

Anything I can throw on the table (and American Truck Driver)

While I’ve been busy in the office all week, sitting in my basement is something I’ve only dreamed about: a real game table. You know, one of those obnoxious hunks of wood you see in all the board game videos because real gamers have tables just for games, or some such nonsense. I’ve wanted one since the heyday of places like Geek Chic, but could never even get the courage to ask Ms. Neumannium to drop $5-$10K on a dining room table just so I can pump up my game cred. Enter Game Toppers. I met them at Gen Con last year and was instantly intrigued. Instead of an entire table, they just give you the playing surface and rails and you throw it on your existing dining room table. This had a few advantages for me. First of all, it was easy enough to stash away when company comes over, making our dining room table into a regular dining table again. Secondly, it was cheap, relative to the other options. Rathskellers, for example, sells dining-room sized tables for up to €4500 whereas my baby cost about $1K. I’m sure it’s not as nice and lacks a lot of their bells and whistles, but, for a fraction of the price, it’s an amazing table.

Anyway, it’s been calling my name all week and this weekend I’ll put it to the test. Plans include playing the Crusader Kings board game, of which I have an early prototype, as well as more Darkest Night and Nemo’s War. Friends are coming over tomorrow and that means we’ll get some 18xx action or, maybe, I’ll pull out Brass. Yeah, Brass is sounding good right now.

If I can pull myself away from the game table, I’ll also put some more miles on my rig in American Truck Simulator. I know, I can’t believe I’m playing it either, but it’s actually a really fun and, mostly, relaxing way to see the US west. Of course I’ll also be putting time into Istanbul and Twilight Struggle on mobile, not to mention the ever-present Through the Ages.

-Dave Neumann


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Notable Replies

  1. Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage, and if I can swing it, Hands in the Sea and Polis too.

    Consentacle should be with me tomorrow, so that will also go into rotation, although I may need to pick my ‘opponent’ with care in this case.

    While waiting for Graveyard Keeper and Terraforming Mars (beta is tutorial only), it’s Aviary Attorney and Crisis in the Kremlin.

  2. I’m out on the in-law’s farm for a week and I loaded up with games, but I will probably mostly be playing Eternal, which just updated with a new expansion. I’ll also be trying to learn Istanbul if my brain is in he mood.

    @TannerHendrickson There is an iOS version of Lumines that is actually really good; I think it is the best “falling block” game on the phone. The controls do lead to some mos-placed blocks sometimes, but my own ineptitude does that as well, so I can’t complain too much.

  3. Dude, first Crisis in the Kremlin, now this 7,62 thing…you gotta stop introducing me to absurdly cheap, absurdly Russian games.

  4. Also, something I’ve noticed: even my friends who have custom gaming tables have then skimped on chairs. Seriously, you’re going to sit on a dining room chair all day? As a friend of mine once remarked “I’m just too old for my arse to take bare wood for hours.”

  5. We have padded dining room chairs. We’re not monsters.

  6. Roll in the gym balls next gaming night, just for shits and giggles and ab toning.

    @Kolbex…7,62 is cheap and subjectively good. I still think Back in Action is my preferred tactical game, Jagged Alliance name notwithstanding, but Hard Life especially is just gargantuan.

  7. Men of taste and good sense are so rare.

  8. I think this weekend I’m going to give Fortnite another go on iOS, along with Six Ages, and several others. I’m hoping that the price drop for Civ6 means that Rise and Fall is imminent.

    I’m also playing the Octopath Traveller demo, Hollow Knight and BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle on the Switch.

    I’m also prototyping a few different game ideas to see if they’re fun (with art found on the internet).

  9. A really high quality wood chair can be more comfortable than a padded one!

  10. Six Ages is so good. I’m loving it so far.

    Edit: For anybody who is as much of a Glorantha dork as I am, as far as I can tell it takes place in the Storm Age in northern Holay/southern Imther, or very roughly the top right quarter of the map on page 333 of the Guide to Glorantha.

    …is anybody as much of a Glorantha dork as I am?

  11. I think you should hang hammock chairs all around your table…

  12. Two words.

    Papasan. Gaming.

    Get your bowl on.

  13. Another 30-minute patrol mission over Moscow, another single kill. It turns out being a fighter pilot is a lot harder than Wing Commander would lead you to believe.

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever sat in one of those without the whole thing falling over.

  15. My buddy has one of those, but I didn’t realize it had a special name. His is the only one I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine gaming in one.

  16. These look cozy. I wonder what they were originally made for? Probably gaming.

  17. This better be what the patreon funds have been going towards

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