How can something this pretty and awesome spend its whole life in a box?

Stately Scrying: What we’re playing this weekend

We’re less than two weeks from Gen Con and I’m kind of terrified. For the first time I’ll be going as “Stately Play” and not as a member of the BGG army, which means I’m on my own for getting interviews and whatnot. Now, I really want to go to Gen Con to have fun, so interviews and reports are cool and all, but I’m not going to be working 100% of the time. In fact, my whole family is trudging along with me to Indianapolis this year. My two older sons will help me with the whole “work” thing until they get bored and go play in the CGE room, but I’m also going to have to entertain my 7 year-old (the HABA booth should work) and my wife (nothing at Gen Con will work). Anyway, that’s what I’m getting ready for in my gaming life, let’s see what others have in store for the weekend.


Hello Statelies.

After being ambushed by Windows crapping itself and the forced invigoration of a fresh install, it’s time to take stock. A time to keep the digitals shelves neat and tidy. Nobility in economy!

*redownloads all the things* [Hey, witty asides are my job. Lay off -ed.]

Digitally, I’m returning to Exanima with its first patch in over a year. No, not a streetwise interpretation of the Launceston daily, but a rather wonderful isometric sword-battler. Think one part Bushido Blade, one part Grim Dawn and one part drunken lads at loggerheads with a 3AM lockout. Exanima is a physics-heavy dungeon crawler-brawler, with mouse-driven combat and characters that control like steak marionettes. There’s a physicality to squaring off and a good few hours required before the combat clicks.

If you flail with your cursor, it’ll carry through your character. Exanima emphasises controlled swipes and lunges, and knowing when to throw your body behind a swing is key to braining an opponent. But this is a game of waiting, much like the aforementioned Bushido Blade. The early bird catches the warhammer, or risks being a bad position if they’re not decisive. Exanima is atmospheric, brutal, light on requirements and the arena mode is worth the price of admission alone.

Now, is it time for me to finally pop my Space Hulk: Death Angel cherry, in the bowels of an ancient starship and by the tender caress of xenos? Maybe. It’s just bundled with such an appalling rulebook. But people say this is one of the great solo games out there. And I might fight bright, sunny summer days with the cold, hard claustrophobia of foundered space cloisters. The damn thing has been sitting on my shelf for long enough.

Stay hydrated.

-Alex Connolly


Tof really knows how to party.

Tof is taking part in something called Twine Jam @ Kiwijam this weekend and will be too focused on making games to play any. Still, they recommend you take a look at Twine, a free app for creating gamebook-style games.

-Tof Eklund

Arkham Horror LCG, XCOM 2, and Gaslands

I’ve fallen back into the Arkham Horror LCG like it’s three-foot-thick memory foam, so I’ll be playing some more of that this weekend. Ursula Downs has had quite a bit of success in my Carcosa campaign thus far, but, alas, poor Yorick will no longer be joining her. He’s been selected for an … innovative course of treatment at Arkham Asylum. Meanwhile, I’ve finally let myself start a new XCOM 2 game so I can explore War of the Chosen on the PS4. These new characters seemed awfully chatty in their first mission. Meanwhile, my son and I are having a grand time adding guns to Matchbox cars, and have yet to even attempt an actual game of Gaslands. But we have a newly-acquired War Rig and monster truck, so at least we have all the pieces for an array of options.

-Kelsey Rinella

Nemo’s War

I think this may be the second time in three weeks that I’m mentioning one of the best solo games ever put to cardboard, Nemo’s War. Unfortunately, all my previous scryings were incorrect as this beauty has still not hit the table for a long, long time. That’s going to end this weekend. Last night I set it up, so it’s currently waiting for me on my new Game Topper and there’s just no way in hell I’m going to be able to not sit down and lose myself for a couple hours. If I’m lucky [he never is -ed.] I’ll even get to play it twice. Other than that, it’s “get ready for Gen Con”. My family is doing the entire week, spending Monday and Tuesday at a water park before heading south to Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon. Of course, that’s more than a week away. Next Monday we’ll find out what GMT’s big announcement is, and that’s the other thing that will be crawling around in my mind all weekend. C’mon, Strangiato, spill the damn beans!

-Dave Neumann


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Notable Replies

  1. I am on a bit of a Warhammer 40k romp right now.

    PP usual blabla:
    After reminding myself how low the mighty (Relic) have fallen…

    …lamenting the lack of news and rumors to Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2, having a nostalgia trip to DoW 2 excellent Last-Man-Standing mode (even now on weekdays with only 60 people in the lobby you can get a 3 man group running in under 2 minutes)…

    …finishing a year-long re-run through the truly excellent Space Marine game by Relic before THQ was put down for good (and being the only WH40k Game featuring Ultramarines which get my unconditional Seal of Approval)…

    I was a bit starved for Wh40k.
    I conquered Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion, tried really hard to get into the new digital versions of Space Hulk (and failed yet again to get hooked).

    So what to do? I am still deliberating if I want to play Space Hulk: Deathwing on the PC or PS4…I like FPS games more on the couch, the big screen and the controller yet I fear how well and optimized the game might really run on the PS4.

    While not coming to a firm conclusion because of a serious lack of google-fu success on PS4 issues I delayed the decision by splurging on Wh40k Gladius: Rites of War and Wh40k Inquisitor: Martyr.

    The first one can be discussed in the Review thread, the later one was again a tough choice if PC or Steam but I got it on PC for the slim chance to get some Coop running with some friends which are mildly interested but chances are low due to RL consumption of free time…

    Warhammer 40k Inquisitor: Martyr
    While I am not a big fan of Inquisitor theme and setting…NEEDS MOAAR SPAAAIIZ MURRRIINNZ!!!cough I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. Its a really decent ActionRPG. The focus may be a bit too much on Level grinding than loot grinding (the drops are fewer and far between in comparison to loot showers like Diablo 3 and loot drizzlers like Titan Quest and Grim Dawn) which is a good thing, less theorycrafting on my part and more playing.
    My PC is wheezing a bit on ultra settings but that may also be the fault of THIS DARN SUMMER HEAT! but the graphics and music (also sound) are pretty serviceable.
    Changing gear cannot be done mid-mission and that’s a good thing in my book…the constant urge to check every drop for marginal incremental benefits over existing gear is a serious problem with me, thankfully not here.

    The game starts with 3 Classes, each having 3 subclasses but I soon learned that the subclasses are only relevant on a RP setting since they only effect your background and your INITIAL loadout/armor. By the end of the introduction/tutorial/chapter 1 you have a couple of looted alternatives to switch stuff around. So basically choose a Class because of the gameplay focus and take whatever subclass you want, may be a missed opportunity here but I like it nonetheless since the initial subclass-focus I started with wasnt to my liking so I switched gear…no wasted time rerolling another subclass.

    One thing I really had to laugh out loud tough:
    Since the Days of Diablo 1 we have REALLY REALLY have come a far way! Instead of Mage, Warrior and Hunter we now can choose between Psyker, Crusader and Assassin! How nice things have developed the last 20 years cough

  2. Some Slay the Spire, some Photosynthesis (I bought it because it was cheap and it’s another vicious plant-based game, like Arboretum and Topiary), some Rallyman, some Strike of the Eagle because it’s a super fine wargame on a little known conflict.

    Now, is it time for me to finally pop my Space Hulk: Death Angel cherry, in the bowels of an ancient starship and by the tender caress of xenos? Maybe. It’s just bundled with such an appalling rulebook. But people say this is one of the great solo games out there.

    The only bigger massacre than that of the game is that sodding rulebook.

  3. @AlexConnolly SHDA is a fun game, but go elsewhere for a rules summary. You used the word appalling, but it’s worse than that.

    I’ll be doing some park maintainance in Jurassic Park Evolution, and if the kids want the TV I’ll be gathering up more of my party in Octopath Traveller. While I’m out and about I’ll keep taking my turns in our Istanbul tournament (I’m brand new to the game but really like it thus far, though I’m sure I don’t have the foresight to make the best moves) and playing some Teeny Titans Go Figure.

  4. js619 says:

    Some Civ VI, as I’ve really gotten back into it on my iPad. And Motorsport Manager 3 - I’m loving every minute with this lite sim game.

  5. What do you think of Photosynthesis? I’ve heard mainly great things, probably all from the Dice Tower. I’m intrigued by It but I don’t know if I want it because of the hype or because of how good looking it is, because I traditionally don’t buy many abstract games (though I probably bought more last year than the rest of my life combined).

  6. I do love Nemo’s War. God, I need to get Comancheria to the table again, too. They both just have a very hard time competing with Skies Above the Reich, which plays so smooth and so quick I can send the boys out to harass bombers in the afternoon and have (most of them) back before it’s time to cook dinner.

  7. I downloaded 80 days again and have had half a dozen runs through so far. It took me one run through to refamiliarise myself with the gamey elements, but once I’d done that I could take my time and enjoy some meandering adventures. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this one, and have found plenty of new stories this time around

  8. I’ll let you blokes know if Death Angel gets a look-in. If you can point me towards a preferred tutorial, I’d be in your debt.

  9. It could easily be an abstract, and it’s not much more complex than one in terms of learning to play. It really can be quite mean, and I think that takes people by surprise, you’re not just planting happily side by side, you’re supposed to shut other players out by thinking ahead and planting appropriately. Not really at odds with the theme, but certainly the presentation. Might not be a family game if someone has a wobbly lip. It’s not really a 2P game either. There is no catch-up mechanic, which I really like, and the game doesn’t last long.


  10. Good man. Gonna break out the Glenfiddich and see to some purging.

  11. That only beans I’m spilling is that we won’t be working on digital Bonanza anytime soon.

    Will we see an AAR for Nemo’s War?

  12. When I’m finally able to actually get a full play in, sure. I made it through Act I this weekend, but then had a surprise gathering of friends all willing to play 1846 with me and Nemo’s War was put aside.

    I lost, by the way.

  13. I played Bloodborne for about an hour and a half last weekend. It was a good death simulator. The lack of an in-game manual is a huge oversight, in my opinion, for a game like this. I was going to give up on this game until I found a digital manual online. After giving it a quick read, I realized that I wasn’t supposed to be using my fists the entire time and I think I know how to equip a weapon. I’ll give it one more try next weekend.

  14. Hahaha, oh wow.

  15. Hahaha, that is an amazing story!

    I do agree with you about the lack of a tutorial, though. Bloodborne is one of those games that, on paper, I should love, but just doesn’t click with me. Part of the issue may be that I don’t find myself drawn in to deep games that often anymore. I’d rather play pick-up-and-play games these days.

  16. Yeah, I don’t usually play games like this. I have never played a “Dark Souls” game before. But I got it free with PS+ and it got rave reviews as a must play game for the ps4 so I decided to give it a try. It was a masochistic experience. I kept thinking one of the few enemies I killed was going to drop a weapon. I do remember getting a gun in the dream world but I couldn’t equip it. I went to the inventory and the gun was there and I tried to “use” it but it was greyed out. Reading the manual, I think you have to equip your weapons on another “arms” screen. I had no idea. So I just assumed that I couldn’t use the gun yet because I needed to see someone or level up first.

  17. If you want a great combat game, Nioh is brilliant. After playing that, BB fell flat for me.

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