PC • If you aren’t familiar with the tabletop card/board game Mystic Vale from AEG, then the title of this post might be confusing. Obviously, the idiot in charge of headlines [Dave is that idiot -ed.] screwed up and should have written “deck-builder” because card-builder sounds more like a craft project than a game. Well, thanks to the wonders of plastic, Mystic Vale IS a card-builder in which transparent sleeves and cards blend to make new cards every time you play. I first stumbled on Mystic Vale when it released at Gen Con a few years ago and was struck by the gorgeous artwork and the unique crafting concept but never got the chance to actually sit and play it. That makes today’s news even more exciting, as I’ll finally get to give Mystic Vale a go. What news, you ask? Mystic Vale is now available to play via Steam Early Access.
I’m not really a shmup guy. I mean, I dig so much about the genre, but my atrophied synaptic responses would make Bell 101 owners think they were living in the fast lane. That is, until I played Morfeo’s Furious Angels. A mouse-based frisson of physics-heavy turning, burning and gunning. A papercraft aesthetic, accommodating responsiveness and simple controls coalesced to form one of 2017’s top games. Play it if you haven’t. A convert’s testament. Turns out, we’re getting a follow-up, and deliciously soon.
PC (and, hopefully, other platforms a bit later) • While a new expansion for one of my favorite games would usually be a cause for excitement, I’m looking at the announcement of another full-blown expansion with a bit of sadness. After all, my favorite platform for Civ VI is my iPad and we still haven’t gotten the first expansion on there yet. Just when I thought we were catching up, Firaxis throws this at me! The nerve! In all seriousness, this new expansion looks fairly incredible adding environmental factors into a game that has largely ignored them. More info on The Gathering Storm after the break.
iOS/Android (eventually), PC/Mac (Early Access now) • When Lord of the Rings LCG from Fantasy Flight Interactive launched in Early Access back in August, reviews were rather tepid and some were downright hostile. It’s a shame because the game itself is pretty good, but it’s not what fans of the physical version wanted: a direct copy of their favorite LCG to play on the go. If we look at it as a completely separate game, however, it’s pretty fun, albeit a bit limited by the growing pains associated with an Early Access game. What may have been the biggest gripe was the pricing scheme which was confusing as hell, especially compared with the simplicity of the LCG model it was attempting to emulate. Well, that’s all changing as free-to-play is going out the window. More on that later, but for now you need to know that Asmodee and FFG just added a new mission to the game that can be had for the low, low price of free.
iOS, Android • I realize that mushrooms are merely the sexy parts of a gigantic microscopic decomposer spreading for miles under the forest floor, slowly digesting any and everything dead, but they’re so damn tasty. Seriously, I love the things and would put them in nearly everything if they didn’t cause all three of my kids to display their revulsion via dry heave noises. I’ve never actually gone and hunted my own from the wild because I’m ignorant and lazy [two qualities that define Dave regardless of activity -ed.]. For those of us who love the shroom, but aren’t devoted mycophiles, there’s Morels, a 2-player card game released in 2014 that’s making its way to mobile next week.
PC • If there’s one thing missing from today’s high-tech landscape of centrifuge-killing viruses, hacking, long-game defense projects designed surreptitiously in conjunction with Silicon Valley, it’s the warm glow of a NORAD CRT. Fear not, for Terminal Conflict is here to return you to the good old days of mutually-assured destruction.
Tabletop • As someone who’s spent much of their life in Wisconsin, I’ve been taught to react with revulsion to anything that comes from south of the border, the Wisconsin/Illinois border, to be exact. It’s just not cool to show any appreciation for Cubs, Bulls, or even the pristine, toll-funded freeways that turn into potholed monstrosities as you meander north. Now, having a wife that lived for many years in Chicago (and living there myself for a period) has made me a tad more appreciative of what other Wisconsonites call FIBs. It’s with this more accepting eye that I peered at a new board game on Kickstarter set in the City of Big Shoulders called, appropriately, City of the Big Shoulders. It looks and sounds like Automobile and Arkwright had a baby, and I’m more than okay with that.
PC/Mac/Linux • The first game I ever played was PC Research’s 1983 survival horror game, 3-Demon. And by survival horror, I obviously mean a first-person vector riff on Pac Man. John D. Price and Rick Richardson’s intimate maze-em-up was austere and unsettling, branded as a seminal experience into soft, impressionable neurons. So, imagine if that sort of ambience dropped tired old phantoms for battlesuits in a near-future subterranean lair? Das Geisterschiff, which arm should I present for cannulation, come November 25th?
PC/Mac/Linux • Since the release of Sentinels of the Multiverse on iPad way back in 2014 Handelabra, has established themselves as one of the top board game devs in the biz, right up there with Playdek and Czech Games. While I get that Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and One Deck Dungeon aren’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, you can’t deny that everything they touch is polished to a blinding sheen. Thus, when they announce a new project or, as is the case today, launch a new Kickstarter, we listen. We already knew they’re working on digital versions of both Spirit Island and Aeon’s End, and it’s the latter that is now available on everyone’s favorite crowdfunder.
Here’s a collision of interesting things. Remote Games are the blokes behind Isotopium: Chernobyl, and the premise is pure magic. Players control wheeled drones and remotely roll around a scale model of the infamous reactor and nearby town, searching for energy caches and seeking out new locations. Slivers of escape room meets Joe Haldeman’s Forever Peace. It’s currently in Kickstarterdom. And you can play a timed demo right now. Go on.