iOS, Android • While my gaming desires tend to lean toward heavier fare such as Through the Ages or Twilight Struggle, there’s a warm place in my heart for simple, quick card games. Games that, while sitting at your child’s Holiday Concert and you spot another dad from your game group, can be played without dedicating all your attention, thus lowering the chances of your wife catching you sneaking turns. This is an entirely hypothetical situation, by the way. I’d never play games…who am I kidding? Lost Cities was our School Concert/Play/Sports game of choice but it has been surpassed by a little game that, until November, none of us had played, Morels. [Whoa, big reveal! It’s in the title of the piece you dink -ed.]
PC/Mac/Linux • I’ve been fascinated with the story of Jon Shafer ever since I heard about him back in the Civ IV days where he was a prolific modder catching the eye of Firaxis who hired him as an intern and, eventually, a full-time developer to help with the two Civ IV expansions. Big deal, sure, but the story took an epic turn when he was promoted and made the lead designer for the series’ next iteration, Civ V. Yep, it was his idea to move from square grid to hex and (controversially) abandon the Ultimate Stack of Doom tactic by eliminating units’ ability to stack. Oh, and he did this all before he was 25. When I was 25 I made my own beer bong from parts scavenged from my dad’s garage and Home Depot. Once again, I lose. Since then, he’s meandered around and, eventually, settled with his own dev house, Conifer Games. Their first title, At the Gates, is another epic 4X strategy title and it’s coming to PC/Mac/Linux in January, 2019.
iOS, Switch, PC/Mac/Linux • My kids think it’s weird that I enjoy programming games like TIS-100 from Zachtronics (or any Zachtronics game, actually), or Human Resource Machine from Tomorrow Corporation. This is because they think I sit at work all day and write code which is most definitely not what I do. In fact, my “writing code” to “writing boring documentation” ratio is so horrifically skewed to the latter that it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’d leap at the chance to do a little coding without all that legal overhead. 7 Billion Humans is Tomorrow Corporation’s follow-up to the aforementioned Human Resource Machine and it’s been out on Steam and Switch for a couple months. Yesterday, however, it arrived for iOS and now it can be played the way it was meant to be: on a tablet.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • So, all the voices in my head the last couple days have been talking about one thing, the new game from indie dev Kenny Sun, Twinfold. “Wait, what voices?” you’re probably asking. To that I say, Sandwiches! [we’re not sure when Dave fell and hit his head, but we’re all guessing it was somewhere around the age of 7 -ed.]
PS4, Xbox, PC • I imagine the right way to open the review of a Lovecraft-riffing game is dark foreshadowing of looming evil, so, uh–don’t look behind you. [Well done. Now clean out your desk. -ed.] Ripstone’s Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics (henceforth ACT) aims at an experience much like XCOM. Not XCOM as it would be now, because you’ve probably already played that. Instead, it has all the pieces needed to give you the experience of playing XCOM for the first time, again. That is, it’s mechanically distinct enough to play quite differently, facilitating the joy of discovery. The setting is almost perfect for this purpose–while I feel the pull of legitimate concerns about continuing to use Lovecraft’s work (starkly put by Michael Barnes here), ACT’s melding of techno-über-Nazis with Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos offers players mostly familiar, immediately comprehensible weapons and soldier roles to build from, with such a variety of possible ways of adding strangeness that you never know what might emerge from the shadows.
After hearing several positive takes (including one from a site that, at least in the past, was always wary of F2P junk) for the new mobile Command & Conquer title, Command & Conquer: Rivals, I decided to take a look for myself. Within seconds after finishing the tutorial, I clicked on a unit to upgrade and was sent to the screen you see at the top of the post. Deleted. I had ignored C&C: Rivals completely, assuming it was nothing more than the usual cash grab wrapped inside a pretty Skinner box. I’m here to tell you that my initial assumptions were correct. It’s shit.
iOS • Plague, Inc. was one of the early App Store success stories, eventually pulling in over 100 million downloads. Thus, creator Ndemic Creations is responsible for the wholesale slaughter of trillions of digital humans. They’re basically the Earth equivalent of the people on Eminiar VII. [Deep cut, nerd. Also, the people on Eminiar VII and Vendikar were disintegrated after the computer simulation. Gah, why do I even bother with this guy? -ed.] Having destroyed humanity so many times, Ndemic has shifted their focus. Instead of a global lens, their new game, Rebel, Inc., focuses on a single country and all the fun that comes along with counter insurgency. Yep, it’s a war game, of sorts. There aren’t hexes or counters, but the point of Rebel, Inc. is to quell a post-war insurgency by winning over the hearts and minds of the people.
PC/Mac • I was going to post about this last week, but realized that if there’s one board game company that doesn’t need a lot of help promoting their Kickstarters, it’s Cool Mini or Not. Their Kickstarters usually end up in the millions-of-dollars range, so an early preview of said Kickstarter campaign by us didn’t feel necessary. Today, however, that Kickstarter is live–and already funded a mere half hour–so it seemed like a good time to bring it to your attention. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the viking-themed, area control gem, Blood Rage, from Eric Lang is coming to digital next year.
Another weekend is upon us, and it brings with it the first day of December. Why is that important? Because I’m going to be spreading holiday cheer on Stately Play starting tomorrow. I’m not even that big a fan of Xmas, but I think I need to do it just to get under OhBollox’s skin. That’s tomorrow, however. Today we gaze into the crystal ball and see what we hope to play this weekend. Let us know what you have on your gaming plate for the weekend in the comments!
iOS, Android, PC • I’m not a huge fan of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, but that has more to do with bloat than the game itself. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but when a game keeps adding cards and rules and mechanisms, eventually my brain shuts down and I can’t handle it. Sure, I could play Ascension without the expansions, but then the same part of my brain will keep telling me that I’m missing out on “the big picture”. It’s a sickness. That said, I know a lot of you love Ascension, so you’ll be happy to hear that its follow-up, Shards of Infinity from Stoneblade Entertainment, is coming to digital next year. You’ll also be happy to hear who’s behind the port. No, it’s not the Ascension-crafting Playdek. Instead we have Race for the Galaxy upstart, Temple Gates, taking the helm.