iOS, Android, PC Temple Gates came out of nowhere in 2017 to rock our worlds with the, still fantastic, digital port of Race for the Galaxy. While we know they’ve been working on it’s dicey cousin, Roll for the Galaxy, we also know that they’ve hooked up with Stone Blade Entertainment and have been working on their 2-player card battler, Shards of Infinity. Looks like the latter has been getting the bulk of the attention because, today, they announced that beta signups are open.
PC/Mac If you need proof that we’re living in a Golden Age of digital board games, I offer up Mystic Vale as evidence. Releasing less than a month ago, I’m guessing many of us have already moved on to other games like Evolution or the latest darling, Castles of Burgundy. If a game with the name recognition and polish of Mystic Vale had appeared back in 2013 our heads would have exploded. To bring Mystic Vale back to our collective subconscious, today Nomad Games released its first expansion: Vale of Magic.
I was a backer of the Kickstarter for Victory Point Games‘ recent release of Gem Rush Second Edition. I had never played (or even heard of) the first edition, but I love the “premier” stuff VPG has been putting out recently not to mention that most (all?) of their games are playable solo. Oh, and the designer is Jeremy Lennert, who I fell in love with via a previous VPG title, Darkest Night Second Edition. My copy of Gem Rush arrived before the holidays and has sat, untouched, since. Not the game’s fault, just my crappy time management. Anyway, I had forgotten (until prompted in the forums) that the Kickstarter had mentioned a digital version. With little to no fanfare, the digital version of Gem Rush was released way back when and has completely slid under our radar. Time to fix that. Gem Rush is a polished, tight app of a pretty great board game that no one is aware of. Let’s change that.
PC Mystic Vale from Alderac Entertainment Group and Nomad Games has been available on Early Access since late 2018. Today we learned that it’s breaking free from its beta shackles and heading out into the real world. On Thursday, January 31, Mystic Vale will have its official launch for PC on Steam.
iOS Universal, Android • I’m currently putting together our top five lists for the End of Year Hullabaloo and, while I don’t want to drop any spoilers, you may see Meteorfall pop up once or twice. Just to be clear, I collected those lists before the latest mega-patch dropped, which introduces a new skin, new cards, and new Meteorfall goodness. Say hello to the Queen of Shadows.
PC/Mac • Book of Demons is a weird one. Part Action-RPG, part roguelike, part card game, and with a graphic style that I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before. It appears to be an homage to the original Diablo, complete with a Deckard Cain-alike and an ominous cathedral whose depths you’ll be exploring for loot and glory. There’s also a big, red demon sitting at the bottom waiting for you. So, it’s a lot like Diablo, except when it isn’t, which is most of the time. Confused? Stay awhile and listen!
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.]
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.
iOS/Android (coming in 2019), PC/Mac/Linux (available now) • Artifact, if you’re not aware, is the latest digital CCG to hit the market, this time from streaming bigwig, Valve. While playing Civ VI on my laptop, I was inundated with ads for the game [there was one, and it was only when he logged in -ed.] and, [being a simpleton -ed.] couldn’t resist. After playing through the two tutorial matches I can only say one thing for certain: I’m not a huge fan of CCGs.
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.