iOS Universal, Android • Released earlier this year, Hostage Negotiator from Peter Kossits and Van Ryder Games, has been a reliable go-to when looking for a solo game that I can’t possibly win. It may have been overshadowed a bit by the more recent release of One Deck Dungeon, but Hostage Negotiator remains a tense, anxiety-inducing experience AND you can play it on your phone. It’s received a lot of new content since release, and recently it received one more bad guy: Gonzalo. Not only is Gonzalo the most difficult baddie to date, he’s also the last expansion planned.
iPad, Android Tablet, PC/Mac/Linux • Not to get all Galadriel on you, but the world has changed. I can feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I sense it on the App Store. Earlier this week saw the actual, zeroes-and-ones release of a digital board game, Among the Stars. Today we learned that another much-anticipated game is coming to life next week. If the headline didn’t give it away, it’s One Deck Dungeon from Handelabra.
iOS Universal, Android • Our old friend Peter Kossits went quiet for a bit after he released Baseball Highlights 2045 in 2016, following that up with a slew of updates including new content and an AI. Understandable, as he’s a one-man show whose main gig isn’t writing games in Unity not to mention having to put up with flack from yahoos over at BGG picking apart everything as if he were Blizzard or Firaxis. Well, Peter is back on the App Store with a new release. This time its a solo card game that I’d only heard about because it might have one of the most interesting themes in all of gamedom. That game is Hostage Negotiator.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • It was three years ago that Handelabra came out of nowhere and blew us away with the digital take on Sentinels of the Multiverse, a card game so fiddly that it was begging for a digital version. Since then, they’ve managed to incorporate just about every promo card and expansion available in the real world meaning news on the Sentinels front has been somewhat quiet lately (unless you’re a variant hunter, that is). Instead, Handelabra has focused on their new port, a digital retelling of Greater Than Games‘ one inning baseball duel, Bottom of the 9th. It’s been on iOS and Android since August, but today it made the jump to the big leagues: Steam.
Tabletop • I’ve never played a solo game quite like Nemo’s War from Victory Point Games. I went into it prepared for the usual solo/cooperative game tropes–turns divided by a “bad” phase, more fires to put out than you have hoses, a general sense of being completely screwed–but found none of those. Instead, Nemo’s War felt more like one of those open-world video games like the Elder Scrolls series. Do whatever the hell you want, when you want, and have fun doing it. There’s never that moment, as in other cooperatives, where you “beat the game”. It’s strange, yet mesmerizing.