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.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac Remember way back in 2015 when we’d be lucky to get 3-4 board game apps released a year (and half of them would suck)? Times have changed. Hot on the heels of Evolution from North Star comes The Castles of Burgundy from Digidiced, releasing for iOS/Android this Thursday.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac I like to poke fun at the guys from North Star Games for being the Blizzard of board game app development. After all, it took Blizz 10 years to bring us Diablo 3, whereas North Star has been working on Evolution for the last five. Of course, that’s board game years, so its roughly equivalent. Still, Blizzard games are known for their polish and sheen right out of the box, and that was North Star’s plan with this elongated dev cycle: make the board game app that all others will be (unfavorably) compared to. Well, it’s out in the wilderness now, so you can go see if they accomplished their dream.
PC/Mac Sorry for the lack of content this week, folks. Real job getting in the way of fun these days. Thus, I don’t have time for a lengthy post bemoaning the rise in viking-themed pop culture stuff and will, instead, just bring the thunder up front. Champions of Midgard is a viking-themed board game of worker placement and dice chucking and, apparently, it’s coming to digital.
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/Mac I’m not sure how this happened, but suddenly I have two very good RPGs to play on my Mac. Of course, I don’t have time to play either of them, but they’re both downloaded anyway, just in case. One of them is Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire which added turn-based combat support in a patch mid-January. The other is the one right up there in the headline. Divinity: Original Sin 2 has just been released for Mac.
PC/Mac/Linux Last Friday we returned to our weekly glimpse into the future and I stated that I would be playing the hell out of Divinity: Original Sin 2. Well, I lied. I didn’t even open D:OS2 all weekend. I have a good excuse, though. You see, no one told me that a little card game called Slay the Spire had left Early Access last Thursday. If I’d known, I would have been forthcoming with the fact that I planned on playing the living hell out of Slay the Spire all weekend long.
PC/Mac/Linux While I love Baldur’s Gate, BG2, and all the other Infinity Engine games from the 90’s and early aughts, they did suck in one aspect: combat. Unlike the fantastic D&D Gold Box CRPGs from SSI, the Infinity Engine turned RPG combat into a real-time click-fest, which was so unlike tabletop D&D that I could never quite grok the reasoning behind the decision. Tabletop RPGs are turn-based, why not the digital versions? This bizarre choice was used again by Obsidian when they attempted to reignite the Infinity Engine style games with 2015’s Pillars of Eternity. I tried, I swear I tried multiple times, to play PoE only to discover that the game wasn’t compelling enough for me to put up with combat I despised. Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, also released with the real-time curse, but today Obsidian has made amends. Today, they released an update that allows you to choose between real-time or turn-based modes. Guess what RPG I’m going to be buying and playing this weekend?
One of my most endearing traits [right above obnoxious, yet not entirely unwarranted, levels of self-loathing and below crippling social anxiety. Just in case you’re keeping score -ed.] is the ability to instantly give up when the going gets tough. This goes for everything, but let’s put it into a gaming perspective. Factorio, Europa Universalis, RimWorld, and Kerbal Space Program. What do all these titles have in common? Steep learning curves. How do I adjust? I simply stop playing them. I’ll get back to them, eventually. Usually. Factorio, for instance, has become, quite possibly, my favorite video game of all time. I’m slowly, but surely, getting my head around the interpersonal hooha in RimWorld. EU still eludes me, but I have started to get my Paradox feet wet with some Hearts of Iron IV. Oh, and I’ve really started digging into Kerbal Space Program the past couple weeks. Why did I wait so long?
iOS, Android, PC/Mac I heard about a digital version of Evolution way back when I attended my first Gen Con in Indianapolis a whopping five years ago. I’ve seen it in action at every Gen Con since, and it’s always looked polished and ready for prime-time. I was wrong, apparently, as its release was repeatedly pushed back as North Star Games tried to polish Evolution into the perfect digital board game. Did they succeed? We’ll find out on February 12.