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 We don’t post a lot about bundles and sales here. I largely agreed with simulation maven and long-time indie dev Cliff Harris that unplayed games are a blight upon developers and players alike, and that we might all be better off if we just paid full price for games we really want and then played the mess out of them. My moral authority on this topic, however, is about nil: I have literally dozens of unplayed games installed on my PC, hundreds I’ll never touch in my Steam library, and, even after the 32 bit app-ocalypse, enough mobile games to last me a lifetime, if push came to shove.
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 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, Android, PC/Mac/Linux We’ve loved the Trese Brothers around here since before there was an around here. Way back when, at another site that you might have heard of, they were recipients of several year-end accolades for their previous title, Templar Battleforce. Their latest, Star Traders: Frontiers, has been out for PC/Mac/Linux since last August, but, today, we learned it’s making the move to our touchscreens. Soon.
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?