Posts by: Dave Neumann

RPG Redo: Preview of upcoming Knights of Pen and Paper 2

I actually wear a hat like that when I role-play. The pointy one, not the one with horns. That would be too nerdy.

I actually wear a hat like that when I role-play. The pointy one, not the one with horns. That would be too nerdy.

Knights of Pen & Paper was a unique take on the standard role playing game, putting you in the roles of not only the players of a tabletop game, but also the game master. It had its tongue firmly in cheek, and presented everything in a fun, 8-bit style. It was a clever enough title that it attracted Paradox Entertainment who has now taken over the reigns and is publishing the upcoming, and creatively titled, Knights of Pen & Paper 2.

KOPP2 isn’t expected to hit the App Store until May, but I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-release copy this week. It’s not the full game–only about 20% of the game is present–but I’ve had a chance to check out the tutorial and early missions. Immediately you’ll notice that the graphics are a huge upgrade. The game uses 16-bit graphics that brought back strong feelings of messing around with my old Sega Genesis. Gameplay-wise, things feel very much the same, which isn’t the worst thing considering that the first game was so well done. If it isn’t broken, right? The game involves the players collecting quests and the GM deciding how hard to make each fight by adding or subtracting monsters. The players then fight away, using powers gained through leveling.

The game definitely still has the same sense of humor–the tutorial pits you against the Tarrasque–which is probably the biggest draw of the game. Yes, there’s a good RPG in here, but it’s the humor that sets it apart. Looking forward to getting my hands on the full game when it releases in the next month.

Check out the new gameplay trailer after the break.

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Cuck-coup: Coup bluffs its way onto App Store

The Contessa & The Captain, this fall on NBC

The Contessa & The Captain, this fall on NBC

Coup is one of those games that, when it was announced, we had no idea how it would work in a digital format. The entire game is based on lying and bluffing your way to victory, so not being able to see or talk with your opponents just seemed like a subpar way to play the game. Well, we don’t need to speculate on whether it will be a success or failure any more because it’s been released for iOS Universal and can be nabbed right now as a free download.

Coup is a game in which each player is dealt two characters, each of which has a special power. You know which characters you have, but nobody else does. On your turn, you then take an action based on which character the other players think you have. You don’t need to have that character to take the action, but if you’re lying and someone calls you on it, you lose one of your cards. If you lose both cards, you’re out of the round. It’s a very fun, fast bluffing game when sitting around a table and enjoying your beverage of choice.

Will it work on your iPhone? Give it a go and let us know in the comments. No trailer for this one, but you can see it being played by the crew of Game Night! from BGG after the break.

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The struggle continues: GMT Games updates status of Twilight Struggle

Seen it

Seen it

If we’re just talking levels of anticipation, Twilight Struggle is the digital board game equivalent of the new Star Wars movie. Unfortunately, J.J. Abrams has released two trailers for Star Wars while us board game fans are still staring at a static screenshot from an alpha version. The closest thing we get to an actual trailer are the monthly updates posted by GMT Games, speaking of which, one just landed yesterday.

We don’t have anything major to announce (such as a release date), but Playdek has finished the engine architecture stuff we talked about last time and are back at tweaking the actual game at this point. The HUD has been updated with graphics for player avatars, hand details, DEFCON and space tracks, and more. Card rules are being ironed out, and the map has been updated to wrap around when scrolling. The in-game UI has been updated to work on a number of different resolutions, so it’s sounding like they’re getting closer and closer to actually getting this thing in our hands.

In another update, GMT stated that the current release window for Twilight Struggle is this summer, so we’re looking at 2-4 months from now, which cannot come soon enough.

Review: Sorcery! 3

Ready to change the world

Ready to change the world

It’s been nearly 18 months since we last traveled with the sorcerer from Analand on their quest for the stolen Crown of Kings. Back then, inkle Studios seemed to be content simply creating incredible digital gamebooks. Since then, however, they released 80 Days and what we would consider a “gamebook” became something entirely different. Gone were the linear paths, the feeling that you’re locked into a story that has a definite beginning, middle, and end. Instead, here was interactive fiction that opened up an entire world and asked you where you wanted to go.

Sorcery 3 is like that.

In fact, Sorcery 3 takes everything we thought we knew about gamebooks—including the original text that it’s based on—and turns it on its head. It’s a staggering work of interactive fiction and, combined with the original Sorcery! and Sorcery! 2, becomes an epic tale unlike anything I’ve ever played.

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Out Tonight: Sorcery 3, Does Not Commute, and Key

This new view doesn't just look cool, it changes everything.

This new view doesn’t just look cool, it changes everything.

The big release of tonight (and maybe of 2015 thus far) is Sorcery 3 from inkle Studios. The folks at inkle redefined what a digital gamebook could be with the first installment of Sorcery, and perfected it (or so we thought) with Sorcery 2. Tonight, we get to see if they’ve managed to improve upon what was already the flagship of the genre (spoiler: they have).

Sorcery 3 continues the story of your search for the Crown of Kings through the wastelands of the Baklands. If you’ve played the first 2 chapters, you might think you know what to expect, but you’d be wrong. This version has the same look and feel–no one is going to mistake it for anything other than a Sorcery title–but the gameplay has so many new twists and turns that it doesn’t even resemble its source material after a bit.

You can start this chapter with a new character but the real joy comes from continuing with a character that’s gone through the Shamutanti Hills and Khare and has all the boons and banes that they’ve collected along the way. In this leg of the journey, you’re hunting–or being hunted by–seven serpents who are heading to Mampang to report your progress to the evil Archmage who will then be ready for you in the final chapter. Searching for, and defending yourself against, these serpents is way cooler than it has any right to be.

If you’ve played the first two installments of the Sorcery series, this is a no-brainer. If you’re new to the series, pick up all three of the games and play through them in order. You won’t be disappointed. I should have a review up for Sorcery 3 tomorrow morning, but if the preceding few paragraphs didn’t tip you off, I’ll give you a little tidbit of what to expect when the review lands: I love it.

Pick it up for iOS Universal for $5. You can also snag it for Android devices.

More of tonight’s games after the break.

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Sheer dominance: Dominant Species update nearing release

The frozen tundra

The frozen tundra

Dominant Species is a brilliant board game released way back in 2010 that uses euro game mechanisms to explore the underutilized theme of evolution and natural selection. Not cool enough? You can play the game as lizards or spiders. Bam! Now I have your attention. GMT Games released a digital version of the game back in 2012 that was considered to not be terrible, but was loaded with a useless AI that was a pushover for anyone who wasn’t just learning how to play.

GMT heard the complaints and has been looking for an upgrade ever since. The original programmer wasn’t available, and the game has gone through a few developers since then. Now, however, the update is just about ready to be revealed to the world, with GMT stating that it should be out before the end of May.

Not only does this update improve the UI and graphics of the game, it supposedly improves the AI by leaps and bounds over its predecessor. On the down side, the update will not include any online multiplayer due to the complexity of getting it operational. Online multiplayer will come in a later update, but they think the AI is so good that the single player game will tide us all over until the multiplayer update hits. This update will be free for those who already own the app, and the base price of the app will go up to $7 from $5 when the update goes live next month. In other words, if you’re interested in getting Dominant Species on your iPad, buy it now.

After the break, watch the indomitable Undead Viking show you how the game is played. It’s heavy, folks. This one will make your brain hurt.

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Wood anniversary: Carcassonne celebrates 5 year anniversary on App Store

Have you seen the latest Jurassic World trailer? This is pretty much it.

Have you seen the latest Jurassic World trailer? This is pretty much it.

Carcassonne was released before Mt. Hexmap was even a twinkle in Owen’s eye, which makes it weird that it’s still considered by many to be the best digital board game port available. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to the incredible job that TheCodingMonkeys did when crafting Carcassonne, or an indictment of all the games that have come since. Seeing as how I really like a lot of those other games, I’ll stick with the former.

To celebrate the five year anniversary of Carcassonne’s release, TheCodingMonkeys have bundled up all the released expansions and are selling them together in an Anniversary Bundle. Yes, now you can snag every released expansion for only $5. For those of you who’ve already bought all the expansions, you’ll get nothing and like it.

TheCodingMonkeys have also announced that Carcassonne will be heading to the Mac App Store later this year as well, with full cross-platform play with the iOS version.

Carcassonne is available for iOS Universal and will run you $10. Trailer after the break.

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Hard drive: Does Not Commute landing this week

Pop goes the weasel

Do you think you have to listen to “Pop goes the weasel” the entire time you drive this thing?

Does Not Commute is a blast from the past from Swedish developer, Mediocre. How can you not love a developer named Mediocre whose tagline is ” It’s a driving game with a top-down perspective which I can’t remember seeing since the late 90’s and Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2.

What we don’t know is what the point of all this driving is. It’s being called a “strategic driving” game, and we’ve been promised the ability to drive in dozens of different vehicles. There also appears to be a story in the game that opens up as you drive around town. Something about mad scientists, masks, and Yorkshire Terriers. All I know from the trailer is that you can try to pull off some sweet stunts as you drive around town, which is all anyone really wants in a game like this anyway, right?

Does Not Commute will be released tomorrow night and will be free to download with a single IAP that will unlock the premium game. The premium game will offer iCloud synchronization between devices, the ability to start from checkpoints, and detailed statistics. If that doesn’t interest you, you get everything else for free.

Check out the trailer after the break.

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