Posts Categorised: Features

The god of small things, or how I built the world before tea

Another plant? Put it in the corner.

Another plant? Put it in the corner.

Editor’s note: A few weeks ago, Matt Thrower wrote a delightful session report about his quest for the Crown of Command in Talisman. I enjoyed the article so much that I sent a note to the writers (along with their daily bowl of gruel) asking them to do likewise. Not with Talisman, of course, but with whatever game tickled their fancy. Leave it to Alex, of Unmatched Air Traffic Control fame, to come up with something a bit off the beaten path, Tyto: Ecology. 

We’ll be posting more session reports, hopefully making it a regular feature, so I hope you enjoy them. Now, here’s Alex…

Life itself is will to power, or so Google tells me as I pan for intelligent embellishments. Existential observations made by the celebrated erudite. I just want to be old school about this. Not exactly Old Testament, but then, outside of starvation, Abrahamic wrath is not exactly catered to in Tyto: Ecology. Given my rainforest biome haven was named Tlacaelel — Nahuatl for ‘diligent person’, in a moment of regional inspiration — channeling one of history’s thirstier pantheons seems equally moot. Meanwhile, my armadillos just won’t breed. Do I trade Nietzsche for Havelock Ellis?!

I’ve been playing with the rather educational Tyto: Ecology since it launched, and for a terrarium sim, it’s a neat little package. Glacial, but neat. Free with a desert locale, expanded with affordably-priced rainforest and grassland biomes, Tyto: Ecology wants you to investigate the interlocking balance of flora and fauna. Furnishing zones with geographically appropriate plants and animals, it’s about achieving a Lovelockian homeostasis, minus the whole amethyst pendant thing.

Meander past the break to hear the saga of Tlacaelel and its inhabitants.

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Get your bets in because Carolina is going to win the Super Bowl

Let's act like we've been there before, okay guys?

Let’s act like we’ve been there before, okay guys?

I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that I don’t really do “sports”. I’m so out of the loop, in fact, that before I wrote this story I had to double-check and make sure I had the correct teams playing in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. You know, the Super Bowl? Other people plan parties and consider it a national holiday, I look at it as a good time to go shopping. That said, I do love me some video games and Pro Strategy Football 2015 just happens to be one of those.

Over the course of this week, I simulated 21 games between the guys from Denver and the guys from Carolina and the tally was 13 games in favor of the Panthers. For the simulations, I used 15 minute quarters and playoff overtime rules, but then I just let the little pixelated gladiators have a run at each other. As you can tell from my detailed explanation, this method is foolproof and cannot be incorrect. After all, when we ran the simulations last year, we correctly predicted that the Seahawks would beat the Patriots and now we’re swimming in our gambling winnings like Scrooge McDuck on a Saturday afternoon. Well, Owen is. He won’t open the vault door and let me see, for some reason.

All kidding aside, if you’re a football fan at all you should check out Pro Fantasy Football 2015 for iOS Universal and Android. It’s a ton of fun to play with, even if you’re not a huge football fan. Every highlight is shown in awesome Tecmo Bowl-style graphics and every stat is tallied in spreadsheet-like grids. Oooh, spreadsheets! Now you’re talking my language. If you’re a complete dummy, like me, you can even ask the coach to recommend plays for you on every down. That way you can blame your iPad in the post-game press conference. If you’d rather play in the front office than the gridiron, there’s also Pro Strategy Football Career 2015 for iOS Universal and Android, which puts you in the shoes of a general manager. You still play out the season, but it’s multiple seasons including drafts, trades, etc. Way over my head, but I’m thinking it might fit the bill for the discerning Pocket Tactics‘ sports fan.

Pocket Tactics’ Games of the Month: January 2016

As opposed to domesticated Womplords

As opposed to domesticated Womplords

Due to all the awards at the end of December, the new guys were too busy to clean the Writers’ Dungeon here at Mt. Hexmap. Thus, once January came around, I locked them up asked them to kindly head back to their stations and have at it. Frankly, writing all those awards tired them out and, to be honest, I really needed a little peace and quiet. With the writers safely stashed away, we didn’t get a “Games of the Month” post out last month. Well, the writers are back and fully rested, so take a gander past the break to see what our writers–famed App Store trendsetters–have been playing on their touchscreens over the past month.

Remember, these aren’t necessarily the latest and greatest games from last month. In fact, they may not have even been released in the past 30 days. Instead, you’ll find a cornucopia of games that have grabbed our attention over the past month. Curious? Good. See you on the other side.

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A burglar’s tale, or what happens daily in the world of Talisman

Look at all that extra cardboard real estate

Look at all that extra cardboard real estate

There was once a burglar, who grew tired of stealing trinkets from the rich and decided, instead, to steal the whole world.

One day, in the rooms of an incautious wizard, she took something she believed to be a gem. On examination it turned out to be a Crystal of Power, an extraordinary artefact which boosted the psychic ability of the owner. Needing no more push from fate than this, she set out on a quest for the legendary Crown of Command.

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Editors’ Choice Game of the Year 2015: Card Crawl

Have we mentioned that the art is great, too?

Have we mentioned that the art is great, too?

I looked. I swear that I looked for any other game that might fit the bill for our Editors’ Choice winner this year, but nothing came close to the love we have for Card Crawl. It’s quite possibly the perfect iPhone game, straddling a line between tactical decisions, long-term strategy, and casual gameplay that made it only slightly less addictive than these Percocets I’ve been downing since yesterday afternoon.

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Editors’ Choice Game of the Year 2015 Runner Up: Her Story

Don't be sad, you just won!

Don’t be sad, you just won!

Looking at images of Her Story, you might think that the only reason it’s getting an award is because it’s doing something different. Not entirely. Yes, an interactive fiction/puzzle game told via short video clips is unique to the App Store, but if it were just a gimmick the game wouldn’t be one of our favorites of 2015.

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Readers’ Choice Game of the Year 2015: Card Crawl

Starting to think I'll run out of screenshots for this game.

Starting to think I’ll run out of screenshots for this game.

The ballot boxes have been emptied, and the votes tallied and you, the readers, have spoken. Turns out we both have the same tastes this year as your winner, Card Crawl, has already collected our Board/Card Game of the Year award and just might be getting more hardware for their mantel later today when the Editors’ Choice awards are announced (more spoilers!).

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Creator of the Year 2015 Runner Up: Slitherine Software

And this wasn't even the best game they released this year.

And this wasn’t even the best game they released this year.

Pocket Tactics is a member of the Wargamer Limited Group, which is owned by Slitherine Software.

When we were putting together our nominees and voting behind the scenes for these year-end awards, Slitherine‘s name came up several time and I thought nothing of it. Games like Vietnam ’65 and Pike and Shot were excellent games and both were released and reviewed well before Pocket Tactics joined the Slitherine stable. When their name came up for Creator of the Year, however, I realized we might have a problem. After vigorous debates with the writers that I’ve come to know and trust, I realized that the bigger problem would be if we ignored the year that Slitherine had. It was a doozy.

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