Neil deGrasse Tyson was wrong, the earth does appear to be flat.
Usually January and February are the slow months, where not much happens and we tend to write stories about board games or lament the fact that XCOM 2 unlocked so late last night that I didn’t get any sleep. It’s been a bit different this year. We’ve seen great games like Crashlands hit the App Store, and then this week we had two big board game releases land, Tsuro and Puzzle Strike. Yep, sure has been busy around here. Uh-huh. If any of this sounds like I’m fishing for an excuse for being lazy, then it’s working. You see, earlier this week we had two major releases on iOS and I managed to miss both of them so, if I can convince you it was because I was busy rather than just dumb and lazy, yea for me!
The two releases in question are Space Grunts and Planar Conquest. Now, I haven’t been completely derelict in my duties; both games have been discussed in the darkened hallways of Mt. Hexmap and both will be getting reviews up shortly, courtesy of Tof and Zac. That said, I should have alerted you, dear readers, to the fact that these major releases are now available for the mobile platform of your choice. Let’s take a look at both of them after the break.
One of the first games ported by Slitherine to the iPad was the empire builder, Legion. Not a pure wargame, Legion concerns itself with that other pillar of strategy gaming, 4X. That’s not to say it doesn’t let you get your hands dirty on the field of battle–the game is full of tactical combat–but a lot of your time will revolve around building and expanding your province.
As I mentioned, Legion has been out for iPad for a long time now–since 2013–but it just arrived on Android tablets a few weeks ago. This is the full game, exactly what you’d get on PC or iPad, only now it’s on Google Play.
While Legion doesn’t carry the hefty price tag of Slitherine’s “big” games like Panzer Corps or Battle Academy, don’t let that fool you. By no means is Legion a gateway strategy game that anyone can jump in and figure out. The game is fairly hardcore and, as Owen says several times in his review, you need to read the manual. Twice. Not what you want to hear if you’re looking for a quick, easy game, but if you’re looking for a deep, strategic game that will give you a 4X fix on your tablet, Legion fits the bill.
Pick up Legion now for iPad or Android. It’s $10 on iPad, but only $5 on Google Play right now. Not sure if that’s a temporary or permanent release price, but if you’re interested in Legion I wouldn’t wait to find out.
Tokyo-based developer Christof Aschwanden has been plugging away at the strategy set for a good few years. Tableteers might know the studio from portable RTS fare like the Operation Stormfront line; looking and playing like simple shelfmates of Real War and defiantly old school. The desktop fellowship might be privvy to Aschwanden from recent Demise of Nations: Rome. Westphalian pedantry aside, it remains a gem of a 4X title and the future release of it on iOS and Android should fit the bill for those champing at the possibility of larger-scale strategising. But we’re here to ogle one project nearing completion and currently undergoing the rigors of alpha-testing.
Risk has been there and certainly done that. A tried and true territory control frisson for the whole family, ubiquitous and no stranger to surprisingly snappy touch-ups. Less effervescent rehashes are legion, if a quick glance at the App Store is acceptable evidence. As such, I’ve been croupiering blobs across an Ancient Europe in an effort to see if Aschdwaden’s inbound Age of Conquest IV is, heavens, a risk worth taking. And I think it is. At least, for those wanting a concise, pleasantly well-featured and PBEM-enabled package that’d make Albert Lamorisse nod in approval.
If I were about to be banished to a wifi-less desert island and (through some extraordinary mercy) was granted one game to accompany me for the rest of my lonely, coconut-eating days, I would very probably bring King of Dragon Pass.
There is nothing in the world like King of Dragon Pass. It is part text adventure, part Civilization-style 4X game. It takes place in a low-fantasy world that feels genuinely mysterious; you are the elder of a Bronze Age clan in a land where magic and myths seem very real and your neighbours aren’t always human. This is a game that is big enough to warrant an 800-page wiki of which I have never seen one kilobyte and never will. The mystery of how the game works is too precious to me.
King of Dragon Pass is a game of such intimidating quality and daunting magic that, since its original release back in 1999, no one has ever made a serious attempt to copy or duplicate or “reimagine” it. I wouldn’t trust anyone to do it, anyway. Well, except for one guy: David Dunham, the principal designer of KoDP. And he’s going to do just that.
Six Ages is coming at the end of 2016 (hopefully), a game that Dunham tells me is “a proper successor to King of Dragon Pass”. I’m not sure that the world deserves a follow-up to KoDP. We haven’t exactly been on our best behaviour lately. But I’m not going to try and talk Dunham out of it.
After the jump, everything that King of Dragon Pass creator David Dunham has told me about Six Ages.
There was some surprise on the PT Forums last week when a no-frills iOS port of the classic Civ spin-off Sid Meier’s Colonization appeared on the App Store. Among Civ heads there’s quite a lot of fond memories of the 1994-vintage Colonization, which was (wisely) not followed by the sequels Sid Meier’s Indian Removal and Sid Meier’s Cultural Appropriation.
I’m not familiar with London, are Nyppleston and Bumford real places?
One of our most anticipated games of 2015 is Antihero from developer Tim Conkling, a 4X game set in Victorian London in which you control a thieves guild of cutthroats and urchins. The theme alone should be enough to get you excited, but when you see the direction the game is taking you might just fall in love.
Today we received a new trailer that, while similar to the old trailer, shows off a new art style while maintaining the previous trailer’s amazing musical selection. On the downside, Antihero was originally scheduled for release in early 2015 and the reality that they’re going to miss that date seems to have finally sunk in. Today Mr. Conkling told us that he’s now looking at a early 2016 release, which can’t come soon enough.
Check out the new trailer after the break, and I dare you to not hum that tune for the rest of the day.
Once upon a time, Brian Reynolds was the dauphin prince of strategy game designers. An early protege of Uncle Sid himself, Reynolds was the driving force behind the narrative 4X masterpiece Alpha Centauri, the hugely under-rated Rise of Nations, and the game that some Civ heads would argue is the apex of that singular series: Civilization II.
Like many prodigies, Reynolds started acting out in ways that defied our expectations for him. Instead of growing into the next Sid Meier, Reynolds (wearing a leather jacket and proclaiming that we aren’t even his real dads) eloped with free-to-play trailblazers Zynga, which in the first decade of this century was a roach motel for promising game developers who checked in and were promptly never heard from again.
While at Zynga, Reynolds created a bunch of the social game horsecrap that the company was known for at the time, most notably Frontierville, a game that transported the mechanics of Zynga’s fading jewel Farmville into the Old West for no apparent reason at all. In 2013, it was announced that Reynolds was leaving Zynga, and everybody who liked actual games breathed collective a sigh of relief. Now Brian could get back to making the proper strategy games that he excelled at.
Except nope that’s apparently not what’s happening at all sorry. Brian Reynolds’ new game is here, and now that he’s free to make any kind of game he wants — he’s made another clone of another godawful F2P game. Reynolds new game is a Clash of Clans imitator called DomiNations, which I fully admit has got a clever title. But dash any hopes you may have had that Brian Reynolds was done with his rebellious phase and was coming home to make real games. Good luck turning a profit with your extremely late arrival in the most crowded and least differentiated corner of the video games market, Brian. I really do mean that. Please make a few million bucks and then make a proper game for the Civ OGs that were with you back in the day.
Watch the trailer for DomiNations after the jump. I’ll meet you there with a handkerchief.
The surest tell that you’re playing a good turn-based game is how readily it induces Inter-Turn Apnea. You know what I’m talking about.
You spend your turn carefully laying down foundations for the table-flipping coup-de-main that you’ll spring the next time you get the dice. So with all in readiness, you pass the dice on to the next player and wait for them to come back around to you. You x-ray everyone else’s moves while trying to maintain a Moai-like poker face. You unspool contingency plans in your head. And when the dice get to the player who might unmake everything you’ve worked so hard to set up, you involuntarily hold your breath. Inter-Turn Apnea.
The press preview of Sid Meier’s Starships that I’ve been playing is so good at generating ITA that it’s almost turned me purple.