See that isometric dungeon back there? That’s the gamebook.
I’m speechless. Seriously, when Tin Man Games told us last month that they were Kickstarting a new version of the classic gamebook, Warlock of Firetop Mountain and that it would use a new miniatures-based combat system, I was pretty excited. When I strolled over to the Kickstarter this morning I nearly lost my mind. What Tin Man is doing with Warlock isn’t just updating the combat but something entirely new, something we haven’t seen before, and it looks downright incredible.
Warlock on Firetop Mountain is the granddaddy of gamebooks, being the very first Fighting Fantasy book ever created way back in 1982. It’s a fairly basic dungeon crawl but it allowed young dorks, like me, to play an RPG solo, which was just about the coolest damn thing ever when I was 11. This new version from Tin Man looks like it strays from the original gamebook’s path but, as we’ve seen with inkle Studio‘s take on the Sorcery! series, that’s not a bad thing. It looks like Tin Man is using the advantages of digital to expand the book not just in graphics, but in story as well. You’ll be able to pick your character, and each one will tell a different story as they travel through the Warlock’s labyrinth, unlocking new areas and quests not found with any other characters.
As for those graphics, the “book” is a wonder. The dungeon creates itself as you explore like some Dwarven Forge set that only gaming gods could possess, with tidbits of dungeon master-like information popping up as you enter rooms or places of interest along your journey. Everything is done in full 3D, including the tactical combat, and do I really need to continue? Seriously, watch the video after the break, pick your jaw up off the floor, and then head over to the Kickstarter page.
Can we all just be thankful that the chef isn’t Neelix.
We received the press release for Space Food Truck a few weeks ago and were instantly smitten. First of all, it’s from One Man Left, creators of the magnificent, yet unloved, Outwitters. The fact that it is an original board game and deals with two of my favorite things, food and space, were just icing on the cake, so to speak. Then, we really read the press release and noticed that Space Food Truck was only being developed for PC and Mac. Many tears were shed, but we forged ahead and put SFT behind us.
Yesterday, One Man Left announced via a Kickstarter update that both iOS and Android are now on the agenda which is awesome. The only problem is, the Kickstarter is nearly $30K short with only 15 days to go.
Space Food Truck is a cooperative game in which up to four players will each control a different member of the SFT’s crew. There’s Captain, Chef, Scientist, and Engineer and each have their own deck of cards which you’ll build up with new cards as the game progresses. Your goal is to search for ingredients from over 100 different planets, create a dish, and deliver it to the planet that demands it, all before your ship blows up. It’s all done tongue-in-cheek, and it looks much, much cooler than I just made it sound.
The game can be played solo, with you controlling multiple characters, or can be played via pass-and-play or online with up to three other players, each controlling one of the roles. They’re expecting to have the game out for PC/Mac later this year, with the iOS and Android version shortly thereafter.
Head on over to the Kickstarter and check out the campaign. After the break is an alpha gameplay trailer that will give you a good overview of how the game will play.
Gloom is a weird game. The cards are printed on sheets of transparent plastic and you place them on top of each other so that some effects are blocked while others still show through. It’s a cool concept, but also kind of a weird one to bring to a digital medium. I mean, most of the fun is playing around with these unique cards which will be completely lost when the cards exist only as images on a screen.
That said, the game should work just fine digitally. Each player controls a family that would make Gomez and Morticia proud, and the goal is to make them as miserable as possible before you shuffle off their mortal coils. Of course, your opponents are trying to do everything in their power to brighten your family’s day, and you’re doing likewise right back at them.
Yesterday, developer Sky Ship Studios announced that they will be starting a Kickstarter campaign later this year to bring Gloom to PC, Mac, and Linux. If the Kickstarter goes well, they will be looking at other platforms as well. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter isn’t even slated to begin until autumn of this year which basically makes me feel like I’m wasting everyone’s time. Damn.
Check out the teaser trailer after the break. Yes, it’s a teaser for a Kickstarter that’s at least 4-5 months away. What’s happening to me?
Considering their homeworld, what other diplomatic tendency would you have expected?
Halcyon-6 is an upcoming rogue-like, sci-fi game that’s currently on Kickstarter for PC and Mac, which probably makes you wonder why I’m talking about it on Pocket Tactics. Well, much like another rogue-like sci-fi game that started out on PC/Mac, Halcyon-6 may be coming to tablets. If you read down on the Kickstarter page they specifically say that other platforms (iOS/Android) may appear as stretch goals depending on the success of the campaign and interest.
Now, Halcyon-6 is already well over-funded with 16 days left to go, but there’s still been no stretch goal indicating that iOS or Android are in the works. We need to change that. All the sci-fi stuff packed into this game looks absolutely fantastic. Don’t believe me? Watch the Kickstarter trailer after the break, and then head over the Kickstarter and let them know you’re looking for a mobile version.
Seattle’s Harebrained Schemes are back at the Kickstarter well to fill their bucket again for more Shadowrun: this time they’re offering up Shadowrun: Hong Kong, their most blandly descriptive title to date, but with their track record I’m willing to issue an indulgence.
Hong Kong will be another standalone expansion pack for the throwback cyberpunk RPG but with one major difference. “We have elected to focus all our efforts on PC in order to deliver the best game we can,” says the pitch, “without the current processing and memory limitations of tablets.”
Well same to you, pal! What a snub. Harebrained’s support for tablets has always felt a bit half-hearted with the rebooted Shadowrun games, always coming months after the PC release and shaved of the user-created content elements. Now our preferred platforms have been kicked to the curb entirely. This is absolutely good news for those of us who still play games on PC, but tablet-only types are left in the cold.
Harebrained Schemes might be the most successful of the wave of nostalgia-powered Kickstarter projects of the past couple of years. The studio successfully razzed the 1990s cyberpunk RPG with 2013’s widely-admired Shadowrun Returns, which they then exceeded with the inarguably superior Shadowrun: Dragonfall — both of which came to iPad and Android tablets.
So why leave mobile high and dry for Shadowrun: Hong Kong? I’m sure that to a great extent we can take HBS at face value: they want to make a PC-native experience with lots of whiz-bang graphics and–I dunno–actual magic. But businesses don’t just leave money on the table for no reason. The unstated truth must be that the two Shadowrun titles must have sold poorly on mobile — or at least they’ve sold an order of magnitude more on PC. And that’s a shame.
I usually wait until the new models are out and then pick up last year’s model for a steal.
The original Musket Smoke for iPad was mainly a multiplayer affair. There was an AI present, sure, but its main positive attribute was how good it looked as a corpse on the battlefield. Considering that Musket Smoke was always considered to be multiplayer focused, the lack of single player goodness can be forgiven. Hell, nobody complains that the AI in Hearthstone is terrible, do they?
Developer Woodie Dovich is heading back to the drawing board for Musket Smoke 2, which is currently on Kickstarter. This time, single player will be the focus with a full single player campaign built around the English Civil War. That’s not to say that multiplayer will take a hit in MS2. It should still be the same campaign-oriented multiplayer that worked so well in the original, it just won’t be the only reason to get MS2 when it releases.
Musket Smoke 2 will not be a free download like Musket Smoke currently is. Instead, there will be an up front cost that will contain both the single and multiplayer campaigns. The Kickstarter campaign is offering backers exclusive maps and more, but to get all the exclusive maps you’ll have to shell out $100 CAD. There are smaller entry points as well, but some of these numbers jumped out at me considering that we’re talking about an app. Head on over to the Kickstarter and check out all the tiers and rewards for yourself.
For those of you wanting to check out Musket Smoke, it’s a free download and was just updated to include Universal support.
Kickstarter video for Musket Smoke 2 after the break.
We’ve not hidden our feelings about the lack of a decent city-builder on our tablets. Nearly every title out there is either a free-to-play mess, or just not deep enough to grab you and hold you the way the classics like SimCity or Caesar did. Therefore, we will take any and all chances of a decent city builder for mobile and run with them, even if their appearance on iOS or Android is, at this point, just a wish.
Cole Jeffries, who developed the puzzly Megacity for iOS and Android is twisting his city-building muscles again. This time he’s including a board game mechanic for good measure: deck-building. Concrete Jungle is the new title and it’s just been funded on Kickstarter with 23 days to go.
Concrete Jungle is still more puzzle than city manager, but the combo of deck-builer and city-builder looked too cool to ignore. So, the goal of the game is to clear city blocks so you can continue to build a bigger city. Of course, the bigger the city gets, the harder it gets to keep building. There are over 150 cards that you can use to build a deck that will allow you to build certain buildings, and as your cities get bigger, you can add bigger and better buildings to your deck. Best of all, the game features no IAP at all.
The big downside is that Concrete Jungle is currently only planned for PC and Mac, and those are the only platforms being funded by the Kickstarter. Cole does mention, however, that iOS and Android are possibilities down the road. Let’s hope he heads that route, as tablets can use any city-building love they can get.
Cosmic Encounter is a board game from 1977 that has been republished and recreated many times in the past 35 years. It’s truly one of the most influential board games ever made, introducing mechanisms like individual player powers, free-form negotiation and the concept of expansions. Lots and lots of expansions. Of all the games I wouldn’t think would transfer well to a digital version, Cosmic Encounter is near the top due to the fact that the entire game involves talking, bluffing, and the making and breaking of deals. It just wouldn’t work without the face-to-face element.
Apparently the designers agree, but they’ve come up with a clever way to still get Cosmic onto an iPad. It’s called Cosmic Encounter Connector and consists of apps that will allow you to use real-time voice chat with the other players as well as all the bits you’ll find inside the current Fantasy Flight Games version of Cosmic Encounter. From what I can tell, it appears to be more of a sandbox that will allow you to play Cosmic Encounter with all the pieces you’d normally play with. It’s like VASSAL for iPad, only with voice chat and focusing on one title.
While the app isn’t backed by Fantasy Flight at all, it appears that they will allow all the art and bits from their version to be used in the app and they’re even talking about using the Connector system to port other Fantasy Flight titles to the system.
Cosmic Encounter Connector is currently on Kickstarter. They’re looking for $128K and are only at about $2.5K now, but they still have 29 days to fund. The initial goal of $128K includes iPad support, but there are stretch goals for other platforms as well as including different expansions and player-created content.
If you’re a Cosmic Encounter fan, you need to check the Kickstarter out. If you’ve never played before, check it out and realize what this could mean for board gaming in the future.