When Philadelphia’s finest studio Shenandoah was consumed last year by Slitherine, the Galactus of wargaming, grognards started to worry — as grognards do. There hasn’t been much in the way of news forthcoming since the acquisition, which some took as evidence that the makers of Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow would vanish down the memory hole.
That is apparently not so. Shenandoah rises anew, according to news sent my way last night — and its first order of business is to re-release its first (and most brilliant) game: Battle of the Bulge. A new edition of the WWII sim will be released on the 17th of September, bringing the game to PC and Mac for the first time and adding a bevy of new features.
The biggest change will be cross-platform multiplayer across iPad, iPhone, and desktop platforms. Battle of the Bulge was always at its best as a head-to-head multiplayer game, and increasing the size of the user pool will be just the defibrillator it needs. The new multiplayer setup will include in-app tournament support.
Additionally, revenant Shenandoah say that they’ve re-written the game’s AIs — both Axis and Allied. I seem to recall that Bulge’s AI was relatively sharp back in 2012, so I’m curious to see what that means.
Most importantly (and I just verified this with Slitherine’s PR a few minutes ago), Battle of the Bulge won’t be a new app on iOS. If you already own it, you get all the new features (and the benefits of a re-invigorated multiplayer community) gratis.
The new Bulge drops on iOS and desktops on the 17th of September.
Somebody needs to tell this guy playing the Reds about the traditional Turn 1 Iran coup.
I’ve been ten toes down to see Playdek’s in-development digital edition of Twilight Struggle for months now, but the California studio is keeping a tight lid on the project. Since their successful Kickstarter last summer, the Ascension makers have let us see very little, in keeping with their usual approach to PR. But an email to Kickstarter backers just now included the very first in-game screenshot of the digital version of the world’s most respected board game.
Next door at recent Pocket Tacticsacquisition The Wargamer*, we have the news that the long-incubating Heroes of Normandie finally has a PC release date. After requests for beard maintenance advice and applications to join the Mount Hexmap Evil Henchman Corps, I get more email about Heroes of Normandie than I do about any other game. The turn-based WWII squad tactical game that we first stumbled across in the spring of 2014 skewered a lot of hearts with its unique comic book look.
I’ve had a chance to play both the board game that Heroes is based on and a development version of the digital game — it’s good fun. Games are quick and the rules are easy to learn, but there’s interesting complexity to the combat mechanics. Tanks have different protection levels depending on where you hit them, terrain offers the possibility of concealment. My favorite aspect of the tabletop game is an element of bluffing your opponent — you generally have more units on the board than you’re allowed to move, and you have to guess which units your adversary will choose to activate on any given turn. The game is shipping with what sounds like a lot of single-player content but I’m really hoping that developers Cat Rabbit have pulled off the multiplayer.
iPad-only gamers won’t get to find out first hand right away, I’m afraid. Heroes of Normandie will be out on the 10th of September for PC, but there’s no release date yet for the iPad edition. I have literally held the iPad version in my hands and played it, so I know that it exists and works, but we’ll have to see when Cat Rabbit decide it’s ready for public consumption. For the moment, know that it’s still coming.
For now, comfort yourself with trailer stashed after the jump.
If I ever need an endzone painted, I’m calling the Space Marines.
Rodeo Games has tackled the Warhammer Fantasy setting already with the spectacular Warhammer Quest. This week they spread out into Warhammer 40,000 with the release of Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion.
I’m not a huge Warhammer guy, but I absolutely love the backstory stuff to these games. Really makes me wish I knew what the hell they were talking about. This one involves a secret order of Space Marines called the Deathwatch who are made from the best of the best from the other chapters. Their job is to hang out on the fringes of Imperial Space and prevent alien invasions before they begin. Sounds easy.
You will spend the game building a Kill Team from the 40 different Space Marines you collect along the way. You can outfit your team with over 200 different weapons and relics ensuring that no team is going to be identical. Deathwatch offers a solo campaign of 40 missions as well as 2-4 player online multiplayer.
I know Owen’s been drooling for this one to hit the streets, and we just found out that it’s coming this week and should be a Wednesday night release. It’s a hog, though, and the minimum requirement for this is an iPad 4 or iPhone 5/5C. It’s really shiny, though, so not a big surprise.
Teaser trailer after the break. We should be getting a new trailer tomorrow or Wednesday, so I’ll make sure to share it when it lands.
Until today, I had been blissfully unaware of the existence of Albion Online. As for why I was unaware, I kept wavering between simply not paying attention and being lazy which, my wife helpfully reminded me, are kind of the same thing.
Regardless, after seeing the trailer this morning I’m in a bit of shock. This doesn’t look like a tablet game. It looks…huge. On the surface, it appears to be a top-down MMO, but it appears to include content that I’d only expect to find in a PC game. Crafting, housing, and guilds are all there. The character development looks incredibly deep as well, with a giant wheel-like tech-tree that unlocks new abilities as you level up. All this depth isn’t that surprising when you realize that Albion Online is a PC/Mac game as well, and will have full cross-platform play with the iPad and Android tablet versions.
Albion Online is entering its Summer Alpha on June 29 and you can join in if you plunk down a chunk of change. Otherwise, the game is planned for release on tablets in Q1 of 2016. When it launches it will be free to play. I’m not entirely sure if it will work off of a subscription or microtransaction model, but considering that in-game gold is converted to a dollar value on the sign-up page, I’m leaning toward the latter.
Check out the trailer after the break. It’s a long one, but they get into all the different systems in the game and, I’ll admit it, it looks pretty damn good.
In my house–they’re not allowed access to Mt. Hexmap–I live with three small boys who excel at eating all my food and playing the drums just as I sit down to write. Every now and then they’ll empty the dishwasher, so it’s not all bad. Having three boys also means that my house is full of Legos. I cannot walk from my desk to the bathroom without stepping on a piece which, somehow, always seems to be lying with one of the pointy corners pointing directly upwards. Even on hardwood floors. Don’t ask, I stopped a long time ago.
Enter, Lego Minifigures Online. A video game that has you collecting little Lego people and taking them on adventures or something. What that entails, I honestly have no idea. It sounds a bit like Skylanders or Diablo but all blocky and plasticy. What’s truly intriguing is that the game was originally scheduled to be free-to-play, which would have ensured the press release a short life span before it met my trash bin, but has been moved to a premium game that you buy up front and can just play. Kind of. The PC version will be a full release for $30 but the iOS and Android versions will run $5 but only include the first world. You can buy extra worlds in the iOS version starting on June 29, whereas the Android version will get more worlds later this summer.
So, how much content do you get for your initial $5? No idea, but I’ll be sure to tell you how long it takes for my kids to start squawking about buying new content.
After the break, check out the reveal trailer. Now I just need to hide it from the kids.
I’ll be the first to admit that World of Tanks Blitz isn’t my favorite game. I’ll also admit that the reasoning behind that stems from nothing other than I suck at it, and no matter how much I play, continue to really suck at it. That said, I know there are those of you out there who do not suck at this game. I’ve seen it first hand.
Sometime today, World of Tanks Blitz is getting a major update that fixes and changes a ton of current content, as well as adding an entire new line of German medium tanks starting with the Panzer III and culminating in the Leopard I. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the patch notes about me sucking less, so I’ll be steering clear.
You can pick up World of Tanks Blitz for iOS Universal or Android and both of them are free to download. After the break, check out an overview of the Leopard I.
If we were keeping score of how starship simulations are going on mobile, I’d have to say that the home team is taking one on the chin. Sure, FTL is a fantastic game, but that’s not really a simulation. I’m talking about other notable failures like Star Command and Trexels, which put you in charge of modifying a starship, then drop the ball with hackneyed, boring play. We’re still holding out hope for Tiny Trek, which is currently in early access on Steam and should be coming to iOS sometime this year. Into that crucible steps a newcomer, SavySoda, with Pixel Starships.
Because the title contains the word “pixel” they’re legally obligated to have 8-bit graphics. Don’t let that scare you off, however, because looking at the trailer, I hardly noticed. Instead, I’m intrigued by the cutaway side-view of the starship with turbolifts and transporters at the ready. It appears that not only will there be ship-to-ship combat, but sending away teams over to other ships will also be an option. The game is going to be an MMO, so dealing with other humans will be the name of the game.
The trailer looks far more martial than I like my Trek, but hopefully we’re only seeing a small portion of what SavySoda has in store. The expected release isn’t until late 2015/early 2016, so they have some time to polish it up.
Check out the aforementioned trailer after the break.