Yes, that says 67 hours ago. Did I forget to mention that Subterfuge takes a week to play?
Of all the games that have come out this year that I’ve yet to play, Subterfuge is the one I regret the most. This looks like it would be right up my alley: it’s boardgame-y, it has cool little submarines, and you can do terrible things to complete strangers or, better yet, your best friends. I like all those things and, yet, I still haven’t found the time to get Subterfuge on my phone. Yesterday, the guys behind Subterfuge released the first big update for the game, however, and I think I’m going to have to make time to get this one played.
The biggest addition in version 465 is the friends list. Now, you can invite your friends to the slaughter directly from within the game. You can also play in an entirely different mode, Domination Mode. This allows you to completely ignore mining and awards victory to the player who controls the most outposts. To start a game in this mode, you must have purchased the Level 2 Security Clearance IAP for $10 but anyone, even those filthy L1 players, can join your game. That goes for the next addition as well, customizable maps. You can select a generator or factory heavy map, or just a completely random one when you set up the game. Lastly, on iOS they’ve added ad supported free play. Don’t want to pay for that Level 2 security clearance? Watch an ad, and you’re considered L2 for 2 hours. Well, not completely. You can’t create games in Domination Mode or with a customized map, but you do gain the other benefit of being L2: unlimited scheduled orders.
Subterfuge is available for iOS Universal and Android and is free to download. I think I might head to the App Store and take care of that right now. After the break watch the first tutorial video and see how Subterfuge works.
The last couple weeks at Mount Hexmap have been weirder than usual. Owen, who’s usually busy putting the finishing touches on yet another monograph detailing the health benefits of Scotch has, instead, been quietly cocooned in his office. One day he will emerge as a beautiful Strategy Gamer butterfly, but until then the rest of us are mostly just goofing around. In other words, Owen doesn’t need to know I took yesterday off, okay? Our little secret! Besides not showing up for work, goofing around also lets us take a look at games that might only have the faintest of connections to mobile. Yesterday, I stumbled onto Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and I cannot wait to get a group together to play this thing.
Keep Talking is a cooperative game whose closest cousin might be the classic screamfest, SpaceTeam. Here, one player sits in front of a monitor upon which a procedurally generated bomb is displayed. The other players cannot see the screen, but have in front of them paper manuals titled “Bomb Defusal Manual“. The player looking at the bomb does his best Archer impression, describing the bomb while the other players tell him how to diffuse it. What wires to cut, codes to enter, etc., all of which is found, somewhere, in the manual they have in their laps. The bombs are different every single game, so the game is infinitely replayable, as well. It sounds easy, but consider that you have to describe the features of a bomb to people who are holding a book that doesn’t have “it has a square thingy with 2 buttons” listed in the index.
The problem is that Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is currently only available for PC, but their press page mentions that other platforms are a possibility. I see no reason this wouldn’t work great on an iPad, so here’s hoping that it makes its way to tablets down the road. Maybe if we bug Steel Crate Games enough they’ll consider it? Now, how could we dothat?
Check out the trailer after the break. Game looks like a blast, pun fully intended.
Bruno Cathala is a brilliant and prolific board game designer who already has games like Dice Town and Mr. Jack Pocket on the App Store (we won’t mention Cyclades). When contemplating what his next digital design might be, the sheer number of fantastic choices makes your ludological mouth water. Board games like Five Tribes, Shadows Over Camelot, or Mr. Jack instantly come to mind. Instead we’re getting a newly designed game that hasn’t seen the inside of a cardboard box, Tong.
Tong is a 2-player game that also features solo play not against AI, but against a leaderboard. The board consists of a 5×5 grid of bugs and your chameleon which can gobble up bugs of one type. After you eat, the chameleon passes to your opponent who does the same. It all sounds incredibly simple, and it might be. To be honest, all my information is coming from Bruno’s site which is written in his native French and my French is a little rostig, if you know what I mean, so I think I might be missing a bit of what the hell is going on. Google Translate, you’re not helping.
Tong is available now for Android devices and is just awaiting approval from Apple before it appears on iOS devices as well. Expect that in the next few days or so. Either way, it will be free to download.
No video for Tong, so after the break a commercial for Tang because they’re almost the same word.
When you first get into the hobby board game scene, one of the classic titles that you’re sure to hear about is Diplomacy. Created in the late 50’s, Diplomacy is a game of secret deals, backstabbing, and general obfuscation. It’s known for being an incredibly rich experience, but also for utterly destroying friendships. Don’t play it with the family after Thanksgiving dinner. The problem is that, until you actually play Diplomacy, you can’t really understand how a game of Diplomacy works. Staring at the screenshots and reading blurbs about Subterfuge, I’m getting that same feeling. What does all this mean? Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to answer that question: it’s coming to iOS and Android on October 15th.
Subterfuge is the brainchild of Ron Carmel and Noel Llopis, the creators of World of Goo and Casey’s Contraptions, respectively. Subterfuge is nothing like those games, however, and more closely resembles a week-long game of the aforementioned Diplomacy. The goal is to be the first player to collect a predetermined amount of neptunium, the game’s currency. You do this by creating bases and mining, but eventually those bases will become contested and that’s where the titular subterfuge comes in. The 2-3 turns a day you take will only take a few minutes, but the real meat of the game is in the deal making and breaking you do with the other players outside of your turn. Eventually, someone is going to have to break hearts if they want to win. Hopefully that someone is you, and not the other way around (unless I’m playing against you, and then you can pound sand).
Subterfuge will be free when it lands, with a $10 IAP to unlock Premium features. Those features include creating private games, playing multiple games at once, keeping private notes, and having unlimited scheduled orders. Definitely not essential to play, but might make it a better experience.
We don’t have a new release trailer, yet, but check out the quite entertaining trailer from last year after the break.
Nearly three years after its release, Spaceteam is still one of, if not the, best multiplayer games on mobile. The game is simple as can be: everyone controls a panel of doodads and thingamajigs while announcements flash across the screen telling you which ones to toggle. The trick is that the announcements tell you what to toggle on other players’ devices, so games of Spaceteam involve a lot of yelling, screaming, panicking, and a whole lot of fun. While not a lot has changed in Spaceteam since its release, it’s now coming to a table near you in a new, cardstock version courtesy of Kickstarter.
Spaceteam is a cooperative card game in which your group is trying to fix a spaceship which makes it a lot like the digital version. This one has a five-minute time limit, however, which makes it a pretty great filler game. The game involves trying to fix malfunctions via the correct combination of cards. So, you have to scream and yell which parts you need with cards flying around the table to get everyone what they need. Within the deck are six “System Go” cards. Find all six before the timer runs out and the team win.
The card game was developed by Henry Smith (developer of the digital version), and a gaggle of other designers like Elan Lee and Matthew Sisson. It sounds different enough from the digital version to warrant a space alongside it, and looks to fit into that short-card-game-filler niche currently occupied by titles such as Love Letter and Coup. The Kickstarter still has 24 days to go, but has already exceeded the funding goal by over $60K, so there’s no doubt it’s getting made.
I can’t believe they didn’t go with “Continental Divide”.
PT‘s favourite online shooter series World of Tanks is developing a charming eccentricity: last Christmas the PC version rolled out an “8-bit” version of the game and the current promotion on desktops is an Indiana Jones-style search for “ancient weapons” — which turn out to be tanks, naturally.
Developers Wargaming.net announced the first big World of Tanks Blitz event for the mobile version of the game this morning, and it’s suitably wacky. The Rise of Continents event that kicks off of 28 September will be a four-week-long tournament pitting Europe, North America, Asia, and (oddly) the Russian Commonwealth. It’s sort of a passive tournament — all you have to do to represent your continent is log into the game and play, and Wargaming will tot up which region is doing the best each week, with the winning teams getting in-game swag like premium tanks and IRL swag like Sennheiser headsets.
The video after the jump gives you a (decidedly metaphorical) flavour for what Wargaming are going for. If you’re in Europe and therefore on my team, I would request that you not attempt to play Blitz whilst wearing chain mail gloves. You’re going to let the side down.
If your Monday needs a change in ambience, I think you’ll find the video below quite handy.
There’s a card in the new Hearthstone Grand Tournament expansion (did our friend Peter Whalen work on that, I wonder?) called Dreadsteed. The card in question is a moderate-mana but low-HP card with a rather unusual trick: when you kill it, it summons a duplicate of itself. Now there’s an older card in the game called Knife Juggler that randomly damages an enemy every time you play another card to the board. I’ll bet you can see where this is going.
Naturally, a YouTube scamp called The Optimistic Brit has set up a Dreadsteed vs Knife Juggler confrontation that goes on for 15 minutes in a sort of highway-hypnosis-meets-whale-music lullaby. This interplay required a bit of machination to set up, so the chances of seeing this in a live Hearthstone match you might play in are small. But nerfing this might end up on Blizzard’s to-do list right quick.
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.