Once you get east of say, Chittagong, you can probably lose that cricket ball.
After pushing back release at the 11th hour last week, 80 Days is here tonight. The launch date switch-a-roo was a smart bit of business because this is one of the quietest release nights in memory: there’s only three new noteworthy titles to be pulled out of the ceaseless, fetid tide of infinite runners and hidden object games.
Let’s have a look at them, shall we? Have your manservant fetch the looking spectacles.
The teaser image is early development placeholder stuff, but you can already tell that the name isn’t the only thing changing: Ultimate War Game looks like it’s going to be a battle on a Texas-size scale. According to the Rubicon blog post there will be base-building, online async multiplayer and a longer, more involved single-player campaign than in previous games. I talked to Johnson about it this morning.
“We’re aiming to get to market late this year,” he told me, “but there’s still some imponderables to sort out so it’s hard to be specific this far out. For example the base-building element could go a few different ways and we need to try them all to find what works best from a playability aspect.”
Rubicon’s games pretty much always release for iOS & Android near-simultaneously, so you can expect this to land on both platforms whenever it gets done. Two more screenshots after the jump.
About a week after we lamented the lack of updates over its whereabouts, Focus Home Interactive have announced that the delayed tablet version of Blood Bowl will be out tomorrow on both Android and iOS.
I just had a peek around the Kiwi App Store (where the game would already be if it were getting a midnight release) and I don’t see any sign of Blood Bowl there yet, so it’ll probably go live in the middle of the day sometime tomorrow. This appears to be a straight port of the PC version of the game that’s been out for some years — FHI are advertising that there’s cross-platform play between mobile and PC. There’s also same-device hotseat play. The game will ship with Human and Orc squads, and there will be Dwarfs, Skaven, Wood Elves and Chaos available as “additional races” — presumably DLC within the app.
There’s no trailer for this tablet edition yet, so after the jump I’ve got an hour of Total Biscuit walking you through the (presumably near-identical) PC version. Not familiar with Blood Bowl? It’s basically what Vince McMahon was trying to do with the XFL, except a bit more serious. The video below should give you a good grounding, or you can have a look at the tabletop version that inspired all these digital ones.
So you’ve decided that you’re not waiting for my review, and now you’re embedded into the couch, a cold drink within arm’s reach, and the recently released iPad edition Commander: The Great War loaded up. Good choice. I’m terribly fond of this game, and non-wargamers need not be intimidated by it.
Commander is a turn-based, grand strategy-level wargame based on the First World War. It is an admirable attempt to do justice to an enormously complex, globe-spanning war — so while not a terribly complex game, it still has a number of different levers one must learn to operate to get the most from it. Your experience might also suffer from the fact that World War I has been completely eclipsed as a topic of popular understanding (and as a subject of wargames!) by its successor. Going into Commander without a working knowledge of the historical context is a handicap you don’t need to suffer. Owen’s got your back, baby.
So with this guide, I’m going to attempt to give you a quick grounding in how to get started with Commander. I’ll also try to color in enough of the history so that you feel the weight of what you’re trying to do.
It’s come to my attention that some of you are performing a dark cabalistic ritual to summon the mysteriously delayed mobile edition of Blood Bowl. STOP. You are performing the wrong dark cabalistic ritual. I know you meant well, but you appear to have summoned this Kim Kardashian game into existence instead. Also the Jonas Brothers have been crashing on my couch for the last three days. You’re not allowed to watch E! while invoking the occult anymore.
Instead of beseeching the dark powers for aid, I sent around inquiries to see what the holdup is on high-fantasy football game Blood Bowl (announced for “early July” a few weeks ago) and on the iOS version of sci-fi deck-building card game Star Realms (which was meant to be here around July 4th).
Details of what I uncovered after the jump. But fair warning: none of it is particularly good news.
Tonight was meant to be the night for Inkle’s around-the-world interactive fiction opus 80 Days to drop — but alas, it is not to be. Inkle’s Jon Ingold emailed me a couple of days back. “We’ve been asked by Apple to move the release day back to next Thursday, the 31st,” he said. “So we are of course doing it.”
This could only mean one of two things. The first possibility: upon reviewing the app for release, Apple has discovered Inkle’s dastardly plot to use the game to Manchurian Candidate the world’s population, preparing the ground for a reptilian takeover of Earth. Or second, Apple want to feature the game next week in a prominent slot on the App Store’s front page.
It’s almost certainly the former (alert David Icke, please) but either way the result is the same: 80 Days will be here next Wednesday night. You can read my hands-on 80 Days preview if you want to see what we’re in for next week.
There are other releases tonight, of course. Let’s have a look after the jump.
Champagne is being uncorked high atop Mount Hexmap in the Pocket Tactics Prognostication Center and Quick-Pick Lotto Research Institute. The Rise of Vigil expansion for Ascension is going to be out any minute now for iOS, just we predicted last week. This is the first new expansion to everyone’s favourite digital card game in over a year, and marks the renewal of vows between app developers Playdek and game designers Stone Blade, who agreed to put aside their differences and make beautiful Ascension together again.
I asked Stone Blade designer Brian Kibler to tell me what we should be expecting from the new expansion. “Rise of Vigil is my favorite set we’ve released since the original game,” Kibler told me. “The new Energize mechanic leads to big exciting turns, and Treasure cards really make players evaluate cards differently as the game goes on. This combination makes the set great for Ascension beginners and veterans alike.”
Well. We’ll see for ourselves very soon. The Rise of Vigil rules are available as a PDF if you want to get familiar with what’s new while you wait for the App Store update to turn over. From what I’ve read, this expansion mixes things up tremendously: the treasure cards incent you to make non-optimal buys from the center row, and the new energy shards boost your ability to draw cards from your deck, which might make bigger decks more viable and tight decks even punchier.
Android adherents need not be too envious: if all goes to plan, Playdek’s iOS app will be making its way to Google-powered devices sometime later this summer, then PC in the autumn.
After the jump, two more cards from the Rise of Vigil expansion. Never played Ascension? Neither had I a couple of years ago. Read something I wrote about the first expansion back in 2012 to see why it’s so popular.
Naxxramas shakes up established Hearthstone strategies with 30 new cards for Blizzard’s fantasy collectible card game, but it also adds a whole new single-player campaign that adds solo depth to what was primarily a multiplayer affair until now. The PT staff reviewed Hearthstone as a roundtable chat back in May.
After the jump, a cinematic trailer for Naxxramas that (let’s be honest) has bupkis to do with the game, but is still pretty neat-o.