The Weekender: One Deck Edition25 May 2018 5
Welcome to the Weekender, your weekly look at the best new games, sales, and updates. It's a big week, with a number of great new releases and interesting expansions to review. There's also a slew of sales on great games as well.
I bought One Deck Dungeon for some solo-tabletop gaming, and it's a lot of fun to play. The game is all about pushing through a dungeon, accumulating loot and experience as you go, on your way to facing a boss waiting at the end of every level. You battle beasties with dice, a whole pile of them that you roll and then use to meet encounter challenges. It's quite compelling and there's good variety in characters and options to up the challenge that make it highly re-playable and tactically satisfying.
The only (relatively minor) downside is the setup/cleanup time and keeping track of all the dice and cards. Enter the digital version of the game. It's made by Handelabra, who already have a couple home-run conversions under their belts with Sentinels of the Multiverse and Bottom of the 9th. Their work on One Deck Dungeon follows this tradition of excellence. The gameplay really captures the feel of a pen-and-paper, hack-and-slash, RPG complete with special powers, skills, magic items, and character progression. Handelabra has translated this into a clean presentation, easy-to-use UI, and overall entertaining experience.
Sir Questionnaire (iOS Universal) - Full review coming soon!
Orange Pixel made Space Grunts, one of my favorite mobile games of all time. Space Grunts is a turn-based roguelike, but unlike most games that fit that description it feels like an action game. Turns are quick, the game's effects are explosive, and you feel like you're playing an action RPG, frame by frame. Orange Pixel is back with a new turn-based roguelike, this time a dungeon crawler called Sir Questionnaire. It too plays out in fast-paced turns, each of which presents you with two options: fight a monster or flee, search a room or move on to the next. As you delve deeper you level up, improve your skills, and pick up gear and other loot—all of which improve your general bad-assedness. Each adventure into the dungeon begins with the selection of a quest, a challenge that if passed provides a persistent benefit that extends into future adventures. Sir Questionnaire is fun, plays fast, and is a sure-thing for fans of the roguelike genre. It's out on iOS now but will hit Android next week (don't worry, we'll remind you).
Pocket Run Pool (iOS Universal)
Zach Gage makes great games and has a penchant for taking a common genre and twisting it off kilter, producing unique and compelling game play. Sage Solitaire, SpellTower, Really Bad Chess, and TypeShift are all great examples. Zach is back, this time with Pocket Run Pool, his take on, well, pool. It's a high-score chaser where you score points based on the number of the ball you sink and score multipliers for each pocket that rotate after every shot. The trick is to set yourself up for shots on the most lucrative x10 pocket. The game is free to play with ad support, $3.99 unlocks the full version which removes ads and the buy-ins for insta-tournaments—competitive challenges against other players—and also unlocks the Break of the Week mode of play.
Speaking of new takes on well-known genres, let's talk about Minesweeper Genius. There's nothing more classic, more worn in, and more generic than Minesweeper. If you've ever run a version of Windows, especially in the dark days before the Internet, you've probably played Minesweeper. Luckily, Mother Gaia Studios grabbed Microsoft Minesweeper and shook it rather vigorously and what came out was anything but stale. The graphics are attractive, and the gameplay, while familiar, is spiced up by special-powered cells that change things up considerably. Minesweeper Genius a lot of fun, a great nostalgia trip, and a delightful puzzle game in its own right.
Updates & Expansions
Gift of the Elements is the first expansion for popular digital card game Ascension with Asmodee Digital at the helm. It includes 55 new cards including new events cards which have an immediate effect on the board and can transform into hero cards. It also adds two new mechanisms. Infest allows you to mess with your opponent's deck and Empower provides options to counter this threat. Gift of the Elements is available for $3.99 via in-app purchase.
Awesome and free 4x battler The Battle of Polytopia has added its 13th tribe. The ∑∫ỹriȱŋ (yes I had to copy and paste that) are a tribe of unicorns, dragons, and polytaurs straight from the imagination of the developer's 5-year-old child. They defend their woodland homes with powerful magic and, you know, dragons. The ∑∫ỹriȱŋ (yeah, pasted again there) revere nature and can't hunt animals or chop down trees for resources, instead they start with a magical technology that turns regular animals into powerful monsters. This new tribe can be yours for $1.99.
If you've ever wanted to build a castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria Castles of Mad King Ludwig is your shot. You lay tiles in an attempt to build the most extravagant possible castle for the king. It's tough to impress Ludwig, though, Disney based its theme park castles on his real-life examples.
If you're looking to build a town instead of a castle go with Suburbia instead. It's another digital board game and is also on sale.
No go on the castle and town? How about a game-dev studio? Simulation title Game Tycoon Studio 3 can also be yours for $2 on iOS, FREE on Android!
If you're in the mood for an RPG Jade Empire is on sale for half off. It's inspired by the myths and legends of ancient China and full of places to explore and plots to uncover. The discount isn't on Android.
The missing link Baldur's Gate game, Siege of Dragonspear, takes place between Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II and just came out earlier this year. It features a 30-hour campaign that explores new regions of the Sword Coast, within the long running Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It's on sale for the first time.
Seen anything else you like? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!