Brace yourselves, because E3 is almost here. What games might we see? Well, we’ve got some ideas… Aside from the rhetoric of media briefings and the hilarity of furious or joyous fanboy meltdowns on social media, E3 is ultimately all about the games. Forget everything else. While the first-party publishing houses of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony will all have some tricks up their sleeves, much of the hype at E3 will be driven by what games third-party publishers bring to the table. But what might we expect at the show? On this page, we list off all of the major third party publishers showing up in Los Angeles next month and run down what we might expect from them – from updates on announced games to rumored reveals and distant hopes. Let’s get to it. EA: Battlefield 5 and Bioware’s big shot at redemption – plus the other stuff After the struggle and ultimate disappointment of Mass Effect Andromeda, Bioware is on a mission. Arguably, with EA’s … [Read more...] about E3 2018: what games to expect from Bethesda, Ubisoft, EA, Capcom, Square Enix and everyone else
Civilization like game
Looking for cardboard and plastic to fill your house with? Looking to expand that permanent collection, or maybe just dip into some of the new hotness from the past few years? Good, because it’s deal time in board game land. There’s a lot of guff in Amazon’s yearly sale this go around, so let’s sort through and find the ones that are actually a good deal or good enough for the price. Quantum - $33.80 (40% off)I’ll go ahead and call this one the best deal in the sale. Quantum is a space empire game where your dice are your ships, rolled out to randomize what kind you get. The huge benefit is that it’s a space strategy game that nearly anyone can play, meaning you get to scratch that colonize and explore itch even when nobody else wants to play Twilight Imperium.7 Wonders Duel$23.99 (20% off)It’s only 20% off, but getting one of the best two player board games you can buy on sale is a pretty good choice. This is a pretty abstract … [Read more...] about The best deals in Amazon’s board game sale
I’ve always been intrigued by designs that seek to capture the entire scope of recorded history in a single strategy game. Utilizing well-known historical tropes, peoples, and places to craft alternate histories, they’ve got a kind of relatability that’s hard to beat. Through the Ages is perhaps the most beloved board game in this genre. Its clever ‘use it or lose it’ resource management forces hard choices, its randomized tech timeline makes each game different, and its slowly increasing variety of action puts other games to shame. Through the Ages is often panned for its length, complexity, and the lack of interactivity between competitors, but it’s an interesting enough game that it warranted an update from creator Vlaada Chvátil in 2015 and remains happily in the top 10 games on industry bellwether BoardGameGeek a decade after its publication. It also holds my interest years after I’ve grown bored of games of the same stripe on PC, … [Read more...] about Through the Ages is a superior civilization-building game
Push the Lane: Loot in a Strategy Game? Push the Lane entered this latest phase back in mid-2017 (basically after the failed Kickstarter version, which was much more puzzle-game-like), it has become much more videogamey. By that, I mean, it has focused a lot more on fighting, monsters, items, special abilities, moving around a big map and such. I have been thinking of it more like “a Rogue-like DotA” recently; a turn-based, single player League of Legends. With that thought, I always kind of had it in the corner of my mind somewhere that it would be pretty cool if the game had “loot” somehow. My general feeling and belief about loot has been, for years, that it has really no place in strategy games. But maybe there’s a way? First, let’s define the term. What is loot? I think most of the time the word “loot” is used, it refers to randomly dropping items. For me, the classic version of “loot” is item drops in Diablo, or a … [Read more...] about Push the Lane: Loot in a Strategy Game?
Civilization VI: Rise and Fall wants to solve a problem. That problem is perpetual growth, and it plagues many 4X games. Whether your aim is world conquest or cultural hegemony, victory in Civilization and many of its cohorts depends on domination. However peacefully you try to play, you’re often straight-jacketed into a utilitarian-psychotic view where all resources and people are just raw material to be assimilated, Borg-like, until the whole map is monochrome. But as the early excitement of exploration and expansion ebbs to late game stagnation, the fun runs out. Historically, stagnating empires tend to fragment and collapse. But in Civilization VI, like many games, you’re the star of the show – and there’s nowhere to go but up. Through the Civilization lens, raw economic strength is success. Population is power. Stateless barbarians and rival empires are the only existential threat. Only growth matters. Invest, improve, reap the rewards, invest again. That … [Read more...] about All rise and no fall: how Civilization reinforces a dangerous myth