Once again I find myself returning to the roguelike well for a drink. This time, though, I’m visiting a game that I had originally passed on called KLEI’s Don’t Starve. The combination of the art style and the $14.99 price tag made me look elsewhere, even if it toted a survival roguelike gameplay. It took a friend to recommend it to me before I finally tried it, was it worth it? Continue reading
I’ve been patiently refreshing my inbox since I heard that Blue Manchu was sending out a new bevy of beta invites for their tactical RPG Card Hunter. I wasn’t lucky enough to get one in the first wave, but much to my F5 button’s relief, Charles was. He knew exactly how frothy I was to get my hands on the game after playing it at PAX 2012, so he reluctantly handed over his beta key to allow me to write this piece.
Card Hunter already seemed like a polished and fun experience at PAX, but demos are a hard beast to judge. Whole teams can be whipped up to create an alluring and functional facade while all that lies behind is a mess of a game. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to spend a few hours with the beta, does Card Hunter deliver the fun experience it promised at PAX?
Fuck yes it does, and more. Continue reading
If you haven’t head about it yet, the small indie game developer Greenheart Games set one of the most potent and ironic traps for pirates ever concocted. While many developers opt for some form of DRM, others choose to program in disruptive easter eggs that activate if the game is obtained through less-than-legal means. These easter eggs usually prevent the pirate player from finishing the game, my favorite being Earthbound’s ultimate dick-move. However, Greenheart’s out-of-the-box anti-piracy measure extended beyond the game. They set out to meet pirates head-on with their recently released game Game Dev Tychoon. Continue reading
I’m a part of the generation that experienced computer labs full of Apple IIe computers. I would sit in front of those green screens, flipping floppies and punching gigantic grey keys, biding my time with typing programs until I could pop in the king of all edutainment games: The Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail was a very formative experience in my gaming history. I feel that’s likely a shared sentiment, even though I’d guess most kids treated it as a buffalo-extinction simulator.
Thankfully, The Men Who Wear Many Hats share this love for The Oregon Trail. Using the familiar structure of Apple IIe game, their “retro zombie survival” game The Organ Trail follows a group of five individuals in modern day trying to find a safe haven in Western America from the zombie apocalypse. Originally a Flash game and a Facebook application, the “Director’s Cut” of the Organ Trail was released on Steam for $4.99. Is it worth your five-spot to play go West with a shotgun? Continue reading
Though I’ve been snuck a few exciting details, I hadn’t heard much about Luke Crane‘s new Moldvay-inspired Burning Wheel game. While it was called “Dungeoneers & Dragonslayers”, Crane (editor) and Thor Olavsrud’s (writer) have rebranded their game as “Torchbearer”. A fitting name for a game that promises to be an adaptation of the Mouse Guard system that trades the emulation of brave little mice for the emulation of the choking darkness. According to Forbe’s two spreads on the game, we have every reason to be exited for the next book in the Burning Wheel library. Continue reading
Arts and crafts has always been one of my favorite parts of the table top hobby. Since I didn’t want to throw money at the secondary market to get my hands on out-of-print D&D minis, I have designed, printed, and assembled my own paper tri-fold minis using art
stolen repurposed for personal use from Google Image Search. However, I’ve gotten out of the habit of creating these little minis in the last year. I’ve been using dice for enemies, which works just fine until one of my players says “I attack d6 number 2″. Those little cubes are supposed to be ghouls!
But thanks to a trip to Target and my wife’s crazy good ideas I have a new easily portable, extremely durable, and quick to make mini to drop on the table. Introducing the plastic grip token:
I think it’s clear from what I’ve written that I really enjoy roguelike games. However, it’s a hard love to share with others. Roguelike games are cold and unwelcoming. Their unforgiving difficulty, lack of tutorials, and overall lack of polish make them a hard sale for the uninitiated.
However, Tales of Maj’Eyal (TOME) seems to be a roguelike that refuses to have the shortcomings that are taken for granted in the genre. The winner of Ascii Dream’s top roguelikes for two years in a row, TOME is a genuinely enjoyable game that also happens to be a successful roguelike. It’s free, so you should go download it right now, but if you want to find out what exactly is different, read on. Continue reading
I was introduced to 13th Age through a demo run at PAX Prime 2012. The demo was so unique and so fun that I preordered the game immediately after PAX. It was the hands-on experience that made me fall in love with the game. When I was asked by Wade Rocket to run a few demo games at Norwescon 36 this past weekend I jumped at the opportunity! Continue reading
Lich King, Pelgrane Press Ltd
My gaming group started with a large six hour chunk carved out of each Sunday to play make believe. While the quality of our games certainly benefited from such a large time investment, we’ve since moved to a shorter (four hour) mid-week game. The shorter sessions posed unique challenges to us as a group, but thankfully we chose to play Mouse Guard. Mouse Guard’s system is built for shorter play and its structure gives clear instruction on how to make the drama happen in a smaller window of time. Now that we’ve moved on to D&D (13th Age specifically) I’m taking the lessons I learned from Mouse Guard and applying them to more traditional (less structured) play. Even if each mid-week session seems too brief every time, these lessons make sure the fun gets in under the wire. Continue reading
Banner Saga: Factions was the first game that I backed on Kickstarter. The intoxicating hand drawn graphics and tactical RPG gameplay was enough to brave the wild frontier of crowd sourcing. Now that it’s released, I couldn’t be more proud to have had a hand in funding this game. It delivers on its promise of clever multiplayer RPG skirmishes, team building, and lush graphics. Sporting a conscientious free to play model, you should probably just download it from Steam now. If you still need convincing, click to read more.