Gamer. Congressional Candidate. Gamer. Mathematics Professor. Gamer. Pianist. Gamer. Martial Artist. Gamer. Author. Oh yeah, did I mention gamer?
While it is the fate of many games to be played for a while and then forgotten, Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is no such game. The ultimate, genre-spawning, collectible card game, there are millions of players that have been faithfully playing (and buying cards!) for years. The electronic version of the card game, Duels of the Planeswalkers (Duels) gets an update every year, and has come a long way from early versions of the game. I recently had the pleasure of a hands-on demo with Wizards of the Coast reps, eager to show off the new features.
Panzer games are practically their own genre of World War II games. The first was Panzer General, an awesome, groundbreaking game from 1994. It got a phenomenal update in 2011, with Panzer Corps. These games cover World War II in a very light fashion, with emphasis on clean rules, army development, and combat based around the best use of combined arms along with careful tactics to puzzle through the scenarios. If you haven’t tried Panzer Corps, you really should; its only weak points are some implausible scenarios and limited campaigns only addressing things from the German side. If you have already played Panzer Corps, then Panzer Tactics addresses those weaknesses with more historical reality (you can’t conquer America, for example) and offers campaigns from the Allied point of view. The downside is it has none of the strengths of Panzer Corps when it comes to strategy.
Divine Divinity was a better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be game when it came out over a decade ago, good enough to spawn a solid independent franchise, and every Divinity game for Larian Studios has been a strong (if under-appreciated) title, that’s added something to a genre with many irrelevant games. Divinity: Original Sin promises to be another groundbreaker, and will have at least one thing never before seen: a cow simulator.
Distant Worlds Universe (DWU) is a sequel of sorts to Distant Worlds, a real time strategy “4x” game where you expand, explore, exploit, and exterminate the whole universe. Generally, you start with one planet, pick an alien race (or boring ol’ humans), and everything past that point is up to you. There are many games in this genre, but DWU is as “kitchen sink” as it gets, I’m hard pressed to think of anything in another 4x game that isn’t present, at least on some level, in DWU.
When it comes to contests, I’m not a big fan. I lose. Alot. When it comes to sports-related contests, well, it’s hopeless, and I’m sure I’m not the only gaming geek that knows the feeling. Columbia Games seems to feel my pain, and has a contest that at least gives me a fighting chance even though I don’t know much about hockey. Just for entering, they give $5 credit to their cool games, and if I guess (and it’s sports related, so it’s going to be a guess) right, I get $10 credit.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is Bethesda’s latest must-play game. It’s no Skyrim, however, and survival in still Nazi-infested 1946 isn’t just a matter of going into sneak mode and whipping out a bow. Here are a few tips to make BJ Blazkowicz’s life just a bit longer:
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (PACG) is Paizo’s latest attempt to cash in on the card game craze. The initial game is based around their Rise of the Rune Lords Adventure Path–an extremely well-written set of adventures for their Pathfinder role playing game (RPG). Games based off other games tend to just be shadows of the original, and PACG is no exception. That said, it’s a darn good shadow, with some fun to offer fans of Pathfinder, especially those that have played Rise of the Rune Lords.
SimCity rocked the gaming world when it first came out, since there was nothing else like it. Since then, there have been plenty of games in the “sim” genre. 1849 is basically “SimCity in 1849 California”. That’s the gold rush era, when tiny mining camps could turn into towns overnight…and ghost towns in a few years. 1849 doesn’t really focus on the gold, however. Instead, the player must do all he can to make sure the town has enough resources to grow.
Path of Exile is already notable for being a great Diablo clone, with a skill bush (“skill tree” just doesn’t seem to apply) like no other game in the genre. They use a micro-transaction model for revenue. Players pay what they want, and much of the game is free. Not content with merely supporting a fantastic game, the developers have announced a 2 week charity event, raising funds for the Child’s Play charity. Child’s Play puts toys and games in hospitals, as noble a cause as any–I spent more than a few weeks in hospitals as a kid, and I gotta tell you, the toy selection in those places can always use help.
Warlock 2: The Exiled is a turn based strategy wargame, a sequel to an interesting original. While there are many little improvements and some nice changes (including using some story from the groundbreaking Majesty games), it still has many of the flaws of the original. As such, fans of the original will be happy here, although newcomers to the the series might want to buy the first game cheap. Those who didn’t like the original Warlock will probably not be happy here, either.
I’ve played several closets full of board and tabletop games, but Flick Wars is unique. The closest to is the “Football” game in school, you know, where you make a little paper triangle and flick it across the table, hoping to get it to hang off the edge? It’s like that. Kinda. Sorta. That’s how far off the beaten path Flick Wars is. I got hold of an advance copy, and while it’s a little rough around the edges, there’s an amusing enough game here.
The biggest attraction of playing tabletop role playing games like Pathfinder is the chance to be the hero of your own story. You and your friends slay the dragon, capture the mighty treasure, and rescue the princess. Of course, all these heroic deeds are only known by you and your friends. All that will change in the Heroes of Magnimar Contest, to promote the release of the Pathfinder: City of Secrets comic series.