Cardboard Children – Board Game News

By Robert Florence on September 2nd, 2014.

Hello youse.

There is SO much board game news right now that we really have to do another column that is about BOARD GAME NEWS. Company mergers, massive releases, re-prints, you name it – it’s all happening in the wide world of sports we call “Board Game Sports”. (We don’t call it that.)

Read on!

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Episodic Survival Adventure Game: Kôna Is Kickstarting

By Alice O'Connor on September 2nd, 2014.

Snow!

Left to survive under my own motivation, well, I end up with a life like this. A survival game with a little direction, that I’d fancy. I keep meaning to make time for Miasmata, which I hear great things about, and now I’m keeping an eye on Kôna too. Set in the white wilds of ’70s Northern Quebec, it’s a “survival adventure game” about investigating where the heck everyone in a rural community has got to, while trying to avoid being eaten by wolves or a wendigo. That wendigo’s involved, I bet.

It’s on Kickstarter, natch, and y’can play an early demo.

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Tricera-plops: The Stomping Land Removed From Sale

By Adam Smith on September 2nd, 2014.

The last time we heard anything from multiplayer dino survival game The Stomping Land it wasn’t a stomp at all. It wasn’t a roar or a chomp, it was a statement about a change of engine. The dinos were gearing up for a switch to Unreal Engine 4, or so the developer reckoned, but it looks like the whole affair has come to a standstill. Like The War Z before it, The Stomping Land has been removed from sale on Steam. The page is still alive but there’s no option to buy and given the lack of updates, that seems like a wise decision. There has been no statement from either party (Steam or developer SuperCrit) and we can only hope that the game won’t emerge onto the store again in a few days, retitled as Dino: Survivor Stories or, Gabe forbid, The War D.

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The Best Pun On Kickstarter: Ray’s The Dead

By Ben Barrett on September 2nd, 2014.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from strategy-puzzler Ray’s The Dead, which first showed up at Sony’s E3 conference in 2013. The eponymous Ray is a zombie with the power to control others, giving the game a great blend of dark humour and tactical party-based action. Developers Ragtag Studio went dark after an unsuccessful Kickstarter attempt, busily self-funding for the last year. Now they’re back with a slicker Kickstarter that’s doing far better, and a lower funding goal thanks to some outside assistance. Their plan is to use the $30,000 (£18k)–a target they’ve already hit–to hire contractors to improve specific areas of the game. The higher the total goes, the more they want to bring in as full-time staff.

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Tricks And Tomes Will Break Your Bones: Runers

By Adam Smith on September 2nd, 2014.

It is not a photogenic game but it is handsome on the inside

Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early afternoon – just about the time of my deep submersion in a different game altogether, an enormous, deep RPG. I only mention it because sometimes there’s another game…I won’t say a masterpiece, ’cause, what’s a masterpiece? But sometimes, there’s a game. And I’m talkin’ about Runers here. Sometimes, there’s a game, well, it’s the game for its time and place. It fits right in there. And that’s Runers, on Steam this afternoon. And it may be a roguelite game…but sometimes there’s a game, sometimes, there’s a game. Aw. I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I’ve done introduced Runers enough.

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Self-Replicating Babies: Sims 4 Patch Note Fun Begins

By Alice O'Connor on September 2nd, 2014.

Youths! Always the root of the problem.

“Stopped vampires from pinning their crimes on babies and children.” You don’t need to play Dwarf Fortress to enjoy a changelog note like that. Simulations encouraging emergent gameplay lead to emergent bugs, weird and wonderful confluences of complexities. The Sims 4 might not have dwarves, vampires, goblins, kidnapping, or horseshoe crab people, but its zany take on everyday life evidently can still bring some fun bugs to read about.

The game launches this week (today in North America, Thursday in Europe–grumble grumble) and a launch-day patch means wacky fun changelogs are already arriving. Fixed by this first update are issues with hibernating babies and a Reaper who’s just not that into you.

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Laser Days: Gratuitous Space Battles 2

By Adam Smith on September 2nd, 2014.

The conflicts in Gratuitous Space Battles 2 are certainly deserving of the adjective applied in the game’s title but the new video below brings several other descriptives to mind. ‘Colourful’, ‘cunning’, ‘extravagant’, ‘fabulous’ and more besides. Like it’s predecessor, GSB 2 is a game in which players construct fleets, position them and then watch as they do battle. Remember the text crawl that sucked all the excitement out of you like a joy vampire at the beginning of The Phantom Menace? “The taxation of trade routes to outlying starsystems is in dispute”, says Star Wars. GSB says, “BOY HOWDY THE PURPLE SHIPS ARE SHOOTING THE EVER-LIVING CRAP OUT OF THE GREEN SHIPS YOWZERS!”

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Australian Watchdog Takes Valve To Court Over Refunds

By Ben Barrett on September 2nd, 2014.

The concerned look of a man about to eat a flag.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome to another legal goings on industry punch up. This time in the red corner, hailing from Seattle and weighing in at approximately several billion pounds, it’s Valve. Meanwhile, in the blue corner, the challenger Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) seeks to do battle on the basis of “misleading consumer guarantee representations” under the 2011 Australian Consumer Law. Specifically, they’re challenging Valve’s no-refunds refund policy. Valve’s response, in a short statement to IGN from VP of marketing Doug Lombardi, is that they are “making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter.” Read on for the details.

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Freeware Garden: Star Commander

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on September 2nd, 2014.

Starry-eyed pilots killing each other in outer space in traditional turn-based battles.

Having distilled the core elements of 4X strategizing into a sleek and easy to get into game, and thus having done away with lengthy tutorials and hefty pdf manuals, I am happy to declare that Star Commander has achieved an uncommon straightforwardness.

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CodeSpells – Proof That Coding Is Arcane Wizardry

By John Walker on September 2nd, 2014.

Learning to code is something I never did. It certainly wasn’t an option when I was at school in the early 1700s, and attempts to teach myself even HTML tend to succeed as well as my 10 year old attempts to teach myself BASIC. But there seems to be a concerted effort to encourage the current generation of childrenthings to learn this arcane art. Just this week the BBC are launching their new programme of efforts, including TV shows and the Bytesize website, coinciding with the introduction of coding to the British school curriculum.

Which makes it rather good timing for US organisation ThoughtSTEM to launch their Kickstarter for CodeSpells – a third-person action game where your character’s magical options are infinite, because you code them yourself.

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Old News: Strafe-Jumping’s Near Death In Quake 3

By Alice O'Connor on September 2nd, 2014.

No, run then jump and hol- no, look, you're just standing there.

I learned to strafe-jump the hard way back when games were games, my keyboard made of broken glass, and my mouse an actual mouse biting my fingers as I clicked. I still welcome Quake Live adding an automated slower substitute. Everyone should get the experience the joys of zipping around like a rubber ball. Though exploiting wacky movement physics bugs is central to Quake in my heart, some have been less keen on it.

Even John Carmack, the chap who inadvertently created all those glitches, once tried removing strafe-jumping from Quake 3. “I hate having players bouncing around all the time,” he said.

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Project Godulous: Reprisal Universe

By Adam Smith on September 2nd, 2014.

Almost three years ago to the day, Reprisal appeared and I saw that it was good. Firmly in the terraforming tradition of God game Godfather Populous, Reprisal is a game of powers and control over tiny little warring tribes. The free version is still available to play and it may act as a perfect antidote for any poor souls inflicted with a severe case of projectile Godus. The expanded commercial release is due on September 15th and it’s looking tasty.

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Desert Island Risks: Wayward

By Adam Smith on September 1st, 2014.

Survival and crafting are strongly linked concepts in gaming. Here in the real world, I survive by writing about toys (and the occasional art-toy), an onerous duty that is deemed worthy of financial reward. I use the dosh to buy chips and fizzy pop, and somehow that seems to be enough to keep my tiny engine running. Truth is, I’ve never crafted anything in my life – I had to phone a friend to help me out last time I bought a piece of furniture from Ikea. If I found myself on a desert island, like the player character in turn-based survival sim Wayward, I’d walk around looking for a Wifi hotspot until the landcrabs ate me. The game is free, in beta and a damn fine example of the type.

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