‘Tis the season to report that many a thing is on sale. The latest discounts to come to my attention are over at Matrix Games, eminently serious-minded purveyors of complex strategic delicacies It’s not often that these grizzled veterans emerge into the wilds – they hate breaking cover - so the only hope for a discount is usually when Matrix have their own sales and this year, the holiday sale includes everything released before 2011, as well as a few from this year. Head over and take a look.
It seems that computer games are mostly either free or in bundles these days, so the prices that Matrix offer during a sale will come as a shock to some. Nothing here is particularly cheap, especially in comparison to the pennies demanded for some top quality titles elsewhere on the internet. But if gaming is a hobby, this bunch are the hobbyists within the hobby, making the kind of complex, deep strategy that it's damnably hard to find anywhere else.
Take any game with "Gary Grigsby's" before the bulk of its title. See those words and you can expect hexes and intense turn-based historical strategy that takes into account every possible permutation of war, from weather to supply chains and morale. There are several Grigsby games in the sale but War In the East is the crowning glory, a stupendous game that simulates the Eastern Front of the Second World War over four campaigns. It’s the kind of thing I could imagine finding my grandfather stooping over in his study, except there it would have been laid out on a board rather than crammed onto a hard drive. Sadly, the price is somewhat akin to buying an actual board, with hundreds of pieces, so even with a 33% discount it costs $53.99/£37.99.
You probably already know if you want to pay money for this sort of thing and if you do, these are prices as good as I've seen all year. Also worth its own mention is Distant Worlds, my favourite space strategy title of recent times. The base game is currently discounted by 33%, as is the first expansion.
The full list is a dangerous thing to peruse if you are of a similar mind to me. I don't know many people who would want these as gifts but I also know that unless I buy them for myself, no one will indulge me. I have been a good boy this year though. I deserve all the hexes in Europe.