Age of Wonders III

We actually stumbled upon this game like we do most of them these days. The conversation went something like this:

Graev: Hey, look at this game on Steam. Looks pretty cool, huh?

Keen: Oh is that, Age of Magic or Mystic or something? I’ve heard good things about that.

Graev: *Looks at name* No, it’s not that. *Browses around Steam a little more* Do you mean this? Age of Wonder 3?

Keen: Yeah, I think so.

Graev: Yeah this looks fun too. Let’s get it.

We run a real tight ship over here.

So What Is It?

age-of-wonders-3-empireI had no idea what Age of Wonders 3 was before I saw it and I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever heard of the series either. To be fair, there seems to be a mess load of games that start with “Age of” and end with something different like Empires, Mythology, Wushu, Conan, Conquest, and a crap-load of other stuff. From what I could tell by looking at screenshots it appeared to be like a Civilization game but with turn-based combat thrown in the mix. The concept seemed fun enough so we gave it a go and ended up playing four hours straight (Which you wont get out of me often). I don’t really feel like delving into the mechanics of the game, which we are both still figuring out anyway, so instead I’m going to talk about some aspects of the game that I really enjoy. I also might throw in a couple of things that irk me as well, depending on how things go. Also I should mention that it is a turn-based game. I was almost finished writing the post and I wasn’t sure if I had mentioned that before. You can do either simultaneous turns or classic.  (more…)


The Banner Saga A.K.A Fantasy Viking Oregon Trail

Banner Saga

The Banner Saga looked really appealing to me because it features both beautiful artwork reminiscent of old fantasy cartoons I watched as a kid and stuff like Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. You don’t really see art like this anymore which is a real shame. In addition to looking fantastic it also features turn-based strategy gameplay. Anybody who may be familiar with stuff I’ve written in the past might recall that I’ve often been a big fan of turn-based strategy games and SRPGs. The one thing I was absolutely NOT expecting was for the game, between battles that is, to play out similar to Oregon Trail. I’m not sure if anybody else has made that comparison yet since I haven’t actually read anything on the game. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Oregon Trail, though. Most people seem to love that game and have fond memories, including myself. I’m not saying that the similarities between the games is a bad thing at all, merely that it completely surprised me.

Go West, Giant Horned Man

So basically throughout the game you switch perspectives between several main characters. When you aren’t in combat, which I’ll touch on later, you are marching across the land with a huge caravan of people. Your caravan can be made up of a number of clansmen, fighters, and Varl which are giant horned humanoids. You also have a certain number of supplies which will feed your caravan for a set number of days. If you run out of food then people start dying. Your caravan morale will decrease if you encounter any bad situations or if you are marching for too many days without taking a break. As far as I can tell the only effect morale has is in combat and it determines how much bonus or negative morale points you get. (more…)


STAR COMMAND – Set Phasers To Disappointment

Admittedly I didn’t know a whole lot about the game going in. I saw a trailer and skimmed over the Kickstarter page along with a few other articles. What I thought was going to be a deep and satisfyingly was instead shallow and broken. I honestly can’t believe I chocolate-rabbit’d myself so soon after writing that. I suppose I have to take partial blame for expecting too much. Wait… No, no I really don’t. They essentially promised as much in their Kickstarter campaign. Anybody who sunk any substantial money into Star Command must be fighting waves of nausea.

Star Command Review

Visually, the game is great. They did a fantastic job with the pixel art and the aliens and ships are fascinating to look at. They obviously went for a Star Trek feel and I think for the most part they nailed it. Unfortunately it just all goes downhill from here. The combat, ship, crew, and diplomacy (or lack thereof) mechanics are all bad. They really are. I probably shouldn’t make sweeping statements like that but I honestly can’t think of a single redeeming feature among them.

The entire game is based around tokens. Win a battle, get tokens, spend tokens on upgrades or crew. Good luck being able to afford anything, though, when you have to constantly replace your crew. Parts of your ship also use different types of tokens to dodge attacks and fire special weapons. The problem is that you not only need to wait for the rooms to charge up, but then you need to spend a token. Unfortunately you can only hold 2 tokens of each type at a time. After that you have to generate tokens, introducing an additional timer into the mix.  The same is true for shield regenerators, etc. It’s a completely stupid and broken system. I just don’t understand why they created, essentially, 2 different usage timers. It would have been great if they just let you buy and stock ammo, but there’s none of that.  Read on. (more…)


XCOM: Enemy Unknown Impressions

XCOM Enemy Unknown AssaultXCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based tactical strategy game with sim elements.  That’s really the best way to classify the game because I don’t necessarily agree with using the RPG or Action labels.

The player is given a static base of operations to manage resources and research upgrades.  You can expand the facility with new types of buildings, monitor where alien attacks are happening around the world to know where to focus defending, and manage your teams that you send out.

Gameplay is turn-based tactical as I mentioned before.  There is fog of war keeping you from seeing the map.  Units can move a certain distance, perform an action, or dash to move much further but that ends the characters turn.    Once a rookie unit levels up he gains a ‘class’ like Sniper, Heavy, Support, and Assault.   As each guy ranks up they have a skill tree that allows you to choose one or between two abilities.  For example, when assault ranks up he an dash and shoot in the same turn, and the next time he ranks up you can choose something defensive or offensive.  So there are a lot of ways you can choose to specialize your units depending on the tactics you want to focus on in your gameplay.

Read more after the break. (more…)