Hearthstone: C’Thun all up in your face

Recently I plunged myself back into the ever growing world of Hearthstone. The last time I played was when naxxramas was box fresh. With the release of Old Gods I thought it might be time to have a look and see whats changed. With the release you receive 3 Old God packs which give you a sneak peak of all the new Cthulhu’ey cards available, and a little boost into an otherwise daunting game.

One thing I noticed is that deck have now separated out into types with the Old God cards being the newest, followed by the last major event; Grand Tournament and finally the classic cards. Having 600 gold kicking about in my stash I bought an addition 2 of each type to try and expand my classic collection.

Armed with my new cards I stepped forth into the world of competitive online card gaming and lost.. over and over again. Then I remembered why I stopped playing Heathstone, with my inability to handle failure thought i would write this post highlighting what not to do.

I expected to loose, I expected to loose allot; but so far out of the 50 games I’ve played I have won maybe 2 games. This is not looking good. I would like to blame my loses on being out of the game too long or purely being out gunned and not investing enough in the game. After all Hearthstone boarders on the pay-to-win side of F2P.

After a long string of defeats I noticed a new game type floating around: Standard. Standard gives scrubs like me the option to jump in with out being dominated by hardcore players. Standard, only allows classic cards and any card released over the last 2 years letting you jump into the game with a tiny amount of hope that you wont get bulldozed in a 30 hit point combo explosion.

awaken-an-ancient-evil

I put together a modern’ish card deck learning towards utilizing C’thun. Some cards allow you to boost this basic 6/6 card so that when it finally comes into your deck you can place it and “bring the noise” essentially obliterating your opponents board. This event occurs because of C’thun battle-cry; where it deals damage equal to its attack distributed randomly across your enemies minions and hero. A few things stand in your way of happy damage explosion time.

You need to boost C’Thun to make him worth the 10 mana crystal investment. This can be done by using minion cards which boost C’Thun when they are played. Certain scenarios apply to these minion cards which increase C’Thun stats, one of the cards adds 1/1 to him when its healed, another turns him into a tank when the card is played and some just boost him by 1/1 when they are played. If you manage to role none of these cards early enough you could be sitting on a week little Cthulhu… I mean C’Thun.

Its highly possible that you could die before you even get to 10 mana crystal or you could die waiting for him to show up. Hearthstone players have a fetish for the quick game, a swift in and out – get the job done kind of play. To counter this you need a deck which aims to keep you alive for long enough to let you C’Thun explode C’Thun’ness all over your enemies.

Priest seems to work well for me. I have a few minions that do well to boost C’Thun if they are healer (Hooded Acolyte) and few other minion cards which help to keep everyone alive through group heals. Not to mention a few tanks which I boost with double life to slow down the hate. Currently I’am lasting right up to 10 mana crystal and normally C’Thun is sitting pretty on 10/10, which means if he isn’t in my hand I can use Ancient Harbinger to place any 10/10 minion into my hand.

This change in game type and a shift in play style has pushed my winning streak up from, really bad to – it’s ok. I am also enjoying the game more in this mode, Heathstone has also evened out slightly when it comes to new players vs old players. Lately I have come across a few more players who have the basic deck. Im sure this will fizzle out as people slowly drop out of the game after the initial hype but i’m enjoying the new mix of casual/noobs and veterans. The difficulty will also start to scale in this category as more and more players get their hands on the new cards, but this time I can see myself playing Hearthstone for longer than a week.

I might also actually pay for a pack of cards ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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God sims wanted

With the latest news that our beloved Lionhead Studio is about to get disembowelled by the mighty money goliath Microsoft, the idea for a post came to me about a genera of game which seems to have gone missing over the last few years – God Sims.

Before Lionhead Studios was turned into a Fable sweatshop they produced a title which remains one of my all time favourites, Black and White. Black and White was the first title from the studio founded by the worlds best salesman Peter Molyneux, before Lionhead we had Bullfrog which bought us such awesome games as Populous and Dungeon Keeper.

Populous: The beginning along with Black and White sparked an interest within me for being an all powerful God figure with the capability of killing and rewarding my followers as necessary. Something which at the time helped to mold me in to the all powerful being you see today. Praise be to me.
 screen-shot-2010-07-25-at-8-32-36-pm

Black and White was a ground breaking game for the time. The graphics where pushing it to the top end with the ability to zoom in and interact with each follower individually. Not to mention all the spells you had to master, which you could gesture into life with a wave of your magical God hand. Storms, fireballs, lightning and thunderstorms, you had total control over your domain. Under pinning it all was a basic moral system which allowed you to become a merciful bounty giver or an easy going, people sacrificing, cow slapping, dick.

Being good was always the harder approach in the game but some what more rewarding, people generally got a bit carried away with your resources and plundered everything they could get their hands on leaving you with a large population of complainers, you know.. like the world today. Being evil meant you didn’t care, people where just fuel for your spell power wok and after a while you where so proficient with fireballs you could burn down the next settlement, kill everyone then drop one of your follower in, and job done town taken over.

The added bonus  to being a God is the joy of having a pet to do all your bidding, as time went on the little guy became more self sufficient and started eating people with out your encouragement. You could also teach them spells which almost always ended up with everyone on fire. If the next god over ever got a little bit lemon you could always challenge him to a pet battle, it was a bit like a dog fight but virtual.

Black and White was/still-is a good game, the 2nd game which came out 4 years later was a massive disappointment. Its a shame that after this the franchise disappeared and along with it the God game genera. Being an all powerful being has its appeal and although Fable had hints of this power later on in the games it never truly felt the same.

Populous: The beginning entered my life as a demo disc from a playstation magazine. This was back when game demos where purchased with a magazine for £3 and not released as a £20 intro game *cough* Ground Zero *cough*. That demo was played into the floor I would spend hours building up a massive tribe just to take out 1 shaman and 5 warriors. When the game finally showed up  I played the shit out of it, the 15min loading screen and the need to use a whole memory card just to play it didn’t stop me and soon everything was purged for the opportunity just to play some Populous.

As a god blessed Shaman you had powers over the element and could use those powers to achieve a vast array of different spells. From summoning a volcanos to creating more land, you had it all. You could also train your follower as warriors, balloon enthusiast, fire fist bros and preacher. And everything was done just so you could become the one true Deity, by killing everyone who didn’t believe in what you believed in.

God sims seem to have been lost over the years and although some could argue that games like Tropico, Sim City, Rollercoaster Tycoon, etc are similar its not exactly summoning lighting and killing everyone. There is a difference between a game where you manage something and a game where your all powerful. Although some in management like to think they are all powerful, until you key their car in the car park. WHO’S THE BIG MAN NOW SHARON!

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What’s New Kickstarter??????

And we are back! Here is another installment in the “WNK” series (and yes, I can see what the initials sound like…). In this series I browse Kickstarter on a monthly basis and pull out a couple of games (mainly board games) that really catch my eye.

We had a small break at the end of last year, for which I can only apologise. However we have a fresh start for 2016, so let us see what the new year brings game-wise.

Let’s see what we have for January!

Karmaka – A tactical card game for 2-4 souls

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eddybox/karmaka-a-tactical-card-game-for-2-4-souls?ref=category_popular

Game by Eddy Boxerman
$36,656 pledged of $20,000 goal
28 Days to go (18/02/2016)

This game really caught my eye. The premise for this is that everyone begins as a Dung Beetle, and you play out each “life” to work your way up the Karmic Ladder to reach Transcendence. Each Life is played using a hand of cards, and players play those cards to reach 3 objectives:

  • Score enough points to climb the Ladder and keep up with your rivals.
  • Stash a good selection of cards to your “Future Life”. This will become your opening hand next life.
  • Play cards for their abilities to help yourself or to hinder others. But what goes around comes around. A key tension in Karmaka is that after playing a card for its ability, a rival may take the card into their Future Life. Your actions may come back to haunt you in the next life…

Note the last point – I *love* this idea. Other games have tried to incorporate a consequences element to a player’s actions, but this one manages to not only add a brilliant tactical element to a fairly simple card game, but it also does it in a way that fits with the context of the whole game.

The artwork looks to be beautiful, with the karmic ladder painted as a twisting vine with a variety of creatures on it all on the path to enlightenment. The cards are wonderfully detailed as well, with even the images of dung beetles rolling dung artfully drawn.

The site has included positive reviews from places like PAX South, and awards from the Boston Festival of Indie Games, so already the game seems like a safe investment.

In fact, for the first time since starting this Kickstarter series – I am so in love with this game I have personally backed it with my own money! So when it comes in expect an excited review in a future post.

Control: A Strategic Card Game

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keymastergames/control-a-strategic-card-game?ref=category_popular

Game by Keymaster Games
$6,479 pledged of $7,500 goal
29 Days to go (19/02/2016)

This game is a quick card game, inspired by titles such as Love Letter (brilliant quick card game), Magic the Gathering and Cuttle. The aim of this combat card game is for players to use Fuel Cells (the cards) to refuel their time machines and to escape the rupture that has trapped them all outside of time.

Games generally run 5-15 minutes so gameplay is extremely quick and easy to learn. On their turn, a player chooses ONE of the following:

  • Draw a card. A player may not draw if they have seven cards in hand.
  • Install a Silver or Bronze Fuel Cell in their area of play. The Fuel Cell Charge on installed cards goes toward a player’s goal of 21 or more to win. Abilities on Silver Fuel Cells are activated when installed.
  • Burn a Bronze Fuel Cell to the discard pile to activate its ability.
  • Defuse an opponent’s fuel cells with a Fuel Cell of your own of equal or higher value.

I generally like quick card games as a rule, and combined with the sci-fi/steampunk-esque artwork I think this game is definitely a winner. The designs on the box make me think of Dr Who and Gallifrey (not a bad thing at all), whilst the artwork on the cards makes me think of the old Sci-fi novels and comics.

The campaign page itself is well done, with clear rules, affordable contributions that will give backers a copy of the game. And they even have a PDF print & play copy of the game available to download. Once again – to be so confident and proud of your idea that you’re willing to let people print it out themselves to play it says wonders.

Definitely one to keep an eye out for!

Dirigible Disaster-A frantic real-time co-op for 2-5 players

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/letimangames/dirigible-disaster-a-frantic-real-time-co-op-for-2?ref=category_popular

Game by Dan Letzring
$9,194 pledged of $8,400 goal
22 Days to go (12/02/2016)

As the title already tells us, Dirigible Disaster is a co-operative boardgame set on an airship. Players must work together to keep the airship afloat during it’s maiden voyage.

Now this is the part that is really interesting; the “flight” consists of 10 1-minute rounds all played in real time. When you watch the example round they have filmed it just goes to show you how quickly the time goes, and just how in-sync the players all need to be in order to get through it and survive. The added difficulty is that players must all take turns one at a time rather than all together, so actions must be swift and a good mixture of proactive and reactive in order to make it through the round.

Now I will admit that the artwork is not the greatest, but in this game that isn’t necessary. The board is a little ugly, but with such innovative gameplay I’m willing to give it a pass.

I think this would be a great game to burn through with a group of friends as a breather between two larger games. Shouting out instructions and actions for each minute round would be the gaming equivalent to a pallet cleansing sorbet after a real meal.

Go look at these games that I’ve suggested. In fact – if you do, make sure to comment below letting me know whether they managed to convince you to go post them some money.

If you spot anything you want me to look into, be sure to let us know in the comments!

 

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What’s New Kickstarter??????

It’s that time again! Here is another installment in the “WNK” series (and yes, I can see what the initials sound like…). In this series I browse Kickstarter on a monthly basis and pull out a couple of games (mainly board games) that really catch my eye.

I seem to have picked up a theme of family-oriented games this month. Completely by accident I assure you, but I’ve decided to run with it.

So lets see what we have for family-friendly October!

The Great Dinosaur Rush Board Game

Great Dinosaur Rush

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13415575/the-great-dinosaur-rush-board-game

Game by APE Gamer
$16,480 pledged of $16,000 goal
41 Days to go (24/11/2015)

This looks to be quite the nifty little game. Playing as 19th Century Palaeontologists, the aim of the game to is dig up and assemble dinosaur skeletons to sell to museums to gain points.  I like the interesting twist that the bones are merely sticks that you can assemble however you want, gaining extra points if you follow the design cards. Every player gets a pretty cool looking screen to hide their creations until the reveal at the end of the round. The artwork for this game is really well done, and I think suits the game’s overall look incredibly well.

dinosaur sticks

Building dinosaurs might be the main way to gain points in this game, but players also have the opportunity to gain by collecting “Notoriety tokens” each round. These are a gamble on the player’s part, as the points on the cards go towards your score, but if you have the highest notoriety score they actually detract from your score – so the objective is to play dirty…but not too dirty. I like that this game encourages a little sneaky tactics and gambling to try and gain points – sometimes you have to take risks in order to make discoveries!

The tiers are pretty reasonable, with the bonus of a little discount if you’ve backed their previous campaign which I do like. It’s a way of rewarding loyal fans, whilst at the same time enticing people to look at other campaigns they have running (if any) to try and see if there are any bonuses elsewhere.

I really like how this game can let you get a little creative, and I like how they show that on the Kickstarter page by showing pictures of ‘dinosaurs’ they liked from people playing at Gen Con and play tests.  Definitely one to pick up if you have children interested in palaeontology, or even if you just like making up dinosaurs yourself.

Publish or Perish – Science Family Game!

publish or perish

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rombogames/publish-or-perish-0?ref=category_popular

Game by Rombo Games
$4,059 pledged of $20,000 goal
27 Days to go (09/11/2015)

This little science game encourages children to conduct “experiments” by combining quark and lepton particle cards and noting down the results. This can then be compared to the other experiments the team has performed, to deduct the outcome. After that they can publish their discoveries to score points and reach the ultimate goal of winning the Nobel Prize.

There are 2 things I really love about this game :

  1. This game teaches the scientific method in a way that is both interesting and fun and yet at the same time they are learning about sub atomic particles. The part of me that is still sad at failing miserably at A Level Chemistry loves this, I only wish I had something like this when I was younger
  2. This board game uses a mobile app to play animations and sounds from the cards, showing the results of the experiments and publications. How has someone not already thought of integrating board games with mobile technology in this way? I think it’s really clever, and helps keep (particularly younger) children engaged. It’s a brilliant move in my opinion.

Augmented Reality in Action!

I think the artwork is cute, cartoony and very fitting for the demographic it’s aiming towards. I haven’t seen an educational game that makes this amount of effort to engage and be fun for a while, and I really hope that it takes off.

Wolf & Hound

wolf and hound

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/636070410/wolf-and-hound?ref=category_popular

Game by Ninja Star Games
$3,073 pledged of $10,000 goal
23 Days to go (06/11/2015)

The first thing that caught my eye with this game was the aesthetic. This is a very cute, quite ‘fluffy’ game. The artwork has a lot of soft edges, and the board layout with the little pens and the track which moves the wolf and hound cards around the players is incredibly charming.

wolf and hound board

The rules are pretty simple and quick to learn; you play in pairs as shepherds looking after a little pen of sheep each. Wolves scare your sheep into the dark forest, but hounds bring them back to you. The idea is to strategically move the wolf and hound cards around the track in the centre of the board to minimize the amount of sheep you lose, whilst at the same time knocking out the opposing team. The game ends when 1 player loses all of their sheep. There are a number of cards which can effect the game, and you have to play your cards to save both you and your partner. This means that whilst it’s pretty straightforward to learn, the tactics involved will keep players of any age engaged and entertained.

The Kickstarter page includes video playthroughs which I think really help put across the simplicity of the game whilst at the same time demonstrating the complex strategy that can be employed. One thing the Kickstarter page has that I really like is reviews from parents and children alike – playing to their demographic and showing the mixed age range this game can appeal to is a very clever move.

The backing tiers are incredibly reasonable – $24 gets you a copy of the game which they plan to retail at $37. This shows backers that their support and money is appreciated and is actually worth something, which is something I have found lacking in a lot of campaigns recently. Assuming someone is going to drop $50 to get a copy of a game that they haven’t seen physically and doesn’t even fully exist in some cases is incredibly arrogant in my opinion, and always puts me off from donating.

Overall I think this game is very charming – simplistic, encourages team play and cute aesthetics. A definite thumbs up from me.

Go look at these games that I’ve suggested. In fact – if you do, make sure to comment below letting me know whether they managed to convince you to go post them some money.

If you spot anything you want me to look into, be sure to let us know in the comments!

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What’s New Kickstarter??????

It’s that time again! Here is another installment in the “WNK” series (and yes, I can see what the initials sound like…). In this series I browse Kickstarter on a monthly basis and pull out a couple of games (mainly board games) that really catch my eye.

This month I saw a large number of video games that really caught my attention, so I thought I would step away from my normal critera to do a special “Digital WNK”!

So lets see what we have for September!

For the King

ForTheKingTitleA

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fortheking/for-the-king-0?ref=category_popular

Game by IronOak Games
$51,298 CAD pledged of $40,000 goal
29 Days to go (16/10/2015)

I really like the aesthetics of this game. The blocky design reminds me of the old polygon graphics, but the added details bring it up today. It also kind of reminds me of a big pop-up book that you can run around and explore. The way the world map is laid out reminds me of the Final Fantasy world maps, with little towns and monuments standing on top of the world.

What I am unsure about is that this game seems to be a mish-mash of different gaming styles and genres. The grid layout and turn based exploration suggest that there is a restriction on movement similar to a board game rather than just free exploration, and the turn based battle system draws heavily from JRPGs of the past. However there also seems to be a dungeon crawling element and ships which looks a little like what we’ve seen in past Zelda games (another potential influence in the game’s look and feel perhaps?). I really wish there was some gameplay demos in the kickstarter to get to grips with this game, rather than a bunch of gifs and trailers.

I do like the possibility for both online and single player gameplay, although I would also hope that there is an option for local co-op as well (since most of my gaming these days is generally co-op with my fiance). I can’t see that option in the description which is a little disappointing, as if they’ve added the functionality for other players online surely it can’t be a stretch to add it locally? Although I admit locally would limit the roaming ability of the group, which seems to be a selling point for the game.

Overall I’m quite interested in seeing how this game turns out. With the goal reached this early into the campaign, it seems to be a sure thing that we’ll see it released onto the market. If they get onto Steam’s Greenlight, maybe a little sooner. Definitely something to pick up and play.

12 is Better than 6 (PC, Mac and Linux)

12isbetterthan6

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1926605606/12-is-better-than-6?ref=category_popular

Game by Ink Stain Games
£2,297 pledged of £15,000 goal
22 Days to go (09/10/2015)

This game looks to be a fast paced, top down shooter set in the wild west. The aesthetics of this game look AMAZING, really different to what I’ve seen before. The attention to detail shows the artistic talent in such a simple premise – it looks like a moving sketch.

The game looks to be well thought out – they have already successfully joined the Greenlight community on Steam, the plot and background is well thought out and the developers even explain the title in their information, showing the passion and interest in their work.

The fast pace seems like it could be a game you can easily burn a couple of hours on before putting it down and picking it up again later. I can easily see my fiance playing a game like this, and it would be one that I would happily watch him burn through. The main story looks to be pretty short (they say 6-8 hours), but with the potential for added gameplay and downloadable content later on this could be extended.

I also really like the fact that they have a pre-Alpha version available for download. We all realise this by now, if you’re willing to give your potential backers a sneaky preview into your game, you’ll generally find me rooting for your product to succeed.

Overall they really seem to know what they are doing – they have made it available across multiple PC platforms, they have a set release date for next year, and they have already sorted out the important little details (like having some of the game’s soundtrack available on Soundcloud). Again, pending their success – this is something I think I could easily see appearing in our Steam library in the future.

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs – The Video Game

StarSheriff

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/saberridergame/saber-rider-and-the-star-sheriffs-the-video-game?ref=category_popular

Game by Team Saber Rider
$31,861 pledged of $75,000 goal
18 Days to go (05/10/2015)

This game is the (apparently) long awaited game adaptation of the 1986 television cartoon of the same name. They plan to release the game for Nintendo 3DS, Steam (PC, MAC, Linux) and (really bizarrely) Sega Dreamcast (seriously – why the Dreamcast?! I do not understand adding that console to the list whatsoever).

I personally have never seen this show, but I watched the campaign video and the TV trailer included lower down the campaign page and I love it! The style and general feel seems to be cheesy 80s fun, and the whole thing was incredibly pleasing. The developers clearly love the source material, and were respectful (or at the very least business savy) enough to gain permission from the creators before continuing with the project. The evidence of source material (Animation Cells, original character sketches) is reassuring, and I also like the added touch of comparing the background scenery of one level of the game with a scene from the series to show the accuracy.

I think starting with an already existing universe with established histories and characters is a safe bet, as their main customer base will be adults who enjoyed watching the show in their childhood. But the fact that they themselves are fans to begin with is the real clincher, as you know that this project of love is one that will not be half-arsed and released before they consider it the perfect homage.

If I’m honest, I pretty much want to watch this now, so that’s another reason why this game makes the list.

tiny & Tall: Gleipnir

petit_indiedb

Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pins/tiny-and-tall-gleipnir?ref=category_popular

Game by pins
€2,944 pledged of €8,000 goal
21 Days to go (08/10/2015)

This is a point and click adventure which tells the epic story of two un-epic protagonists, based on a nordic legend. The Kickstarter campaign is for the first of what will become 3 episodes, and is the adaptation of a book written by the creator.

You can tell by the style of the game that the creator’s origins were from comics. This is not a bad thing! I really like the look, and from the screenshots and trailer can tell that the humour in this game is the kind that I definitely enjoy.

I like point and click games, although I am awful at them so they tend to take me forever to complete. With this game though I’m not sure that I would mind too much. I think the genre suits the style very well, and it would sit quite happily amongst such classics as Escape from Monkey Island, Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle etc.

Again the developer has very nicely provided a demo on the campaign page, plus he has included a link to his comic so you can read the background on the characters and get to grips with the story. The fact he has written his page in both English and French is very impressive, and I am going to go ahead and assume that the game will be available in both those languages as well (actually the demo shows a language option, so consider my assumption confirmed!).

To offer the option to download the game for just a €10 donation is amazing, and one that makes me very happy. Too often have people on Kickstarter set ridiculous levels and expect people to pay up large sums of money before seeing any kind of material gain. I’ve said it before – trust your backers, respect your audience and you will be rewarded!

This game looks fun, harkens back to the old point and click style in both graphics and humour, and whilst I’m not generally a fan of releasing games in episodes, I think it could be quite interesting and worth the hassle.

Go look at these games that I’ve suggested. In fact – if you do, make sure to comment below letting me know whether they managed to convince you to go post them some money.

If you spot anything you want me to look into, be sure to let us know in the comments!

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