Monthly Archives: September 2012

PC Game Review of FTL: Faster Than Light

Reviewed by Avery Abernethy, 30 September 2012

Publisher: Subset Games

Can a game offering simple mechanics, an absurd plot, and multiple, humiliating fails be any fun? Maybe…

In Space No One Can Hear Your Ship Explode

FTL: Faster Than Light is an very simple, inexpensive and fun PC game. You command a single space ship with a tiny crew. There is an absurdly minimal plot. You belong to a Federation under attack by Rebels. You have information vital to the destruction of the Rebels. To defeat the rebels you must guide your underpowered space ship through a number of star filled sectors defeating other single ships while being slowly chased by a huge enemy fleet. Time is always slipping away.

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Prosciutto – Hamming it up with the di Parmas, Part Foooooouuuuuuur!


By Undercovergeek, 26 September 2012

A Crusader Kings II AAR, with all the seriousness of a cooler full of lunch meat

click images to enlarge

 

In Part 3 the long awaited claim on Genoa was finally written. With extraordinary good timing Parma marched on the city, now with extraordinary bad timing the Genoese have come back for their province………….

 

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That was quick – only recently sent to Genoa’s neighbouring province Nice, claims are fabricated and we can expand even further. Together Genoa and Nice make up the Duchy of Genoa, hopefully our first ‘promotion’ from Count to Duke.
In the background (all these messages came up at once) you can see the two ‘post battle’ armies of Genoa (985) and Parma (948). Genoa only just won the first round and is now ‘reseiging’ the City of Genoa back from me whilst Oberto is forced to withdraw to Parma.

 

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Having marched back to Parma in shame Oberto keeps the mercenaries but disbands his own army. In doing so it allows him to draw fresh levies from the provinces and march straight back to Genoa with a bigger force this time. Exhausted from the first battle and having low morale from attempting to storm the walls of the City, the Genoans are soundly beaten and kicked back into Nice. It’s the Doge’s only province, we get a 100% warscore immediately and force him to give up the place.

Wargaming on the Go! – Sea Empire


Game review by Brant Guillory, 21 September 2012

Developed and published by BluePlop Games for the Android OS

Caribbean islands, fortresses, trade, and racing to beat the clock. Strategy without combat? Heresy! But oh, what fun to play…

click images to enlarge

seaSea Empire is a nifty little mobile game for the Android, that’s free through the Google Play Store. There’s a paid version that strips out the ads, but the gameplay is essentially the same. It is a light real-time strategy game set loosely in the 18th-century Caribbean, with a focus on trade and building. There is no combat. Yes, you read that right – there is no combat in this game.

But don’t let that stop you. It’s a challenging game with a lot of well-balanced interactions with resource acquisition, transport, building construction, ship construction, and money management. The player is given the basic mission to build fortresses on different islands. To build a fortress, one needs timber, stone, and steel. The catch is that to make steel, you need a foundry to convert iron to steel, and to build a foundry you need stone, timber, and money, and to get money you need a marketplace, and… well, you can see where this is going, right?

Prosciutto – Hamming it up with the di Parmas, Part the Third

By Undercovergeek, 15 September 2012

A Crusader Kings II AAR, with all the seriousness of a cooler full of lunch meat

 

In Part 2 the foundations of my budding dynasty were built. Taxes were raised for the inevitable troubles ahead and the next generation of di Parmas were conceived.

 

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Oberto Junior (from my ‘struck from the records’ first marriage) comes of age. He is a Grey Eminence, giving him a massive Diplomacy boost, he will make someone a kick ass Chancellor, and he ummmm, wears a bonnet? A beret? I’m told he’s down with the medieval kids.

 

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This can’t be good, my liege Duchess Matilda declares independence from the HRE. The Kaiser says no and sends forth his troops. I didn’t think I’d be involved but I have a warscore counter on the screen – I’m just going to keep my head down and hope he doesn’t see our county.

GARPA – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

by Dan Pinkham and Lloyd Sabin

garpa

Welcome to GARPA. GARPA is the GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory. Our intention is to publish a bi-weekly column bringing attention to noteworthy projects that readers might find interesting. With the recent explosion of crowd-sourced funding projects, most of our readers are pretty familiar with Kickstarter and Indiegogo. These two websites have grown to the point that they now embody the crowd funding phenomenon.

For those not familiar with how crowd-funding works, the basic concept is this: a project idea is presented to the public and then seeks investors to make the project a reality in exchange for some type of compensation. The types of compensation can vary considerably, but the key concept is that this is an investment, not a donation. Projects can be introduced to these programs in varying stages of development, and the projects vary from music, design, technology, film and, most importantly to GrogHeads of course, games!

Each project sets a monetary goal and a time period to reach it. They present their project and then set pledge categories which correspond to varying reward levels. Pledge levels range from several dollars up to tens or even hundreds (!!!) of thousands of dollars. The rewards are then tiered to correspond to the pledge amount and range from a “pat on the back” through a copy of the game all the way up to your name in the credits or creative influence in the game.

This basic concept of crowd-funding isn’t new and in fact some boardgame companies have been using a similar concept for years. The concept that boardgame companies use more closely resembles a variation on a pre-ordering. It is best embodied by GMT Games’ P500 projects. Essentially, gamers voice a vote of confidence in a game by pledging to buy it via a pre-order for. These pre-orders are typically offered at a discounted price. Once a predetermined minimum number of pre-orders is achieved (typically 500, thus the P (preorder) 500 moniker, the game goes to the printer. Using this system, most smaller companies can produce only those games which their customers desire.

The goal of this column is not to advertise projects or list every project out there, but rather to highlight these projects we think the readers here would be most interested in. We receive no compensation or consideration by publishing this column, though it is possible that various members of the staff – and readers –may have invested in one or more of these programs on a private basis and on their own initiative. This brings us to our request from you, the Grogs.

Obviously there is a wide range of tastes and interest among those who call GrogHeads home. Since we won’t be able to cover every project that holds your interest we invite you to leave comments in the feedback forum thread and let us know what projects are on your radar. This will not only let us know what interests our readers but also help alert us to projects we may have missed. And now, without further ado, we ‘kick’ off our first column!

 

Computer Games

Wow. Kickstarter can be an imposing fantasy land if you are new to the place. It will be difficult here to hone down the best for the week, so please bear with us. Do we begin with disappointments or successes? I guess I will just go with whatever feels right as usual. I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the forums if I didn’t cover a PC game project that is making you salivate. And here we are:

 

Expeditions: Conquistador by Logic Artists

$72,922 raised of $70,000 goal, funding ended September 12.

First off: yes there will be a DRM free version of Expeditions: Conquistador by Danish creators Logic Artists. We know we feel better already. Next, the details: Expeditions: Conquistador will be a PC-based game in which the player takes on the role of a Spanish conqueror in Latin America from 1518-1520. So far, so good.

“Expeditions: Conquistador is a tactical roleplaying game with a touch of strategic resource management and a pinch of choose-your-own-adventure. Conquistador is set in a rarely visited part of history which is rife with mystery, political intrigue, and good old-fashioned violence," say the Logic Artists.

Personality traits, exploration and combat will all be part of the game, making for some spicy South American gaming gazpacho. More on this fully-funded title here

 

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare by Steve Piggott/Tom Banner Studios

$67,844 raised of $50,000 goal, funding ends September 15

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is billed as “a fast-paced medieval FPS with a focus on mutliplayer.” It sounds almost identical to Paradox Games’ upcoming War of the Roses, doesn’t it? The developers promise a detailed melee combat system, adjustable controls, dozens of different types of weapons and a dynamic objective system that will include sieges, raids, and assassinations. Of course I am intrigued, but I want to see what will differentiate Chivalry from Paradox’s upcoming title. Check these links for more information:

Chivalry at Kickstarter

Official Website

 

CLANG by Subutai Corporation and Neal Stephenson

$526,125 raised of $500,000 goal, funding ended July 9

Want to become a better swordfighter? Don’t want to get butchered into bloody hunks by a better swordsman than yourself? CLANG may be exactly what you need.

CLANG begins by giving the player a two-handed sword and throwing them into a player vs. player online arena in the vein of Soul Calibur or even Daggerfall. That is only the beginning though. Around this arena will be built a world created by multiple authors, with different stories populating the game through Amazon.com’s 47 North publisher. As a writer and a gamer, a producer and consumer of games and books, CLANG resonates with real potential for me.

Also promising is the detail of the sword fighting that will be modeled in CLANG. Neal Stephenson is not mucking around here: the game will support a third party controller specifically designed for swordplay. Different stances, strikes, parries and more genuine technique will be necessary to be successful…don’t expect to just hack your way through CLANG.

Finally and most ambitiously, CLANG promises to be expandable to a fascinating degree: if you want to create an Italian Renaissance city-based game, a Japanese-themed dojo-based game or a Dark Age Welsh village-based game, CLANG should be able to help you with different MASEs (Martial Arts System Embodiments).

Excited? Us too. Find out more here

 

Boardgames and Miniatures

Twilight Struggle by GMT Games

GMT Games recently announced they will begin taking pre-orders for the 2012 reprint of the highly praised game, Twilight Struggle Deluxe Edition. Regarded by many as one of the best boardgames around; this opinion is reinforced by the fact that Twilight Struggle holds the number one spot in the board, war, and strategy game rankings at BoardGameGeek. Covering the breadth of The Cold War, Twilight Struggle is a card driven game played out on a large period map. Play begins in the aftermath of WWII as the player takes control of either the USSR or the USA in their ‘struggle’ to exert their superpower’s influence throughout the world. While the latest reprint of the Twilight Struggle is listed on the on GMT Games’ P500 page they posted exciting news concerning this classic game on their Facebook account

“In terms of this new edition, it will be identical to last year’s reprint (mounted board, etc) and is now on the P500 list as a Reprint Edition. As usual with TS reprints, we’re not waiting for it to pass P500 – we’re just putting it on the list to give you guys who don’t have the game yet or want another copy to get a good discount. Tony tells me we should have the reprint in stock in time for the Christmas selling season.”

To get your very own copy, pre-order here

 

Urdagger Tribes of Valor Fantasy Miniatures by DGS Games

$5,890 raised of a $5,000 goal, funding ending September 16.

DGS Games the company that brought you the tabletop fantasy skirmish game, Freeblades, is close to finishing up a successful Kickstarter project for their next line of 32mm miniatures. The Urdaggar Tribes of Valor will be DGS’ fifth Freeblades faction drawn from their fantasy world of Faelon. Having surpassed their original goal of $5,000 on September 2 they hope to pass one or more of their stretched goals by the conclusion of pledging on September 16. With the success of the project DGS Games can use the funds to move forward with the production of the six Urdagger Tribe miniatures; the Wolfkarl, Berserker, Night Hunter, Slinger, Hunter, and Unproven. The project’s Kickstarter page contains details about the Urdagger Tribe as well as a description and concept art for each of the six miniatures and can be found here

 

 

Airborne in Your Pocket – A Board Game by Rik Falch

$89,277 raised of $30,000 goal, funding ended September 12.

We know that many of you will be interested in Airborne…how could you not be? In light of this excitement we will do away with any ‘is that a [blank] in your pocket] jokes, etc.

A light wargame for 1-4 players, Airborne in Your Pocket puts players in the role of an American paratrooper during the Allied D-Day landings. Storm bunkers, take out German artillery and generally raise hell behind enemy lines…all in a game that can take as little as ten minutes!

Airborne in Your Pocket comes in four different difficulty sets of varying difficulties and numbers of players: Spade, Diamond, Club and Heart. More information can be found here

With a tagline of “When Hitler built his famed Atlantic Wall, he forgot to install a roof…” it’s hard not to get your expectations high.

 

 

That wraps up our inaugural column. Join us in two weeks as we dive further into the crowd-funding world of games. Until then we encourage you to leave your feedback on the forums. Let us know what is out there that interests you guys and what projects you want to hear more about. As this is a column about crowd-funding projects we understand the importance of getting input from the crowd that resides here at GrogHeads.

 

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