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Tag Archives: Medieval

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 14

GrogHeads’ own half-height harbinger of horror turns horny ~

Lloyd Sabin, 15 January 2018

It’s cold as balls outside (read: extremely cold) and my driveway is a glacier. Which leads me to think of Vikings and Viking-themed games. In this installment of What’s Gus Playing, I’ll cover some of my time with three Norse-irific titles: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, and Expeditions: Viking.

Expeditions: Viking is just as well produced as Vikings: Wolves of Midgard (probably moreso) but takes its Scandinavian history more to heart, and a bit more seriously.

Full disclosure: I got about half way in to Hellblade and covered it in more detail in the last installment of What’s Gus Playing. It eventually drained me and I had to move on to something else a little lighter to save my sanity, and that was Vikings: Wolves of Midgard. It’s a Diablo-clone, but a well done one set among the myths of the Norse world. Your avatar is customizable to a point, the enemies are varied and numerous and the game runs well, with attractive, bloody graphics and cartoonish violence.

At first the difficulty almost seemed too easy and I was going to bump it up to ‘hard’ until I hit the first boss. I tried to defeat this boss seemingly 100 times and even after LOWERING the difficulty to ‘easy’ I still could not do it, at which point I just shouted ‘f this!’ and moved on to Expeditions: Viking.

Expeditions: Viking is just as well produced as Vikings: Wolves of Midgard (probably moreso) but takes its Scandinavian history more to heart, and a bit more seriously. Like its predecessor, Expeditions: Conquistador, it is a story-based, historically accurate hybrid of tactical wargame and RPG. 

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 13

The bantam-weight banterer of badassery battles in a bygone Britain ~

Lloyd Sabin, 8 January 2018

I obviously try to keep this column as light as possible, but some games are just heavy. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is one such heavy game.

Just be warned – I would not recommend playing for extended periods of time. Hellblade seriously changed my mood, and quickly.

Giving the player the opportunity to play as Senua, a female Celt, in Dark Age Britain, Hellblade is much more than a game of exploration or first person combat. These aspects are there, but Hellblade, first and foremost, is about fear…fear generated through mental illness.

Ninja Theory, the producers of Hellblade, consulted mental illness experts to create the game and state they wanted to make as accurate a portrayal of mental illness as possible, so that those lucky enough to live without it could have some idea of what it’s like. They did a fine job, because Hellblade is terrifying, confusing and infuriating, by design.

I found myself panicking, getting angry and frustrated, and finally having to step away from the game for a breather…about an hour of Hellblade is all I can really do before it becomes too much.

This is not a knock at the game itself – it’s awesome, well-produced, beautiful to look at and takes its content very seriously. Just be prepared to be affected. That’s the best way I can think of to describe it. Hopefully you will be able to see some of what I saw in the screen shots below. I also have to mention the audio design. The sound, maybe even more than the visuals, are the real terror drivers here. Play Hellblade for just an hour and you will see what I mean.

What’s Gus Playing? Episode 11

The wee wonder of warmongering waxes whimsically ~

Lloyd Sabin, 18 December 2017

Well my Polish campaign in Medieval 2: Total War (with the Stainless Steel mod) looks to be wrapping up in a way I didn’t really want…Hungary, Novgorod and now Venice have all found savory bits to lop off my increasingly small empire and I fear I may be knocked out of the campaign soon. Witness some of the below shots.

Initially I cheered at this news as the Holy Roman Empire was a victory objective for me to defeat but then I quickly realized that the powers that dismantled it were in the process of taking my Polish empire down too.

Arms & Ambition – Playtest Report

GrogHeads had a chance to check out a pre-release playtest of the new Arms & Ambition boardgame ~

Chris Caran, 15 November 2017

This weekend while attending the MACE convention in Charlotte, I had an opportunity to sit down with Brad Warren and play his new wargame, Arms and Ambition. The game is in development, but very polished so far – a beautiful vinyl mat, 3D printed pieces, and professionally printed cards. Only the rules and documentation are still in developmental mode.

In the game, you play one of eight noble families vying for the throne after the ruling dynasty collapses. Each family has starting territory and “family ambitions” – victory conditions specific to the player. The overall goal is to gain 100 victory points and declare yourself the new king. You have starting units and each territory you own (represented by a card) has an income value.

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What’s Gus Playing? Episode 5

GrogHeads’ Garden Gnome of Goodness goes granite ~

Lloyd Sabin, 30 October 2017

Yes I covered Witcher 3 Hearts of Stone just a couple of weeks ago but I am so, so, so in love with the game that I am still playing it. Plus, it’s very close to Halloween and this particular part of the Hearts of Stone DLC – taking place in the von Everec manor house – is extremely well done. It is plain old frightening in some spots and I have to say, unexpectedly well done…even for Witcher 3, which is consistently fantastic.

Plus there’s evil, fairly attractive demons, wraiths and ghosts that will make you question your sexuality

The player is sent to the von Everec manor pretty close to what appears to be the end of the main story line of Hearts of Stone, and you get to fill in some major backstory on Olgierd von Everec: how he became character you’re ‘not so sure about,’ where he came from and how his head and scalp got so badly damaged. Plus there’s evil, fairly attractive demons, wraiths and ghosts that will make you question your sexuality. See below for more!

Oh and how could I forget – if you choose the correct path through Hearts of Stone, you can get some, as is tradition in all Witcher games. In this particular case it is with an old love interest named Shani. You attend a wedding with her and it is up to you to decide how you want the evening to end, as long as you are a gentleman about it.