Civilization VI, Part 1: Districts and Builders

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Civilization is one of those classic series' that most gamers know of at least by reputation. A consistently solid franchise that sits as the crown jewel of the Sid Meier empire (if you'll excuse the pun), the entries in this franchise have regularly met with critical acclaim, and seldom fallen below the threshold of adequacy. Each game in the series has introduced new mechanics, adding more complexity to the game. that is, at least until Civilization V came along and did away with many of the previous titles systems and mechanics in favor of a more streamlined and accessible experience. Some players decried these actions as signs that Firaxis had sold out or been too lazy to make a more complex game. The vast majority of people however, after a few pieces of DLC and a number of iterative patches came to love Civ V and it currently sits as the widely accepted best of the franchise.

Civilization VI picks up the torch right where Civ V left it, continuing many of the themes established by its predecessor. The espionage system defined by Civ V's  later DLC remains intact, as do large swaths of the game's trade system and religious mechanics. What really distinguishes Civ VI isn't the similarities it bears to previous games. In the places that it innovates, Civ VI manages to accomplish a spectacular feat; it has added depth and complexity while preserving accessibility.

Go Get the Humble Freedom Bundle ASAP!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


From time to time, I'll plug the latest Humble Bundle if there are some really interesting games within it or it supports a particularly good cause. Well right now, the Humble Freedom Bundle has both of those things and I highly encourage you to pick it up as some of the games in the bundle have limited quantities available.

If You Haven't Read the Expanse Series, I Suggest You Start Now

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Sci-Fi on the scale of the Expanse is a difficult thing to come by. The novel series is currently on its 6th principle novel with the 7th due out later this year. The Syfy channel series based on the novels has just started its second season and is an excellent adaptation. But, as is often the case, the books are really where its at. The Expanse takes hard sci-fi to new places and creates a truly immersive, frightening and exciting view of our possible future. If you haven't read it yet, start soon.

Some Thoughts on the Current State of Battleborn

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Image courtesy of Gearbox

It has been a very long time since I played Battleborn. My last few sessions with the game a few months ago were undeniably bad experiences, but I booted it up again recently to see how much things have changed. I played a couple of the new missions (Attikus and the Thrall Rebellion and Toby's Friendship Raid) and a few rounds of multiplayer and while there certainly have been some additions, I wouldn't say that the overall makeup of the game has changed and I don't think I'll be going back again any time soon.

2 Games About Serious Issues

Thursday, January 26, 2017


 
This past week has been very difficult for a great many people in this country and around the globe. For those of you who fall on either side of the issues, it is vitally important that we be able to maintain an open dialogue with each other. To that end, I have selected 2 games that I think deal with some very serious issues and would be a great place to start having conversations about topics like surveillance and the value of a free press. 

Starting a New Campaign From Scratch

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When we talk about video games, replayability is an oft touched on topic. We like large games that invite players to experience the stories within it again and again. That's why games like Skyrim, Mass Effect and Grand Theft Auto V have such staying power even years after their initial release. As a tabletop player though, it is very unlikely that you'll be tempted to play through the same module or adventure path more than once. Maybe I'm wrong, and this really isn't a thing, but I have never encountered a player or group, who upon finishing off the BBEG and closing the book on their quest turned around and said, "great job everyone! Let's do it again, but this time we'll all play different characters and be total dicks to everyone."

As a DM, I have run the same module more than once, but it has always been for different groups of players. The closest thing we DM's come to replayability is our player's engagement with the worlds we imagine for them. Over the last few weeks, I've been working on creating a world for my players to inhabit. It's a slow process that involves a lot of reading, writing, drawing, rereading, erasing, rewriting and redrawing. In the end we hope to have created an environment that the players can make themselves at home in and really become a part of. The first session, the reveal of that world is one of the most terrifying moments as a DM. Will the players like it or will they spend the next few hours shitting on the world you've spent weeks creating?

The Walking Dead Season 3: A New Frontier

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Pre-apocalypse Javier. Looks like a young guy with a whole lot ahead of him.


I've been following Telltale since their early days with Sam and Max and Monkey Island (both new additions to two of my favorite Lucasarts adventure series) but I don't think many will argue that their work on The Walking Dead really put them on the map. The story they told proved that they were capable of far more than just comedy. The story of Lee and Clementine remains one of my favorites from the last 10 years. Though it ended tragically for Lee (I draw the spoilers line at 3+ years. Sorry, folks.), we've still had Clementine around. She was the player character for Season 2 and is back in Season 3 as a very important NPC. Seeing the way that she has grown and changed over the course of the story has brought hope and heartache and Season 3's 2 episode debut shows no signs of changing that.