Pac-Man's creator Toru Iwatani shows his original notebook sketches from the iconic arcade game that turned 35 this year. Read the rest
Tummple! has been described as reverse Jenga. That seems pretty accurate. Both games share a similar wooden-block aesthetic, and in both games the object is to keep things from falling. The key difference is that in Tummple! you are building.
The game goes like this: A small wooden base is laid out. All subsequent builds are placed on the base or on other pieces. Players take turns rolling a nice big twelve-sided die that will give the rolling player one of five options. The first three involve placing one of the blocks. The block is to be placed on the wide side, the narrow edge, or the end. The other two options are what add a bit of strategy and meanness to Tummple! Players may be required to place a tump. Tumps are little plastic half marbles. The white ones act as blockers. They cannot be touched by any pieces played subsequently. The yellow tumps are even tougher. They render the entire surface area on which they've been placed untouchable. Blocks must be placed flat. And when the player releases the piece, their turn is over. Anytime someone causes pieces to fall, they keep all those pieces as points against them. When all the blocks in the box have been played, the game is over. Add up the blocks you’ve collected. Player with the fewest, wins.
The box says 2-4 players, but you can play with as many people as you can fit around the table. With more people you're likely to have ties, as some people will cause no collapses during their turns. Read the rest
In Josh Millard's excellent "game" Ennuigi, you are invited to "spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made." Read the rest
Cornell computer scientist Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil analyzed messages sent between players of strategy game Diplomacy to tease out early signs of future betrayal. A computer algorithm then predicted betrayal correctly 57 percent of the time, which is way better than the players themselves did. Read the rest
Ancient China, 220 AD. China is in disarray and within years the population plummets from 60 million to less than 20 million. Massive war involving millions of men devastates the land. When General Huangfu Song 義真 was asked how he got around the unit caps to build such massive armies, he replied “小馬是世界上最好的開發商” which in the barbarian tongue of English means roughly, “What the %$#^ are unit caps, this is war!”
Forget about micro. Forget about build orders. This war is about one thing. Ridiculous, uncompromising, seething masses of blood hungry warriors massacring each other by the hundreds every second.
There is no unit cap. Control armies of hundreds of thousands, even millions. Send orders to a single unit, or send orders to a million units. Frantically maintain control of your resources across epic sized maps, while constantly building out your fleet of barracks to churn out millions of more units.
There's something genuinely scary about the sheer number of sprites getting wiped out there! I humbly suggest that rather than Chinese antiquity, this game instead be recast as LEMMINGS: TOTAL WAR. Read the rest
To address the obvious, strategy games are notorious for taking exhaustive amounts of time to play, but Eight Minute Empire: Legends ($20) streamlines traditional rules to such an extent that it is possible to complete a game in just eight minutes. Or so one would hope. Some degree of agonizing over choices will still slow a game down, but it is entirely possible to complete the game relatively quickly. To the original game Eight Minute Empire, the “Legends” subtitle introduces a pretty standard fantasy setting and artwork. However, we are spared unnecessary lore and backstory. It also adds additional rules to vary game-play while still sticking to the time-sensitive nature suggested in the game’s name.
Setup of the game consists of laying out four island gameboard pieces in any scheme the players desire and player armies occupy the same regions at the outset of the game. Actual combat is minimal and the impetus instead is on maneuvering around regions and islands so as to outnumber opponents at endgame. Each player turn begins with a card being chosen from six which lay face-up and have a scaled price attached to them. Players have limited funds, which do not replenish. As one card is chosen, all cards of higher price slide down the scale and a new card is flipped up to occupy the highest price-point. Players can pay the high price or gamble on cards still being available for a lower price when their next turn comes around. Cards are all unique and give an immediate action and a lasting ability. Read the rest