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June 23, 2018 It used to be enough for mainstream games to claim they had "RPG elements". Now we see games with base-building and "strategic layers" - what does that mean? Can one truly take two disparate genres and combine them in a meaningful way? And does procedural generation of content ever live up to its promises? State of Decay 2 ends up being the whipping boy as Rob, Steven Strom, Rowan, and Fraser discuss all of the above.
State of Decay 2, Ni No Kuni 2, Little King's Story, Suikoden, Stronghold, Shadow of War, Pillars of Eternity 2, Yakuza 6, Fire Emblem Warriors, Bladestorm?
June 14, 2018 Slay the Spire, a deckbuilding game that won't require you to take out a second mortgage on your house, has captivated the members of our panel. Its crisp gameplay and tight design has the internet abuzz, and it's quickly becoming the darling of the deckbuilding scene. It's so good it even got Julian back on the show! Listen in as Julian, Sean Sands, Austin Walker, and Troy "The rarest card in my booster was a swamp mana" Goodfellow as they talk about what keeps them coming back to Slay the Spire.
Slay the Spire, Magic: The Gathering
June 7, 2018 Games like Baldur's Gate cast a long shadow but, like a racist grandparent, come along with too many caveats of being a product of their time. There have been many attempts to capture the magic of early CRPGS while adding modern accoutrements, and the financial success of games like Pillars of Eternity and Dragon Age: Origins are clear indicators that the public is looking for such a product. But have any of these attempts actually nailed the CRPG formula? Is a modern CRPG truly worth pursuing, and were the originals as good as we remember? Join our host T.J. Hafer, Rowan Kaiser, and Cameron Kunzelman as they travel from the Gold Box to the most recent iteration of Pillars of Eternity in search of the perfect CRPG.
Gold Box games, Baldur's Gate, Pillars of Eternity, Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, Suikoden, Dragon Age, Planescape Torment, Icewind Dale... you know, all those games.
May 28, 2018 This week we explore Rome. Not the Total War game (though it gets mentioned), but Rome itself - as a historical interest and as a touchpoint in gaming. If you've listened to the show in the past, it's no secret that several members of our panel have a strong interest in the Roman empire and the fascinating history that surrounds it. In this episode we finally let everyone loose to talk about the period without worrying about a specific game review to guide the discussion. Listen in as Rob, T.J., Rowan, and Troy "I wear socks with caligae" Goodfellow dive deep into their collective knowledge and discuss ancient Rome.
Centurion: Defender of Rome, Rome: Total War, Crusader Kings II, Annals of Rome, Defender of the Crown, lots of other Rome games
May 16, 2018 Rob, T.J., and Fraser sharpen their berserker axes and talk about Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia. This new offshoot of the main series changes the scope by zooming in on the British isles at the time of Viking invasions. While the game has its high points, Thrones of Britannia misses the mark quite often, not unlike the hordes of anonymous archers found within. It's not necessarily that-first-episode-we-did-on-Rome-2 bad, but apparently it's all the same to Fraser.
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
May 8, 2018 It's the most Hobbesian Three Moves Ahead ever as Rob, Jonathan Bolding, and Xalavier Nelson talk about Frostpunk. This episode covers all of the pillars of Three Moves Ahead's moral compass: Megalomania, child labor, Dune references, and the knowledge that the death of faceless numbers will always be preferred if advancing the common good. Or the tech tree.
May 1, 2018 Harebrained Schemes' BATTLETECH is here and it has stomped its way into our hearts. The strategy game based on the PC simulations based on the RPG based on the tabletop game (or something like that) appeals to the more modern tactics fan and the Gen X supernerds that were there at the beginning. Rob, Rowan, Rob Daviau, and Jonathan Bolding discuss the merits of the game and come up with a strong recommendation for it despite some launch-time technical problems.
April 21, 2018 T.J. Hafer is our host with Rowan Kaiser and author April Daniels as we look at the latest Hearts of Iron IV expansion, Waking the Tiger. Released long with the major game patch "Cornflakes", Waking the Tiger adds all the usual suspects for a Paradox expansion: new game mechanics, skill trees, and enhancements for specific countries. Is Communist China the place to be now? What about alternate history packs, like Kaiserreich? Waking the Tiger extends the legs of HOI and gives us a positive outlook for the future of the game.
Hearts of Iron IV
April 14, 2018 The year is 1998 and the 500 lb. gorilla in the room is Starcraft. Blizzard creates the finest Warhammer 40K game ever made and changes the RTS landscape forever. Half-Life. Ocarina of Time. Baldur's Gate. Is 1998 the greatest year in history for gaming? Listen to Rob, Rowan, and Troy "Starcraft: The cutscenes were nice" Goodfellow discuss the details.
Half-Life, Ocarina of Time, Falcon, Grand Prix Legends, Starcraft, Baldur's Gate, People's General, Star Wars: Rebellion, Seven Kingdoms, Battlezone, Mech Commander, Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, Anno 1602, Caesar 3, Railroad Tycoon 2, Suikoden 2
April 6, 2018 Do you like submarines? Do you like being irrationally angry at your best friends? How about checking your phone at 2 AM? Subterfuge may be the relationship ender you've been looking for. Rob is joined by Kotaku's Heather Alexandra, PC Gamer's Philippa Warr, and freelance writer Nick Capozzoli to talk about Subterfuge, a game about being a jerk. Inspired by the long-form RTS gameplay of Neptune's Pride, Subterfuge is as much a game about relationships with other players as it is tactics. The panel discusses their emotional highs and lows when dealing with the hell that is other people, and you can hear the frustration as Rob demonstrates the most exaggerated sigh in the history of podcasting.
Subterfuge, Neptune's Pride
March 30, 2018 The Winter of Wargaming marches on with Gary Grigsby's War in the West. Bruce joins Rob and Troy "No, really, the Canadian military was actually very invol-" Goodfellow to talk about the the thundering behemoth that is War in the West. It's been long established that panel enjoys Gary Grigsby's earlier War in the East, but does that love carry over to War in the West? The eastern front may have certain qualities that make it the perfect candidate for strategy at this level, while the West finds itself pushing and pulling the player's attention in too many different directions. Listen in to find out what the panel thinks and why PC gaming is dead. Forever.
Gary Grigsby's War in the West, Gary Grigsby's War in the East
March 24, 2018 This week Rob and Troy "Canadians are just as tough as Vikings" Goodfellow are joined by Waypoint's Ian Boudreau and Cameron Kunzelman to talk about Shiro Games' Northgard. A reasonably-paced RTS set in the time of Vikings, Northgard gives you a thoughtful, boardgame-like experience that isn't focused on APM. Northgard turns the tables on traditional RTS games by emphasizing a small number of precious units rather than throwing hordes at the player. The winters can be brutal, but Northard earns a strong recommendation from the panel.
March 18, 2018 Our cadre of mechs is at full capacity as Rob, Rowan, PC Gamer's Evan Lahti, and Troy "Tide pods, time pods, either way put me down for two" Goodfellow talk about Subset Games' Into the Breach. Following their massively successful space-faring game FTL, Subset has created a gem of a turn-based strategy game in which you pilot mechs across small battlefields and occasionally through time. Part battlefield tactics and part chess puzzle, Into the Breach manages to strike a fine balance between replayability, short play sessions, and engaging tactical play.
Into the Breach, FTL
March 9, 2018 It's a full house as Rob, Fraser, Sean Sands, and T.J. Hafer talk about the large 2.0 update to Stellaris and its Apocalypse expansion. Do you hate planets? Do you often think about blowing them up? Would you prefer another target, a military target? Apocalypse adds big ships and explodable planets just for you. The 2.0 update has added several key features, such as the fleet manager and big changes to starbases. Have all these changes tightened up the midgame and turned Stellaris into a space hit? Listen in to find out.
March 2, 2018 The Winter of Wargaming continues with Panther Games' Command Ops 2. Released a while ago under a different name under a different publisher under a different moon, Command Ops 2 is real-time wargame that truly puts you in the shoes of a commander. The realistic order delay and beautifully tactical map make this a unique wargaming experience that can be played in a variety of theaters. Rob, Michael, and Troy "Even in my simulations no one listens to me" Goodfellow dive into what makes Command Ops such a gem.
Command Ops 2