The Occult Chronicles Preview

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Haunted house type horror board games like Mansions of Madness and Betrayal at House on the Hill tend to suffer from one overriding problem which is that they’re pulled in all sorts of different directions by their requirements. How do you create a game that’s full of both mystery and well-informed decisions? How do you give it variety and replayability with limited tile stock and table space? How do you make it competitive and exciting without giving one player too much power?

The answer, obviously, is to make it into a computer game instead, and have the CPU handle all the fiddly bits for you. Enter upcoming game The Occult Chronicles, currently available to purchase as a playable beta-test. But in a twist worthy of the dark and disgusting gods that inspired the game, developer Cryptic Comet (also responsible for indie strategy titles Armageddon Empires and Solis Infernum) has seen fit to breed in elements of a Rogue-like as well.

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Cracked LCD- IOS Review Rodeo- Agricola, Immortal Heroes, Magic ’14, Rivals for Catan

Agricola board game on iPad tablet and iPhone mobileThere’s been a couple of high profile IOS board games not called Warhammer Quest released recently and I thought it would be a good time to resurrect the ol’ Review Rodeo for another roundup.

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The Last of Us Spoiler Space

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If you listened to Episode 180 of Jumping the Shark, or if you have finished The Last of Us, you know that it’s close to impossible to discuss the game fully without giving away a significant amount of the game’s story. With that, and the desire of some community members to keep the discussion going in mind, consider this a full-on, spoiler filled discussion of The Last of Us. If you read this post, things will get spoiled. If you read the comments, things will get spoiled. You have been warned.

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Jumping the Shark #180

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jumping the Shark #180 delves into the treacherous realm of home renovations and sales as I recount to Brandon my housing nightmare. It’s a learning experience you won’t want to miss. We also talk more in depth on the XCOM iPad port and Brandon completes Last of Us and concludes that the game is really rather okay by him so we should all join hands and sing its praises, or at least be a little nicer to it. And don’t miss the outtakes this week when Brandon calls out Tom. It’s all here in this week’s JtS! (As a quick PSA: We’re taking this week off from podcasting so we can more effectively celebrate the birth of the American nation, but we’ll be back on July 15th with episode #181.)

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Calendar Man – Week of 7/1

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Nothing like a US and Canadian holiday smack dab in the middle/beginning of the week to make sure nothing comes out. There may be other reasons, but that’s what I’m going with. As for deals, there ain’t nothing too hot either. Best Buy is offering BioShock: Infinite for $39.99 and Toys R Us is offering Metro: Last Light for the same price. If I had to choose between the two, I’d go with Metro but both lack the personality that made their predecessors so compelling.

So there you go. Enjoy your holiday. If you’re not in the US, enjoy your Thursday.

Hotline Miami (PSN) in Review

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This is how you’re supposed to be doing it.

It’s 3 A.M., I’ve got my headphones on and the 47” LED is searing my retinas in hot pink and turquoise neon, the title in scan-lined Russian letters like it’s bootleg contraband, hardcore violence porn from a world where only outlaws play outlawed violent video games. The music is turned up almost painfully loud, throbbing synth pulses from a 1989 that never existed except as a fantasy of unremembered nostalgia in the minds of musicians likely too young to have listened to music back then. I’m trying for either the 20th or the 100th time to complete a level of Hotline Miami, and I’m feeling totally wired, paranoid, cranked up really high and headed for a 19th nervous breakdown as I get gunned down again. Continue Reading…

Mage Wars Review

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I’ll wager that anyone who ever played Magic: the Gathering more than once has, at some point, wondered how great it would be if creatures weren’t just static lines of attack and defense, but actively engaged in tactical manoeuvre. You don’t need to wonder any more because that, effectively, is what you get in Mage Wars.

Furthermore, I suspect that anyone who ever played Magic: the Gathering more than once has, at some point, been so annoyed by rubbish card draws that they pondered on a variant where you could have a bigger hand, or more control over the draw. Mage Wars addresses that problem too, with swaggering overkill. Because in Mage Wars you don’t get a bigger hand, or control over the draw, you can pick whatever you like from your entire deck each and every turn.

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Ascension: Immortal Heroes iOS Released

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I still play Ascension every night. I am constantly in a game (getting my butt kicked) with momongi, inthenetsc, buckeyefitzy and rainynight65. When I say always, I mean always. I look at the results screen, shed a tear of disappointment over losing and hit the rematch button.  When you consider that I have played this game every day since I purchased it for my iPad back when it came out, that’s one hell of a nod to the folks at Playdek and Gary Games.

I just found out that the latest expansion, Immortal Heroes, has been released for iOS and now I wish I were home to download it. It looks like you’ll now need a Playdek account to play online once you download the expansion, and you are downloading the expansion, right?  Playdek is suggesting that you download the the free update to Ascension, start Ascension and log in with the same GameCenter id as usual, create your Playdek account if you haven’t already for Agricola, check to see that all your player stats carry over and then do the in-app purchase for Immortal Heroes. The expansion will run you $2.99 which is a small price to pay to beat me at Ascension well into next year.

Cracked LCD- Triassic Terror in Review

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Triassic Terror is a new area control game from Australian designer Peter Hawes, who did the somewhat underrated War of the Roses: Lancaster Versus York a couple of years ago through Z-Man Games. This time, the historical setting is dialed back several milllions of years and the publisher is Eagle/Gryphon, but Mr. Hawes has delivered another quality design with some very old school German game sensibilities that may likewise wind up under the radar and underappreciated. It’s one of those games that really should sell itself with the always awesome dinosaurs theme, but the competition in the area control genre is stiff- this game is up against greats like El Grande and more recent masterworks like Chaos in the Old World.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #179

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For our 179th episode, Brandon and I went out to see Man of Steel, just so you don’t have have to. Kidding. We both got our kicks from it and there’s a whole section at the end in which we dig into all the spoilery details. (The spoiler lamp this week is more of a spoiler bonfire where this flick is concerned.) Before that, though, Bill returns ever-so-briefly to talk about his time at the Origins board game show as well as a bunch of updates on the progress being made on Conquistador’s forthcoming video game podcast. Should be a good one. Brandon also heads down deep into the ugly world of Last of Us and guess what? Just between you and me, he doesn’t so much think it sucks. Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither. Tune in to find out more!

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