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Eclipse is (Nearly) Ready!

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Eclipse is a wonderful boardgame from designer Touko Tahkokallio. Basically, it’s a Eurofied version of Master of Orion and it won a slew of awards after its release in 2011; it’s generally considered one of the better games of the past few years.

I like Eclipse. But it’s a beast of a game, takes up a lot of room and is one that you need to play several times in order to get a feel for how it works — Eclipse takes practice in order to learn how to play well. And when it comes to boardgames, that can be a slight problem. For some, playing a 4 hour game as a “learning” experience is frustrating because gamers, whether they be inclined to video or cardboard, are not a terribly patient lot.

This is precisely why I can’t wait to play the iOS app of Eclipse, which is ready to go and awaiting approval from Apple ($6.99). Now, you can play the game, test some strategies, generally learn what the hell you are doing and THEN take that experience to the table. This is also from Big Daddy Creations, who know how to port a boardgame to the app store — Neuroshima Hex, anyone?

I’ll keep you posted when it’s ready for your money. Until then, screenshots!

The New Science Rolls Out, Tomorrow Rolls In

I spent the week before Thanksgiving in Dallas, Texas at Board Game Geek Con. It was my first trip to this con and also my first trip to Dallas — not that I saw any of the city. I did go to dinner at a place called Love & War in Texas. A lot of large hats. People in Texas really do seem to love them some Texas. I’m from Ohio. We just like the Buckeyes and various forms of awful chili.

Anyway, the convention was a great time (and an extremely well organized show) and the first chance many of the unclean masses got to sit down and play The New Science. I have grown accustomed to demoing our games to people but this was a continuous stream of patrons. I demoed the game so much that I could recite my 5 minute demo in my sleep. By the end of the show I could literally say it word for word every single time. My voice was gone.

It’s easy when people show a genuine interest in what you are selling/demoing, though. I ended up playing several full games of TNS at the show and didn’t get a chance to play much else. Such is life of a developer. But I was really in the zone demoing the game with a crowd of people around.

Those who know me seem shocked that I’d enjoy being the center if attention. (Straw time.)

Based on the reaction of gamers both at BGG Con and Buckeye Game Fest I am confident that the reaction to The New Science will be positive. I have no way of knowing how well it well sell, but I’ll be shocked if people who play it dismiss it. It’s a tight game and I’m proud of the work we did on it from the graphic design to the mechanics.

But while I am genuinely excited about The New Science, our next game, a game I am in the middle of developing as we speak, is something I can’t wait to share with everyone.

Our next game is called Tomorrow.

I have waited to share info on this one until it was deep into development but I’m confident in how things are shaping up at this point to start talking about it. In Tomorrow the setting is “the near future” and the world is on the brink — well not so much the world but the people living on it. Mankind has reached the tipping point where due to massive population, life is approaching the point of being unsustainable. Scientists, those who both believe in global warming and those that don’t have all agreed on this — we’re in serious trouble.

Rather than trying to solve the problem, the leaders of the major political powers have decided the surest way to save humanity is by massive global depopulation.

Nukes? Check
Biological Warfare? Check
Terror Attacks? Check
Military Invasions? Check
Cyberspace Control? Check

In the game, you play one of the major powers: USA, Russia, European Union, the Arab Caliphate, India, or China. Each nation will select a secret objective at the start of the game and will earn “Political Capital” for both saving and annihilating specific population locations. China, for example, may earn more points for saving people in the South China Sea, Japan, and Central Asia and earn bonus points for every USA, Indian, and Russian population pawn it kills and it’ll kill people mostly via nuclear and biological warfare.

The kicker in all of this is that everyone MUST work together to lower what we call the Global Threat Level and if it doesn’t drop far enough then mankind is doomed everyone loses. However, if the players work together to save humanity, only one player will end up winning.

We have a deck of random events that pop up every turn (earthquakes, U.N. Interventions, Sleeper Cells, Loose Nukes, etc. ), every nation has a specific set of resource tokens that are played each turn (Military, Diplomacy, Bio Attacks, Terror, Nukes, and so on) so every nation will play differently. The USA is filled with abundant resources but the US Global Impact is so high that they are a big target when the game starts — as is China. There are fewer USA population pawns on the board (5 in all) but each is worth a lot of points because we do so love our technology and big screen TVs. India has a ton of pawns on the board (17) but their impact is lower and are thus worth fewer points. Of course the USA and Russia, if angered to the point of exhaustion, have the option to press the Big Red Button. It does what you think it does.

Tomorrow is a game of negotiation, deals, alliances, backstabs, nuclear and biological war, diplomacy, and saving humanity by committing unspeakable atrocities.

And I can’t wait to show it to people. It’s light on rules but filled with tough choices and hopefully when the game’s over everyone at the table is mad at one another.

Good times had by all.

Look for a Kickstarter campaign soon.

In the meantime, since our website is still a work in progress (working to get this fixed this week) if you’d like a copy of The New Science shoot me an email at billATcqgames.com

Wednesday Morning Multimedia Blowout

A smart man would make all of these disparate screen shots and trailers and what not into three different posts, thereby bringing people back to the site throughout the day, tantalizing them with new content. I am not a smart man. I am, however, a lazy man, hence you getting what you get. Don’t worry though, I have zombies, Russian soldiers and giant, sentient robots in my bag of tricks.

First up, the robots. That trailer up there is for Fall of Cybertron’s multiplayer mode. There is a seriously rad amount of customization shown up there. I would go so far as to call it redonkulous. When War for Cyberton was out, I made a teal and orange scientist. I called him EVAC. He was awesome. I can guarantee that I will spend a lot of time making robots that I never use. It’s not that I won’t like the MP, it’s that once you set down the road of leveling a character up, switching to one of several dozen other characters isn’t as compelling.

On the zombie front, the first episode of The Walking Dead hits iOS on Thursday, July 26th for $4.99. If you purchase it, you can then buy the rest of the season for $14.99, a savings of five bucks over buying all episodes individually. I played the first episode at E3 and from what I could tell, it looks and sounds identical to the console versions. Being an iPad junkie, I am sorely tempted to go this route, despite having enough PSN money to buy a season pass for the PS3. On the one hand, it wouldn’t cost any money out of pocket for the PSN version (I get PSN bucks from using reward points from my PlayStation card, really, the only good use of said points) but if I have the iPad version, I’m more likely to replay the episodes and make different choices. Decisions, decisions!

Finally, THQ sent over some screen shots for Company of Heroes, this time focusing on their new weather simulation system. I have to say, this game looks absolutely gorgeous. Between the snow deformation and how it affects troop and vehicle movement, the TrueSight fog of war system and the combat animations, it is one amazing looking RTS. The weather system isn’t all for looks though, due to the extreme temperatures, troops left out in the cold for too long will eventually freeze to death. That is when they’re not being killed by Germans or slaughtered by their countrymen in an attempt to retreat. Games like this make me wish a) I was smart enough to play RTS games and b) I could afford a PC beefy enough to show it off in all of its glory. Until either of those things happen, I’ll just have to gaze longingly at the screen shot gallery.

Pick Up Bonsai Defense for Free

Who says that tower defense games have to be about fending off zombies or protecting military installations? Okay, no one likely ever said that, but the genre is saturated with clones of games obviously inspired by Plants vs. Zombies and Defense Grid: The Awakening. While Mate Cziner’s game still upholds the basic concepts of building and protecting, I believe we can assume that the setting of a bonsai tree is wholly original.

A thesis project at Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design (aka MOME), Bonsai Defense charges you with shaping the growth of your tree, and encouraging the growth of fruits to battle and inhibit infectious pests. In a welcome twist, the goal is not to survive, nor to destroy the pests. Rather, you need to accumulate nectar, which both dissolves over time and attracts even more pests.

You can see more screenshots below, or download Bonsai Defense and start playing.

A Whole Mess of a Eador: Masters of the Broken World Screenshots

I’ll have a preview for this incredibly intriguing turn-based strategy game from Russian developer Snowbird Games as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s a slew of screens from E3 courtesy of Snowbird.

For those playing at home:

Yes, those look sort of like HoMM. No, I don’t think it plays exactly like HoMM although the combat is clearly inspired by it.

Full gallery after the break…