Category Archives: Games

Space Opera, Act I: Thoughts on Stellaris

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Stellaris

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series StellarisHumanity triumphant! My first game of Stellaris was a short one, as my fledgling humans were ground to dust by a nearby computer player. My second was more successful. Under … Continue reading

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Arcadian Atlas Q&A, with Taylor Bair

Update: Arcadian Atlas‘ Kickstarter campaign is now live and can be accessed here. Arcadian Atlas is an upcoming indie tactical RPG inspired by two of the greats – Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre. Read on for a Q&A with … Continue reading

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Thoughts on XCOM 2

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown/XCOM 2

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown/XCOM 2Worthy successor. XCOM 2 is game of the year material for me, building on what worked in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within. I look forward to … Continue reading

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XCOM2 first impressions: Good luck, Commander. You’ll need it!

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown/XCOM 2

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown/XCOM 2I did it! I finally did it! At the start of my third campaign, I finally beat the aliens with no fatalities — on ironman “Commander” difficulty, … Continue reading

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Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter Q&A, with Wael Amr

2016 is due to see the release of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, the next entry in Frogwares’ long-running series of Sherlock Holmes adventure games. As a fan of 2014’s Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments — which I called an … Continue reading

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My games (and memorable moments) of 2015

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Game of the Year Awards

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Game of the Year AwardsWelcome back to my Games of the Year list. This year, I’ve highlighted notable achievements, as well as favourite moments from games old and new. Favourite … Continue reading

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Nobunaga’s Ambition: late-game observations (and reflections on AI automation)

Surprisingly satisfying. Now that I’ve finished my campaign, I thought I’d comment on the late game of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, a topic on which I initially reserved judgment. Strategy endgames are plagued with two problems, (1) snowballing and … Continue reading

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Kim Q&A, with Jeremy Hogan

Rudyard Kipling’s Kim is one of my favourite classic novels, a picaresque set in nineteenth-century India. When the Secret Games Company launched a Kickstarter for a video game adaptation, I was keen to find out more. Read on for my … Continue reading

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Shining in the darkness: playing the Eastern Romans in Attila

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Total War: Attila

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Total War: AttilaThe East endures. I closed out 2015 by returning to the grand campaign of Total War: Attila, this time as the Eastern Roman Empire. Like its Western sibling, … Continue reading

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Age of Charlemagne – a worthy complement to Attila

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Total War: Attila

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Total War: AttilaAge of Charlemagne offers the basics, done right. If Rome II was about conquering a huge empire, and Attila was about defending it, Age of Charlemagne offers a … Continue reading

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Fallout 4: Early impressions

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Fallout 4

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Fallout 4The deal was done. The merchant would trade me a stimpak; I would trade junk and a handful of cash. We agreed. The goods changed hands. And moments later, … Continue reading

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A Return to Adventure: Thoughts on Conquest of Elysium 4

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Conquest of Elysium

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Conquest of ElysiumWhen the giant demon attacked my fortress, I cursed. The fort was my newest and proudest conquest, wrested from a nearby computer player. I left a small garrison, … Continue reading

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From the archives: Tactics X-COM: Jagged Ogre Chronicles, or a guide to squad-level strategy/tactics/RPGs

I originally wrote this post in 2012 during the lead-up to Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown, proposing a classification system for squad-based games and tactical RPGs across PC and consoles. Since then, to my delight, the genre has gone from strength … Continue reading

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From the archives: What five games say about violence

I originally wrote this in 2013, contrasting the approach taken by five big-name games towards violence. Arguably, recent years have seen greater awareness of what’s possible for a non-violent game, such as “walking simulators”, a renaissance in adventure games, the … Continue reading

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Friends in Need: Diplomacy in Nobunaga’s Ambition

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence Akechi Mitsuhide did not have long to gloat. After he betrayed and killed Oda Nobunaga – per historical event – I rallied a coalition of … Continue reading

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Nobunaga’s Ambition: Strong First Impressions

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of InfluenceIn Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, opportunity comes in many forms. When my Tokugawa clan was small and insignificant, sandwiched between the rival Imagawa clan and … Continue reading

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EB Expo 2015: Lego Steals the Show

The EB Expo is an annual gaming event held at Sydney Olympic Park, traditionally featuring a mix of AAA games and local indies. For me, that makes it a great opportunity to venture beyond my traditional stomping ground, PC strategy … Continue reading

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Crisis of the Confederation Q&A, with Gregory Hayes

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Crusader Kings II

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Crusader Kings III am pleased to present an interview with Gregory “Galle” Hayes, project lead for Crisis of the Confederation – the “Crusader Kings II in space” mod I recently … Continue reading

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The OTHER space grand strategy game: Crisis of the Confederation

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Crusader Kings II

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Crusader Kings II Grand Admiral Wei Luo is about to betray everything for which he’s fought. For the last fifteen years, the Admiral has headed Confederate Space Command – the … Continue reading

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Point, Click, Solve Puzzle: Reflections on the Adventure Game

Traditionally, adventure games have been defined by two elements: (1) reliance on narrative; and (2) solving puzzles in order to progress. While the former has always been the genre’s strong suit, I would argue that puzzles have been a mixed … Continue reading

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Quick Impressions: Vietnam ’65

Vietnam ’65 is an iPad/PC strategy game with a deceptively simple concept: patrol villages on a randomly generated map (above) and prevent the Viet Cong & North Vietnamese Army from doing the same. It’s simple, short, and sweet; after two … Continue reading

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Let’s Play EU4: Common Sense! Pt 2: East Meets West

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Europa Universalis IVReport of the Spanish ambassador to Meiguo, 1600 In the three months since I departed Your Majesty’s presence, I have travelled first to our colony of New Spain, … Continue reading

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Oriental Empires Q&A, with Bob Smith

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Oriental Empires

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Oriental Empires Oriental Empires is an upcoming 4X strategy game that will cover most of Chinese history, from 1500 BC to 1500 AD. My interest piqued, I conducted an email … Continue reading

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Let’s Play EU4: Common Sense! Part 1: Welcome to Meiguo

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Europa Universalis IVIn 1402, the Ming Emperor’s uncle usurped the throne. The imperial palace burned. According to one legend, the Emperor survived, and fled overseas; Zheng He’s fleets were dispatched … Continue reading

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Very Early Impressions: Battle Academy

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Battle Academy

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Battle AcademySo far1, I’m impressed by Battle Academy, the 2010-vintage World War 2 TBS. The vibrant, comic-book aesthetic charmed me straight away, while the game mechanics present tactical concepts in … Continue reading

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Strategy Games and the Post-Apocalypse

Just as I associate post-apocalyptic video games with one franchise, Fallout, so I associate post-apocalyptic strategy with one game, Vic Davis’ Armageddon Empires. It’s an excellent game, whose design I dissected several few years ago. It’s also a unique game … Continue reading

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Guns of Icarus Online: Adventure Mode Follow-Up Q&A

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Guns of Icarus Online

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Guns of Icarus OnlineGuns of Icarus Online is one of the most unique games I’ve played – a team-based dieselpunk airship game, in which rival crews try to shoot each … Continue reading

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Endless Legend & Age of Wonders 3: One Year On

The two expansions to Age of Wonders 3 have brought new races, a new character class, and (together with patches), assorted features and balance tweaks. They have also addressed my single biggest complaint with the game: the victory conditions (and … Continue reading

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A spiritual successor to KOEI’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms?

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Oriental Empires

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Oriental EmpiresThat is my initial impression of Oriental Empires (press release here), a newly announced 4X game that will be set in China between 1500 BC and 1500 AD. The … Continue reading

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