Category Archives: PC Games

Valiant Hearts: concluding thoughts

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Valiant Hearts

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Valiant HeartsValiant Hearts wants to tell the truth about war. To do so, it uses puzzles, humour, and a goofy villain. That is the language of adventure games, but it … Continue reading

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Valiant Hearts: half full

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Valiant Hearts

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Valiant Hearts I’m halfway through Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Ubisoft Montpellier’s adventure game set during World War 1.  Billed as a “story of crossed destinies and a broken love … Continue reading

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Warlock 2 and the 4X

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Warlock

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series WarlockA few years ago, I linked to an alternate genre classification system for games, as proposed by Russ Pitts and Steve Butts in The Escapist magazine. I paraphrased their system … Continue reading

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From the archives: A game that could have been: Emperor of the Fading Suns

Emperor of the Fading Suns was a mid-1990s PC strategy game from the days before the space 4X genre calcified into Master of Orion 2 wannabes. It was ambitious, sprawling, buggy, flawed — yet I remember it fondly. In 2011, … Continue reading

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From the archives: Conquest, Plunder and Tyranny: Explaining Dubious Morality in Strategy Games

I originally wrote this post around the time Civilization V came out, and it’s interesting to look back in light of subsequent releases such as Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis IV. One of my arguments was that 4X games … Continue reading

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From the archives: Storytelling in Star Control II: Playing space detective

Star Control 2 is a classic of the early 1990s, with a great sense of humour, robust gameplay, and unique, non-linear story progression — the player had to gather clues and do his or her own footwork in order to … Continue reading

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Warlock 2: Mage Versus World

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Warlock

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Warlock   My first scout killed some cockroaches and some wolves, then was mauled by a giant bear. My second scout found some demonic trees and was turned into fertilizer … Continue reading

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If your Wargame ain’t broke…

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Wargame: European Escalation/AirLand Battle/Red Dragon The US Marines came ashore to find their enemy in disarray.   Before the first marine set foot on land, their escorting frigate swept the … Continue reading

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Firaxis announces Civilization: Beyond Earth

This deserves a post of its own: Firaxis has announced Civilization: Beyond Earth, a spiritual successor in all but name to Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. PC Gamer has run a detailed interview with the developers, while beneath the cut, I’ve … Continue reading

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Age of Wonders III: Synergies

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Age of Wonders III

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Age of Wonders IIINow that I’ve spent a little more time with Age of Wonders 3 – I think I’m near the end of my third campaign map – I … Continue reading

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Age of Wonders III Preview

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Age of Wonders III

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Age of Wonders III  This is it, the biggest battle of this map so far. On my side, four towering giants – amongst the most powerful units in the game … Continue reading

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Hearts of Iron IV Q&A, with Dan Lind

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Hearts of Iron

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Hearts of IronI am a long-time fan of Hearts of Iron, a grand strategy series in which players control all aspects of a World War II nation, from armies and … Continue reading

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The Banner Saga: Concluding thoughts

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Banner Saga

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Banner SagaAfter finishing The Banner Saga, I thought I’d expand on the conclusions I reached last week. I’m still happy with the game and its tactical battles, which become … Continue reading

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The Banner Saga: Turn-based tactics with a twist

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Banner Saga

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Banner Saga“The gods are dead.”   So opens Stoic Studio’s The Banner Saga, a low-fantasy tactical RPG with a cool and unique combat system. It’s so different as to … Continue reading

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Paradox’s Latest Games

Paradox has announced two new games and two new expansions, all of which will come from Paradox Development Studio, its first-party arm. The games are Hearts of Iron IV and a new IP — Runemaster, an RPG set in a … Continue reading

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Announcing Tataraba: A Princess Mononoke Mod for Dominions 4

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Dominions 4

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Dominions 4I am very pleased to unveil a project I’ve worked on for some time — a Dominions 4 mod inspired by the classic anime movie Princess Mononoke! The mod … Continue reading

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Pandora’s Toy Box: Observations on Dominions 4

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Dominions 4

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Dominions 4Spring, Year 4 of the Ascension Wars. The rival empires of Jomon, T’ien Ch’i, and Pythium have soaked their borderlands in blood; the prize, the Thrones of Ascension that … Continue reading

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IMMELMANN TURN: Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol quick impressions

  At first, I didn’t like Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol very much, its designer notwithstanding. On paper, this turn-based, TRPG take on World War I air combat had it all: a clean, simple interface; pilots who levelled up and learned … Continue reading

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I played, I thought, I wrote: a design analysis of Rome II, the Total War series, and what makes a good 4X game

This is not a review of Creative Assembly’s Total War: Rome II, but if it were, my opinion would be, “Worth a look… but wait for the <$10 Steam sale.” I’m around 30 hours into Rome II, spread across two … Continue reading

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Dominions 4 Q&A, with Johan Karlsson and Kristoffer Osterman

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Dominions 4

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Dominions 4Johan Karlsson and Kristoffer Osterman of Illwinter Game Design are the creators of indie masterpiece Dominions 3, a strategy game of near-unrivalled imagination, depth, and player choice. With Dominions … Continue reading

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Skulls of the Shogun: The Verdict

  “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.” Take that logic, apply to a strategy game, blend in a striking aesthetic, and sprinkle with humour: developer 17-BIT’s … Continue reading

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Europa Universalis IV: The Verdict

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IVParadox Development Studio’s Europa Universalis IV is a game about trade-offs, and it is all the better for it.

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The World That May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play – Part 5 (FINAL): Bend with the Wind

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IVIf you walk around London today, you will still find monuments to the war heroes of the 18th century, and cross streets named after the ministers who led … Continue reading

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The World That May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play – Part 4: The Death and Rebirth of the British Empire

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV   In 1665, Great Britain lay in ruins, her navy and trade fleets sunk, her cities occupied by French soldiers. It was the culmination of a series … Continue reading

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The World that May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play — Part 3: If You Can’t Beat Them…

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IVIn 1584, under siege by French-backed Catholic rebels, King Augustus I of Great Britain renounced the Protestant faith. It was a last resort; the British treasury was empty, … Continue reading

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The World that May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play — Part 2: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IVThe Navigator Queen     In the summer of 1475, Anne, Queen of England, celebrated the fifth anniversary of her assumption of power from her regency council. They … Continue reading

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Occult Chronicles Q&A, with Vic Davis

  I am very pleased to publish an email interview with Vic Davis, the indie game designer behind Armageddon Empires (one of my favourite strategy games), Solium Infernum, and Six-Gun Saga. Read on for our conversation about Vic’s latest title, … Continue reading

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The World that May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play — Part 1: Never Pick on Someone Your Own Size

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IV

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Europa Universalis IVThe World that May Have Been       Introduction   November, 1444. Under the Ming Dynasty, China is the greatest empire in the world:     Further … Continue reading

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