Studio711

Gaming

Polytopia

Thanks to NickS for pointing me to The Battle of Polytopia. It’s a turn based strategy game similar to Civilization but MUCH simpler. It’s available for free for both iOS and Android, but there are optional in game purchases if you want to get more tribes and support the author.

You can either play to get the highest score in 30 turns or to conquer every other civilization on the map. After choosing your tribe, you’ll get one person in your tiny little village and then you set off exploring the land, gathering resources to expand your city and investing in technology. Along the way you’ll probably encounter other tribes to battle and conquer.

The game walks the perfect line of complex strategy and easy to understand game mechanics. The technology tree is pretty diverse but it’s simple enough that you can easily memorize it. It’s also the same for every civilization which helps dramatically. The differences between civilizations are their starting technologies and the type of terrain that they normally start on.

A multiplayer feature was recently added so you can play against your friends. It’s fun but it takes a lot longer than playing against the computer.

If you’re at all interested in strategy games, this one is worth a look! It has totally sucked me in. My high score in points mode is 63,730 and in domination mode, I’ve gotten 3 stars with 6 of the tribes so far. Can you beat those marks? (Judging by the high score tables, lots of people can.) If you want to join me in a multiplayer game, send me a note! So far I’ve gotten Logan hooked but the more the merrier.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review

I don’t spend much time playing video games anymore, but I always make time for Forza games when they come out. Racing simulators are my favorite and this is one of the best. I also know a couple people who work on the game so it’s fun to see what they’ve been up to.

Forza 7 is gorgeous and the driving experience is wonderful. This version adds night racing and dynamic weather conditions. You might start in the day time or dry weather but you could end in night time or rain. Other than that, though, it’s another series of races to enjoy. If you liked the previous ones, you’ll like this, but if you’re hoping that this version adds an epic story line, look elsewhere.

One thing that I’m unhappy with in this version is the lack of incentive to make the game more realistic. For example, there’s no incentive to turn on realistic car damage. You don’t pay for any of the damage after the race or suffer ill effects during the race. Just smash your way up to the front. Sure, you can change this setting, but it doesn’t give you any more money or lead to faster lap times so how many people will really do this? I’d like to see a cash bonus if you run with damage enabled or maybe a penalty after the race for how much damage you did to your car.

In general, I’m still waiting for two things in a racing simulator:

  1. Let me play Forza with virtual reality goggles on. I’d probably puke after 20-30 minutes of it, but I still want it.
  2. We have all this great real world map data available. Let me plug in an address and drop my car there. I don’t even care how real the graphics are. Just get the turns and the elevation changes to match the real world and I’d be thrilled. How fast could I make it to work on empty streets with a Ferrari? I want to know!

Sushi Go

“Ben, you’re a nerd. All these board games you’ve been writing about are too confusing and weird.” Never fear! I have a game for you too: Sushi Go.

The rules of Sushi Go can be explained in one minute. All the players are dealt cards. You look at your cards, play one card and then everyone passes their cards to the player next to them. You’re trying to build sets and matches but so is everyone else.

The game goes extremely quickly, but it’s a good introduction to “hand passing” games. This one is great for large groups that contain people who don’t play a lot of these games and/or include younger players. We often use this one as a filler when we only have a few minutes to play a game.

Pandemic

If you look at a game of Pandemic, it feels a bit like Risk. There’s a map of the world and a bunch of little pieces on it. In Pandemic, however, all the players are working together to stop the outbreak of four different diseases. You can do a little bit of disease cleanup by visiting the various cities, but you’ll rapidly fall behind. To cure the disease, you need to collect cards that match the colors of the various diseases.

Each player has different skills that are represented by cards dealt at the beginning of the game. You might have special abilities to heal infected cities, cure diseases with fewer cards, or move players around the board. That mix of skills changes with each game.

This game is one of the hardest ones I’ve played. It’s a team game and it requires everyone to be playing with the same strategy. You can talk freely but still, it’s hard to keep it all in your head. I love it though! There’s a version for Android where you get to play all the characters and using that, I’ve been able to win a few times on the easy settings.

Munchkin

Monday and Tuesday started with board game posts so let’s just go for a whole week of board games. Up today is “Munchkin“. This game starts off easy and gets more complicated as you play. Everyone starts off at Level 1 and is trying to become a Level 10 munchkin. You gain levels by defeating monsters that you encounter, and you defeat monsters by using items you have acquired and deals made with other players.

Every card you play has the ability to dramatically change the game and even change the rules of the game to some extent. The game is intentionally comical and open to definition. You’ll run into situations where the various rules conflict or are vague and you just get to argue it out. The instructions make this very clear from the start by explaining how to start the game. It says: “Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence and whether the fact that a word seems to be missing any effect.”

During the game you might find yourself as an elf carrying a flask of glue wearing pantyhose of giant strength, but if that all helps you defeat a maul rat then you just gained a level. Let’s just hope someone doesn’t curse you with a sex change.

There’s plenty of strategy and it takes a lot of concentration to figure out how to apply all the wild cards in your hand to win the game. I love this game but it’s on the complicated side and can take a while. If you somehow get bored of the base game, there are endless numbers of expansion packs available.