December Releases

On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of December 6th
Dead Rising 4

Week of December 13th
Stern Pinball


Nintendo Wii U

Week of December 20th
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Risky Beats Edition


Nintendo 3DS

No new releases for the Nintendo 3DS


PC

Week of December 6th
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Arizona Sunshine
Wanted Corp.

Week of December 13th
Twisted
reconquest

Week of December 20th
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier


Sony Playstation 4

Week of December 6th
The Last Guardian

Week of December 20th
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Risky Beats Edition


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of December 20th
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Risky Beats Edition


What are you picking up this month?
(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

November Releases

Normally, this is a monthly I dread to put the monthly release post together. November brings the onslaught of the year’s Triple A releases and the Triple A shovel-ware trash that feasted on uninformed Wii owners. But this month’s list is actually pretty sparse on the filler trash and has a pretty amazing line-up with some tent pole franchises like Call of Duty, Pokemon and Finaly Fantasy. Oh and some up-and-comer named Dishonored. On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 + Arcade Game Series – Sure, I’ll buy Galaga for the eight time.
Super Dungeon Bros.

Week of November 1st
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Week of November 8th
Dishonored 2
Cartoon Network Brawler

Week of November 15th
Watch Dogs 2
Overcooked

Week of November 29th
Final Fantasy XV
The Dwarves
Steep


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of November 1st
Runbow

Week of November 15th
Steamworld Collection


Nintendo 3DS

Week of November 1st
Mario Party Star Rush

Week of November 8th
Harvest Moon Skytree Village – YESSSS a new Harvest Moon release, which means I get to link my Harvest Moon review for the Gamecube!
Cartoon Network Brawler

Week of November 15th
Pokémon Moon
Pokémon Sun

Week of November 29th
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS


PC

Week of November 1st
Darkness Ahead
Defense Of Greece TD
Digimon Masters Online
Owlboy
Eisenwald: Blood of November
Shift Orb
Xanadu Next – Not sure about the gameplay, but the trailer has some wailing guitars!
Battle Islands: Commanders
Another Brick in the Mall – Seems like this game is about 15 years too late.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Football Manager 2017
Dungeon Rats
Moto Racer 4
City Car Driving – Nick, I think this game was made specifically for you.

Week of November 8th
Dispatcher: Revoke – Every time I put together the list of monthly releases, there’s always a title or two that looks eerily familiar. I usually notice it and don’t include it in the month, but apparently I have included Dispatcher: Revoke in the September and October releases. Maybe this is the month it comes out! Or maybe this becomes a running joke in the monthly releases…
Transport Fever
Dishonored 2
Yesterday Origins

Week of November 15th
Resin
Neptune Flux
Brief Karate Foolish – It’s here guys — we have hit PEAK FIGHTING GAMES.
Planet Coaster

Week of November 22nd
ARAYA

Week of November 29th
Watch_Dogs 2
COLINA: Legacy
Steep


Sony Playstation 4

Week of November 1st
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
BlazBlue: Central Fiction
Earth’s Dawn
Super Dungeon Bros.
Steamworld Collection

Week of November 8th
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization – The starting town of this MMORPG is called the Town of Beginning. Bad Japanese translation or game designers just giving up?
Dishonored 2
Root Letter
Cartoon Network Brawler

Week of November 15th
Watch Dogs 2
Overcooked

Week of November 29th
Steep
Deponia
The Dwarves
Final Fantasy XV
Steins;Gate 0


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of November 8th
Root Letter

Week of November 29th
Steins;Gate 0


What are you picking up this month?
(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

October Releases

October is when the big video game releases start ramping up, and this October is no different, with Mafia III, Gears of War 4 and Titanfall 2 headlining this month’s lineup. On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of October 4th
Mafia III

Week of October 11th
Gears of War 4

Week of October 18th
Batman: Return to Arkham
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

Week of October 25th
Minecraft: Story Mode- The Complete Adventure
Just Dance 2017
Farming Simulator 17
Titanfall 2


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of October 4th
Paper Mario: Color Splash

Week of October 11th
Skylanders Imaginators – TIL — Skylanders are still a “thing”

Week of October 25th
Runbow
Just Dance 2017
Tumblestone


Nintendo 3DS

Week of October 4th
Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack

Week of October 18th
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

Week of October 25th
Corpse Party: Back to School Edition


PC

Week of October 4th
Aragami
Endless Space 2
BUTCHER
Omega Reaction
The Challenge
Mafia III
Syndrome

Week of October 11th
Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour
Stars Beyond Reach
Clockwork
Shadow Warrior 2 – Looks juicy.
BitMaster
Manual Samuel
The Deep Paths: Labyrinth Of Andokost
Yesterday Origins

Week of October 18th
Lance A Lot
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Dispatcher: Revoke

Week of October 25th
Iron Fish
Yomawari: Night Alone
Lithium: Inmate 39


Sony Playstation 4

Week of October 4th
Mafia III
Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

Week of October 11th
WWE 2K17
Aragami: Collector’s Edition
Payday 2: The Big Score
Reus
Dragon Quest Builders
Skylanders Imaginators

Week of October 18th
Exist Archive : The other side of the sky
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
Battlefield 1

Week of October 25th
Infinite Air
Just Dance 2017
Root Letter
Farming Simulator 17
World of Final Fantasy
Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension
Minecraft: Story Mode- The Complete Adventure
Titanfall 2


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of October 11th
Valkyrie Drive -Bhikkhuni
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Week of October 18th
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls – Contrary to what the title might lead you to believe, this is Teen-rated video game and not some weird Japanese pornography.
Exist Archive: The other side of the sky

Week of October 25th
Root Letter
World of Final Fantasy
Yomawari: Night Alone / htol#NiQ: The Firefly Diary


What are you picking up this month?
(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis Retires From Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses today issued the announcement that EG and esports veteran Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis is retiring from the player’s hot seat. He is, however, remaining with EG as an active coach for future EG Dota2 lineups.

His retirement is effective immediately, with Fear citing his personal health as a priority. In a brief statement on EG’s website, he recognizes his accomplishments and gushes about EG and Dota. “I still have a passion for Dota and for competing,” Fear begins, “but the long term health of my arm has to come first.”

clinton-fear-loomis-eg-dota2

The sudden removal of heavy-hitters like Fear is sure to make a splash. Teammates and many redditors who Bleed Blue are bummed yet supportive. Teammate PPD said this of Fear: “Fear helped me reach my potential, and I believe he will continue to do that for players in the years to come.” Of his prospective coaching abilities redditor /u/prolepatriot thinks, “considering how much ppd and others on EG have praised fear for being a calming presence as well as helping with the drafts…i expect fear to be one of the best coaches in the scene.”

With an empty chair now in the lineup EG plans to announce its new Dota2 roster tomorrow.

Weekend Gaming – Offworld Trading Company, DOOM

Mars is the Roman god of war. He is a representation of aggression and conflict. The Romans celebrated Mars for what he represents because war was a way of securing peace, even though peace was usually achieved by submission from the bloodied pulp of the empire’s foes. Meh. No matter, a means to an end. Roma Victrix, n00bs!

Mars is also a planet – Our neighbor, in fact. Howdy-ho neighborino! The planet earned its namesake because of its reddish hue as seen from Earth’s surface. Blood, being red, is also seen splattered all over Earth’s surface during the throes of war. Therefore, the Romans figured, let us name that red dot in the sky after our god of blood splatters and glory.

mars-orbital-photo-edit

Mars, it just so happens, is also the setting for two of the games I plan on playing this weekend – both of which share pretty much the same types of cutthroat, purposeful aggression as our Roman friends enacted while under the gaze of their reddish god.

Offworld Trading Company (Mohawk Games)

I was all over this game last week, hell-bent to git gud, or, at least, to understand. And I do understand. I really do. It’s a bloody good game, deserving of every shred of critical praise it receives. I haven’t even touched the campaign, focusing instead on skirmishes and working up the cajones to dabble in free-for-all multiplayer mode — perhaps this weekend.

In order to improve my gameplay I started off at a measured pace, pausing prodigiously during skirmishes and learning from my mistakes. I made a habit after every game to learn from one single error that I made. But my desire to improve quickly exceeded my ability and I hit a wall. I started repeating the same fatal mistakes such as overlooking my fuel consumption, not reacting to the market, trying too hard to influence the market, not building enough power generators, building too many power generators, etc. etc. etc. Matches would stretch on and on only to see my company ultimately bought up. And so, I tilted.

At the onset of this week I decided to side-step from OTC – to regroup, as it were. Still, watch some Zultar commentaries, and think about my own mistakes. But overall, to turn my attention to another completely different game that takes place, at least initially, upon the same martian surface as this cut-throat economic strategy game.

DOOM (id Software)

I cannot recall the last time I gamed from the couch. I didn’t even know that I missed it. I also didn’t even know how badly I needed DOOM in my life right now. The planets are aligned.

DOOM is just straight up fun. It is agreeable in so many ways. Everything the game does seems to flush you into another rumble with a swarm of demons. And the more you move, the better time you’ll have. It is so propuslive. The fighting is fluid. In fact, I would say the fighting almost has a tactical quality to it with how easy it is to toggle weapons and cater upgrades. And the glory kills! What a wonderful design decision to force close encounters as a primary source of replenishment. And the fact that you can target a specific glory kill animation is so completely pointless yet so necessary…

Indeed. The fighting is fun, yes. But I am also so impressed with how the entire experience is composed. I am reminded of Metalocalypse with its propensity towards ironic/hyperbolic use of violence and gore and heavy mothereffin metal… but it is still so completely, genuinely badass. DOOM walks that fine line. So much so that glory killing a demon by ripping out his heart and shoving it down his throat is equal parts hilarious and practical. Bravo.

So, yeah… I’ll be hanging out on Mars this weekend. I’ll be sure to send a postcard splattered with blood and minerals.

What are you playing this weekend?

I hope your weekend goes better than his. <3

I hope your weekend goes better than his.

Buttonmashing Chats – GenCon 2016

IMG_20160804_094224

In our first Buttonmashing Chat Chief Buttonmasher Tony and Board Game Frugalist Jason talk over a recent trip to GenCon, a Board Game Convention in Indianapolis Indiana.  We chat about board games, digital games, and some of the experiences at the convention, good and bad.


jasonJason (Boardsmasher): A few weeks ago I attended GenCon, the self proclaimed four greatest days in gaming.  I spent loads of time at that convention learning about new board games, playing some of the classics with friends, and meeting hordes (and I mean hordes) of interesting people.  I wanted to sit down with Chief Buttonmasher Tony to decompress from the experience and share with him the good, the bad, and the boardgames.

I know you were interested in hearing more about my experience Tony, what’s the first thing you want to know?

tony150x150Tony (Chief Buttonmasher): How was the smell? (I’m sorry, I had to do that).

What were the top games you went to see?

jasonJason: Hah, to answer your first question. The smells were fine as long as you stayed within arms length of the person next to you, even the people you came with. But we did go with a list of things that we really wanted to make sure we looked at. The internet is full of “Things we’re looking forward to at GenCon” lists and we used them to find a few games like Via Nebula, Last Friday, and a game called Arcane Academy.

Do any of those games intrigue you by title alone?

Via Nebula

Via Nebula in Play

tony150x150Tony: All of them, but Via Nebula especially.

jasonJason: You’d think it was a space game knowing nothing more, but it’s actually a pretty unique building and route management game set in a fog enshrouded valley.

tony150x150Tony: Can you elaborate on what you mean by route management?

jasonJason: Yeah, that alone doesn’t sound super exciting I suppose, but in this game it means that you have to clear a path through the fog to get resources. Those resources help you build and win the game, but the trick is that you can use the paths the other players blazed. You have to spend time thinking about what actions you want to take and what actions you think others may take that you can benefit from.

tony150x150Tony: Is the map random? How is the setup?

jasonJason: The map and board are the same every game but the resources get placed randomly at the start of the game so there are different paths you have to follow every game.  Its unique enough that it seems like it could be immensely replayable.  We only got one game in of it in the BGG Hot Games room but it was enough to make me want to come back for more.

tony150x150Tony: Did you end up picking it up?

jasonJason: We didn’t end up buying it because I’m a frugal fellow and I know after the post convention hype dies down I should be able to get a it a little cheaper than MSRP. If there’s one thing you know about me is that I can’t usually stomach paying full price for something when I can avoid it. That’s what makes going to these cons so great, you get a lot of value for the price you pay for a four day pass.

tony150x150Tony: Ok, so Via Nebula sounds like a keeper. What’s Last Friday? Do you play Chris Tucker or Ice Cube? Do you crack jokes about weed?

jasonJason: HAH, close? It’s actually a one vs many 80’s horror themed game where one player plays a vicious serial killer and the rest of the players play teenaged campers at an old campground. I didn’t play the killer because the moment I saw that one of the campers in the game was named Jason, I had to claim that pimply weirdo on a matter of pride.

tony150x150Tony: So what is the object? survive? outlast the killer? trap him?

jasonJason: The game is split up into several chapters.  In each chapter there is a different objective for the killer and the kids. It’s classified a hidden movement game because the moves the killer makes on the board are hidden to the rest of the players. It makes it pretty tense!

In the first chapter the kids had to find the keys to the cabins on the map and make it safely inside before being murdalized by the killer.

The killers job was to kill, but in the next scenario he was the guy on the run and we were trying to trap him. It was cool that there was enough variance so that it didn’t feel too samey.

tony150x150Tony: So who won the game you played? The pimply kids?

jasonJason: We did, yes! Although I do have to say that the job of the killer is best played by someone who has experience with the game. The complexities of the hidden movement were definitely challenging for our killer.

tony150x150Tony: That makes sense. Familiarity of how it would be played on the other side of the table would give the killer an insight into how he could avoid it.

Sounds like it would be satisfying to win as the killer.

So, what about Arcane Academy?

jasonJason: One of my regrets about the con. We actually never ended up playing it!  There was so much to do and see that we just couldn’t find the extra hours to get back into the hot games room to play it.

It’s coming out in a few weeks, I’m eager to watch some actual play videos to see how it plays, but it seems like something right up my alley.  Magic spells and board games? Yes please.

tony150x150Tony: Was there anything that surprised you? Something you didn’t expect to see but got you interested?

The gaming crew that we brought along

The gaming crew that we brought along to GenCon

jasonJason: I think my biggest surprise was how much my wife enjoyed everything at the convention.  This was the second time I’ve been to GenCon but the first time I brought her along.  Both her and I were expecting her to be bored of gaming by Saturday but as we were leaving we both were thinking of all the things we could’ve done if we stayed just a little bit longer.

tony150x150Tony: Nice! What was her favorite?

jasonJason: I don’t know that she had a particular favorite but I know that she enjoyed almost everything we played. We both generally enjoy light, moderately strategic, and not lengthy games so most of the ones we got to play we enjoyed.

It was a great time and I’m eager to go again next year, though I’m not sure how realistic that’ll be.  Maybe I’ll crash at your place and go to Origins 2017 next year?

tony150x150Tony: Yeah seeing your pics definitely had me intrigued to do a con like that.

Especially the giant size King of Tokyo.

Giant King of Tokyo

Giant King of Tokyo

jasonJason: Oh man, my monster face was epic.

I played 2 games of Giant King of Tokyo, which is exactly what it sounds like.

I got runner up in both of them which was a bummer since the winner got a convention exclusive King of Tokyo monster.  However, one of the winners already had a Space Penguin so she yielded it to me.  Convention win!

tony150x150Tony: Well it sounds amazing, if that what it was…

So you mentioned if you could have stayed longer you would have seen more — what would you go back and see if you could?

jasonJason: I think just demoing more games and spending more time in the Hot Games room.  Being able to play the latest and greatest was a big draw for us and gave us something to look forward acquiring in the coming year.

tony150x150Tony: Anything you were excited to see that disappointed or didn’t deliver?

jasonJason: One of the events we bought in to was an event called “Big Game Night” which was hosted by a company called AEG.  The draw is that you get to take part in playing their games, seeing the new stuff they’ve got coming, and leave with a cool box of swag.

It was a good concept but a few things kept it from being awesome.  One is that being so late on a Friday night we were pretty tuckered out so it was hard to learn new things.

Two is that the box of swag was essentially 75% empty boxes and 25% microgames.

From what I’ve heard those swag boxes have been getting less and less worth the price of admission ($32) to that event, so I probably won’t attend it next time I go to GenCon.

tony150x150Tony: So this is obstensibly a video game blog — I know you saw HEX there. We’re there other video games/apps on demo?

jasonJason: Hah, good point.  It is a “Gaming” convention so it wouldn’t be right if there weren’t at least a little bit of a digital presence there.

A lot of companies were demoing the mobile app version of their games.  I even saw at the ascension booth that they were demoing a VR version of Ascension!

tony150x150Tony: Did you try VR Ascension? I would probably never leave.

jasonJason: Chalk it up as one of those things I wish I’d done.  Something else shiny likely caught my eye and I moved past it without thinking how awesome it would’ve been to experience.

It’s available now on Steam now with relatively positive reviews.  Worth checking out if you’ve got the kit.

tony150x150Tony: Well it sounds like a roaring success. Anything else you want to mention in wrapping up?

jasonJason: It was definitely a great time.  If you’re on the fence about conventions in general this one, while being overwhelming, has such a tremendous positive vibe going on throughout the halls.

Everyone was walking around with smiles on their faces.  It was fun to be a part of something so wonderfully geeky and fun, nerding out with 60,000 people and not even noticing the crowd.

September Releases

September has a few oldies but goldies and lots of sports. Nothing is setting my world on fire, but maybe something will set yours ablaze. On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of September 6th
The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition

Week of September 13th
Dead Rising – I normally don’t like listing re-releases in the monthly releases, but Dead Rising is in my top 10 of favorite games of all time and I think everyone should play it at least once.
Batman: The Telltale Series
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2
NHL 17
ReCore – Developed by some people from Retro Studios (Metroid Prime series)? You officially have my attention.

Week of September 20th
NBA 2K17

Week of September 27th
FIFA 17
Forza Horizon 3
XCOM 2


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of September 27th
Tumblestone


Nintendo 3DS

Week of September 13th
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

Week of September 20th
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse

Week of September 27th
YO-KAI WATCH 2: Fleshy Souls
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice


PC

Week of September 6th
Mother Russia Bleeds – I think I saw someone get hit in the face with an accordion, so, day one purchase?
Police Tactics: Imperio
Divided We Fall
Ember
Calm Down, Stalin – I had to link this game on the strength of the gameplay trailer. It looks like it would get old after ten minutes, but those first ten minutes would be hilarious.
Project Highrise
Line of Sight
Outbreak: Pandemic Evolution
Escape The Past

Week of September 13th
RIVE
Spaera
Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics
DEAD RISING – Frank West on my PC? *clicks buy button*
Avadon 3: The Warborn
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017
Dispatcher: Revoke

Week of September 20th
King Oddball
Cossacks 3
Klang
The Uncertain
Agenda
Pankapu
NBA 2K17

Week of September 27th
Lance A Lot
Quantum Break
FIVE: Champions of Canaan
Rogue Wizards


Sony Playstation 4

Week of September 6th
The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition
Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet

Week of September 13th
NHL 17
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017
Batman: The Telltale Series
PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness
NBA 2K17

Week of September 20th
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs!

Week of September 27th
XCOM 2
Reus
Tumblestone


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of September 6th
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II

Week of September 13th
PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death


What are you picking up this month?
(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

Weekend Gaming – Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is weird.

No. I take that back. Offworld Trading Company is in fact quite elegant. A description worthy of even more celebration when you consider what the game does: It completely redraws what a RTS can be. An approach this new, working so well the way that it does, takes a little bit of time to get onboarded – for me, at least.

No. OTC is not the weird one. I’m the weird one.

I’m still learning the ropes. I’m taking the task of learning this game in measured paces, and this process has generated an unusual matrix of emotions. Indeed. Never before has a game made me feel so self-powered and competent yet so dadgum blockheaded. Although, I trust that practice will help chisel my blockhead into something less grotesque and stupid looking…

Offworld Trading Company Screen Shot

Yes. The skill ceiling in the game seems to be so very high. N00b mistakes are common but so very valuable. Every game I learn something new, one golden nugget of truth that I can carry with me into the next skirmish. These nuggets can be little things like figuring out how to toggle auto-sell – all the way up to big things like overbuilding with complete and utter oversight to energy costs.

Little things. Big things. And everything inbetween. Learning how to play Offworld Trading Company has never been frustrating; it’s always been fun, enlightening, and with a healthy dose of DERP! mixed in. It is rarely about how to do something, but when…When, when, when! Freaking, WHEN!? This is a testament to how well-designed OTC is. I dig it.

What are you playing this weekend?

Endless Legend: Tempest DLC Details are Trickling In

Amplitude Studios is in a great place right now. Endless Legend continues to have a devout following. Dungeons of the Endless pounced upon the masses out of nowhere and was warmly received. Sega recently added Amplitude to their publishing roster. Details about Endless Space 2 continue to tantalize even the most innocent of bystanders. And, above all, their new Games2Gether platform encourages gamer involvement in the development of the studio’s future titles.

Dadgum.

Amplitude’s attention to Endless Legend specifically illustrates the work ethic this developer practices. Each of the game’s three major DLCs introduces a new faction or addition that alters the player’s way of 4X-ing his way to victory.

Endless Legend Tempest Logo

Endless Legend: Tempest is the latest DLC and is currently in the process of initiating a closed beta. Details continue to trickle out from the devs, including this most recent post on the site’s forums. And what we see here looks so incredibly promising and so incredibly fun. Some of the highlights include:

  • The oceans, where once they were just obstacles to overcome, will become alive with activity.
  • The “Morgawr” faction will not only make the thrive on water but will need to manipulate minor factions on land if they want to make any headway there. (This reminds me of how The Cultists operate.)
  • Sea Fortresses are buildings that land-based factions can sack in order to gain an advantage over the seas as well as the Morgawr.
  • Naval Battles will be a completely different beast compared to land battles. This means new naval units! This means embarked units are hella vulnerable. This means any naval endeavor is shaping up to be a ‘high risk, high reward’ venture.
  • Sea Weather! Details are a little fuzzy here, but Amplitude intends to make weather enough of a factor that it will include its very own mapmode! This is more than just the Winter/not-Winter cycle that is already in place. We’re talking wind strength and direction. Maybe lighting storms. Maybe fog banks. We’ll have to keep a keen eye on this.

There is no set release date for Tempest yet. But, as mentioned above, there may still be an opportunity to participate in the closed beta. Whatever your prerogative, Endless Legend and its existing content is available on Steam and GMG.

From the Ground Up: Four Recent, Upcoming PC Strategy DLCs

As unfavorable as the rest of the world has viewed Anno Domini 2016, fans of PC strategy games certainly have reason to rejoice. The bounty of quality new releases and DLC/expansions continues to be harvested – even now, well into the second half of the year and showing no signs of abatement.

For every quality base game release, additional content is sure to follow. Such is the business model nowadays, of which I do not bemoan. Even for a few select games released prior to this year, developers are continuing to support and add content. And, when I say ‘content’ I do not refer to cosmetic packs or exclusive bonus maps.

Listed below are some of the current and more hefty DLCs, and details about their place within the greater fabric of its franchise.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due (Paradox Development Studio)

Love them or hate them for it Paradox are unrepentant releasers of DLCs. Their DLCs even have DLCs.

Crusader Kings II, now well into its fourth year, has a staggering list of content to consider. Naysayers will spat at this, citing abuse of their gamer base. The gamer base who knows better sees each expansion as just that – one that expands the medieval playing field and adds relevant mechanics to that particular location. As a brief overview of which DLC does what check out this fantastic Crusader Kings II DLC infographic by @AsaTJ

A Plague Rages in Crusader Kings II

A Plague Rages in Crusader Kings II

The Reaper’s Due puts Eurasia at risk, infesting from the inside out. Plagues are already possible in provinces but this addon handles the sickness like a medieval epidemic rather than an isolated case of illness. To combat this outbreak a new courtier position is available; Physicians are hired in to aid in containment and eradication – should you, as ruler, choose such an approach for your population. And you too, as ruler, are not exempt from the reaper’s due. Indeed, you must decide what to do with yourself while the plague rages, of which alters your ability and methods of ruling.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper’s Due is available now for $9.99 on Steam

Order of Battle: Winter War (The Aristocrats)

Order of Battle takes an almost episodic approach to playing WWII. The base game, free of cost and released in April of last year, and the bundle of paid expansions released throughout this year, each visit a specific simulation of a campaign of the great war. All are turn-based hexes and utilize specific units, weapons and stats particular to its respective DLC.

Winter is a whole different battlefield

Winter is a whole different battlefield

The most recent DLC is Order of Battle: Winter War. This one is thusfar unique in the lineup. A majority of the four other addons are focused on the pacific theater. Winter War moves its attention far inland and northward towards the Russian/Finnish borders. The primary draw here is to play as the Finns as they try to protect their lands from waves after waves of Russian military who seek nothing more than conquest and protection for their great western cities. International politics, landscape and ball-shriveling winter weather all play a role in how you design and implement your strategies.

Order of Battle: Winter War is available now for $14.99 on Steam.

Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC (Mohawk Games)

Offworld Trading Company incubated in early access for a few years and was officially launched in late April of this year. It is unique amongst the lot of strategy games in that the focus is economic superiority instead of military – You buy your enemies out for chump change instead of stomping them into gore soup. What makes this premise even more interesting is that all this takes place during early Mars colonization efforts. You must set your sights to the heavens if you are to build yourself a true offworld trading company.

The Ceres Asteroid is your new home.

The Ceres Asteroid is your new home.

… And it just so happens that The Ceres Initiative DLC takes a step in that direction. Indeed. It moves your base of operations off of the martian surface over onto Ceres, the largest asteroid in the belt just beyond Mars. Here, the core concept remains except now the resources are more scant and will even deplete as you mine them. Luckily, as in the base game, there are questionably ethical work-arounds in overcoming the challenges at hand. It’ll be interesting to see how the co-op can work if one player is on Ceres while the other remains on Mars. Cool stuff.

Offworld Trading Company – The Ceres Initiative DLC is available for a very humble asking price of $4.99 on Steam.

Endless Legend: Tempest (AMPLITUDE Studios)

AMPLITUDE Studios is on a roll. They received a surge of media facetime recently when Sega added them to their publishing roster, joining the likes of other strategy game developers like Creative Assembly and Relic.

What this means for Endless Legend could mean divers things. Perhaps we shall see what Sega’s publishing power can accomplish for the newest DLC of the divisive strategy franchise. Endless Legend: Tempest will be entering closed beta on September 1. AMPLITUDE is holding a closed beta contest.

The seas will be yours to control.

The seas will be yours to control.

Tempest will develop EL’s homeworld of Auriga even more, promising to make the planet’s seas a more viable homebase instead of just an obstacle that must be overcome in order to reach more land. The Morgawr is a major faction that will be introduced in this DLC. This aquatic race will be able to alter the tides and weather of Auriga, thus making them another strong factional contender for the control of the planet.

I love how, with each expansion, Auriga, the mother planet, is becoming more a tool and less of a passive theater upon which EL’s factions faceoff. This fits in with the lores very nicely.

And that is what I love about quality DLC for strategy games: They offer a new vantage and new avenues to accomplish objectives within the same grand space. Obviously, the above four titles are not the summation of all expansions for 2016, but it is just enough to keep us busily digging deeper and deeper.