Routers are odd little creatures, aren’t they? They sit on shelves or behind computers or sometimes on the floor, constantly working to provide us with the stable wireless connection that our fast-paced, always connected lifestyle demands. They are so very easy to forget about, especially since Internet service providers typically hand you a cheap one when you sign up which gets plugged in and never touched by the average user. But a good router can be a solid investment.
There is a type beauty to be found in so many of the huge, sprawling boardgames on the market, a type of beauty that exists within the majesty of chaos. Right now I’m playing The Colonists, a massive game that can take anywhere up to eight hours to play through all of its four eras , weighs over 3KGs and has piles of resource tokens and tiles and wooden pieces. It’s dauntingly vast, a game that sucks up brainpower and spits it out like a particularly horrid brussel sprout. There’s beauty in its webs of rules, though, in the same way I find beauty in other huge games with complex rules and systems that take hours and hours to learn. I’m looking at you Arkham Horror and your myriad of fiddly mechanics.
One of the earliest board games I reviewed when I started getting into the hobby was Arkham Horror, a gigantic, fiddly game of Lovecraftian horror and table devouring. I loved it then, and while I’d probably pick it apart much more now due to having a bit more experience I love it regardless because of its absurdity. Still, it’s a difficult game to actually play because it takes up the whole damn table, takes a while to finish and the myriad of cards, tokens and other assorted nonsense tend to put a lot of people off. On the other end of the scale lies Elder Sign, another I love that takes the Arkham theme and pummels it into some dice and cards. Now Fantasy Flight Games have decided to compress all that Lovecraft horror into another small game, a card game. A living card game. Whatever the hell that means.
Sniper Elite III was a wonderfully pleasant surprise for me. Having never played the prior two games I leapt into the series and was soon shooting Nazis in the testicles with terrifying accuracy. It was rough around the edges, yet somehow incredibly good fun. I’ve been rather looking forward to this sequel, then. Aside from decimating more groins, what does Sniper Elite 4 have to offer?
One of the most famous stage illusions of all time is that of cutting a person in half, seemingly sawing or slicing straight through their body, only for them to survive the ordeal and then be put back together. The key, of course, is that the audience never gets to really take a good look at the trick because if they did it would so obviously be nothing more than a fallacy. Indeed, we know it is. We willingly suspend our own disbelief, such is the magic of magic. Trickerion puts you into the shoes of a stage magician hiring his crew, honing his craft, building his tricks and then performing them on stage in order to become famous. So let’s cut this sizable game in half, shall we, but unlike the real trick we’re going to take a long, hard look at exactly how it’s done.
From the screenshots Urban Empire presents itself as a city builder in the vein of Cities Skylines, but in reality it’s more a political game infused with the story of your chosen family through their decades of rule. The actual city construction and management is quite light compared to other games, and thus a lot of Urban Empire is waiting around for your city to grow. Arguably it’s too simple, its lack of precise control and more in-depth options making it feel as though you’re merely poking the city from time to time with a large stick from a great distance while arguing with a bunch of people about poking it again.
At this point I’ve watched the intro several times and can say with complete confidence that I have no idea what is going in Imprint-X. There’s something about a spaceship and people in stasis and some nonsense about VR headsets, and then suddenly you’re playing a strange puzzle game obsessed with buttons. No, story is not this game’s strength. Quit the opposite, really. So I cheated and just read the game’s description on Steam which revealed that little nano bots called Wardens are enslaving people and you’ll be playing as a hacker clone who must save people by hacking into infected brains and defeating the Wardens by….pressing buttons. Some 700 of them, apparently. Christ.