Nieuwe Aarde was created in 48 hours for the "islands" Ludum Dare contest. The developer describes it as "inspired by Desktop Dungeons and Seafarers of Catan." The narrative premise is very simple: your world is dying, and you must expand and accumulate enough resources to fight off rampaging monsters while slowing accumulating enough surplus magical energy to escape to a "new Earth" (Nieuwe Aarde is Dutch for "new Earth" or "new soil" -- the same double meaning as earth in English).
Explore, Expand, Exploit... Escape
|Submitted by Tof Eklund on Wed, 08/04/2010 - 17:24.|
4X Abstract Strategy
|Submitted by costik on Mon, 10/26/2009 - 00:50.|
If you use "4X" and "simple downloadable game" in the same sentence, my immediate thought is "Risk variant," and there are many such. Constellation is indeed a simple, downloable 4X game, but features novel and nicely conceived gameplay. No dice here.
Tabletop Tuesdays: The Start of 4X
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 08/04/2009 - 00:12.|
When you read histories of videogaming, you might well be excused for thinking that it all sprang full-blown from the brow of Nolan Bushnell, or possibly Steve Russell, or maybe Ralph Baer or Willy Higginbotham had something to do with it. If there's any attempt to reach back before then, the talk is all of pinball and arcade amusements.
Dominions 3: The Awakening
Superb, Deep Strategy in a Well Realized Fantasy World
|Submitted by Tof Eklund on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 16:44.|
Johan Karlsson and Kristoffer Osterman's Dominions 3: The Awakening can be described briefly as a micromanagment-heavy, statistically detailed, “turn-based,” 4x fantasy strategy PBEM game that draws heavily on world mythology. Describing it in detail is difficult, because it is so richly detailed and because, while it mostly does the things you'd expect a “turn-based fantasy” game to do, it does them in surprising ways.
Space War Commander
Simple on the Surface with Surprising Strategic Depth
|Submitted by costik on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 20:44.|
When you first fire up Space War Commander, you may at first wonder whether there can be much of a game here. The basic structure is one that often leads to symmetrical gridlock: You have one starbase, an opponent has another, you must destroy the opposition. Scattered about the starfield are a number of planets and asteroids; each produces income for the owner (whoever's got a ship there). Generate income, buy new ships, defeat the enemy.
This structure is normally a slog, and one that becomes tedious quickly. Surprisingly, however, Space War Commander has a great more depth than at first appears.
|Submitted by costik on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 23:43.|
Mario Zechner took the basic ideas behind Dyson and developed a multiplayer version in Java, along with a series of maps that are much larger than the ones in Dyson. (With the approval of the Dyson developers.)
Mount and Blade
My Other Mount Is a Blade
|Submitted by the99th on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 00:50.|
Maybe I´m tapping into something fundamental about the human animal, but riding a bastard sword through a guy´s neck is fucking satisfying. It´s like the thwack of a Wii Tennis ball, the chime of a Tetris, the clink of gold coins being collected, the closing of a profitable trade; carnal base-hormones are triggered, edifying the beast, galvanizing the spine. This is core gameplay at its purest, an unceasing reinforcement exercise, like the thrust of procreation pushed on endlessly, taking lives away rather than risking new ones. Real visceral kind of fun, just like our ancestors used to have when they ran each other through with long swords over land and women, back in the day. When I made another pass on my horse and cut down two blokes in a row, I turned to my chica and said "this kind of thing happened a lot back then." At least, it feels like it should have.
Procedurally Generated 4X
|Submitted by costik on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 01:44.|
Dyson is a 4X (explore, exploit, expand, exterminate) space game with unusual technology and a curiously serene feel. You play an alien lifeform that colonizes asteroids, but competitors are doing the same (RTS-like), and your ultimate goal is to exteriminate them.
Your mobile units are "seedlings," which both battle enemies and can be used to build "trees" on asteroids; it takes 16 seedlings to initiate a tree. Trees are of two types -- ones that create more seedlings, and ones that grow defensive pods that are launched at enemies attacking your asteroid. Asteroids range in size and energy, and can each support between one and five trees.
|Submitted by costik on Wed, 01/30/2008 - 16:34.|
A Student Showcase nominee at the '08 Independent Games Festival, Mayhem Intergalatic is a fast-playing space conquest game. My first thought was "Risk clone," but it isn't actually; although combat seems to be per the Risk combat algorithm, there's no concept of adjacency (any ship can move anywhere on the map, though trips to distant stars can take multiple turns), there are no cards, and a fleet can only make one attack per turn.
What it really is, is "4X lite"; your only real actions are dispatching ships to target systems, and upgrading your shipyards. Basically, upgrading a system's shipyards increases the number of ships it produces each turn, but doing so forgoes one turn of production.
Strange Adventures in Infinite Space
"The Perfect Little Game"
|Submitted by costik on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 04:46.|
Here's how a typical game works: You spend 20 hours or more pounding through a series of pre-planned linear obstacles, very often hurling your controller across the room or banging on your desk in frustration as you meet a boss that seems well nigh impossible until you go read a walk-through... And when you are done, you are done, because you've finished, and why would you ever want to play it again?
Here's how Strange Adventures in Infinite Space works: You spend twenty minutes or less, you have a satisfying game experience, and there is never a moment of frustration... if you fail it doesn't really matter because you can always start another game. And when it's done, you find yourself saying "damn, it's over already? I want to play again."