Two strikes is a samurai-based fighting game, and technically a sequel game to the pixel-style One Strike!
This sequel uses masterfully done Black-and-White sprites in full-res on colorful, elegant backgrounds as parts of its showcase. There are currently 6 options for fighters, and it’s set to be released on the 31st of May on Steam.
For a relatively simple game, Jury box (published in 1936 by Parker Brothers) has earned itself a spot in game history.
It’s a game for any number of players, and is relatively simple. You (and your fellow players) act as jury to the cases provided in the box. There is photo evidence, an illustrated case file, and what the “correct” answer.
In play, after the case is read by a selected player, the players write their verdict and idea of what happened: points are awarded to those with the correct verdict, and to those whose solution behind what happened comes closest. The person with the most points after all the cases are complete wins.
Jury Box is the precursor to modern variations of LARP and murder mystery games.
The action of pretending to be a person, and the whodunnit nature of the game is what lead to the evolution of games like Clue and such.
This game from 6th century India is believed to be the ancestor of chess and other games (worldwide!) like it.
There are a few things that set Chaturanga aside from modern chess. For one thing, unlike modern chess, this game can be played with up to 4 players. In 750 CE, this version of chess reached China, and by the 11th century it had come to Japan and Korea. It went through Persia and into Europe around the same time.
The theory of the game’s spread revolves around the Silk road, an ancient trade route spanning from Italy in Europe to Xian in China. This trade route moves through land and sea, and facilitated trade of all kinds.
It’s due to the silk road that it can be hard to determine the origins of chess, as pieces simular to what we know have been found all over 3 different continents.
Like other ancient games, some of the rules are up to speculation.
What we know about the rules and play:
Of the pieces that we know of today, the rook, knight, pawn and king move the same. However, The kings do not face each other (aren’t in the same column), and the pawns don’t have the option to move 2 spaces on their first move.
The Queen was the Counselor, and could only move 1 square diagonally. The Bishop was the Elephant, and could only move 2 spaces diagonally.
One of the theorized rules is that the pawn, instead of automatically becoming the Queen/Counselor, would actually become the piece that occupied that square in the beginning.
Chaturanga was won by what we know as checkmate, or by eliminating all pieces except the king.
Castling and En-passant weren’t introduced until the 15th century, and the checkerboard pattern we associate with Chess was only introduced as decoration around the year 1000.
What I found to be interesting, was that in the 4 player version of Chaturanga, what piece you played was determined by dice throw, which completely change the flow of the game. The dice is a D4, and the sides are as follows: The Raja (king) and pawn, the knight, the elephant (bishop), and the boat (rook). The four player, as you can see, does not include the Counselor.
Where to play?
You can buy physical boards around the internet, or just use a regular chess set, and modify the rules.
You can play online here, but you have to sign up, and there are a few apps that allow multiplayer versions of the game.
Castle Flipper is a Building and Decorating Simulator for medieval castles!
This game isn’t just castles, either: it also includes the surrounding land, and sheds, barns, huts, houses, mansions, palaces and even pirate ships!
This game takes place in the 16th and 17th centuries, so in addition to the usual Medieval buildings, you will also find some Baroque and Renaissance elements that add variety to the gameplay and give you more options for interior decoration.
To be released May 27, 2021 on Steam, Castle flipper looks to be a fun simulator, including both rampant destruction and detailed creation.
It has lovingly rendered wooden details, and goes from the basics of building (frames and pillars) to the furniture and placement of decorative elements like suits of armor and fur rugs.
A game like this, from 2600 BC, is full of intrigue. This delicately carved block of stone, with flowers and markings etched into the rock, sings to played again.
A 4×3 board is connected to a 2×6 board with 2 squares. There are 4 d4’s, with dots on 3 of the points. And there are 7 Tokens per player, with one blank side, and one side with 5 dots
We have the board, the dice the pieces, and the question remains: how do we play it?
Rules have been found for advanced versions of the Royal Game of Ur: the sweet irony of which is that the base rules are speculation. All we know for sure about the base game is some of the markings’ meanings, and that the goal is to get all your pieces across the board. Even the exact route is unknown.
Because of that, there are a few different sets of rules floating around the internet.
One of several points of argument is whether rolling a Zero on the dice counts as a zero, a four-space movement, or as a “roll again”.
Another point of argument is when/how pieces may be moved onto the board. On Some of the boards, the pieces are numbered, and one guess is that you must roll that exact number to play them. Other rules have suggested that you have to roll a certain number (either 4 or 0) to bring out any piece, and some discard that notion entirely; you can bring a piece onto the board at anytime.
I suppose that if you wish to play it, it’s like any game of UNO: the rules are decided by players agreeing (or acquiescing) to them.
Trapped on our own islands of loneliness, we seek a way out. In this game, you can sate that desperation by escaping the clutches of wilderness. I first heard about Robinson Crusoe the board game from my friend’s history professor. He, like many others, was looking for games to play at home.
One of the several draws of this board game is the ability to play by yourself. Robinson Crusoe has a Single Player option and a Multiplayer one, up to 4 players total. The Game is Published by Portal Games, and is available here.
The Game is based off of the classic book Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719.
Resource-gathering game that included cards, dice and tokens. There are many different paths to victory, which allows for replayability, especially if you have a dislike for repetitive games.
Asterix and Obelix was a French Comic series that started 1959 (and still going strong) about Gaul (France)during the Roman Occupation. It’s a fun romp with magic potions, rambunctious bards and fiendish Romans all being explored (or beat up) by the comics namesakes’, Asterix and Obelix.
These historic heroes are getting a 2d beat-‘em-up in fall 2021!
It’ll be hand-drawn, to stay true to the style of the comics! It looks to have simple controls, and from the sneak peeks, it looks like it’ll be going through several of the comics’ storylines.
The game will have local co-op, and you can experience this historical-fantasy with your friends, and for those who read the comics, a fresh perspective on a French classic
It’ll be on these Platforms: PS4, Xbox One Consoles, Nintendo Switch, PC/Mac – Backward compatible on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S
From Kickstarter project to off-the-shelf popular enough for a reprint, “Good Society” has come long way.
First released in 2018, funded by $154,774 Australian dollars from 2,677 backers, it included a hardcover rulebook, between 20-36 cards (depending on how much you gave), and Pdf versions of the above.
Now, on its Storybrewer’s page, it offers one of its expansions in hardback as well, along with various expansion cardsets. The 280-page rulebook includes art and accompanying material.
The game is heavily focused on role-playing, which can be seen in it’s lack of numbered stats, and its LARP version that is also available to purchase. The traits used to navigate the game are the role you’re given, your family, desires, and your relationships.
Some unique aspects of the game:
NPCs printed on cards
Having a Game Master (GM/DM) is an option
Numerous Expansion packs ranging from servants to magic
For Playstation fans that didn’t manage to secure a PS5 by now, it might not be until 2021 that we get another opportunity to pick up a next-gen console. If you’re like me and you’re going to be stuck with the PS4 for a few more months, then consider playing through Ghost of Tsushima. This game was one of the very few blessings of 2020. It’s an open-world adventure game that revolves around extensive stealth and combat gameplay. It features an incredibly well-told story, gorgeous graphics, a complex combat system, rewarding progression, and so much more. The game goes back to the basics of the genre, while simultaneously pushing it to new heights that the genre has never seen. The game feels like real passion was put into its development. It’s a must-play for PS4 owners.
One of the most powerful elements of the game is its story. Set in 13th century Japan, you play as Jin Sakai. You are a samurai on a mission to drive back the Mongolian invasion of his home island of Tsushima. You must hunt down the villainous Khotan Khan and restore peace to your home. But at what cost? The main story explores Jin’s incredible journey towards becoming the hero of his island. As the world changes around him, so does he. As he meets new people, his perspectives change. The game does an excellent job at motivating you to continue playing because you sympathize with him. You feel the same pressures and motivations that force this character to adapt and change so radically. Jin is one of the most well-written dynamic protagonists that I’ve ever seen in a video game. The game even weaves new skills and weapons into the game as Jin goes through character development. This is exactly how a game nails its story and keeps the audience enthralled. Many of the random side quests can be somewhat dull, but even some of these have an interesting plot to them. Still, the main story is a superb example of how a game can pair a developing character with a progression system.
From Katana to Kunai
Ghost of Tsushima has tons of different ways for you to go about killing your enemies. But it all boils down to two approaches, direct combat or stealth. As you progress, you can build your character in such a way that prioritizes one or the other. For example, you can work on spending your materials on a heavy suit of armor and spending your experience points on new sword attacks. This would be a good way to go if you want to charge in and fight your opponents head on. If you want to take more of a stealthy approach, you can invest in a powerful bow and upgrade your stealth weapons. Then, you can try to silently pick off your opponents one by one. It’s really the player’s choice on how they want to handle most of their combat. But boss fights are where the real challenge comes in. Jin will find himself in plenty of duels against skilled enemies. Having finished the entire game on the hardest difficulty, this is where the game can get terribly frustrating. Some bosses are lightning fast and can kill you instantly. To beat them, you need to sustain perfect dodges and parries for an extended period of time. If you’re not looking for a serious challenge, then definitely avoid the hardest difficulty. But nothing feels sweeter than finally taking down a boss after a long fight.
The Blade of the Samurai
Most of the combat in the game revolves around Jin’s katana. As you progress through the game, you unlock different stances for holding the sword. Each stance’s attacks are different and each one specializes in fighting against a different type of enemy. Combat focuses on light attacks, heavy attacks, parrying, and dodging. But the game also features bows, blowguns, bombs, kunai knives, smoke grenades, and more. The island of Tsushima is split into three geographic sections and the enemies get tougher as you go further north. Just when you think you’ve mastered the combat and strengthened your character enough, you move onto a new level of difficulty. The game also features interesting side quests where you investigate a legend such as a “cursed” bow or an “immortal” samurai with a huge payoff of a special new item or special new skill. Thanks to the loads of player options and the diverse range of enemies, combat never gets old.
The Beauty of Japan
When you aren’t liberating Japan from the Mongols, the island of Tsushima can be quite beautiful. As you progress through the game, the island’s geography will change as well. There’s a diverse range of environments that the player finds themself in. The games features multiple different forests that have their own type of tree, all of which are visually stunning. Tsushima has flower fields, mountains, and lakes. All of them are breathtaking. Even the swamps, tundras, and burned wastelands look incredible. Clearly, incredible attention to detail was put into making this game look beautiful. There isn’t even a minimap on the screen. You swipe the controller’s touchpad and wind will blow in the direction of your objective. Plus, the game is packed with customization options for your character. Unlike Assassin’s Creed, which much of the gameplay seems to be inspired by, this game is micro-transaction free. Other than one suit of armor available in the deluxe edition, every single item in the game can be acquired through the one-time purchase of the standard edition. It was refreshing to experience a well-crafted game in this genre without a currency system backed by real money. Ghost of Tsushima gives you a wide range of customization options for your character without constantly dangling micro-transactions in front of you.
Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world adventure game that goes back to the basics while simultaneously adding so much new content. The rich progression system, unlockable customization options, beautiful scenery, and thrilling story motivates you to keep on playing. Sucker Punch hit this game out of the park, ending the PS4’s exclusive list on a high note. Although many of the side quests are rather dull, the core gameplay is so invigorating that I found myself enjoying them just because it was an opportunity to show off the skills that I was picking up through my adventures. I’m truly excited to see what Sucker Punch has planned for the PS5.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the newest entry into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s currently out on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X/S. It comes after 2018’s release of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, widely recognized as the best entry into the series in many years. Valhalla has added plenty of new mechanics, while also getting plenty of inspiration from numerous past titles. Taking place in ninth century Norway, the player takes control of Eivor, a Viking Assassin that must fight against the Templar Order that has infiltrated the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
A New Breed of Assassin
Much of the gameplay in Valhalla will feel more like Odyssey than most other Assassin’s Creed titles. You can play as a male or female Eivor and explore many romance options with both sexes. There is a well-developed leveling system. Leveling up provides the player with a great deal of interesting benefits. There are also plenty of weapons in the game, with a brand new form of dual-wielding combat that will set this game apart from the others. The game is filled with major and minor decisions that can help shape the entire world of of the game, giving you plenty of control over how your character influences Northern Europe. This is much like Odyssey, where you could influence the tides of the Peloponnesian War, which would affect all of Greece. Also taking inspiration from older titles, Valhalla has reintroduced the ability to run settlements. Building them up and doings missions for them will provide various gameplay bonuses. The game does a great job at motivating you to keep on playing.
Nothing is real. Everything is permitted.
The Assassin’s Creed franchise is rich with lore. Since the first game’s launch in 2007, we’ve seen fantastic events unfold. We’ve learned about the mysterious Isu race that helped guide human civilization. Every game has given us more understanding over the Assassin’s Creed universe. Fans of the series will be excited to see how the story presses on. Yet, what works so well with the Assassin’s Creed series is that it’s always easy to be engrossed in an individual title’s universe, even if it’s the only one that you’ve ever played. Each title takes place in a distant land, hundreds of years earlier or later. This keeps the settings, characters, and stories so fresh. Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, Valhalla will be an enjoyable game for most fans of open-world adventure games.