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Kriegsspiel is a highly accurate game of war, created by a Prussian general.

This game not only has its place in gaming history as the forerunner to modern games like Battlefield or Warhammer, but has also lead historians to the exact methods used during Prussian Warfare in the Napoleonic period.

Photo by Brett Bayley

The game is directed by a combination of strategy and dice, directing pieces representing all the parts of the army during the time period. In 1862 (years after it was released in 1824) there was an update to accommodate for improved weaponry and transportation, including both railroads and telegraphs.

The base of many modern games, the hit point (HP), can be seen here, in the “points” that each piece is worth. The number of points relates to the number of hits each unit can take before it gets destroyed.

The game requires real-life topographical maps (a scale of 1:8000), and the tactics used reflect real-life. The use of the map itself was a show of printing and map-making technology created in the era, and with it’s rules, was used by the Prussian army as a method to teach tactics.

The goal of the game is actually determined by an umpire. the umpire also interprets the written orders (moves) of the two armies (teams of players) and is the one to move the pieces. The size of the teams is recommended to be 4-6 players each.

This does give me memories of watching a few friends of mine play Warhammer. Cheerful, pre-Covid times at game club, with the swell of voices chatting over all kinds of games.

by Abby Zarakovich

Ancient Board Games: Chaturanga


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.


“Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality.” (from the Steam Page)

Art, Music, and its deeply emotional storyline are GRIS’s selling points! The game is Simple to play, and also Short (around 4 hours total playtime). It has especially Ethereal artwork for a combined puzzle-platformer, with Tight color palettes that expand as the game continues.

Available on PC, Appstore, Switch, it has 38:1 positive to Negative reviews on Steam, which I think is pretty impressive.

Screenshot by Steam User “Yumesai”

Cozy Grove

Capitalizing on the Animal Crossing craze, this adorable game adds a haunting twist!

The lovely artwork is paired with a Real-time environment and missions to go on! There is more to do as more time passes, and game play starts at a half hour and builds to over 2 hours a day.

Cozy Grove is an easier and more character based alternative to animal crossing, and has mechanics  reminiscent of Stardew Valley.

Decoration can  influences your surroundings, and Item collecting is a relatively large part of gameplay. It’s Good for casual gamers , as it’s mechanics, by design, space out playtime.

With a ratio of 3 Positive reviews for every one negative on Steam, the game garners an 80% on MetaCritic. Most of the Negative reviews don’t care for the segmented, real time play style, rather than anything technical.

The art is light and whimsical, adding to the relaxing nature of the game, while the writing keeps you intrigued with each character’s story .

The game is available in 14 different languages. and on switch as well as PC!

A snapshot of Life on the island

Demon Turf to Come

3D platformer which acts as the debut platform for the Publisher Playtonic Friends, “Demon Turf” has a combination of 2D and 3D art. So far, some of the quirks include self-placed checkpoints and momentum-based battle.

It’s cute artstyle and unique designs show promise!

Demon Turf is planned to be released in 2021, a platformer for all ages!


Blaseball’s Boom

Musicals and Music video, fan animations and artwork…. for a fantasy baseball browser game?

It’s indeed the case!

Blaseball is an absurdist online baseball game that was split into “seasons” (a la Apex Legends) with a rulebook with chunks that are redacted for the player. There’s a shop with in-game items purchased with in-game money won by backing teams, similar to various irl fantasy leagues.

The trick with this game is the unusual stats, the ability for you (as a player) to vote on actions of the teams or rules of the game, and “blessings” (random powerups) get randomly assigned to the blaseball players on the teams, like “performance enhancing demons” and “bloodlust”.

The trick is both in choice making, and knowing the players enough to decide which teams to bet on.

For fans, the joy is in the story telling, the characters, the competition, and the eagerness of waiting for your team to win.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Released for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system on April 10,  2020, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is a reimagining of the iconic original game that re-defined the RPG genre, diving deeper into the world and its characters than ever before. The first game in the project will be set in the eclectic city of Midgar and presents a fully standalone gaming experience that provides a great starting point to the series. Along with unforgettable characters and a powerful story, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE features a hybrid battle system that merges real-time action with strategic, command-based combat.

Subnautica: Below Zero

Subnautica: Below Zero is an Early Access game on Steam that’s been available for purchase since January 30th 2019. It will be coming to Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch in 2021. This is the second game in the Subnautica series. Subnautica is a mostly underwater sandbox game where you can harvest resources, build bases, and explore a strange alien planet. Below Zero takes place after the events of the original game on the same planet. But you’ll be faced with unique new challenges in Below Zero. There are new monsters that you’ll have to avoid. There’s a new set of mysteries for you to uncover. And as always, you still need to eat and drink to survive.

Many of the animals that appear in the original Subnautica will also make an appearance in Below Zero.

Under the Ice

Subnautica doesn’t have a direct storyline per se. Rather, you can receive radio signals that will beckon you in certain directions. When you reach the source of that signal, you might find something especially interesting there. Maybe you’ll find records of another fellow explorer’s journey to the planet. Or maybe you’ll find evidence that the aliens on this planet are more than meets the eye. As you uncover the planet’s secrets, you’ll be discovering more and more that the planet has to offer. You’ll be uncovering new alien species of fauna and flora that you can exploit for your own purposes. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock new tools, base upgrades, and vehicles. These small victories keep you interested in exploring new areas and discovering more of what the planet has to offer. 

You’ll spend more time out of the water in Below Zero when compared to the original Subnautica.

Frozen Secrets

Below Zero is still in Early Access so there’s still planned content that will be added to the game. For example, there will likely be more fleshing out of the story through more voice acted scenes. There are also still plenty of bugs that the development team will eventually patch out. They also intend to increase the performance and frame rate on all systems. We might also see even more vehicles, biomes, or other in-game items that could enhance the player’s experience. The original Subnautica was an Early Access game and that ended up playing a huge role in the quality of the game on its release date. Unknown Worlds Entertainment takes full advantage of the gaming community’s feedback to optimize their games and Subnautica: Below Zero will likely be no different. 

#Subnautica #EarlyAccess #Indie #Survival

Far Cry 5

The entire Far Cry series is on sale on Steam for 70% to 80% off. Published by Ubisoft, the Far Cry series has stood the test of time since the original release in 2008. Each game has a totally unique story and can be enjoyed completely individually. Ubisoft is expecting to release the next title in the franchise, Far Cry 6, sometime in late May 2021. But until then, we’ll just have to make do with what we have. Far Cry 5, released in 2018, was the most expansive entry in the series. It had the largest map, a well-crafted story mode with different endings, a co-op mode, plenty of weapons, a well-developed progression system, and plenty of other features to keep you entertained. Many players might even find some the most memorable parts of the game to be the cutscenes that play out between some of the action in the story. Like many other titles in the series, Far Cry 5 has a lot to offer.

Each member of Joseph Seed’s family contributes to the cult in a unique way. Faith Seed keeps cult members brainwashed by drugging many of them.

Welcome to Eden’s Gate

Far Cry 5 is set in the formerly peaceful Hope County, Montana. The county has been taken over by an insane cult known as Eden’s Gate. They’re led by the charismatic and crazy cult leader Joseph Seed and his siblings. You’ll have to save the county from Eden’s Gate, one step at a time. The map is split up into regions that are controlled by each sibling. As you liberate each region from the cult, you’ll eventually be able to face that leader and take another step towards ending the deranged cult. Outside of the main story, there are also many side quests that you’ll participate in as you level up. The range of character can be quite bizarre, as Far Cry 5 utilizes humor a bit more than most of its predecessors. By the end of many side quests, you can gain a character as a companion that you can fight alongside for the rest of the game.

Far Cry 5 gives you plenty of ways to get around. You can fly in a plane, helicopter, and even in a wingsuit.

The Land of the Free

Purging Eden’s Gate from Montana won’t be easy. You’ll need to create a plan, assemble a team, gather weapons, and hone your skills to take the cult down. There are tons of different ways that you can go about fighting the cult. The game features many different types of guns, explosives, and vehicles. Beyond the usual cars, you can now fly planes and engage in a dogfight against other pilots. You can choose to focus on combat and go in to fights guns blazing. But you can also focus on stealth and try to assassinate your enemies quietly or from afar. The Far Cry games are AAA titles made by teams that put thousands of hours into its development. Pick this game up on sale if you want a fleshed out and massive game for a low price.

#FarCry #FarCry5 #FarCry6 #Ubisoft

The Pope: Power & Sin

The Pope: Power and Sin

The Pope: Power & Sin is an indie game from Polish studio Forestlight Games that will be released in 2021. Playing as the Catholic Pope at the dawn of the Renaissance, the game presents the player with many influential choices. Currently, it appears that this game will likely be a novelty that a gamer would only buy if they really want to say that they’ve “been the Pope”. With sub-par graphics and confusing gameplay, it’s likely that most people will want to steer clear of this game. But, you might still be able to have fun if you play light-heartedly and find fun in some of the absurd situations that the Pope finds himself in.

screensht of choices
There are many ways for the Pope to deal with his problems.

Unholy Head of the Church

The Pope: Power & Sin is inspired by Pope Alexander VI, who served from 1492-1503. During this time in history, the Pope was involved in several scandals and corrupted the authenticity of the Church. As the Pope, you focus less on the Church and more on securing power, riches, and pleasure for yourself. You can unite the Italian peninsula and expand the Church’s reach. You can expand your wealth by raising taxes on the people. The methods through which you secure political allies can vary greatly. It’s up to the player if they want to use peace, bribery, threats, or even violence to motivate important political players. As the Pope, God will always be on your side no matter what decision you make.

screenshot of the Pope lying in a pool of blood
There will be major consequences for the decisions that the Pope makes.

Power vs. Morality

This game clearly intends for the player to look forward to manipulating the power of the Pope. If you think you’ll enjoy enacting out the corruption of the Church’s highest authority, then you might be able to extract some fun out of this game. However, you can tell that the game has a low budget by its graphics and animations. Don’t expect a historical RPG or political strategy game that will be on par with the greatest in the respective genres. All-in-all, this is a novelty game that takes place in a historical setting that is rarely visited by video games. If you want to experience the crazy situations that the Pope finds himself in, look out for this low-budget game in 2021.

#Indie #Historical #Pope