Top Of The Table – Azul

about X hours ago from
Top Of The Table – Azul

Longtime readers of this column know I’m particularly fond of games with unique themes, settings, and narrative conceits. While I’ll always enjoy giant fantasy war games or treks across outer space, there’s something refreshing about finding a great game hidden away in an unusual setup. Azul casts players as tile-laying artists in the late 15th or early 16th centuries, employed by the king of Portugal to create art for the palace walls.

Laying tiles on a wall certainly isn’t the stuff of legend, but the concept opens the door to some gorgeous game components and a fascinating gameplay loop of abstract strategy; once you wrap your mind around the structure of play, I promise you’ll warm to the theme in turn.

Azul melds a tile-drafting mechanic with collecting particular configurations or sets of those same tiles as you lay them out on a personal board. At its highest level, the sophistication emerges because there are so many paths to success, and on every turn, your choices are meaningful. Gameplay moves quickly, whether you’re playing with two, three, or four players, so it’s easy to enjoy several games in a row in a given sitting. Moreover, the game is simple enough to teach that players should grasp the fundamentals almost immediately; understanding the many paths to a win is much harder.

Top Of The Table – Azul

about X hours ago from
Top Of The Table – Azul

Longtime readers of this column know I’m particularly fond of games with unique themes, settings, and narrative conceits. While I’ll always enjoy giant fantasy war games or treks across outer space, there’s something refreshing about finding a great game hidden away in an unusual setup. Azul casts players as tile-laying artists in the late 15th or early 16th centuries, employed by the king of Portugal to create art for the palace walls.

Laying tiles on a wall certainly isn’t the stuff of legend, but the concept opens the door to some gorgeous game components and a fascinating gameplay loop of abstract strategy; once you wrap your mind around the structure of play, I promise you’ll warm to the theme in turn.

Azul melds a tile-drafting mechanic with collecting particular configurations or sets of those same tiles as you lay them out on a personal board. At its highest level, the sophistication emerges because there are so many paths to success, and on every turn, your choices are meaningful. Gameplay moves quickly, whether you’re playing with two, three, or four players, so it’s easy to enjoy several games in a row in a given sitting. Moreover, the game is simple enough to teach that players should grasp the fundamentals almost immediately; understanding the many paths to a win is much harder.

Our Full Hidetaka Miyazaki Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Interview

about X hours ago from
Our Full Hidetaka Miyazaki Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Interview

As part of our trip to see Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at From Software’s offices in Tokyo, Japan, we got to chat with the game’s director and company president Hidetaka Miyazaki. While you’ll see quotes from him we’ve used in our past coverage of Sekiro, there are some interesting and fun bits of insight throughout our entire conversation.

This interview was conducted with a translator on-site and then transcribed by Jill Grodt and JP Gemborys.

Game Informer: We had a chance to see Sekiro and take on the Lady Butterfly. Is she some sort of shadowy gang of assassins from his past that he was a part of, or something like that? Because, it seemed like they knew each other. What’s the story between Sekiro and this memory?

Hidetaka Miyazaki On The Inspirations Behind Sekiro, Avoiding Stagnation, And The Bloodborne Nod In Déraciné

about X hours ago from
Hidetaka Miyazaki On The Inspirations Behind Sekiro, Avoiding Stagnation, And The Bloodborne Nod In Déraciné

As part of our trip to see Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at From Software’s offices in Tokyo, Japan, we got to chat with the game’s director and company president Hidetaka Miyazaki. While you’ll see quotes from him we’ve used in our past coverage of Sekiro, there are some interesting and fun bits of insight throughout our entire conversation.

This interview was conducted with a translator on-site and then transcribed by Jill Grodt and JP Gemborys.

Game Informer: We had a chance to see Sekiro and take on the Lady Butterfly. Is she some sort of shadowy gang of assassins from his past that he was a part of, or something like that? Because, it seemed like they knew each other. What’s the story between Sekiro and this memory?

Our Full Hidetaka Miyazaki Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Interview

about X hours ago from
Our Full Hidetaka Miyazaki Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Interview

As part of our trip to see Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at From Software’s offices in Tokyo, Japan, we got to chat with the game’s director and company president Hidetaka Miyazaki. While you’ll see quotes from him we’ve used in our past coverage of Sekiro, there are some interesting and fun bits of insight throughout our entire conversation.

This interview was conducted with a translator on-site and then transcribed by Jill Grodt and JP Gemborys.

Game Informer: We had a chance to see Sekiro and take on the Lady Butterfly. Is she some sort of shadowy gang of assassins from his past that he was a part of, or something like that? Because, it seemed like they knew each other. What’s the story between Sekiro and this memory?

Leaving The Rails

about X hours ago from
Leaving The Rails

Nuclear dread has always hung over Andriy Prokhorov’s head. Growing up in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, the Cold War loomed large. Each week during grade school, teachers walked students through civil defense lessons detailing what to do in the case of a nuclear emergency. Even at a young age, he understood the futility of ducking and covering if a 15-megaton atom bomb dropped.

“It was scary for a seven-year-old kid,” he recalls. “I had nightmares about nuclear war really often.”

As an adult, Prokhorov converted that morbid fascination with nuclear fallout from a nightmare to creative inspiration. Leading teams of talented artists, programmers, and designers across two companies, he helped orchestrate three of the moodiest and most haunting post-apocalyptic interactive experiences in modern gaming.

Leaving The Rails

about X hours ago from
Leaving The Rails

Nuclear dread has always hung over Andriy Prokhorov’s head. Growing up in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, the Cold War loomed large. Each week during grade school, teachers walked students through civil defense lessons detailing what to do in the case of a nuclear emergency. Even at a young age, he understood the futility of ducking and covering if a 15-megaton atom bomb dropped.

“It was scary for a seven-year-old kid,” he recalls. “I had nightmares about nuclear war really often.”

As an adult, Prokhorov converted that morbid fascination with nuclear fallout from a nightmare to creative inspiration. Leading teams of talented artists, programmers, and designers across two companies, he helped orchestrate three of the moodiest and most haunting post-apocalyptic interactive experiences in modern gaming.

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle Of Skye

about X hours ago from
Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle Of Skye

Few board games are more popular or prolific than Carcassonne, the family-friendly tile-laying classic from 2000 that tasks players with building a communal countryside, one colorful square at a time. While not officially related, Isle of Skye feels like an evolution of Carcassonne's theme and mechanics, giving players a meatier experience that’s loaded with replayability and perfectly suited for mobile gaming.

Digital Board Game Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights my favorite digital translations of modern board games. Unlike most modern mobile games, these selections feature traditional up-front pricing, without any time-gates, premium currencies, or ads to ruin the fun. If you're looking for your next mobile fix, look no further.

Publisher: Asmodee Digital, Developer: DigidicedMultiplayer: Online (Asynchronous and Real-time), Pass & Play
Available on: Android, iOS, PC

Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle Of Skye

about X hours ago from
Digital Board Game Spotlight: Isle Of Skye

Few board games are more popular or prolific than Carcassonne, the family-friendly tile-laying classic from 2000 that tasks players with building a communal countryside, one colorful square at a time. While not officially related, Isle of Skye feels like an evolution of Carcassonne's theme and mechanics, giving players a meatier experience that’s loaded with replayability and perfectly suited for mobile gaming.

Digital Board Game Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights my favorite digital translations of modern board games. Unlike most modern mobile games, these selections feature traditional up-front pricing, without any time-gates, premium currencies, or ads to ruin the fun. If you're looking for your next mobile fix, look no further.

Publisher: Asmodee Digital, Developer: DigidicedMultiplayer: Online (Asynchronous and Real-time), Pass & Play
Available on: Android, iOS, PC

The Games Improved The Most By Free Updates

about X hours ago from
The Games Improved The Most By Free Updates

Video games have changed over the years from the one-and-done packages of the early console heyday. Now games almost have more in common with television, as many operate as a service, consistently updating the original release with new content and tweaks to improve the original version. While this shift to the serialization has many drawbacks (chief among them players' dissatisfaction with developers releasing "unfinished" games), it's hard to deny that many games have benefited from a digital model that allows them to receive content packages and quality of life improvements months, sometimes even years after their original release.

From hero-oriented multiplayer shooters to epic adventures, here are the games that have improved the most through free updates.

Release: November 2017/November 2018