The Inexplicably Riveting World Of Board Games About Plants

about X hours ago from
The Inexplicably Riveting World Of Board Games About Plants

One of the things I love most about the tabletop gaming hobby is the breadth of experiences, settings, and themes that designers attempt to tackle. While conflict or competition is frequently still central to the experience, smart game makers often find ways to tap into surprising corners of the imagination for inspiration.

For gamers more used to marching armies, firing guns, and casting spells, the idea of buying and playing a game about growing trees or flowers may come across as almost absurd. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a treasure trove of excellent games with that theme, representing an impressive variety of strategic complexity and artistic depth. And sometimes, it’s these very games that can manage to attract a partner, friend, or family member who is turned off by the more violent stuff.

But why are there so many of these plant-focused games in the first place? Whether we choose to recognize it or not, growing things is a core conceit of most modern games, whether you’re talking about character progression, drafting and developing new players for an in-game team, or building up an engine of production. As a thematic conceit, the growing and evolving qualities inherent to the natural world of plants taps into the same idea, and in a way that we all have a shared language about. Who hasn’t watched new leaves emerge on trees in the spring time?

The Inexplicably Riveting World Of Board Games About Plants

about X hours ago from
The Inexplicably Riveting World Of Board Games About Plants

One of the things I love most about the tabletop gaming hobby is the breadth of experiences, settings, and themes that designers attempt to tackle. While conflict or competition is frequently still central to the experience, smart game makers often find ways to tap into surprising corners of the imagination for inspiration.

For gamers more used to marching armies, firing guns, and casting spells, the idea of buying and playing a game about growing trees or flowers may come across as almost absurd. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a treasure trove of excellent games with that theme, representing an impressive variety of strategic complexity and artistic depth. And sometimes, it’s these very games that can manage to attract a partner, friend, or family member who is turned off by the more violent stuff.

But why are there so many of these plant-focused games in the first place? Whether we choose to recognize it or not, growing things is a core conceit of most modern games, whether you’re talking about character progression, drafting and developing new players for an in-game team, or building up an engine of production. As a thematic conceit, the growing and evolving qualities inherent to the natural world of plants taps into the same idea, and in a way that we all have a shared language about. Who hasn’t watched new leaves emerge on trees in the spring time?

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 2018

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 2018

Pokémon Goes Hollywood

about X hours ago from
Pokémon Goes Hollywood

When Pokémon originally debuted in the United States, it was a massive hit. The best-selling games, popular anime series, and merchandise based on the original 151 Pokémon were everywhere. In 1998, an animated film based on the impossible-to-avoid franchise came to theaters with Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back. The movie was critically panned, but it was a commercial hit, taking in an estimated $85 million in the United States alone. Since then, the Pokémon brand has only grown with myriad animated film follow-ups, video game sequels, and the anime that’s still going strong today. People eat, sleep, and breathe Pokémon, which makes the Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie both an obvious foregone conclusion, and a strangely overdue adaptation.

Pokémon Goes Hollywood

about X hours ago from
Pokémon Goes Hollywood

When Pokémon originally debuted in the United States, it was a massive hit. The best-selling games, popular anime series, and merchandise based on the original 151 Pokémon were everywhere. In 1998, an animated film based on the impossible-to-avoid franchise came to theaters with Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back. The movie was critically panned, but it was a commercial hit, taking in an estimated $85 million in the United States alone. Since then, the Pokémon brand has only grown with myriad animated film follow-ups, video game sequels, and the anime that’s still going strong today. People eat, sleep, and breathe Pokémon, which makes the Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie both an obvious foregone conclusion, and a strangely overdue adaptation.

New Gameplay Today – Borderlands 3

about X hours ago from
New Gameplay Today – Borderlands 3

Imran just got back from Borderlands 3's first hands-on event, where he played through a couple of missions with the new vault hunters. How was it? Funny you should ask! He sat down with Leo and me and walked us through some of the highlights.

When we say it's more Borderlands, it's not necessarily a dig. As Imran explains, Borderlands 3 is a refined version of what came before it, with interesting quality-of-life improvements (instanced loot and level scaling!) and other tweaks (alt-fire modes!). Watch the video, OK?!

For more on Borderlands 3, check out Imran's complete preview.

New Gameplay Today – Borderlands 3

about X hours ago from
New Gameplay Today – Borderlands 3

Imran just got back from Borderlands 3's first hands-on event, where he played through a couple of missions with the new vault hunters. How was it? Funny you should ask! He sat down with Leo and me and walked us through some of the highlights.

When we say it's more Borderlands, it's not necessarily a dig. As Imran explains, Borderlands 3 is a refined version of what came before it, with interesting quality-of-life improvements (instanced loot and level scaling!) and other tweaks (alt-fire modes!). Watch the video, OK?!

For more on Borderlands 3, check out Imran's complete preview.

Three Upcoming RPGs To Watch

about X hours ago from
Three Upcoming RPGs To Watch

I love pointing people to RPGs that they might not necessarily have on their radar. It’s something I’m hoping to do even more of in this column. For now, here are three games you should be paying attention to if you’re an RPG fan.

Since its announcement, Indivisible caught my eye. Made by the creators of Skullgirls, the game is often compared to Valkyrie Profile and Metroid. You have the complexity of the former’s battle system featuring breaking defenses and controlling your party via the face buttons, while the platforming and exploration evokes the latter.

Indivisible’s story centers on Ajna, a girl who can absorb the others’ powers and and wants to discover more about her mysterious gift. Throughout her journey, you recruit party members with unique abilities, while platforming your way through areas with skills to slide, break through floors, and cut through obstacles. Later, the powers you obtain through exploration are more varied, such as using a pogo stick for tough jumps alongside an ability which forms a protective barrier out of flowers to traverse obstacles and discover new areas. 

Three Upcoming RPGs To Watch

about X hours ago from
Three Upcoming RPGs To Watch

I love pointing people to RPGs that they might not necessarily have on their radar. It’s something I’m hoping to do even more of in this column. For now, here are three games you should be paying attention to if you’re an RPG fan.

Since its announcement, Indivisible caught my eye. Made by the creators of Skullgirls, the game is often compared to Valkyrie Profile and Metroid. You have the complexity of the former’s battle system featuring breaking defenses and controlling your party via the face buttons, while the platforming and exploration evokes the latter.

Indivisible’s story centers on Ajna, a girl who can absorb the others’ powers and and wants to discover more about her mysterious gift. Throughout her journey, you recruit party members with unique abilities, while platforming your way through areas with skills to slide, break through floors, and cut through obstacles. Later, the powers you obtain through exploration are more varied, such as using a pogo stick for tough jumps alongside an ability which forms a protective barrier out of flowers to traverse obstacles and discover new areas.