Feb 26 2014

Game review: Why I love Android: Netrunner

NetrunnerI’ve just played my tensest game of Android: Netrunner so far.

I was building the mighty ICE towers of Haas-Bioroid, while Ben—my regular lunchtime opponent—was attacking with Andromeda, a Criminal runner. Ben’s got a knack for creating a strong economy, and his latest deck combined his usual surplus of credits with a strong Link score and plenty of tactical attacks on my remote servers. Meanwhile, I’d taken the precaution of bolstering my standard HB ICE—now with added Rototurrets—with NBN moneymakers such as Pop-Up Window and Tollbooth and a couple of Jinteki ambushes.

The game took a whole hour; our longest game yet. I scored my winning 7 points only a couple of turns before my R&D was completely depleted, which would have cost me the game. Ben, with a final score of 5, had gone through his entire stack, and was hanging on at the end with 2 cards in his Grip and a stunning, barely possible 5 points of Brain Damage. He’d slammed headlong into a trap that had trashed his big-hitter Icebreakers, and every run he made after that became an expensive risk.

There is a very good chance that what I’ve written above makes no sense to a lot of people, but I’ve fallen a little bit in love with Android: Netrunner.

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Aug 16 2013

Let board games be board games: why I need to see the dice in Space Hulk

Space HulkI got incredibly excited when I heard that Games Workshop’s classic Aliens-a-like board game, Space Hulk, was being brought to my PC.

There actually hasn’t been a proper rendition of the board game (the classic 1993 video game version was more ‘inspired by’ than a direct translation), developers Full Control seemed to truly understand what made Space Hulk great: the tension and the difficulty and the balance of tactical play and the blind luck of the dice. From what they’ve been saying, it sounds like Full Control are in this for the long haul, too, with planned DLC such as new missions and different Space Marine chapter colours and even a free level editor.

I enjoy video game versions of board games, when they’re done well. I don’t have to fork out for an expensive box and I don’t have to round up a group of like-minded friends to play with. I’ve lost track of the amount of time I’ve put into Carcassonne on the Xbox or my phone, and even into Keldon Jones’ wonderful homebrew version of Race for the Galaxy on the PC.

I spent a couple of hours last night playing Full Control’s rendition of Space Hulk, and—while it’s a bit buggy—it’s great. It looks fabulous. The sounds are clompy and loud and reek of atmosphere. The rules are the same as the board game.* I like it.

However, they’ve missed out something crucial to the game: dice.

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