strategy

A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress: Ep. 3

Wes Fenlon at

In episode three of our Dwarf Fortress Let’s Play, Wes learns all about building and using workshops, assigning stockpiles, and giving dwarves their own bedrooms. Even dwarves need their privacy!


Age of Wonders 3 expansion Golden Realms adds halflings and new campaign

Tom Sykes at

Richard Cobbett used words such as "immediately engaging" and "is" to describe Age of Wonders III in his review, so the news that it will shortly receive an expansion is almost definitely a Good Thing. Golden Reams is its name, and "bucket loads of new content" is its game, including the hobbity return of the Halfling race. Triumph announced the expansion with a ginormous video describing the new stuff, but if you'd rather hear about it in text form, I have you covered there too.


Civilization: Beyond Earth gameplay video takes a detailed look at building an effective colony

Andy Chalk at

Odds are you've already made up your mind about whether Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is something you want to sink hundreds of hours of your life into. But if you're on the fence, this lengthy gameplay video recorded during the August 21 Firaxis livestream might prove helpful.


Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth preorder bonuses takes inspiration from the cosmos

Andy Chalk at

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is now up for preordering on Steam, and as you might expect that means preorder bonuses. And the Exoplanets Map pack is actually kind of cool: It's a collection of six custom maps inspired by real-world exoplanets.

A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress: Ep. 2

Wes Fenlon at

In episode two of our Dwarf Fortress Let’s Play, Wes and Will talk through the early steps of building a fortress: setting animals out for grazing, chopping down trees, and digging underground. A fortress is born!


A newbie plays Dwarf Fortress: Ep. 1

Wes Fenlon at

In early July 2014, Dwarf Fortress received its first major update in two years. We wrote about why now is the time to get into the game with our guide Into the deep. Reading about all the new features in Dwarf Fortress 2014 gave me the bug: I'm determined to learn how to run a fortress and how to navigate Dwarf Fortress' labyrinthine menus. But I'm not embarking alone. I pulled in PC Gamer video producer (and DF veteran) Will Chesney to teach me the ways of Dwarf Fortress' bloody world.

This is episode one of our Dwarf Fortress Let's Play. It's aimed at newcomers like me who want to learn the game. As we play, we'll talk through the complex process of beginning a fortress, controlling our dwarves, and learning new mechanics. It may all end in blood and tragedy, but at least we'll learn something along the way. Look for new episodes of our series every Tuesday and Thursday. Now: let's strike the Earth!


Space Hulk: Ascension Edition announced, a standalone follow-up to last year's strategy game

Tom Sykes at

You can never have too many Space Hulks. If one of them is yer actual Hulk Hogan fighting bad guys on Mir, all the better, but for now we'll have to stick to titles based on Games Workshop's meaty sci-fi boardgame instead. Joining last year's Space Hulk, and some mystery future year's Space Hulk: Deathwing, is Full Control's standaloneapology for their poorly received strategy game of last year. Space Hulk Ascension Edition is an expansiony sequely do-over type thing that adds RPG elements and Ultramarines, beefy warriors who like long walks by the sea, killing, and the colour blue.


Clockwork Empires hits Steam Early Access with handy new "Staving Off Starvation" trailer

Andy Chalk at

It's not easy being a pseudo-Victorian colonist on the Clockwork Empires frontier, especially when that frontier is built upon a nest of Lovecraftian horrors. Even something as simple as keeping yourself properly fed can be a tremendously complex and taxing effort. Fortunately, the Prudent Bureaucrat's Guide to Colonization is here to help you, and those around you, avoid the specter of starvation.


Dungeons 2 goes where no dungeon management sim has been before: outside

Tom Sykes at

With EA's free-to-play mobile Dungeon Keeper reboot proving particularly monstrous, there's more than enough room in this world for Realmforge Studios and Kalypso's Dungeons series, even if the first one wasn't completely up to snuff. Seeing as it's International Announcement Day in the world of computer games, Kalypso have just announced a sequel. Dungeons 2 might seem like an apposite name, but this one will allow you to extend your reach to the filthy, human-filled overworld. What do you call a dungeon management sim not set wholly in a dungeon? It's a question worthy of Bishop Berkeley.


The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria is half city builder, half...co-op action RPG?

Tom Sykes at

Ah, so this is what Ubisoft meant when they said they were reinventing The Settlers series with Kingdoms of Anteria. They meant "it's kind of an action RPG now", but also "it's still a city building strategy game", and "not to get picky, but we prefer the term 'Action RTS'". While I try to unpack what 'Action RTS' means, here are some unSettling facts: Anteria will feature "persistent city building", four-player co-op, loot and bosses, and those are certainly words you don't see together very often.


Here's when Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas' Military Quarter opens tonight

Andy Chalk at

Right on schedule, the Curse of Naxxramas Military Quarter is on the cusp of opening up to all. Blizzard has announced the launch times for the next chunk of Hearthstone content, so we know when each region will get the update.


Pixel Boost: Sid Meier's Pirates!

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Yarr!.

First, there were pirates, the sea dogs of the the 17th century Caribbean. Then there were Pirates!, who were very similar, except they lived inside computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II and were created by Sid Meier in 1987. Finally, there are 2004's Pirates!, who sail the Caribbean as salty 3D scalawags instead of tiny blocky pixel sprites. Pirates, Pirates! and 3D Pirates! all do mostly the same things--plunder booty, trade stolen goods, and swordfight with Spanish sailors. 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may have the more exciting swordfighting, but the greatest piracy simulation of them all is still 2004's Sid Meier's Pirates!. Meier's classic blend of fun minigames and strategy hasn't been replicated in a pirate game since, but that's okay—Pirates! still runs just fine on modern Windows, and at high resolution, too.

Halfway review

Evan Lahti at

2014 has brought us a tiny surplus of indie, turn-based strategy games. And happily, they’ve all been thematically and mechanically different: The Banner Saga (an elegant Viking epic), Xenonauts (a spiritual sequel to old X-COM), Dead State (a Fallout-like zombie sandbox in Early Access). Halfway is less complex and sprawling than these games, which ends up as both a shortcoming and an asset.


Civilization: Beyond Earth designers talk about the science behind the game

Andy Chalk at

In an op-ed written for Space.com, Civilization: Beyond Earth Lead Designers Will Miller and David McDonough talk about the game's scientific underpinnings, how the tech tree will differ from previous Civilization games and why "the inflection point" means that humanity's first interstellar colonists will be completely on their own.


Into the deep: it's time to learn how to play Dwarf Fortress

PC Gamer at

The above image may look like a cat walked all over an MS-DOS word processor. What it actually depicts, however, is unspeakable violence and brutality. A field strewn with spent arrows, severed limbs, and pools of blood leads to the trap-riddled narrow entrance of an underground fortress. Corpses of elves, goblins, trolls, humans, and even dogs rot in the open air, slain in attacks on peaceful trade caravans. The inhabitants of the fortress do not care. They got what they wanted from the wagons. Any outsiders who happened to be captured alive in the cage traps will soon be thrown screaming into the open magma pits several floors below.

This is Dwarf Fortress: an endlessly sprawling simulator of procedurally generated worlds awaiting dwarves brave enough to plunder their precious metals. Simple graphics interact with the imagination to reveal more detail than the most vivid high-polycount game—for anyone willing to learn Dwarf Fortress's notorious complexity. It's actually not as hard as you think, and 2014's Dwarf Fortress update dramatically expands Adventure mode to tell sprawling RPG adventures with the same depth as Fortress mode. It's the perfect time to learn, and we're here to help. You'll be pouring magma on goblins in no time.


Gratuitous Space Battles 2 could be ready by the end of the year

Andy Chalk at

Cliff Harris of Positech Games doesn't think it's much of a surprise, but just in case anyone was wondering, he made it official today that Gratuitous Space Battles 2 is in the works. It's all about doing the job properly this time around, he said, and that means the sequel will be "bigger, bolder, better and have more cool effects than you can shake a laser gun at."


Endless Legend review (Early Access)

Wes Fenlon at

Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future.

Hexagons have never looked this good. Endless Legend paints a watercolor fantasy across its 4X strategy grid, and the pieces that fill those hexagons—distinct warring factions, indigenous races, fire trees and magical orbs and mysterious ruins—build a rich and deeply complex game world. Complexity is typically expected from 4X strategy games, but playing them before they're complete is not. And Endless Legend is definitely not complete.

Mount and Blade: Warband available to try free this weekend, gets Steam workshop support

Phil Savage at

Hold position troops! Before you go charging towards Mount and Blade: Warband's Steam page, at least finish this paragraph. The mostly excellent, somewhat rough-around-the-edges RPG is now free to try until Sunday, 1pm PDT. And for those intent on conquering its brand of questing, troop-management and tactical battling, the game is 75% off until Monday.

In addition, the game now offers Steam Workshop support—hopefully meaning its wealth of great mods will soon be available for easier install.


Door Kickers hits beta, adds levelling system, improved waypointing, challenges

Tom Sykes at

It's been around a year since we last checked in on Door Kickers, and in that time KillHouse Games' top-down SWAT-like seems to have come on leaps and bounds. It's just reached beta status, words which here mean 'has added a levelling system for your troops, improved waypointing, a challenge system that rewards with XP, oh and this huge list of other stuff'. If you've bought into the game already you've likely received an email by now informing you of the update; for everyone else, the following trailer will clue you in on what you're missing.


Minecraft meets Civilization in fan-made CivilizationCraft mod

Andy Chalk at

"CivilizationCraft" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but I don't imagine too many players will get hung up on the name. After all, an open-source multiplayer mod that recreates a very Civilization-like experience in Minecraft is such a good idea, it's almost dangerous.