strategy

FTL Advanced Edition: the definitive version of Subset's strategy game

Samuel Roberts at

FTL: Advanced Edition is free. The goodwill of that gesture to fans, to expand the hit space sim's feature set and narrative possibilities for nothing, is a neat way to get people talking about the game just as it emerges on iPad. For me, FTL has been a go-to game, something I've played every day for as long as I can remember. The additions to the combat feel generous, and certainly justify picking up the game again even if you've logged tens of hours with it previously.

The basic principle of crossing the game's eight sectors is unchanged. One nerdy tweak to the interface I quite like is a heavier use of symbols in dialogue boxes, so you're not always staring at white text on a beige background. But why am I talking about UI and not the new space combat bits, which are clearly the more interesting addition?


Etherium trailer shows three factions and their resource war

Patrick Carlson at

It seems there are usually three sides to any good story. In the upcoming RTS Etherium, a futuristic battle for control of a hard-to-find resource involves Humans, Vectides, and Intari. And in a new trailer from developer Tindalos Interactive, we get a glimpse for the first time at the kind of unit technology each faction will have on hand during their resource war.


Age of Wonders 3 review

Richard Cobbett at

There's always been much to like about Age of Wonders, a fantastical fusion of strategy and tactics last seen back in 2002's Shadow Magic. But really, it doesn't get better than the penguins. Dire penguins, to be exact. Dedicated to evil, and summonable to join the armies of goblins and dragons and elves and magic. "These were no men," declares the in-game tome. "They were far more deadly. They were killer penguins." If this game had brought us nothing more than that quote, the wait would have been well worth it. Lucky for us, it did. A lot more.


Show Us Your Rig: Civ V designer Jon Shafer

Cory Banks at

Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, a new feature where the PC gaming industry's best and brightest show us the systems they use to work and play. 

Conifer Games' Jon Shafer requires a lot of information. As the lead designer on Civilization V, he's understandably used to having a lot of data to process—his civ's economic details or battle data from the front lines, perhaps. Lately, most of that information is the thousands of lines of code for his newest project, the upcoming 4X At The Gates. Still, we were surprised when Shafer told us that his setup for both programming and gaming requires four separate screens. For most people, that'd be information overload. For Shafer, it's just another work day.

Dungeon of the Endless explains its genre mashup in new trailer

Patrick Carlson at

As a roguelike, Dungeon of the Endless gives players more than one way to die. But it's also a mix of squad-based exploration, tower defense, and RPG-style upgrades, so there's also more than one way to stay alive, too. The game's newest trailer shows how these different genres work together to make the game cohesive.


Mordheim: City of the Damned brings turn-based strategy to a doomed city

Tom Senior at

This passed me by somehow, but it's still worth a mention. There's going to be a Mordheim game! Mordheim is one of Games Workshop's more obscure Warhammer Fantasy spin-off projects. It's a turn-based strategy game set in a city obliterated by a magic meteorite. Precious fragments of said meteorite, called Wyrdstone, have drawn bandits and adventurers from every corner of the world. Giant rat-men face off against heroes of the empire, Elves, pirates, mercenaries, Witch Hunters and chaos demons. It's like the end of the Hobbit, except the armies are 1000 times smaller, and prone to incurring terrible injuries and mounting psychological damage from battle to battle.


Crusader Kings 2: Rajas of India out next week, alongside giant update for all players

Phil Savage at

Crusader Kings 2's patch notes are usually an amusing catalogue of historical rebalancing. As of the next free update, for instance, "hordes will be more prone to head in the 'right' direction", and "becoming infirm will abort self improval ambitions". But, aside from the mild titillation of minor AI tweaks, the patch will also make more dramatic changes to the game. As of its release on March 25th, the map will be revised, the performance optimised, and the modding scene given a home on the Steam Workshop.

Also on March 25th is the release of CK2's sixth expansion, Rajas of India, which - as the title suggests - adds the sub-continent of India. You can find more details of this paid-for addition through Tom's preview, or by watching these highlights of a recent Paradox stream.


A new RollerCoaster Tycoon PC game is in production, say Atari

Phil Savage at

RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile was announced recently, and - judging from its chilling reveal trailer - will be the sort of game that sincerely wants you to "HYPE YOUR PARK". I know, I'm sad too. Fortunately, there's hope, and it comes in the form of an Atari tweet. Alongside their promotion of the upcoming phone/tablet/phablet version is news that a new "PC experience" is also in production.


Age of Wonders III's Theocrat class revealed in new footage

Tom Sykes at

Theocrat is a word which here means "Dude who is in with God". It's also a word that means "Dude with healing powers, who can 'cleanse the land of supernatural beings'", which I'm pretty sure was a superpower left out of my school's edition of the King James bible. The Theocrat, you see, is one of Age of Wonders III's new leader classes, a deceptively benevolent-seeming chieftain who is nonetheless a bit of a warmongering zealot (providing you choose to play them this way, of course). Triumph Studios have shown off how the Theocrat operates in a new nineteen-minute video, which you can see below.


Banished photo essay: 25 years of farming and surviving harsh winters

Ian Birnbaum at

The town of Dolothia was established when five families were unceremoniously banished from a nearby nation. The exact circumstances of this banishment were never explained to me, and I didn’t press the issue.

After The PCG Herald heard about the town’s struggle to survive in the wilderness, I was dispatched as a field reporter to document its early years. What I found was a harsh reality where 10-year-olds work fields in driving rain and snow, a bad harvest kills families, and a single misstep leaves the town frozen during winter. In the end I was embedded in Dolothia for 25 years, chronicling its struggles and triumphs in photos and timelapse gifographs. This is the life of a Banished town.


Horizon review

Richard Cobbett at

There's irony in the fact that 4X games like Horizon are about forging forward into the future, but are always at least spiritually caught back in 1996, in the shadow of Master of Orion II. Horizon more than most is in that game's shadow. Its—being polite here—retro graphics, clunky UI, and general lack of polish set a poor first impression that never blossoms into something that lives up to either Master of Orion II, or other attempts, like the mighty GalCiv 2.


Citybound, an offline and moddable city-building sim announced

Patrick Carlson at

With Citybound, designer Anselm Eickhoff has a simple goal—"to do something crazy." A 21-year-old computer science student in Munich, Germany, he originally set out to make an alternative to SimCity, according to a story at Gamasutra. Citybound will be browser-based and run offline, with moddability as "a priority, not an afterthought," according to Eickhoff's dev blog.


Frozen Endzone dev diary: Letting off Steam

PC Gamer at

Mode 7 Games, creators of Frozen Synapse, share an update on their progress with Frozen Endzone.

It’s been a while since we last checked in about our progress on Frozen Endzone, so here’s an update.

The beta release went well: from a financial point of view, things are ticking along nicely with the game generating around twice as much revenue as Frozen Synapse did at an equivalent stage.

Tropico 5 beta registration now open

Emanuel Maiberg at

El Presidente, in his infinite wisdom and kindness, has opened registration for the Tropico 5 beta. If you think you’d be a good leader of a banana republic, you can register for an opportunity to test the game early on publisher Kalypso’s website.


Banished review

PC Gamer at

I killed a lot of people in Banished. I saw them born and I watched my decisions kill them. Stripping the land, building homes, and planting vast swaths of crops seemed like a good idea, but things got ugly when a hard winter set in. Firewood stockpiles were meager and the distance to new trees was too great to keep up with demand. Then tools started to break, and I don't know what happened to all the iron but there wasn't any for the blacksmith, so folks just did the best they could, which wasn't very good at all. From there, the colony didn't take long to spiral down into my own private Roanoke.


Total War: Rome II Beasts of War DLC's new units anger community

Emanuel Maiberg at

The Creative Assembly has released the Beast of War DLC for Total War: Rome II. It costs $3 and adds seven new units to the game, like Celtic Warhounds and Camel Cataphracts, but some players are angry that the units are not as new as they may appear.


Company of Heroes 2 adds new server system and map in Aftermath update

Patrick Carlson at

Multiplayer lag is the primary enemy of Company of Heroes 2's new Aftermath update. Launched yesterday, the RTS's new features boast an improved server system that should bring a better, more stable experience to the online battlefield, according to developer Relic Entertainment. Aftermath also includes new combat balancing, a community-made map, and a more efficient surrender mechanic.


Total War: Rome 2 update adds new elephants, more Epirus units

Phil Savage at

It seems like many of Total War: Rome 2's pre-launch updates have been of the "oh no, why is everything on fire?" variety. If that fire hasn't entirely been quelled, it is at least only lightly smouldering now. Hence this latest update, which focuses on features: specifically, elephants. A new African elephant model has been introduced to complement the pre-existing Indian elephants, allowing for more geographically appropriate elephantidae placement.


The Last Federation is procedurally-generated grand strategy by the creator of AI War

Phil Savage at

The prolific Arcen Games is following up last year's excellent Bionic Dues with a new tactical grand strategy. The Last Federation isn't the name of some fatalistic Next Generation fan-fiction, but rather a space-based strategy/tactics hybrid set in a simulated procedural universe. You take command of a small mercenary fleet, exploring a solar system containing eight alien races, and attempting to unify its survivors into a solar federation.


Civilization V: Complete Edition released in the US, will capture the rest of the world on Friday

Phil Savage at

Right now, the Humble Bundle has a pretty fantastic deal on some Sid Meier favourites. But for those just interested in Firaxis's most recent 4X strategy, the Civilization V: Complete Edition might be a more feature-rich bet.

No, not the Game of the Year Edition. That didn't feature either of the expansions. And no, not the Gold Edition. That didn't include the most recent Brave New World. This is the Complete Edition, offering the main game, both expansions, and all the DLC packs.