Turn based strategy

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.


Dominions 4 diary part three: wizards, lizards and eternal darkness

Tom Senior at

In parts one and two, Balboa, my obelisk god, leader of the Lanka, successfully fended off challenges from other pretender gods in the west of the kingdom, and plans to turn his attentions south once those enemies have been defeated.

Lizards. Lizards everywhere. The cold-blooded bastards have crossed the southern river to strike at my exposed heartlands. Far to the west, my armies continue to decimate the gods that challenged me last month, but it’ll take them ages to double back and help my central cities. This could mean trouble. Big, scaly trouble.

Civilization: Beyond Earth videos show how aliens will react to human presence

Tom Sykes at

Firaxis took to Twitch to stream 50 minutes or so of Civilization: Beyond Earth, in part focusing on how the indigenous (or, to us, alien) species in the game will react to the presence of us fleshy human meatbags. These creatures will essentially perform a lot of the same functions as the barbarians from Civ, but Firaxis were quick to point out some key differences. We also get to ogle at the game's lovely new Tech Web (it's no longer a tree), which is a thing of interconnected, very purple beauty. The session is now on YouTube, and I've linked all three parts below.


Dominions 4 diary part two: war elephants, hurricanes and fallen gods

Tom Senior at

Last week my pretender god Balboa conquered a quarter of the world of Valanis despite spending most of the time asleep. It’s a good time to come out of hibernation: Lanka has two other nations ruled by competing wannabe deities.

Dominions gives you a vague summary of an army before it attacks, so I know about the wolves, harpies and maenads that are about to strike my river fortress at Dragon Pointe. It’s not until I see the replay of my 175-unit army meeting their 250-strong force on the field that I see the truth. Centaurs and satyrs line up alongside horned snakes that tower above the throng. Crocodiles waddle around the feet of ogres, minotaurs and centaur wizards. A couple of dryads hang near the back, casting spells under the protection of a flock of crows.

Dominions 4 diary, part one: one monolith's struggle to become top deity

Tom Senior at

Dominions 4 is a turn-based strategy game about warring gods. Each deity commands a nation of beings ready to fight and die to secure their lord’s ascension, and each is borrowed from recognisable mythology. Greek centaurs battle the dark creatures of Nordish Helheim. Atlantean troops wrestle with the Lovecraftian beasts of R’lyeh. It’s as though a literature professor and a history professor got drunk together and started asking “who would win in a fight between this ancient cultural belief and that dark fantasy monster?” And then made a game to find the answer.

I’m going to win Dominions 4 as a giant stationary hunk of rock. Or try to, anyway. I could have been a monster riding a giant grey ape. I could have been one of three dragons. I could have been lots of things, but none have the charm and comedy sprite of the noble, silent obelisk.


Hearthstone Help: Dreamhack Summer report

PC Gamer at

Greetings Hearthstonians, Vincent Sarius here again, and today we're going to discuss the best moments from the biggest Hearthstone tournament held so far. Dreamhack Summer took took place this weekend in Sweden, and aside from a $25,000 total prize pool—of which, $10,000 went to the winner—the top three finishers all received spots in Blizzard's upcoming qualifier tournament for a chance to play at Blizzcon for an immense $100,000 prize. That'll buy you a lot of packs.


Civilization: Beyond Earth E3 interview: diplomacy, quests, and putting the pieces together

Wes Fenlon at

E3 isn't the easiest place to demo a sprawling, intricate strategy game like Civilization: Beyond Earth, but it is a great place to give the talented developers at Firaxis a chance to talk about the sci-fi future of Civ. While I played a demo build of Beyond Earth's early game, landing on an alien planet and stumbling around in deadly miasma, I talked to lead producer Lena Brenk about what's changed since our big reveal, how XCOM has influenced Beyond Earth, and Sid Meier's 10 Commandments of Civ.


Xenonauts leaves early access, brings the Cold War-style back to XCOM

Ian Birnbaum at

We came into the office today to a series of alarm klaxons alerting us to the version 1.0, real-deal release of Xenonauts, an indie reimagining of the 1994 classic XCOM: UFO Defense. The new XCOM is one of our favorites, sure, but there’s something magical about the isometric, grid-based perspective of the '90s.


Warhammer 40,000: Chess - Regicide announced, because nothing is more Warhammer than chess

Ian Birnbaum at

The grimdark future of Warhammer 40K is a great setting for all kinds of games. Shooters? Check. Real-time strategy? Sure. 2,000-year-old board game? Uh, maybe. That's what Warhammer 40,000: Chess – Regicide has planned: a thematic mash-up of the classic strategic game and huge, burly space marines. The Emperor will be pleased.


Warlock 2 review

Phil Savage at

My empire is in ruins. It had such a strong start, too. My cities were spreading, my resources finely balanced, my army developing into a fearsome force of monsters and heroes. Now they're gone, consumed on three sides by the continuously spawning might of huge, armoured, fire breathing reptiles. I am defeated. By turtles.


Civilization: Beyond Earth announced. Civ is going to space

Tom Senior at

Firaxis announced the next stage of Civilization's evolution at PAX today. Civilization: Beyond Earth will take Sid Meier's classic turn-based strategy formula to an alien world for the first time since Alpha Centauri.


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.

Age of Wonders 3 video teaches the arcane art of level editing

Tom Sykes at

Age of Wonders III is so out now that it's available for purchase - you literally can't get more out now than that. If you're currently entrenched in the turn-based fantasy fantasy and your mind is already racing with ideas for your own campaigns, you're probably pretty glad that it has a level editor tucked away in the game's launcher program. If you've been wondering how to use that editor, Triumph Studios have you covered with the following video, which dives into the nitty gritty of constructing your own AoW content.

Galactic Civilizations 3 alpha costs $100, how much is too much for early access?

Tom Senior at

Editor's note: We've received additional comment from Stardock regarding early access pricing for GalCiv3. Read its statement below our original story.

I like galactic conquest, devastating AI and overbearing tech trees, so I'm very excited about Galactic Civilizations 3. Not excited enough to pay the £76 / $100 asking price for the Founder's Elite version, however, which has been placed on Steam and the GalCiv site with some pretty major caveats from the developers. They warn that "major systems are unfinished and content is severely limited" and, remarkably, say "please be aware that the game isn't actually, well, fun yet."

Blackguards review

Phil Savage at

Much of my time in Blackguards was spent waiting. I waited for my turn, as enemies slowly plodded around hex-grid maps. I waited for tactical diversity, yearning to unlock the more interesting attack options. Mostly, I waited for earnest fantasy stereotypes to finish performing their questionably accented dialogue and unlock the next fight.

Based on The Dark Eye pen-andpaper ruleset, Blackguards is a turnbased RPG so focused on combat that it’s more fantasy XCOM than fantasy Fallout. At the start the character you’ve created is convicted of murder. Escaping from prison, he or she must team up with a band of roguish misfits to figure out who – or what – was really responsible. Yet that mystery isn’t much more than a flimsy tool to link each battle.


Latest Humble Bundle discounts Sid Meier's greats like Civ 4 and Railroads

Omri Petitte at

Sid Meier. Sid Meier. Sid Meier. If you say Sid Meier three times, well, he won't exactly pop out of your bathroom mirror, but at least you'll be prepared for seeing the name of one of PC gaming's developer grandmasters festooned across the newest offering from Humble Bundle which focuses on a selection of terrific turn-based strategy titles.


The Castle Doctrine review

Patrick Carlson at

I've just left my wife and kids home alone so I can rob one of my neighbors, John Gordon Buffington. I bring a backpack stuffed with tools: some sturdy clubs for smashing windows, a saw to hack through wood paneling, and because my part of town is full of clever and dangerous people, water to short-out the security system and some drugged meat to fling at any guard dogs I run into. I expect I'll have to deal with more than one angry pit bull before I can break into the Buffington vault.


Oxide's engine tech demo throws thousands of starships into strategy battles

PC Gamer at

New independent studio Oxide Games wants to reshape the way strategy games are built. The five-man team—mostly ex-Civilization V developers—is building a new 64-bit 3D engine called Nitrous, with a focus on adding some technical muscle to new turn-based and real-time strategy games. The aim, according to the studio, is to help developers add massive scope to upcoming games.


The Banner Saga's launch trailer heralds the arrival of the tactical-RPG

Phil Savage at

Stoic Games have reached the end of a long and arduous journey; one that required the help of an army of crowdfunders, and contained a short intermission for some free-to-play battling. To celebrate the end of their adventure, here's a celebratory trailer. To be clear: their adventure is in the more metaphorical sense of the development and release of tactical-RPG The Banner Saga. As far as I know, they have not personally carried some giant axes through a harsh and mythical wilderness.


Steam Machine hands-on part two: the Steam Controller, Civilization V and StarCraft 2

PC Gamer at

It was supposed to be a short break. I told myself Civilization V wouldn't suck me in when I began playing on the big screen. The game will be too tedious. The text will be too small. I was wrong.

I've spent the past couple days going through every game I thought would be interesting to play, and Civilization V on a couch, staring at a big screen TV is among most engaging, relaxing gaming experiences I've ever had with a game.