Tonight on GeekNights, in light of a fascinating article on whether or not the first decision one can make in a Civ V game matters, we discuss the phases of games and how decision trees evolve. Most games break down to three fairly distinct phases: the early, mid, and late game. Why is this the case? In the news, Rym runs afoul of an out of date Civilopedia and Jungle Speed's 20th anniversary comes with a new release.
Tonight on GeekNights, we discuss the Internet and its fascination with, well, itself playing Pokemon... collectively. It's Action Pokemon. It's amazing to behold. It's Saltybet 2.0. It's unbearable to watch, yet captivating not unlike a trainwreck in slow motion. Five days in, and it already has its own fandom, its own fan culture, and its own fan merch. Twitch Plays Pokemon. In other news, the videogame industry is as it's always been with Ken Levine shutting down Irrational , and Rym tries a single-day variant of Mafia.
Tonight on GeekNights, we talk about what it means to add stakes to games. Do they just remove intrinsic enjoyment? Can the old fashioned "arm slap" add anything to games like Dobble? Antes and wagering have existed for a long time (e.g., in Magic the Gathering), but we don't think of them in other gaming contexts. We also discuss Arthur Chu, the Jeopardy hero, not without precedent in his desire to win games (and money). Hint: you should always play to win. Rym describes what he would change in Nidhogg (it's not perfect).
Nidhogg is a fantastic, simple, two-player orthogame that exemplifies the "genre" so well defined by games such as Pong, Spacewar, and Outlaw! Local multiplayer and simple direct competition are seeing a renaissance that will only continue throughout 2014. In other annual news, Nintendo is suffering heavily from the Fiscal Year of Luigi (and their corporate culture that creates excellent hardware that almost no games actually use), and Torchbearer works wonderfully via Google Hangout. In personal news, we've all but stopped playing games that require teaching others, and encourage tabletop gamers everywhere to actually read the rules to games.
Tonight on GeekNights, back and bad, we talk about the games we played at MAGFest this year (where we appeared on four panels). Dig Dug, Hansa Teutonica (fun, deep), Coup (meh), Ginkopolis (getting a full show), Citadels (smart people ruin this game), Cheaty Mages! (light and fun), Jungle Speed Safari (sucks), Glory to Rome, and Eclipse with expansions (alliances ruin Eclipse: never use them).
In the news, Greg Martin - who you probably know from his work but not his name - has passed away. Also, The Stanley Parable is a wonderful idiogame (or "entertainment software" or "an interactive amusement" or whatever kind of "game" you want to call it). We further answer a listener question about political or direct-attacking games.
Tonight on GeekNights, we review two board games after some first playthroughs: Homesteaders and Tammany Hall. They're both pretty good. Check out some memories of Doom and the 3DS gets an update that almost no one will care about.
Tonight on GeekNights, we consider yard games like Bocce, Cornhole, Horseshoes, and Badminton. These games share certain characteristics: they must be reasonably deep orthogames, have shallow learning curves, and provide contextual social opportunities yet not require them. Rym reviews Ingress (it's a Candy Box), and Scott takes a guess that Pandemic: The Cure doesn't fall too far from the tree. We posit on why anyone even bothers to play Pandemic. Rym has Google Glass.