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TC Preview: Chaos Reborn, or how I learned to continue to hate Kickstarter.

Preview - posted by Whisky on Sat 12 April 2014, 17:08:37

Tags: Chaos Reborn; Jullian Gollop; Kickstarter; Tacticular Cancer Preview

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Our man, sser, conscripted a few Codexers and lured them into a wizard's arena, forcing them to fight to the death. After surviving, he decided to write up a preview of Julian Gollop's Chaos Reborn and provided some of his thoughts regarding the Kickstarter phenomena.



Gollop can get away with a more simplistic approach to presentation because he has been plying his trade in turn-based strategies since, well, apparently since a bunch of kids wouldn’t let him play their boardgames. The man, once a spurned nerd, is now a master of game design, and Chaos Reborn has all the nuts and bolts of a Gollop-designed affair.

The rules of Chaos Reborn are pretty simple: you are a wizard placed on a hex-based battlemap and must do battle with up to three other players by casting spells from a limited spellbook, ultimately winning the game by destroying the enemy wizard, or by scoring enough points to win in the case of a stalemate. Think of it as like Chess, but you start the game with only the King and you build your playing pieces around you as the game evolves.
If you're interested in donating to the Kickstarter, you can check it out here.

Read the full article: TC Preview: Chaos Reborn, or how I learned to continue to hate Kickstarter.

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Interview with Keith Lee about Duelyst Kickstarter

Interview - posted by Whisky on Mon 31 March 2014, 13:57:24

Tags: Counterplay Games; Duelyst; FerrousPilot



Not content with merely interviewing Julian Gollop, Duckard/FerrousPilot collaborated with Tacticular Cancer on an interview with Keith Lee of Counterplay Games about his Kickstarter for Turn-based Tactical game, Duelyst. Let's have a look:


Since we're here talking about Duelyst, could you give a basic overview of the gameplay?



Duelyst is a tactical turn-based strategy game with a heavy focus on ranked competitive play, so it's brought to you from guys who've worked on Diablo 3, Rogue Legacy, and the Ratchet and Clank series. So, the focus of this game is squad based tactical combat on a tactical map and the idea is to have fast-paced multiplayer where victory comes from defeating your opponent's general. We love the idea of squad-based tactics, we kind of grew up on XCOM, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, and we wanted to combine those games, those traditional games, with multiplayer and bring it into modernity with games like League of Legends and Hearthstone, and these really great matchmaking games, because I play a lot of squad-based tactical games but they're all single-player, I play through the campaign and I'm done with it. I want to actually invest my time and learn about the units and play with real people and really play some strong tactical games each time. So, at launch, which will be the end of this year, there will be five unique factions and a roster of 100+ units and battle spells.
Read the full article: Interview with Keith Lee about Duelyst Kickstarter

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Interview with Julian Gollop about Chaos Reborn/Julian's Development Philosophy

Interview - posted by Whisky on Wed 26 March 2014, 16:17:04

Tags: Chaos Reborn; Kickstarter; Tacticular Cancer Interview


Tacticular Cancer and FerrousPilot, known locally on the Codex as Duckard, both had interviews lined up with Julian Gollop, ours focused on his Kickstarter for Chaos Reborn and his, a Skype interview, based on his general design philosophy. So, we decided to pool our resources and make one large interview.

You can see the video above for the audio interview, along with footage of FerrousPilot/Duckard playing the current build of Chaos Reborn with Julian Gollop.

What do you think is the most important thing you've learned as a game designer?


The most important thing I've learned is that you've got to try and stay true to your vision, of what you're trying to do and create, but you need to be prepared to be flexible, because when you create something, you gotta test it, you gotta expose it to people, you gotta get feedback. You can't be precious about your creation, you have got to let it hang out there and this can improve what you do enormously; and perhaps the second thing that's related to that is that you really have to try to prototype your game as soon as possible and try to get the core gameplay in it and testable, you basically need to find the fun very quickly so you can't really afford to go too far and have to make big game design changes at the later stages of development.




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Pandora: First Contact review

Review - posted by oscar on Thu 5 December 2013, 14:13:28

Tags: Matrix Games; Proxy Studios; Tacticular Cancer

I try my hand at Proxy Studio's new sci-fi 4X strategy title, Pandora: First Contact, that bares more than a passing resemblance to an old favourite.

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Read the full article: Pandora: First Contact review

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Castles II: Siege and Conquest review/retrospective

Review - posted by Whisky on Mon 18 November 2013, 17:34:11

Tags: Castles II: Siege and Conquest; Review; Tacticular Cancer

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Tacticular Cancer member Jugashvili has written a review for Castles II: Siege and Conquest, a game little known these days, but notably difficult.

There are a number of military actions you can carry out in this game. The basic tasks include recruiting swordsmen (melee infantry), archers (ranged infantry) and knights (heavy cavalry), building siege engines, policing the realm (catches enemy saboteurs, but reduces happiness). Recruiting these troops requires iron, timber and gold, and they must also be paid and fed regularly with gold and food. You can also use military points to send saboteurs into enemy territory to poison their wells, kill their troops, ruin their castles or perform other kinds of mischief.
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Destiny: World Domination From Stone Age to Space Age review/retrospective

Review - posted by Whisky on Mon 11 November 2013, 18:07:09

Tags: Destiny; Interactive Magic; Review; Tacticular Cancer

World domination as a game is a simple concept, but one that is immediately appealing to all of us. It's a concept that we all thought would make a good game when we were young and dreaming of the possibilities of the medium. For most of us, the definite realization of this concept came about with the release of Sid Meier's Civilization. Through a strange twist of fate, I remained ignorant of Civilization's existence and kept on dreaming until the year 1996 came and I was given a gift.

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Destiny: World Domination From Stone Age to Space Age

Destiny was published by Interactive Magic (Now known as iEntertainment), a company founded by Microprose co-founder “Wild” Bill Stealey. It was produced by Dagger Interactive Technologies, which also produced The Civil War and little else. Destiny was clearly meant to be a Civilization competitor, being in production around the same time as Civilization II was being made, and to give it credit, it offered a lot of features that were absent from Civilization. Destiny offered real-time, 3D graphics, and far more in-depth building, research, government, and religion options. What could go wrong?

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A las barricadas! Burning Bridges reviews España 1936

Review - posted by Burning Bridges on Sat 19 October 2013, 08:55:27


To the barricades, Comrades! let's immerse ourselves in La Guerra Civil. AGEOD's España 1936 awaits, and we will see how it has turned out.

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Europa Universalis IV Review

Review - posted by Whisky on Wed 16 October 2013, 14:03:03

Tags: Europa Universalis IV; Paradox Interactive; Tacticular Cancer

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Our good friend Cenobyte has created a review for Europa Universalis IV.

Warfare went through a number of important developments during this time. First, the old medieval scheme of raised vassal levies got replaced by mercenary bands with often quickly changing loyalties. Later, the first professional standing armies were created, and the musket more and more replaced the halberd and other forms of melee weaponry. In the last decades of the game era, nations began to experiment with total mobilization and officer corps where ranks were awarded according to merit and not according to noble background. Thus, the warfare of those times saw a lot of development and has a huge potential for interesting mechanics. However, sadly, warfare is currently the weakest point of the game. In principle, warfare is done by simply ordering troops or ships into another province. If hostile forces are present there as well, a battle will occur. The course of these battles are influenced by a number of factors, such as morale, discipline, tactics and terrain. The loosing force will either be completely annihilated, especially if its size is much smaller than the opposing force, or auto-retreat into a safe province to recover. This can mean to retreat into a province on the other side of your empire, which is rather weird to watch. However, this means that a defeated force can often recover and later participate in the war again, which avoids much of the ping-ponging seen in EUIII and mitigates the effects of a defeat somewhat. On the other hand, this new mechanic means that manpower reserves play a huge role in the standing power of a nation. As long as you still have manpower left, you can nearly always recover from a defeat and bring back your force to full strength, able to engage the enemy again as if nothing had happened. This leads to very long wars, especially in the later stages of the game. This problem is also reinforced by the fact that warscore, the score determining the winner of a war, rises rather slowly through battles alone. If you want to get an edge in warscore, you have to capture provinces of your enemy. This is done via sieging. If you have enough troops in a hostile province, meaning more men than the defenders, you have to wait for some time until the enemy garrison surrenders the province to you. If you have a very high morale and achieved a breach in the fortifications, you can also order an assault, which will speed up things but exponentially increase your losses. For a defender, the only viable way to stop a siege is to send a relief force, otherwise you will almost certain loose the province after some time. All in all, this warfare model has little to do with the historical realities and offers not much of a challenge. It would be good to see a major rebalancing or reworking of the combat mechanics in one of the almost-certain future expansions of the game.
Read the full article: Europa Universalis IV Review

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RimWorld Interview - Tynan Sylvester

Interview - posted by Whisky on Sat 5 October 2013, 22:21:16

Tags: Kickstarter; Rimworld

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Tynan Sylvester, the sole programmer of RimWorld, has taken the time to answer a few questions about his upcoming space colony simulator.

"Thank you, Tynan, for taking the time to answer our questions. Tell us a little about RimWorld. What would you say is its main appeal?"

I think people really find it compelling when original stories happen in a game that weren't written there by some designer. It's a story created for you, personally, involving you. RimWorld is designed around this concept. On the surface, it's a sci-fi version of Dwarf Fortress. But in the details, and what we're doing with the AI Storyteller, the central goal has always been to create a game that generates awesome stories.


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TCancer Interview - Ground Pounders

Interview - posted by Whisky on Tue 10 September 2013, 13:35:25

Tags: Ground Pounders; Kerberos Productions; Kickstarter

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Martin Cirulis, CEO and developer for Kerberos Productions has been kind enough to answer a few questions about their Kickstarter for the game, Ground Pounders. Along with that, producer Chris Stewart sent us a batch of new screenshots.


What differentiates the Human, Tarka, and Hivers from each other? Will they have different focuses and specialties?

In very broad terms, the Humans in Ground Pounders are about the sustained breakthrough of enemy lines through combined arms. The Tarka are the fast break specialists looking to cause as much damage in as short a period of time as possible while the Hivers are committed to broad front advancement and containment of any breakthroughs.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of units and attributes, each side has units, and the values for those units skewed towards those priorities. Tarka units tend to be a bit faster and hit a bit harder and can sustain longer supply lines. On the other hand they are less resilient than their Hiver counterparts and often carry less dice than their Human analogs. When it comes to defence, the Hivers are as tough as one might expect with units specialized towards mutual support instead of speed. Specialty units like tunnelers compliment their unique play style.

And of course the combat cards add to all of this by including race-specific abilities that you would use when building a deck to work with a specific species. So between the units themselves, their stats and unique cards, Ground Pounders maintains the SotS tradition of making each race play like a different game.
Read the full article: TCancer Interview - Ground Pounders

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Burning Bridges takes a look at Ageod's Civil War 2

Preview - posted by Burning Bridges on Sun 8 September 2013, 07:31:28


Matrix Games offered us a preview build of Civil War 2, the upcoming sequel to Ageod's American Civil War. I gladly accepted the opportunity and feel that the game is shaping up nicely. Civil War 2 is almost complete and will release in a couple of weeks or months.

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A TCancer preview of Ageod's Civil War 2 is in the pipeline.

Information - posted by Burning Bridges on Wed 4 September 2013, 17:24:40


TacticularCancer has received a preview version of Ageod's Civil War 2, the upcoming sequel to Ageods American Civil War. I am already playing around with it and will give a summary of my findings in a few days.

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In the meantime, should you have any questions about the game, you can submit them in the news thread and I will try to answer them either directly or in the preview.

Read the full article: A TCancer preview of Ageod's Civil War 2 is in the pipeline.

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Tacticular Cancer goes Historicon: Part 1

Editorial - posted by Trash on Mon 5 August 2013, 15:13:34

Tags: Historicon; Matrix Games; Slitherine Ltd

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neckbeards frolick around in their natural environment

Recently there was a massive collection of warnerds and neckbeards at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Yup, it was once again time for the annual massive neckbeard wargaming conference Historicon. Wargames everywhere, legendary designers such as Gary Grigsby on a couch next to you, warnerds and more Civil War reenactors than you can shake a stick at. As the prestigious magazine that we are we simply couldn't pass this one up. Getting invited by Matrix Games also helped. We send our plucky fresh reporter Absalom into the fray. He rolled dices, he watched long press conferences and he mingled with some of the best wargaming designers in the business. Here's the first part of what he learned concerning the Matrix Games/Slitherine Ltd new line-up.

This one is pure military porn. With 35 different types of sensors being the source of information, a database that is updated monthly with the latest military armaments and the sheer attention-to-detail, this is the Aurora of modern military operations. Heavily moddable, as well. This is very much a niche within a niche, but hey if you're into this sort of thing this is the game for you. The graphics look like Aurora too, but for this it doesn't really matter. Some minor quibbles: Don't let the intro blurb fool you, this is a scenario based game. No campaign set in the Falklands war or anything, though a scenario can have multiple and evolving objectives. They can change based how how you play the scenario. While the 3d Globe-thing is quite cool (They model terrain based on height all around the world) this is foremost an Air and Sea based game. As far as I know infantry isn't even modeled. Any prospective buyer needs to keep in mind this in an very dry but incredibly detailed simulation. Plus it got a scenario editor so you can expect the net to fill up with new scenarios.​

Wanna know what game he's talking about? Check out the article.

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Interview: Matt Wilson - Co-founder of Privateer Press and design team member of Warmachine: Tactics

Interview - posted by Whisky on Wed 31 July 2013, 05:07:00

Tags: Kickstarter; Privateer Press; Tacticular Cancer Interview; Warmachine: Tactics

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Matt Wilson, one of the co-founders of Privateer Press and a member of the design team for Warmachine: Tactics has been nice enough to answer a few questions about the Kickstarter and the game for us:

"What kind of difficulty can we expect from the AI? Will the single-player present a challenge to new players and veterans alike?"

That's certainly the goal with the AI. The WhiteMoon Dreams game design team includes veteran designers who worked on the original Fallout as well as the Myth series, so we're expecting them to bring us a great challenge!
Read the full article: Interview: Matt Wilson - Co-founder of Privateer Press and design team member of Warmachine: Tactics

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Absalom previews an early build of Race to Mars

Preview - posted by Trash on Tue 23 July 2013, 20:46:12

Tags: Intermarum; Kickstarter; Race to Mars

Intermarum's Race to Mars is a new spaceprogram simulator in the same vein as the venerable Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space. They're aiming at letting you set up a commercial space agency, fight for funding, go from trying to reach orbit to getting to Mars and handle competitors at the same time. Quite ambitious and just for that they're trying to get funding through Kickstarter. Unfortunately it seems to be stalling a bit, which is a shame. So, to spread word of the game Intermarum has send out a very early Alpha version to the media. Absalom got to play around with it and shared his impressions with us.

Check out a little pre-alpha Race to Mars gameplay while you're at it.


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Interview: Chris Conte - Designer of Satellite Reign

Interview - posted by Whisky on Sun 14 July 2013, 16:08:40

Tags: 5 Lives Studios; Satellite Reign

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Chris Conte, designer on Satellite Reign, has been kind enough to allow us to ask him a few questions about the game and its Kickstarter.

On the Kickstarter page, it describes Satellite Reign as a strategy game. Would you consider Satellite Reign to be more strategic than Syndicate or Syndicate Wars? If so, how? Will Satellite Reign have a strategic layer to it, such as research in Syndicate?

Satellite Reign will have a lot more depth in all aspects of the game. Everything in the world will be simulated and intertwined. If you assassinate scientists and doctors of the opposing organisations you can cripple their weapon and augmentation output. Or, if you decided to bribe them instead of killing them you could get benefits on your own research and development.
The player will be able to research weapons and augmentations, do deals on the black market, raise propaganda and steal money and gear. Satellite Reign will have a complex web of simulations that all feed into each other creating some very deep strategic options for the player.
Read the full article: Interview: Chris Conte - Designer of Satellite Reign

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Close Combat gets both a video and written restrospective in this Tacticular Cancer Special

Editorial - posted by Trash on Sun 14 July 2013, 10:30:56

Tags: A Bridge Too Far; Atomic Games; Close Combat; Microsoft; The Russian Front

Tacticular Cancer is proud to present our very first combined retrospection article and accompanying video retrospective. Sser braved the ardeous trip to his attic and gaming history to bring us his thoughts on the Close Combat series and its arguably best installment; A Bridge Too Far.


Read the full accompanying article: Close Combat gets both a video and written restrospective in this Tacticular Cancer Special

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Tacticular Cancer reviews Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War

Review - posted by Trash on Fri 5 July 2013, 14:24:26

Tags: Forced March Games; Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War; Matrix Games

Oscar donned his sandals to walk all over Italy and give us his review of Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War.

Perhaps the most stand-out feature of this game is its AI. Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War features AI quite unlike anything I’ve seen in a turn-based strategy game. I’m not strictly talking about difficulty here, though the AI is astute and generally capable in exploiting player weaknesses. Each general possesses a different behaviour based upon that commander’s historic personality. For instance the aggressive Marcellus will instinctively try and take Hannibal head on in the field while the cautious Fabius, who earned the nickname ‘Delayer’ due to his initially unpopular strategy of avoiding direct battle with Hannibal, will be extremely reluctant to attack unless he possesses overwhelming force. Winning great victories with Hannibal also increases the AI’s caution over time who start the game reckless and overconfident but tend to become more cautious and cunning as the game progresses. This system grants generals a lot more personality than other games in the genre, where choices of officers usually only result in different statistical bonuses and zero change to behaviour, priorities and actual strategy. One learns to be wary of worthy foes such as Scipio Africanus while it is difficult to resist rubbing your hands together in delight when the incompetent Sempronius blindly leads a large force to its almost certain demise against you.​

A decent AI that actually displays character? Can't say I've seen anything like that in pretty much any recent strategy game. Go check out our indepth review to see if there's more the game succeeds at.

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Fooling around in Alpha with Prison Architect

Preview - posted by DarkUnderlord on Thu 27 June 2013, 03:13:00

Tags: Introversion; Prison Architect

Ever wanted to design and run your own maximum security prison? Want to get in early on a developing game? Well, in Prison Architect, you sort of can:

You can buy Prison Architect on Steam right now for $30 USD. If you like, you can even pay a bit more and get the chance to name a prisoner and write his bio (IE: Put yourself, or someone you maybe don't like, into the game). You might want to think twice before you buy the game though because Prison Architect is a horribly buggy, incomplete prison building sim full of game breaking bugs, glitches and errors. But that's ok, it's supposed to be.
[...]
Your prisoners will try to fulfil their needs as they can, based on their daily regime and the facilities you have available. Finding our what specific needs are unmet for any prisoner is as easy as hovering over them with the mouse. Their list of current needs appears along with an indicator telling you how much they want something. These needs will change depending on what facilities you have available and how well your prison runs.
[...]
However, despite being an alpha, the game is kind of fun - if you're into those building management type things. The graphical style is also quite nice and suits the game well. Rather than going for a fully 3D and bloomed up the wazoo environment, the 2D works well. Characters are simple shapes with basic facial features and they go about their tasks with appropriate tools in hand. Plus it's kind of cute to see Guards beating prisoners into submission this way.​

Read the rest in our look at the Alpha.

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Tacticular Cancer Review: Rise of Prussia Gold

Review - posted by Trash on Sun 9 June 2013, 16:57:29

Tags: AGEOD; Matrix Games; Rise of Prussia Gold

With the recent announcement of AGEOD and Matrix Games entering a partnership also came the re-release of Rise of Prussia in a Gold version. Our very own Cenobyte went to see what the new Rise of Prussia Gold is all about.

The game has a quite sophisticated supply system and also a rudimentary economic system for unit recruitment and replacement, but the supply system works largely in the background and does not require much management by the player (on a sidenote, the importance of the supply system depends on the settings, in some higher difficulties it is more important to keep tabs on the supply situation and the location of supply depots). Diplomacy is only involved in a very abstract sense in that some neighboring nations, such as the Netherlands or the Ottoman Empire, might choose to intervene into the conflict if one faction grows too strong. Such an intervention seems to be extremely rare, however, and I've never seen it actually happen in a game.

The game is not only advanced by the campaigns between the two rivals. Instead, the course of the game is further shaped by events that unlock allied troops and represent the warfare in the colonies. Short flavor texts provide some information about these historical events and add to the immersion of the game. Some of these events also offer choices to the player, such as deciding whether to mobilize the forces of Bavaria in Bohemia, close to the Austrian front lines, or rather in Nuremberg at the camp of the Imperial army, which would please France. Most of these events are not random and will happen at their historical date. Random events include events providing additional officers, which is especially important for Austria with its rather weak starting commanders, and events affecting your troops in the field in some – usually negative – ways.​

Read the full article: Tacticular Cancer Review: Rise of Prussia Gold

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