Thursday, April 30, 2015

Video Games That Scratch The Tabletop Itch

I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm not posting a review article for my 12 Games in 12 Months series.  The problem is April has five Thursdays in it and rather than everything getting thrown off or adding a fifth article for only two games in the year I'd just put up an article that doesn't really fit in with any of the other series here.  With that I figured I'd share a few of the games I play when I have the table top itch and no one around to play.

First of all I was to say that when I say table top I mean role-playing.  Board-gaming has tons of options and amazing translations to video games.  If I want to play Catan or Ticket to Ride I just play them.  These are more games that for one reason or another hit similar sweet spots in my brain as D&D, Savage Worlds, or any of the other games my group and I play.

X-Com: Enemy Unknown
For a long LONG time this was my go to game when I could role-play.  Yes it's all combat, but with perma-death, "to-hit" and cover percentages, and the task of properly growing your base this game gave me all the strategic combat that D&D provided.  The expansion Enemy Within is also worth looking at, but what can really make this feel like an epic campaign is the mod called "The Long War" which stretches everything out and ups the difficulty.  I've yet to even beat it with the mod, but trust me when I say after enough successful missions with a soldier it can be just as heart breaking as losing a beloved character when they get gunned down.

Elder Scrolls (Any of them)
So this one might seem like an obvious choice, but that's for good reason.  Sure a lot of the limits of video games or person to person role-playing start to show, but as far as becoming immersed in a fantasy world I can't think of much better.  When you combine that with the fact that you can literally play however you want with guilds and factions out in the world for fighters, mages, and rogues there's plenty to do to make your own story like any good adventurer.

Darkest Dungeon
So this is a new game on the block (I think it might even still be in Early Access), but never before have I played a game that felt like it was being run by a cruel and unrelenting GM.  The mechanics themselves are interesting in having to maintain multiple party members as well as where they are in your marching order, but more important to that tabletop feel is the consequences.  You always have to be weary about adventuring too long or far from home.  Rations and torch light are constantly a worry and the fact that character can gain permanent effects that run much deeper than wounds like mental illness or crippling diseases gives the entire game as close to the feeling of a dangerous old school dungeon crawl as I've ever experienced.

So that's it. I know this wasn't exceptionally long and not even technically about an actual table top game, but that's why I saved it for now.  Anyways, I'd love to hear what games you guys play to scratch that gaming itch.

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