More and more of my beloved table top games these days are making their way onto digital platforms. I didn’t really care all that much for Ascension at first, but through the app I have logged a bunch of plays. (Ultimately I still just find it OK) I heard great things about Baseball Highlights 2045, but it had a pretty steep price tag and believe it or not, I am trying to buy less board games. Which means that my collection is still growing, just at a slower rate. Anyway, I saw an app version of it and gave it a try. It’s a neat game. PSS correspondent Chris Motola did a piece here about the iOS version of Lords of Waterdeep. These are all pretty great ways to get to try a game, and are ideal for someone who has trouble getting people together for game nights, but I digress. Before this digital reimagining of our table top golden age though, it was all physical.
I’ve always been a fan of boardgaming, since I was a kid. I didn’t know about or get into the non-mainstream games until my 20s, but I was always ready to throw down on some Stratego, Castle Risk, Quadular, Solarquest and others in my youth. And if those weren’t around, there were always video games. I don’t play much any more (I bought a PS3 when it was brand new and am certain that I have logged less than 200 hours of play on it, which more or less made it an expensive Blu-Ray player) but from Atari 2600 through the PS3 I just mentioned, there were a lot of games that I could wax nostalgic with for hours.
More and more you see table top games being adapted for digital formats, but with a few exceptions, you rarely see that going the other way around. I think that with the popularity of table top games on the rise and the successful implementation of a few titles already, we will see these become more common. Recently an announcement was made about a physical version of one of my favorite video games from back in the day, so naturally I am pretty stoked. (I’d never played XCOM or Dark Souls, so I can’t really get excited about those). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…ARMORED CORE.
Man, this game looks bad ass. In the video game, you play a mercenary mech pilot that goes on missions with various tasks. The storyline was more or less forgettable. Less forgettable is the gameplay. The thing that made Armored Core so fantastic was that you got to BUILD YOUR OWN MECH. You could find parts on missions, or buy them from a store, but you got to decide what your mech was made of. Maybe you’re quick and lightly armored. Maybe you have tank treads for legs. The customization was a big reason that the game was so much fun, and it looks like the translation into the table top version keeps that customization going. The coolest part of that though? It could be done with cards. You could have a base mech card with upgrade cards you attach to it, but a little mech figure (even a cool sculpt) on the actual board. Gamers have good imaginations, but there’s something even better.
You not only pick your parts, but they actually have physical representation in the game and your mech will be made of the parts you pick. HOW COOL IS THAT??
And look at the board! I’m not a miniatures gamer, but this has the 8 year old in me drooooooling. According to the game’s Facebook page, part of building the mechs will be adding LED light pointers to establish line of sight for targeting, with the buildings and such providing cover. They say a mission should only take about 20 minutes and plays in REAL TIME (as you might have guessed from the RTS on the box) The game is campaign structured, which means true to its source material, you will probably start with a pretty average mech capable of boring mass devastation and over the course of a few hours you will build up to an awesomely terrifying death machine made of unbridled fury.
I never beat any of the Armored Core series, though I played the hell out of them. If this can successfully translate the feel of the video game to table top…and judging by what I’ve seen so far it can…this will be a HUGE hit. Armored Core’s Kickstarter campaign launches next week, and I can’t wait to fail trying to talk myself out of backing it.