Blog Archives

BattleCONtinuum: A Look at Temporal Odyssey

CLOCKS

At first glance, you might assume that Level 99’s forthcoming dueling game — coming to Kickstarter later this week — was the brainchild of D. Brad Talton, Jr. After all, Talton is one of modern gaming’s undisputed champions of two-player punch-’em-ups, with both the BattleCON and Exceed systems in his corner.

Instead, Temporal Odyssey appears courtesy of up-and-coming designer Chris Solis. But don’t let Solis’s newcomer status dissuade you, because this is one of the slickest two-player duels I’ve witnessed in a long time.

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Pixel Tactics, Finally Home

I have literally no idea who that orange dude is.

I’m a big fan of Pixel Tactics. Look, I’ll prove it, right over here, here, and here. I never even got around to reviewing the sprawling deluxe set, because, one, I had nothing interesting to say that hadn’t already been said, and two, there was so much stuff in that big box.

Which is why I struggled to pull the trigger on Mega Man Pixel Tactics, which promised not one, not two, but three new boxes. On the one hand, I’ve never minded more of a good thing, even when we’re talking ice cream and more of a good thing will make me ill for two days. On the other, I still haven’t seen everything my current collection of Pixel Tactics has to offer. Which, considering I have the exact same problem with BattleCON: Fate of Indines, seems to be a recurring theme with D. Brad Talton’s designs. The guy is dangerous like a good fast food restaurant.

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Raid & Trade

Remember when Indie and Marion Ravenwood duked it out for control of the crystal skull? Yeah, that would have been a better movie.

Negotiation in games is great, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s also a beast to pull off. You’ve got to provide something worth haggling over, hopefully provide avenues for weaker-willed players to thrive (they are weaker-willed, I call it like I see it), add a dash of risky speculation, and probably figure out how to keep those two from spending the whole night shouting at each other. You know the pair I’m talking about.

Tomb Trader isn’t the usual fare from Level 99 Games. It’s a diminutive thing, just seventy-ish cards and some ultra-cheap tiddlywink tokens. Fortunately, it’s also a surprisingly solid negotiation game for five reasons.

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Exceedingly Excellent

At least they're having fun with it.

BattleCON is one of my favorite game systems. Ever. If I were to compile a Top Ten list — which I haven’t and probably won’t, so don’t ask — then Devastation of Indines would almost undoubtedly be right near the top. It’s incredible.

Perhaps for that reason, Exceed almost goes out of its way to look like a pretender to the throne. Or is that an usurper of the throne? Either way, D. Brad Talton Jr.’s other fighting-game simulator seems intended to sit quietly alongside its predecessor despite looking so similar that the cards might have been swapped at birth. Exceed bills itself as a lighter alternative to the cerebral brain-crunching and jaw-busting fun of BattleCON, right down to the fact that it ships in smaller, more affordable boxes. Whether it’s better, on the other hand, is the tougher call. So tough that I’ve had my hands on a review copy for about nine months and haven’t yet come out and said it.

Well, I’m saying it now: Exceed is better than BattleCON. And yet it isn’t something I feel I can wholeheartedly recommend. How’s that for a quandary?

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The Space-Biff! Space-Cast! Episode #5: The New Millennium

Staged shot, so don't climb up on my back about how badly I'm doing.

In today’s episode of the Space-Biff! Space-Cast!, Dan Thurot and Rob Cramer speak with D. Brad Talton Jr. (the D is for Danger) of Level 99 Games about ushering in the New Millennium — the heralded thousand years of Millennium Blades, that is. We also reminisce about collectible card games, being nerds, and jerky cousins.

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Usher in the New Millennium

Good to see you again, old friend — er, old nemesis.

I’ve always wanted to play a collectible card game in a competitive environment. There’s something about watching a deck take shape over weeks and months, toying with ideas and builds whenever new cards are released, and then testing the mettle of your creation in the crucible of a tournament. And when that’s done, you do it all over again, learning from your mistakes and capitalizing on your successes. Unfortunately, I simply lack the time that I’d need to invest in such an endeavor. I’d say, “Maybe if I were younger,” but I didn’t have all that much free time when I was a kid either. Maybe when I’m older.

Good thing Millennium Blades is finally here, because it satisfies my hunger with one of the most rollicking fun games I’ve ever played.

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Dragon… PUNCH!

Tammy had always known her two years of community rec center Judo would eventually pay off.

There comes a moment in all our lives when we must kick and throw and taunt and launch fireballs, to say nothing of the possibility of launching an electric uppercut. For many of us, that moment goes by the name

DRAGON
PUNCH

and pretty much centers around either standing in an unbearably long line or passing the time at a crummy restaurant.

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Has BattleCON Been Exceeded?

Over-the-top characters settling their differences through pugilism. If that doesn't smell like Indines, I don't know what Indines smells like.

At first glance, Level 99’s forthcoming fighting game, Exceed, looks suspiciously similar to their flagship fighting game, BattleCON. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

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Don’t Resistor

After all these years of smoke and feuding and blood-stained cities, only they remain. Them and their contested highscore at Pac-Man.

I’ve long been of the opinion that the highest authorities in the land, the dudes who carry matching sets of nuclear launch keys with grave determination and a too-wide gait that hints at unbroken years of constipation, really ought to hire some regular guy off the street. Just to sit in on their super-secret meetings. To sip coffee in the corner and look bewildered while they talk about foreign policy. That way, when someone gets the bright idea to transfer control of the nation’s nuclear arsenal to a digital mind with genocidal tendencies, that guy can twiddle his thumbs for a bit before clearing his throat, leaning forward, and putting them straight.

“Hey, that idea? About the murder-bot and all our nukes? It’s, ah… I don’t know how to say this nicely, Mr. President, but it’s shit.”

And that’s how we’re going to prevent RESISTOR from happening.

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Welcome to Bright Sunny Indines

A love story... nay, a love SAGA to weather the ages.

In a lot of ways, Indines seems like the ideal tourist destination. It’s bright. Sunny. The people are exotic and vibrant, and have sexy, unfamiliar names like Kallistar Flarechild and Zaamassal Kett. The general populace has long ago gotten used to inter-planar travelers popping into existence left and right, so there’s nary a grouse to be heard about bloody foreigners or damn tourists or anything ugly like that.

It’s so nice, it’s almost easy to forget that there are apparently only two careers in Indines: university professor and punching bag. More often than not, they’re the same job.

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