Board Games and the Bible Review – Elections of US America Election: The Card Game

Thanks to the designers at Auroch Digital, I was able to play and review satirical card game, Elections of US America Election: The Card Game.

Contrary to initial impressions, the game isn’t a delivery device for cheap, pointed jokes about particular groups. It’s a storytelling device. Elections contains deliberately absurd scenarios, easy-to-learn mechanics, and unexpectedly strategic design – all to facilitate an experience that goes beyond that of a simple party game. Combining these elements with the trappings of a presidential race manages to turn what could have been a boring test of statistics into a surprising mirror of our admittedly weird electoral process.

I’m relatively new to the specialty board and card game space. However, Elections of US America Election: The Card Game is already among my family’s favorite physical games, and you can see why in the video review above.

–Nelson

Buy Elections of US America Election: The Card Game (USA)

Buy Elections of US America Election: The Card Game (International)

*Elections of US America Election: The Card Game was received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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My Next Game Is Available Free For IF Comp 2016!

screwyoubeardadcoverfinalbig

Above, you’ll find the cover (created by the incredible Julian Adkins) for my new interactive-fiction video game: SCREW YOU, BEAR DAD!.

SCREW YOU, BEAR DAD! is a surreal comedy adventure about bears, puns, enthusiastic narrators, and elderly women in attack helicopters. It’s available for free as part of IF Comp 2016 here, and takes about an hour to complete! Please note that you must play/rate at least 5 titles for any of your votes to count.

Those interested in making similar games might dig my new series, The Joy of TwiningI’m streaming the creation of one of my next games, from beginning to end, every week. You can join me live on Twitch every Wednesday from 1-3 PM EST:

This series, along with Video Games and the Bible and my future creative work, will be made possible by Patreon. Please click the aforementioned link if you would like to support my stuff, and stay tuned for more game discussion/criticism from Video Games and the Bible!

–Nelson

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Christian Games Done Right Interview: John Wallie (Gebub’s Adventure)

I spoke with Christian designer John Wallie of chill 2D exploration game Gebub’s Adventure about using occasionally disregarded tools (Microsoft Paint, GameMaker, etc.) to make something incredible.

Support Gebub’s Adventure (Steam)

Support Gebub’s Adventure (itch.io)

Support Gebub’s Adventure (Game Jolt)

*Gebub’s Adventure was received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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All Hail The Spider God Postmortem/Lessons

Hello! Nelson of Video Games and the Bible, here.

I made a free, eerie interactive fiction adventure titled All Hail The Spider God. If you’re an aspiring Christian game developer, or simply wondering why I’d make something outside of the typical Christian wheelhouse, you can watch the video series below.

In this postmortem, I discuss the design decisions behind the game, lessons I learned making it, and how my faith as a Christian affected its development. This series contains a lot of spoilers as well, so if you’re interested in the game, play it through your browser at itch.io first.

Enjoy!

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New Video: Captain Forever Remix

Captain Forever Remix* is a 90’s-tinged roguelike spaceship builder, where you attempt to stop your brother King Kevin from taking over the Milky Way.

It’s rad, man.

And in all seriousness, the game’s combination of Saturday morning cartoon sensibilities and frantic physics action is incredibly compelling. It hasn’t received much attention, so if you find yourself pining for bowls of cold cereal and the bombastic animations of yesteryear, why not try this?

Support Captain Forever Remix (PC–STEAM)

*Captain Forever Remix was received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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Beyond Rated-M: Finding Comedy in Liyla and The Shadows of War

Liyla 2 from Official Website

Liyla and The Shadows of War* is a roughly ten minute-long mobile platformer about a father attempting to keep his family alive in the midst of a warzone. To be honest, it’s a short story that could have worked in any medium it was presented in. However, by virtue of being a game, the relative lack of production values could be off-putting to those accustomed to higher-fidelity projects. You might even laugh at the obvious use of simple, rocket-shaped sprites to clear new paths, kill you unexpectedly, or blow up a conveniently placed truck.

That was my reaction.

I was being a jerk. Looking down upon the heartfelt efforts of first-time developers thousands of miles away because I’m the journalist, right? I’m the important one.determine what someone hears about or doesn’t, right?

That’s about when my in-game daughter, Liyla, asked if we could help a group of boys playing soccer at the end of a beach.

As the timer for the decision ticked down Telltale-style, my eyebrows went up in surprise. A moral choice component? Maybe the father could be a hero, and adding children to your party would result in increased difficulty as you tried to save as many as possible? I had barely made my decision when the same, simple rocket sprite I was mocking moments earlier shrieked down from the ashen sky and slammed into their tiny bodies.

The father and daughter started running, every potential place of refuge going up in a fiery blaze just as they reached it–just as they began to believe such a thing as safety was possible. A school filled with children was reduced to smoking rubble in a single strike. Liyla’s screams raked across my brain like nails on a chalkboard as I struggled to save her dad again and again. Even the ruins left behind went unspared–the father ducking behind a cart to avoid the burning light overhead, and the drone swooping in beneath.

Liyla 1

That’s what’s funny, isn’t it? How true to life it is? How senseless, brutal, and easy modern warfare has made killing thousands of people? How you can ruin people’s lives with a push of a button, and never know who you affected?

A river of blood, unseen by all but a few unblinking drones and God himself.

Liyla 4

It’s strange how much power a headline can have. How, even while promoting something, it can distract.

Looking at the headlines generated by games like The Witcher 3, Dark Souls, or Liyla and The Shadows of War, it can be easy to wrongly define them by a single word.

Sexy. Difficult. Controversial.

You probably clicked on this article because of its title, too. After all, what kind of monster would play a game about families dying in a warzone, and find something worth joking about?

*click*

This isn’t that kind of article. Sorry.

And, no, Liyla isn’t just that kind of game. When you get beyond the headlines and reduction, Liyla and The Shadows of War isn’t about controversy, or making some grand political statement.  It’s about a father and daughter, running, illuminated only by the white phosphorus burning under Gaza’s night sky.

Liyla 5

I’m not laughing anymore.

Play Liyla and The Shadows of War (Free on Android)

Play Liyla and The Shadows of War (Free on iOS)

*Liyla and The Shadows of War was NOT received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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Brigador: Indie Cyberpunk Syndicate Neon Badger of Awesome

I just got the chance to play newly-launched tactical cyberpunk action game, Brigador*. Featuring a stellar 80’s-synth soundtrack, fully destructible environments, and insane amounts of replay value, I was more than impressed.

BUY BRIGADOR (PC–STEAM)

*Brigador was received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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