Book of Demons Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Book of Demons RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 11 Great PC ARPGs to Play Instead of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem https://www.gameskinny.com/lb1n2/11-great-pc-arpgs-to-play-instead-of-wolcen-lords-of-mayhem https://www.gameskinny.com/lb1n2/11-great-pc-arpgs-to-play-instead-of-wolcen-lords-of-mayhem Tue, 25 Feb 2020 16:01:20 -0500 Ty Arthur

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We've barely scratched the surface of what's available in the hack 'n slash action RPG genre with these entries. Inquisitor, Divine Divinity, Siege of Avalon, Path of Exile are also fantastic picks filling out a genre with too many games to list in one place.

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What's your personal favorite action RPG, and what did you think of our list of the best games to play while waiting on Wolcen to get patched up? Sound off in the comments below!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/z/0/0/z0051345-3abaf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/z/0/0/z0051345-3abaf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207708","description":"

Nox

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It's hard to believe, but Nox is somehow 20 years old. In ARPG years, I think that makes this the great-granddad of the genre.

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An extremely charming piece of ARPG history, Nox features three different stories, all dependent on which class you pick. Of course, it has plenty of hack 'n slash fun whether you want to play the warrior, the summoner, or the spell-slinging wizard.

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Playing Nox is a great way to look back at how gameplay norms have changed in the intervening decades (you can wildly cheat the game by playing the wizard and just standing next to mana-recovering crystals). It's also an excellent pick if you want a game that doesn't take itself too seriously.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/a/6/5a61e116ae653a0f9268fa22-bb047.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/a/6/5a61e116ae653a0f9268fa22-bb047.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207707","description":"

Aarklash Legacy

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Aarklash is a unique entry on this list because it melds two usually disparate genres into one: turn-based strategy and hack n' slash. It's worth checking out for that fact alone, but it has some other unique factors that make it a must-play. 

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Instead of making your character from the ground up, Aarklash starts off with four pre-generated characters coupled to specific classes. There's also a tactical level added to the game's combat encounters because party members must work in tandem to survive, forcing players to pause to issue orders.

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That might not sound much like an ARPG, but trust me: the rest of the experience, from the loot system to leveling and how combat plays out, is everything you're looking for in a Diablo clone.

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Plus, this crew of hardened mercenaries is just plain fun to follow around as they valiantly try not to die. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/9/5/495e502c22da02d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/9/5/495e502c22da02d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207705","description":"

Dungeon Siege 2

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Upgraded in a number of important ways from its predecessor, Dungeon Siege 2 is still a good time 15 years later. This follow-up to the classic still sees your party leveling skills by using them, but it improves nearly everything else.

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With a better story, more interesting characters, and less repetition, this is a fantastic way to lose 40 to 50 hours.

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As with Sacred, it pains me to say that there's not much reason to try the third entry in Dungeon Siege series, even though it was developed by the normally-good Obisidan Entertainment.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/3/1439813368-sacred-c17ee.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/3/1439813368-sacred-c17ee.png","type":"slide","id":"207704","description":"

Sacred

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This old-school ARPG takes you across the lands of Ancaria, and while the graphics are dated, they aren't without their charm.

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Sacred is one of the first games I truly remember being wowed by. Some of the effects, like craters left in the ground after casting meteor spells, are still damn good looking.  

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Sacred's gameplay is solid, squarely falling into standard hack 'n slash archetypes. However, the game's class options are more varied than you might expect, from an angelic seraphim to a blood-sucking vampiress.

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While the sequel to Sacred is still a good time, don't bother with the third one. It pretty much killed the series.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/c/victor-10c0d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/c/victor-10c0d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207702","description":"

Victor Vran

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Does that guy above make you think of Van Helsing? Well, he should, because he's saving the people of Zagoravia from a horde of demons overrunning the land. 

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Despite the clear inspiration, Victor Vran plays quite a bit differently from the Van Helsing games. For starters, there are no classes in this unique take on the ARPG style, and you can radically change your playstyle just by switching weapons, similar to how Wolcen's class system works.

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Every area also features specific challenges that will force you to tackle levels in different ways, which really adds to the overall experience and replay-value of the game.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/n/vanhelsingiii-cover-art-fullsize-ed1d3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/n/vanhelsingiii-cover-art-fullsize-ed1d3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207703","description":"

The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing 3

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The fabled vampire hunter has seen three main ARPG titles already, and all of them have fairly similar gameplay that will please fans of Grim Dawn or Diablo.

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I'm personally a fan of the third entry as Helsing and his ghost companion Katarina explore Borgovia with more class options and some fun tweaks to the crafting and pet systems.

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Got a couple of hundred hours to spare and want to play the whole thing from beginning to end? The Final Cut version on Steam puts all three titles together into one massive ARPG journey.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/8/b/d8b688042b7060f776da127051407c5c44801c14-39419.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/8/b/d8b688042b7060f776da127051407c5c44801c14-39419.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"207701","description":"

Warhammer Chaosbane

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Those Gotrek And Felix novels made it very clear that the Old World is ripe for a frenzied hack 'n slash experience, with millions of demons, skaven, and other beasties needing to be destroyed. Warhammer's latest excursion into action RPGs might work off the Age Of Sigmar update, but it takes its cues from those classic action stories.

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While the enemy types are unfortunately repetitive (before you get to the Tomb Kings DLC, anyway), Chaosbane is an otherwise fun way to kill a few dozen hours while hacking apart thousands of fetid nurglings and crab-clawed daemonettes.

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Book Of Demons

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While ARPGs typically stick to a tried and true combat formula, some entries buck those trends and try something different. Book Of Demons goes that route, starting with a typical Diablo story before taking a number of major twists and turns.

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Book of Demons deftly incorporates deck-building elements and interestingly puts procedurally-generated dungeons on rails. It gets extra points for graphics done in the style of paper tabletop minis.

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If you've played every other hack 'n slasher out there, be sure to give this refreshing entry a try.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-torchlight2-image1600w-1a29a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-torchlight2-image1600w-1a29a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207699","description":"

Torchlight 2

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Improving on the original game in just about every conceivable way, Torchlight 2 is great for those who aren't fans of the overly-dark and bleak tone found in Grim Dawn

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It's colorful, fun, and addicting. TL2 features compelling pet upgrade mechanics and is infused with an exploration element that pushes your forward to "just one more area." There's nothing quite like getting a better piece of loot for that perfect set of gear.

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After years of waiting, there's another entry in the series finally coming soon, and it's got genre fans buzzing. If you weren't excited about the F2P model of the previously-announced Torchlight Frontiers, then you are in luck: the developers have shifted gears, making Torchlight 3 a full game unto itself. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/9/1491860538-3117250856-8bc87.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/4/9/1491860538-3117250856-8bc87.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207706","description":"

Harbinger

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There's no question the ARPG genre is heavily skewed towards fantasy, and there aren't that many sci-fi action RPGs that take advantage of the Diablo style. Other than Space Siege and maybe Hellgate: London, I can't think of anything better than the forgotten gem that is Harbinger.

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Coming out at exactly the wrong time in gaming history, Harbinger was quickly forgotten as other titles crowded it out. Luckily, this underappreciated ARPG still holds up with a captivating story and Diablo-esque dungeons. That's even when you consider the shooting mechanics are a tad clunky and there are only three classes to choose from. 

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Sadly, Harbinger hasn't yet made it to Steam or GOG, but you can still find discs floating around on Amazon and eBay. It's also a good bet that some abandonware site has the files if you're willing to go that route. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/9/5/995e502678138ee.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/9/5/995e502678138ee.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207698","description":"

Grim Dawn

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Until Wolcen gets the patches it deserves, I have no reservations in saying this grimdark action RPG is currently the king of the genre. It's everything Diablo 3 should have been, and then some.

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The number of possible Grim Dawn builds is staggering between the game's dual-class system and the devotion constellation paths. That's not to mention that the lore is a genuine pleasure to dig through.

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If you're a fan of cosmic horror, you'll dig the background story of an apocalypse centered on blood-drinking Lovecraftian horrors duking it out with ghostly atherial monstrosities summoned by overly-confident wizards.

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While the base game and its multiple expansions can be played repeatedly at different difficulty levels, there's an even bigger longterm investment available in the game's truly diabolical "uber bosses."

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Those challenges are for committed players who have considerably more devotion to maxing out character builds than I do. After four years of playing Grim Dawn, I still can't beat Mogdrogen on normal difficulty. The thought of tackling him on in ultimate mode causes eruptions of insane, uncontrollable laughter.

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If you've done it, then my hats off to you.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/e/great-arpgs-play-instead-wolcen-lords-mayhem-752f3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/e/great-arpgs-play-instead-wolcen-lords-mayhem-752f3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"207891","description":"

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, touted as the next big thing in the ARPG universe, launched in pretty rough shape. Despite being in Early Access and making its presence known in Steam's top-selling games category, Wolcen is full of bugs and glitches. 

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For what it's worth, the game is actually a fantastic entry in the ARPG genre — when it isn't glitching out. To its credit, the Wolcen team is working hard to fix the game, with a plethora of issues slated for tweaks in the coming weeks and months. 

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As it stands, though, it's probably better to wait on Wolcen and start playing it after all the bugs are fixed. You don't want to get soft-locked out of your character, after all.

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So if you're itching for a new ARPG experience but don't want to take the plunge into Wolcen, the good news is that you don't have to look very far. There are dozens of action RPGs to try out on PC, and they cover all kinds of subject matter and just about every sub-genre. 

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For our look at the 11 best ARPGs to play while Wolcen gets patched, we'll stick (mostly) to games you can grab easily through digital platforms and start playing today. We won't cover the likes of Diablo because, well, you've probably played that already. 

"}]]]>
Board Game Adjacent: Top 12 Steam Games For Tabletop Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/k37tc/board-game-adjacent-top-12-steam-games-for-tabletop-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/k37tc/board-game-adjacent-top-12-steam-games-for-tabletop-fans Sun, 15 Dec 2019 10:20:37 -0500 Ty Arthur

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What did you think of top board-game adjacent picks, and are you going to pick up any of the games we listed here?

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Sound off below, and don't forget to leave a comment if you've found any other killer board game-style titles on Steam we should check out.

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If you've already played all our picks, don't forget to take a look at the companion list of direct board game adaptations here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/7/5/975fa7b6be347452e677476c5ecba355910d91cd1920x1080-304a8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/7/5/975fa7b6be347452e677476c5ecba355910d91cd1920x1080-304a8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204959","description":"

Wargroove

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Buy it on Steam here

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Wargroove is essentially the fantasy counterpart to Tiny Metal, and an even more faithful successor to the Advance Wars style from the Game Boy Advance days.

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The overall strategy and tactics clearly draw on board game design, and while there is a single player campaign, this is a game that's super fun to play in multiplayer matches. Despite the cutesy sprite graphics, there's also a surprising amount of depth going on here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-tinymetal-image1600w-b5a41.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-tinymetal-image1600w-b5a41.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204957","description":"

Tiny Metal

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Buy it on Steam here

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With Japanese anime characters but very western-influenced unit and vehicle design, Tiny Metal is an odd little hodgepodge of a strategy title that takes clear influence from Advance Wars.

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If you want a tactical, modern-day style game that's simple to jump into, Tiny Metal gets the job done, and the top-down view with turn-based combat gives it a clear board game flair.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/6/8/26803e9dd0f85ce45babf465d23e65330e6dcf6f-053fe.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/6/8/26803e9dd0f85ce45babf465d23e65330e6dcf6f-053fe.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204956","description":"

Slay The Spire

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Buy it on Steam here

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Take a roguelike and sprinkle in a little deck building and you've got Slay The Spire, which manages to hit just the right combo of randomness and difficulty to become truly addictive.

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You'll die, a lot, but have a ton of fun doing it, and there's a different layout every time of course so you'll want to keep trying again and again.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/3/d/b3d7269dd760099bdbf90e5e17c79d7d7386d27ed45b06c2c1e6563f64b3-71719.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/3/d/b3d7269dd760099bdbf90e5e17c79d7d7386d27ed45b06c2c1e6563f64b3-71719.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204953","description":"

Book Of Demons

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Buy it on Steam here

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This has got to be one of the most unique, interesting twists on the classic ARPG style in quite some time. At first, Book of Demons seems exactly like Diablo: we're picking one of three classes and heading beneath a church to start killing skeletons by the dozen, but then things take a turn.

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Rather than free movement, your hero moves down pre-determined board game style paths, and both combat and leveling are handled via a card system.

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This is all reinforced by the paper mini art style. It literally feels like playing a board game where you have to stick your paper tokens into plastic bases.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/r/warhammer-quest-review-470368-09317.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/r/warhammer-quest-review-470368-09317.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204951","description":"

Warhammer Quest

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Buy it on Steam here

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Want a tactical fantasy game that draws heavily on tabletop rules but not crazy about D&D? Warhammer Quest is the game for you, and as an added bonus it actually utilizes a top-down view and token pieces just like a real board game.

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It's a classic loot 'n sell title where you get random quests to clear out dungeons of goblins, skaven, and so on, sell all the goodies you found to the merchants in the next town, and then do it all over again!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/a/image-cover-6d12c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/a/image-cover-6d12c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204950","description":"

King's Bounty Crossworlds

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Buy it on Steam here

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Stripping out everything extraneous and focusing on what players really want, the original King's Bounty and follow-up Armored Princess scratched a very specific itch.

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The series combat is along the lines of Heroes Of Might and Magic, but there's no city or resource management beyond building up your armies and leveling your hero.

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An extreme focus on turn-based combat makes this a very satisfying series for board game fans. If you're looking to jump in, I recommend picking up Crossworlds, since it has both the expanded version of Armored Princess and the DLC.

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A full-fledged King's Bounty 2 is also currently in the works and due out sometime in 2020.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/1/e/51e0bcac52a2c0ff49debed37a48c7935ba14cc91920x1080-92891.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/1/e/51e0bcac52a2c0ff49debed37a48c7935ba14cc91920x1080-92891.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204949","description":"

Blood Bowl 2

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Buy it on Steam here

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And now for something completely different! Yeah, those are orcs in jerseys facing off against humans and undead on the football field. Obviously, the rules of football get a facelift in Blood Bowl 2, since these players like to kill each other.

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Even if you don't care for sports-balling (and boy, I really, really don't) this is still a fun series for board game fans. Its complex, hard, and features a ton of strategy to learn.

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Unlike most of the rest of this list, Blood Bowl is actually an adaptation of a specific existing tabletop game, but it's changed enough to be its own thing in the PC version, and the animations definitely take it to a new level.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/5/18516ca8ab428529e58c73c72e10f14cb6a93f46-d6787.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/5/18516ca8ab428529e58c73c72e10f14cb6a93f46-d6787.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"204960","description":"

Warhammer 40,000 Gladius: Relics Of War

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Buy it on Steam here

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Considering the impact Games Workshop has had on the tabletop industry, from war games to board games and even card-based titles, it shouldn't be much of a surprise they've got a huge number of PC crossovers as well.

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While a lot of the Warhammer universe is pretty lackluster in video game form, there are some hidden gems. Gladius sees a massive shift away from the real-time strategy of classics like Dawn Of War and towards a very board-game focused take on the 4X genre.

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If you like a slower-paced game where you have to sit and think about your strategy, this is the one to pick in the Warhammer 40,000 series.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/6/186193-edccc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/6/186193-edccc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204963","description":"

Dicey Dungeons

\n

Buy it at Steam here

\n

Most board games feature polyhedral dice in some capacity, but this one actually has you playing as the dice! Other than taking on the role of some d6s, the schtick here is that you need to constantly adapt to rules changes and new characters.

\n

While its wildly random, and it can be very hard, the end result is something like a cute and funny version of Darkest Dungeon but with a gameshow aesthetic.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/0/8/40890-d9ec7.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/0/8/40890-d9ec7.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"204948","description":"

Age Of Wonders: Planetfall

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Buy it on Steam here

\n

I don't think anyone saw the announcement trailer going the way it did for Planetfall, as the developers announced a surprise switch from fantasy to sci-fi in the long-running Age Of Wonders series.

\n

Although this is a turn based strategy game with heavy 4X elements, if you really boil it down, Planetfall basically plays like a complex board game with animations.

\n

From managing resources and diplomacy to exploring the map and dealing with randomized elements, there's a ton here for board game fanatics to love.  The recent Revelations DLC also just added a host of new elements and enemies, with another faction due to arrive in the next expansion down the line.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/r/m/armello-cover-1024x576-a8916.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/r/m/armello-cover-1024x576-a8916.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204947","description":"

Armello

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Buy it on Steam here

\n

What you get here is essentially a board game built from scratch as a PC strategy experience. It's too complex and animation heavy to work as a real board title you'd pick up as a hobby store, but it works great as an online title. The clear Redwall / Mouse Guard flavor doesn't hurt either!

\n

Combining several different styles all at once, Armello is part turn-based strategy, part card-based random mechanics, and part RPG. Although it has a single-player campaign and AI missions, keep in mind Armello is very much meant to be played online against other players.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/7/b/27b01129a6ad12e3af9f11a8dfe09ea90b868c371920x1080-0b0ec.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/7/b/27b01129a6ad12e3af9f11a8dfe09ea90b868c371920x1080-0b0ec.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204945","description":"

Hand Of Fate 2

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Buy it on Steam here

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I'm honestly surprised there haven't been more games like Hand Of Fate and its sequel, because the core concept is such an obvious winner for tabletop fans who want a PC game.

\n

There's a literal board with a digital card-dealer sitting across from you to pull from the deck and see where the story goes. In a way, Hand Of Fate is like a single-player advancement of those old VHS-based board games.

\n

To keep things fresh, Hand Of Fate 2 switches to real-time action during the combat segments for a satisfying blend of video and board game styles. Of course, RNG plays a huge role here, as you can end up with devastatingly difficult or very easy encounters depending on what hand you are dealt. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/a/boardcov-48803.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/a/boardcov-48803.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204961","description":"

As the library of titles at Steam continues to grow at an exponential rate, its become clear that a game doesn't have to be a huge budget AAA affair to warrant dozens or even hundreds of hours of play. 

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There are plenty of games with tried and true board or card mechanics that can suck you in and never let go, whether you prefer fantasy, sci-fi, modern day tank combat, or anything else.

\n

Ready to ditch the first person shooters and try out something more tactical? Let's take a look at the the top 12 board game-adjacent entries currently available!

\n

Most of these picks aren't direct 1:1 translations of an existing board game, but are rather tactical strategy entries with board and card elements added into the mix.

\n

In other words, if you dig in-depth board games but want to play something on PC instead of at your dinner table, you'll love these Steam titles.

\n

Looking for direct adaptations of famous board games instead? Check out our list of the 12 best Steam board games currently available -- from Zombicide to Ticket To Ride and everything in between -- over here.

"}]]]>
Learn the Ropes with our Beginner's Guide to Book of Demons https://www.gameskinny.com/j1l7q/learn-the-ropes-with-our-beginners-guide-to-book-of-demons https://www.gameskinny.com/j1l7q/learn-the-ropes-with-our-beginners-guide-to-book-of-demons Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:15:01 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

Anyone familiar with action RPGs like Diablo will feel right at home loading up Book of Demons.

Outside of its storybook aesthetic, it follows a fairly tried-and-true formula. There are a few wrinkles in it that would take you a while to learn if you aren’t paying attention however. Here are a few tips to hit the ground running with Book of Demons now that it’s out of Early Access.

Watch for Visual Cues

Most of the dungeons in Book of Demons are fairly small, but there are a few visual cues to look out for to help you navigate each one a little smoother. The first thing to notice are your footprints. Obviously, they show you which paths you’ve taken. However, notice that they will turn gold on occasion. That means you’ve explored every branch of the path back that direction - nothing to see here. Once you’ve hit every nook and cranny of a floor, every footprint will turn gold to let you know that you can move on.

If you hover over the icons at the top of the screen, they will point out to you what points of interest you’ve encountered on the map and if there are any others left to find. Finally, if you’re searching for one monster or piece of gold lying on the floor that you previously overlooked, watch the edges of the screen. Every few seconds, you should see a little twinkle. That will show you the direction of any last pieces you’re missing in your exploration.

Know Your Cards and How to Improve Them

Each of the three classes in Book of Demons has its own deck of cards to collect. These cards represent your inventory and abilities, and you have a quick toolbar that can house a growing number of them throughout the game. It’s important to know what each card type is and how they operate:

  • Blue: Ability cards. These are things like spells and talents, they use mana each time you activate them, which means being able to top off your mana reserves is key if you use a lot of abilities. Having a few powerful abilities at your disposal is going to be key to surviving as the difficulty ramps up.
  • Red: Item cards. These are things like potions, traps, and scrolls. You can collect a certain amount of them that you can hold at a time before you will have to buy more charges for them in town or pick some up during a dungeon crawl.
  • Green: Equipment cards. These are items like weapons, shields, armor, and rings. They generally provide passive bonuses, but they lock up a portion of your mana (and fill in a valuable card slot) as long as they are equipped.

There are also two ways to get improved versions of your cards. One is by finding the magical and legendary variants in your adventures. These will add additional, randomized stats to your cards - for example, your normal card might be a Chaos Ring. You might find a “Chaos Ring of the Raven,” which has additional positive effects attached to it. Magic items add one additional positive trait, and legendaries add two.

You can also start finding “Rune Cards” while you trek through dungeons. If you take these to the Fortune Teller in town, you can upgrade your cards from one to two or from two to three stars. They become more powerful as you do (and more expensive to use and recharge).

Understand Different Types of Enemy Hearts

One thing that will get you killed very quickly in Book of Demons is not understanding what your enemies are capable of and not prioritizing them in the order you should be. There are a few different aspects to familiarize yourself with to most effectively defeat your foes and stay alive longer.

The hearts above an enemy’s head show how many more hits it will be until they are defeated. It is important to know that not all hearts are created equal - here’s what you might encounter:

  • Red hearts: The normal measure of a monster’s hit points. Each heart will take one point of damage to destroy.
  • Green Hearts: These are known as Poison Hearts. They absorb the same damage as regular hearts, but they indicate that the monster will heal if they are hit with poison damage. They also usually mean that the monster will explode into a poison cloud upon death.
  • Grey Hearts: These are known as Stone Hearts. They take the same amount of damage, but indicate that the monster is immune to damage effects like poison, burning, or freezing.
  • Golden Hearts: Whenever a golden heart is destroyed, the monster’s other hearts will “lock” for a certain period, rendering them immune to damage for a few seconds. They will unlock when you can deal damage again.
  • Frozen/Burning Hearts: These function in essentially the same manner as one another. Each heart takes three hits to destroy, and will reveal a different type of heart underneath it. That means it will take four hits for every heart these enemies have; it will take them a while to go down during a fight.

Prioritize Monsters with Spells and Summoning Abilities

Another easy-to-miss aspect of combat in Book of Demons is that you can interrupt enemies who are casting spells. When using a spell or ability, a monster will become immune to damage as a circle above them fills. Once the circle has filled, they will use that ability.

If you are close enough to the enemy, you can hover your pointer over that ability and hold down the attack button to keep them from using it. This will also instantly open them back up to damage - take out those spellcasters quick before they inflict serious damage on you. Note that you cannot disrupt spells and abilities of boss enemies.

Dispel Poison ASAP

If your hit point meter turns green, we all know that means poison. However, there is a quick visual indicator you can use to dispel poison almost as soon as you are inflicted with it.

A small demonic face will drop from the top of your HP orb after a second or two of being poisoned. If you click inside your HP orb when that face is visible, it will cure you of poison. Don’t eat that extra damage - it adds up quickly!

Save Time After Clearing out a Level

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I find the exit to a dungeon right away, and know I’ll have to explore the entire floor before backtracking all the way back the way I came in order to get to the next level. Luckily, Book of Demons has a lovely little time saver for you.

Once you’ve found the exit for a floor, a little icon will always appear on the edge of the screen to show you what direction you need to go to find it.

Once you’ve completely cleared out a floor, that icon will turn green. You can then just click it and - voila - you will instantly be teleported to the start of the next floor. No backtracking necessary.

Utilize the Magical Cauldron - Before Its Contents Disappear

Occasionally, you will find loot in a dungeon that will appear to fly into a giant pot that appears on the side of the screen. If you approach the Barmaid in town, you will have access to the Magical Cauldron, which can open up all sorts of rare loot.

It may be tempting to leave this to collect, since the cost of using it increases every time you use it. However, keep in mind that, if you die, everything that has collected in the cauldron will disappear. Not getting every last bit of loot in a dungeon crawler is a mortal sin, so don’t press your luck too long - you might get overwhelmed and lose access to several powerful items.

There are still going to be some bumps along the road to your showdown with the Archdemon, but knowing these tips out of the gate will save you time and frustration in your quest. Good luck in your race to the bottom of Book of Demons!

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Book of Demons Review: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery https://www.gameskinny.com/cf2p0/book-of-demons-review-imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery https://www.gameskinny.com/cf2p0/book-of-demons-review-imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery Fri, 14 Dec 2018 10:25:08 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

This is a game where you choose from three hero classes - a warrior, a rogue, and a mage - and move beneath a desecrated church in an overhead, isometric view. Core gameplay consists of slaying demons in randomly generated dungeons, collecting loot, and working your way towards a demonic final boss, who is invading from Hell. Sound familiar?

Book of Demons draws a lot of its inspiration from classic ARPG Diablo but manages to have a unique presentation and poke enough fun at itself to carve its own spot into a crowded genre.

Stay Awhile and Listen

The first thing you’ll notice when you load up Book of Demons is the unique presentation and art style. The game is presented as a storybook, telling the tale of the adventurers who are clashing with a monstrous foe and its demonic army. The game embraces this presentation - everything looks like a paper cutout, hopping along through the dungeon and falling apart into piles of paper bones.

These little flourishes are what set Book of Demons apart from its ilk: the first time I used a Town Portal scroll, I watched the concentric circles fold open like a popup book and fold closed behind me. There are tons of fun little details that breathe life into the regularly drab and predictable “dungeon cave” backgrounds that the genre is known for.

Ante Up

Book of Demons’ other main selling point is its unique take on combat and inventory. Rather than collecting items like armor and weapons, all of your character’s abilities, spells, and items are represented by cards. As you progress in the game, you can upgrade your cards and open up more slots, granting new item synergies and increasing your toolkit to battle ever-strengthening enemies.

Each character can collect up to forty different cards, which can be upgraded three times each and also have randomized magical and legendary versions. Being able to identify combos in your available cards and adapt to new enemy types quickly is key to reaching the deeper levels of each run.

There are three types of cards available, and each work in different ways: item cards, like healing potions, have a certain number of charges that can either be replenished in town (for a price) or found in dungeons from defeating monsters. Spells consume mana, which can also be replenished in town or through various other methods when exploring.

Finally, equipment adds passive abilities to your character by “blocking off” chunks of your available mana. Finding the right combination of cards is a fun puzzle, which is compounded on the hardest difficulty, which randomizes the drop order of cards that your character receives.

Dungeon Hopping

To say Book of Demons draws inspiration from Diablo is to do it a disservice: Book of Demons revels in nostalgia for the classic Blizzard title. The old man in town who identifies items tells you to, “Stay and listen for a while.” Upon finishing the first stage of a run, your character will comment that “The sanctity of this place has definitely been fouled.” Even the three classes mirror Diablo’s character options, with abilities that should be familiar to savvy veterans.

Book of Demons treads a thin line between imitation and self-aware parody. Some of the jokes are pretty solid - the first time you see the Archdemon (the game’s final boss, a version of the Devil), he is sitting in waist-deep fire, squeezing a rubber ducky that is wearing a spiked collar. There are plenty of little winks back at the player, but their infrequency is a bit jarring considering that, outside of the graphics style, Book of Demons plays it pretty straight.

Luckily, it nails the sense of progression that a game like this needs. Like many procedurally generated titles, Book of Demons will teach you lessons in brutal ways. You’ll have to learn quickly what new foes are capable of - your health bar can melt away pretty quickly if you are surrounded and affected by status ailments. Especially on the highest difficulty, this can erase plenty of progress but, hopefully, will help you find success in future runs.

One More Level

One of the best additions Book of Demons adds to the genre is the “Flexiscope,” which allows you to customize the length of each dive back into the dungeon. The game puts together an estimate of how quickly you play through levels and will begin to estimate how long a “short,” “medium,” or “long” dungeon run will take you. This makes it pretty easy to customize your adventure and get a good idea of how much time that “last run before bed” will take you.

Granted, progress is saved every time you exit and enter a floor, so these time estimations are a bit superfluous. But it is nice to have an idea of how long a trip through the next few floors will take you - right up until that trip is cut short because you are killed halfway through without enough gold to purchase a resurrection.

Pros:
  • Unique graphical style offers plenty of charm and surprises
  • Difficulty and length customization has something for everyone
  • Good nostalgia elements
Cons:
  • A bit too similar to its inspirations
  • Self-aware humor doesn't always land

Book of Demons is a pretty fun time: it does bring back plenty of fond, sleepless nights combing the dungeons beneath Tristram. Its unique aesthetic adds a lot to the game as well. It can be a bit derivative, and if the roguelike formula of dying and starting over does not appeal to you, you may want to sit this one out.

Clearing out bosses, collecting gold, and upgrading your character are timeless fun, however, and Book of Demons has that progression down pat.

[Note: The developer provided a copy of Book of Demons for the purpose of this review]

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