Open Gaming Thread

So what are you paying right now? What do you recommend?

I've recently been playing the latest Civ V expansion — Brave New World — and worked towards a culture victory to test of some of its new elements (like tourism and archeology) — but started to lose interest in the late game. I also pre-ordered the Beta of Age of Decadence but find it very challenging to stay alive.

I'd love to find a good-old-fashioned party-based crpg, something like Helherron. On the other hand, I'm tempted by Patrick's glowing reviews of Europa Universalis IV.


Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Ryan says

    I'm currently playing through Knight of the Old Republic 2 (with the Restored Content Mod). Honestly, the story is as good and the characters are possibly better than the first one. It's a 3D D&D-based party RPG. If you've never played the KOTOR series, it's kind of a must :)

  2. tsrblke says

    I just finished Bioshock: Infinite (shut up, I know I'm behind.)

    I enjoyed it, even if it was different from it's predecessors. I'd like to pick up Assassin's Creed 3 at some point (again, shut up!).

    I figure with the new console generation starting now is a great time to work through my unplayed back catalogue of games which I can probably buy at a steep discount.

  3. says

    Hmm… what am I playing right now? I jumped back into SWTOR recently, but I'm not sure how long I'm going to stay.

    For strategy games, I highly recommend Endless Space, this is a game I keep returning to, the polished UI and fluid gameplay make it an utter joy.

    Currently my most anticipated game is EverQuest Next Landmark, it appeals to both the explorer and the creator in me, looking forward to being able to test that one out in the near future.

  4. Jim says

    Starcraft is my drug of choice. It may not be particularly new, but people keep getting better, the meta-game keeps evolving, and that makes the game perpetually new to me.

  5. David says

    I think I'm finally done with Rogue Legacy. I beat the third playthrough, got all the equipment…I guess if I really wanted to I could max out all the stats but there's no reason tooooohgod it's pulling me back in

  6. bralex says

    EU IV is great, but once you get big it gets a bit boring (e.g. late game). I'd like to see Paradox come up with a leavening of new events. I give it an A-. Another to consider is Fallen Enchantress:Legendary Heroes, still some bugs but Stardock has a solid history of maintaining and improving games. I'll have to look into Age of Decadence, but I'm actively hunting for a new 4X game.

  7. says

    I'm currently on a replay of the Dragon Age games. Mostly because it's been a while and I enjoy them, but also to create a save game that I can archive for importing into the next one when it comes out.

  8. says

    Wasteland is available again (either on Steam or at GOG) that is an old school CRPG!

    Rough to play though if you didn't play them back in the day and/or have become cozy with the streamlined UIs of today.

    I'm playing Diablo 3 on the Xbox360 and Eldritch on the PC.

  9. Matt says

    World of Tanks (mmo/strategy/sim hybrid) is the current game de jour for me, although I have a backlog of infinity+1 games. I play it mostly for the competition at high level (which can get good – aka clanwars) of 15v15 tanking and also for being able to troll the absolute heck out of a bunch of players that are basically nazis, which the game doesn't always ban the players for until you open a ticket (even though it's clearly in their TOS). Some are as obvious as naming their characters rommel, but that's easily trolled with a "Rommel was a war criminal" or "Patton was better than Rommel" response to fire them up. Send in the replay of the match when they rage in response, and they're banned. The rest of the time wargaming basically gets everything wrong in their game, which is half the entertainment.

    Fun competition + playing with a nice group + getting nazis banned? Good times.

    For games I'd suggest to other people that don't wish to combat the apparent nazi menace, I'd suggest no other than Tales of Maj'Eyal (Tome4), as an awesome thinking roguelike with a lot of variety.

  10. bannor says

    Shadowrun Returns might fit the bill. it has tactical turn based combat and is heavy in the RPG department. I've got it on my wishlist and it's only $20 on steam, i'm waiting for the looming post thanksgiving steam sale. Also both Baldur's Gate games have been polished up if you want some classic party based computer RPGs.

  11. Xoshe says

    If you're looking for an old-style party CRPG, have you looked into Spiderweb Software's offerings? Avadon and Avernum in particular, though you can still get their old titles as well, which I believe are still great (though Exile 1 and 2 are hard to get into because they are of the era of text parsers).

  12. AC says

    I've been hooked on Crusader Kings II for quite a while now; personally, I find it far more compelling than Civ V. The learning curve is somewhat steep, but the political and diplomatic system is far more involved.

  13. Pyrobellum says

    I have been playing Risk of Rain. It is one of these newfangled roguelites that I love so much. It has similarities to rogue legacy, except there is no meta-progression, and the combat is more fleshed out (10 unlockable classes that all function quite uniquely, they have 4 abilities that all have quite short cooldowns), You find items, they do things, and time progresses, the game gets harder. Quite literally, there is a timer in the top right, and every few minutes the game gets harder. If you spend forever derping around on the first level, you're making the game that much harder for yourself. It also has a great soundtrack.

  14. says

    I'm alternating between Aurora 4X, the game for people who think Dwarf Fortress doesn't have enough math and has too many fancy graphics, and leveling a Sith in KOTOR, where they've found more ways to nickel-and-dime you to death than United Airlines. In tabletop, my DM has started up a Pathfinder Mythic game, and I keep meaning to try to get my GURPS (or maybe Savage Worlds) interdimensional exploration game started again (took a break to write a novel, finished the novel, need to restart the game). (Any tabletop gamer in the L-ville Kentuckiana area, contact me.)

  15. coyoteblog says

    hooked on europa universalis iv. so many different experiences from playing different countries.

    Also my son and I have been playing Twilight struggle online via VASSAL. After two years of many replays still my favorite board game

  16. says

    Speaking of table-top, I've got a group starting up a Star Wars Edge of the Empire game tomorrow, I've been looking forward to this for a while now.

  17. FitzJames says

    I downloaded Wasteland from Steam for some true nostalgia. Looking forward to the sequel. I tried the demo of EU and the demo at least didn't make sense to me.

  18. JWH says

    I'm slowly dipping back into Mass Effect. But ME1 is annoying me. Wandering around in the Mako is NOT my idea of fun. And the ever-repeating "battle in the room in the identical-floorplan place" is cartoonishly difficult in early game, cartoonishly easy in late game.

    But mostly, I've gotten attached to pen-and-paper gaming again. It's fun watching people come up with things the rules NEVER intended … and deciding what rules we'll all ignore so that we can have fun.

  19. stillnotking says

    If you like turn-based tactical games, the new XCOM is really excellent. It just got a major and well-received expansion, too.

    That and Civ 5 (same publisher, BTW — I swear I don't work for them) are pretty much all I play, when I have the time.

  20. Blaise Pascal says

    I'm more of a table-top gamer than a video gamer. I'm part of a group that has been playing Dominion a lot over the past few months. We've recently tried Cosmic Encounter and are likely to do so again.

    As far as video games go, I've been trying to play Rock Band 3 with the MIDI guitar controller. So far, I've successfully played one song.

    I'm also getting ready to play, via Google Hangouts, a trans-oceanic D&D4e game. I've sent my character to the DM, and he's approved it. I look forward to actually playing.

  21. Logan G says

    I would steer clear of Shadowrun Returns for a while, the main campaign was lackluster but the toolset is being put to good use by the modding community, so better campaigns will come. Baldur's Gate/Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced Editions make those great games more accessible on modern systems, and provide a great party-based cRPG experience. That said, Wasteland 2 seems to be a perfect game for you, albeit it isn't coming out now until early next year.

    EDIT- Torment: Tides of Numenera is going to be an awesome game, but it won't be released until the middle of 2015.

  22. Mann42 says

    My strat/tactics game of the month is X-Com: Enemy Within. It adds a lot to the base game and has been a lot of fun.

    I also started up a new Crusader Kings II game with the new Sons of Abraham DLC. I almost always have a Europa Universalis IV, Crusader Kings II, or Victory II game going, depending on whether I feel like feudal dark age strategy, nationalistic enlightenment strategy, or revolutionary industrial strategy. Either way, I recommend anything by Paradox if you're looking for a deep and difficult strategy experience.

    Still working (slowly) through GTA5, which is extremely fun and well made, although I can only take it in small bites.

  23. solaric says

    Not what you were looking for, but if you never got around to it, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is quite good, particularly the updated director's cut edition they recently released. The original Deus Ex is also still fantastic with a few mods to update it for modern systems. It's surprising how well it continues to hold up. You might particularly enjoy some of the world building there given Popehat :).

    Beyond getting around to that I've been on a bit of a tactical game kick with Alpha Centauri and Supreme Commander (TBS and RTS respectively), and yeah, I'm not on the cutting edge of gaming. I did play Shadowrun Returns, but I can't really recommend it right now, the main campaign had good writing but ended up being a lot more shallow then I would have liked to see. Maybe after the Berlin update comes out in another couple of months. Finally, Bastion is proving a charmer for me.

  24. Charley says

    I'm currently playing Hearthstone (Blizzards online WoW CCG). I'm also digging playing some tabletop gaming with my kids (Sequence, Carcassonne, Chess, space munchkin, etc)

  25. Geno0wl says

    Battlefield 4 on PC. Have a strong private community I play with, which makes a world of difference.
    When you have 8+ people who all really work together it really makes the game shine for team play. No other FPS, or most any other game really, has that competitive team play scale like BF series does.

  26. TobinL says

    The plain stupid fun of Team Fortress 2 has been my outlet for the most part of late.
    I will be playing Torchlight2 on LAN play with my kid next week and try to get through the game together over the holiday break.

  27. Jacob H says

    Yea, World of Tanks is pretty darn fun; I have been climbing the artilliary ranks (tier 8 so far) @ Matt whats your WOT handle? Mines axiomaticality.

    I heartily recommend the game Realm of the Mad God – it's a MMO, and it's like a cross between Gauntlet and Raiden II, with the permadeath of Nethack

  28. JWH says

    @John Ammon

    Different strokes indeed. Wandering around in the Mako wasn't bad per se, but outside of the "Kill the Geth" missions in Hades Gamma, they got a little repetitive. "Here's a planet. Here is the same limited area to drive around in. Here are three things you can investigate. Two of them are side quests. One of them is the reason you are here. That third one uses the same floor plan as … every …. single … installation …. in …. the … universe."

    I didn't care for the ending, but ME3 still gets me. On my first play-through the Rannoch plotline left me feeling hollowed-out.

  29. Chris M says

    Prison Architect, pre-release available on Steam, is fun and strangely addictive.

    I got an invite to the Hearthstone beta, I need to do something about that.

    Looking into Terraria also, might be fun.

  30. Ben says

    I also really enjoy EUIV and Crusader Kings 2. Both are fun and immersive and both get boring when you let them go on too long or get too large of an empire, but that's true of Civilization games too. I like starting as a minor Irish power and trying to take over Great Britain or starting as a Shia power in Arabia and trying to topple the Ottomans.

    Also I've been playing Dark Souls recently. It's similar to Morrowind but far, far more difficult. I highly recommend it if you like dying a lot.

    As for a party based CRPG, recently all I can think of are the Dragon Age titles. You may have missed Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir though. In Mask, you start with a ~lv 17 character and quickly put together a lv 20+ party. In Storm, you start with a lv 1 party and the campaign is very non-linear, with a main goal of building up your trading company.

    And a shout out for Dominions 4 as well. A strategy game for the truly obsessed.

  31. Gundo says

    EVE Online is $5 including the first month right now on Steam, so I started playing it last night and it ate up five hours before I convinced myself that I really did need to get five hours of sleep before getting up for work. So yeah, I like it. Other excellent titles in my Steam library: Skyrim [especially with an assortment of mods], Civ5, XCOM, Witcher2, Space Hulk [turn-based, like Civ5 and XCOM], Wargame: Air-Land Battle, Assassin's Creed [all of them], Portal [and Portal2] and Shadowrun Returns.

  32. Kilroy says

    call me old school, but going way back to Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty is just a great time to waste a few days.

  33. Maria says

    I recently played the free to play Path of Exile on Steam – that would be a CRPG, right? It's fun. Also, there's this fun, super frustrating puzzle game called Desktop Dungeons. I need to check that my Dragon Age save is up-to-date, though. And revisit CKII after being distracted by EU4.

  34. wgering says

    I hop between Minecraft, Skyrim and another complete Mass Effect playthrough.

    Also Desktop Dungeons, FTL and Gratuitous Space Battles for more casual sessions.

  35. Jacob H says

    @Chris M
    Terraria is fun, but it doesn't really feel like a complete game. The developers never really put the finishing touches on it, they kind of moved on to other projects. That said, it is worth the small purchase price as a fun little diversion for a while.

    I am really excited about the Terraria dev's next project, Starbound

  36. Panzersage says

    I am currently replaying through an old game from 1998 called Warhammer Dark Omen. It's an RPG RTS, you command a mercenary company through a series of progressively more difficult battles. It's gameplay is almost exactly like the Total War series, but with magic and monsters.

    One of the coolest elements is having to replenish troops after a battle with limited resources so none of your men are throw away troops. The units gain experience and items as you play, but if you lose a unit they are gone for good.

    I also am playing a lot of War Thunder. It's like World of Tanks but with planes, and they are adding tanks and naval vessels. The tanks are in beta now and the naval vessels will come sometime next year. It's free to play.

  37. LordOChaos says

    Currently replaying half life 2. Just got my hands on the entire strong hold series STEAM sales rock. Also am continuing my overly long quest of making something of myself in oblivion.

  38. wgering says

    I didn't even think about tabletop.

    There's my years-long WFRP campaign still going…

    I also want to run either Classic Traveller or a campaign based on Larry Correia's "Monster Hunter" series with Savage Worlds rules.

    Then there's that huge box of Reaper Bones figs I still need to paint…

  39. says

    My 7 year old is way into the Lego games on the Wii (Batman 2, Star Wars, etc.), so that's what I play. Pretty doggone fun, except when he runs ahead while I am trying to get coins! That's the extent of my "gaming" these days.

  40. Anglave says

    Path of Exile. It's the game Diablo III should have been, and it's free. Micro-transaction supported, but the developers are adamantly against pay-to-win.

    Hearthstone (beta). Deeper than I originally gave it credit for, yet more approachable than Magic the Gathering. Also free. I'm playing an hour or so a day and can't wait for it to come to mobile.

    SPACECHEM, a challenging, perfect information, pure logic game. If you have any interest in programming or systems optimization, SPACECHEM is one of the very best and most challenging puzzle games I've ever played. Absolutely the best $2 tablet purchase ever, I probably played 60+ hours.
    Warning, this game does not hold your hand and the complexity curve is merciless.

    The Stanley Parable. I found this "game" to be clever but overpriced and overrated for what amounted to three hours of entertainment.
    It was courageous to release a game with the core message of "Games are stupid and you should stop playing this one." But it wasn't courageous enough to be worth my $15.

    Looking forward to Heroes of the Storm. I can't say I'm a fan of the MOBA game type, as my only experience with them so far has been League of Legends (which I would describe as pure distilled loathing). Nevertheless, I'm interested to give Blizzard's offering a try.

  41. pharniel says

    I'm getting either a Vita or DS 3XL for xmass for the exact reason – Classic party based RPGs are very, very lacking on the PC.

    On Vita/ps3 Persona 3/4, Disegea and other games are still going strong.

    Currently I've been playing on and off Guildwars 2 and Path of Exile.
    I also have World of Tanks/Planes and Hawken in my rotating stable.

    Occasionally Endless Space, Fallen Enchantress and/or Stardrive will eat a few days of time.

    I'm really looking forward to Numinera, Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity.

    On the Table we've got my Ogre box shipped, 13th Age, Feng Shui (pre-alpha testing of the new edition – you had to run the 2nd ed. corebook adventure with corebook only options), Torchbearer, Shadows of Esren, Nobilis 3rd and Cucuubo's Marvelous Wish Granting Engine to play. Also want to play some of the Gumshoe games like Night's Black Agents.

    In an ongoing D&D 4th ed Epic level Darksun game (we've 'solved' most of Darksun's immediate issues. Now we're looking for a habitable plane to invade colonize. We sorta destroyed Krynn. No big loss)

  42. marvo says

    League of Legends mainly. I am going to try out Aurora 4X (thanks Lizard) mentioned above.
    I will probably pay a month of subs to WoW when the expansion comes. It is an odd thing with WoW that the cross platform instances pretty much killed the game for me. It is easier to get a group but noone has any incentice to be decent.
    Diablo3 was amusing to run through once. The plot is utter nonsense and the drops pointlessly random, gold meaningless.

    Still play civ2 in a virtual machine now and again.

  43. jtf says

    Second EUIV and CK2. Also second DX:HR, especially if you're into stealth rather than brute force. Since I am a huge nerd, I have been slowly working my way through the career mode of Kerbal Space Program, which is surprisingly challenging. In terms of RTS I have surprisingly gotten back into Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance multiplayer, using the Forged Alliance Forever community that has continued to update and balance the game. I rarely feel the urge to do FPS these days, and if I do I play Borderlands with my fiancee.

    For explicitly CRPG-like titles, frankly the last one I remember with explicit CRPG structuring was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which is very old. The Dragon Age series might be another bet, and it was genuinely fun for me, but I can only recommend it with caveats: only play the first one (origins) and its expansion, since the second one was a rushed cash-in sequel with lots of re-used layouts; since only the origin story set pieces differ between characters and you are basically forced to play all the classes anyway the replay value is low; finally, the perks (and classes in general) are not at all balanced.

  44. Blah says

    Saint's Row IV is the best action game I've ever played, to the point where it's made every other action game seem worse by comparison. It's like GTA…except you can completely customize your character, the antagonists are Saturday-morning-cartoon style aliens that listen to classical music and quote Shakespeare, you play as the President of the United States, and you have insane superpowers. Nothing beats tossing a fireball at a crowd of pedestrians and then running straight up the side of a skyscraper to escape the fuzz – except doing the same thing while wearing a goggle-eyed pink and green horse head mask.

    Other than that I've been spending a lot of time in Final Fantasy XIV. I've always thought the idea of MMORPGs was really cool even if the implementation usually seemed pretty boring. But for whatever reason I can play FFXIV for hours, sitting there weaving shirts or crafting bracelets without a care in the world. I have no idea why it's clicked so well for me, but it's really relaxing.

  45. Maria says

    @John, thanks! I am horrible when it comes to categorizing games.

    Ken – If you like Civ there's a game called Endless Space that my husband really likes. It looks to be more challenging, and I don't know if you can have the equivalent of a cultural victory, or it's all domination.

  46. Gabriel says

    Another vote for Path of Exile- I would call it the finest iteration of the Diablo model yet released, and it's 100% free to play.

    My tabletop group has a 4E campaign, and a campaign which was a D&D Next playtest but is now being converted to 13th Age.

    We also play horror boardgames- Betrayal at House on the Hill, Mansions of Madness, and Touch of Evil. I think this weekend we're doing Last Night on Earth.

    Really looking forward to getting my Fallen kickstarter.

    Reinstalled Fable recently but couldn't get into it.

  47. Ken Mencher says

    Civ 5, Endless Space, the new X-Com, but I'm also looking for a good party-based CRPG…

    The original Wasteland was fun, but just too painful to play again…

    I'm waiting on the kickstarter games I backed to publish in the meantime…but I could also use something interesting…

    EU IV sounds intriguing…but sadly, I've been forced back into … reading books.

    I know, it's horrible… ;p

  48. Christopher Jones says

    I've been playing Binding of Isaac forever (over 300 hours in it).

    Dark Souls and Goodbye Deponia take up the rest of my gaming time.

    For RPGs, I second the person who said to look at the Avadon series by Spiderweb software.

  49. Dan says

    I am all about Spelunky. Actually, I usually play mySpelunky, which is my own personal mod of Spelunky 1.1. It's got infinite levels plus some new items and features. As a programmer, working on the mod in GameMaker is as much fun for me as actually playing it.

    @Mike, nice, I will look up Xenonauts.

  50. Anglave says

    I forgot to mention Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It's definitely among the best in its class and another "Better than Diablo III" title winner. It's a little like Diablo meets Oblivion, and the result is better than either.

  51. azazel1024 says

    Kerbal Space Program.

    There is no time for anything else

    (Okay, actually I did try out World of Warplanes, and I might sink an odd hour in to that every once in awhile. I think).

    My young kids and wife suck up all the rest of my spare time.

  52. Sky says


    Currently flipping schizophrenically back and forth between my CK2 Scotland and Khazar campaigns (the latter tend to be horrifically brief) and my EU4 Muscovy/Russia and Japanification campaigns (id).

    Ken, I propose you start a CKII campaign with the ultimate goal of converting into EU4.

  53. bralex says

    Ken – either is good, just beware of the steep learning curve. Nothing like Dwarf Fortress, but still pretty high. I seek out games like that though!

  54. Pie Face says

    Where to begin? I've been on a 'classics' binge recently, enjoying such masterpieces as System Shock 2 and the original Deus Ex (though Human Revolution is a worthy successor).

    In the hack-n-slash department, Path of Exile has eaten up pretty much all of my free time in the last two/three months, but I have no regrets (also, it's free)!

    As far as turn-based strategy goes, I heartily recommend the Heroes of Might and Magic series, but especially heroes V (as long as you've got the expansions).

    And, lastly, as others in the thread have already said, the KOTOR games are fantastic – if you're willing to do a little modding/bug fixing work, Obsidian's games are as good as they get.

  55. Votre says

    I've been playing Broken Glass Studio's The Dark Mod, a FOSS freebie first person that's been called: Thief done right."

    THE DARK MOD 2.0 is a free, first-person stealth game inspired by the Thief series by Looking Glass Studios. It recreates the essence of the original Thief games on a more modern engine. Both a game and a mission-creation platform, The Dark Mod allows players and mappers alike to enjoy missions in a gothic steampunk universe.The Dark Mod was officially released on October 17th, 2009. As of October, 2013, TDM 2.0 is now completely standalone, and no longer requires Doom3. "

  56. Anglave says

    @azazel1024 Oh wow, I had forgotten KSP. I played a lot of hours between 0.15 and 0.17.1

    I played stock and loved it, sent a land-and-return mission to Laythe in 0.17, and was working on a land-and-return stock Eve mission (hard!)

    But although I like many of the features they've added, I got sick of the game breaking my saves every couple weeks, and constantly adding half-finished features. I haven't checked it out since it hit Steam. Has it stabilized yet?

    Also, one of my favorite aspects of the game is the totally unguided, "build it yourself and see if it works" attitude. While they've added systems that make the game more playable, they've also removed some of the satisfaction of manually designing, plotting and piloting a mission.

    Maneuver Nodes are great, but they spoiled some of the fun of actually having to learn and understand orbital mechanics to get anywhere.

  57. Mark says

    Not a ton of shooter fans here, huh?

    I'm playing the latest Call of Duty for now. But it's not all that great.

  58. Damon says

    Still plugging away at Anarchy Online (yes I know) while waiting for Elder Scrolls Online.

    Played the Duex Ex games and will probably go back to Elder Scrolls Skrim and try to finished all the achievements I can and Oblivion as well and hit the last playfield I missed over the xmas break.

  59. Dylan says

    I'm playing Borderlands 2, but that's not really what you're looking for.

    I might suggest Legend of Grimrock, which is a bit more Ultima Underworld than most of the titles listed previously.
    Also XCOM: Enemy Unknown, especially with the expansion which changed quite a bit of the core game.

  60. Owen says

    I played Crusader Kings II, but I downloaded the mod that changes it to a Game of Thrones theme. Everyone is exactly right when they say that the learning curve is steep – it explains things, just not in a way that you can clearly apply them… It's also quite different from normal turn based strategy games, because the vast majority of avenues you have to 'win' are long term, rather than just attacking and conquering this or that.

    But, when I finally put a Halys Stark on the Iron Throne in Riverrun, after three generations of civil war, a dozen diplomatic marriages to shore up allies, and numerous assassinations to remove heirs and consolidate power, it felt like an accomplishment. Then it got a bit boring…

    Also, I haven't played it yet, but I am dying to Total War: Rome II. The Total War franchise is incredible. It is the perfect blend of RTS and TBS, because you manage the civilization in TBS format, but do the dirty work (i.e., battles) in RTS. It'll give you an enormous appreciation for the historical period – I learned more about geography and geopolitics in Middle Age Europe through Medieval II: Total War than I did in college level courses on the subject.

  61. melK says

    While I do play Civ 5 on my brother's computer, I declined to 'purchase' the game myself. Steam retains the ability to disable games you've already purchased. That isn't purchasing a game, that's renting it for an indefinite period.

  62. Austin says

    After seeing that Stardock is working on the third version of the game, I've been spending some quality time with GalCivII recently. Online multi-player is mostly either League of Legends or Path of Exile.

    I've got EUIV, but frankly that game is so daunting that I want a bit of time to learn the thing, something I've not had recently unfortunately.

  63. JSM says

    X-Com Enemy Within (I save _all_ the countries), LoL (damn you S4, you drop the ratios on real supports and we're going to be terrorized by Fiddlesticks and Annie), and Long Live the Queen (a strange RPGish story where you try to help the princess lead her country without getting assassinated).

  64. Dan says

    I was going to fire up XCOM: Enemy Unknown this weekend as I've had it sitting in my steam library for far too long, and then a friend of mine suggested I check out Path of Exile.

    It's crack flavored diablo candy.

    I saw a lot of good 4x suggestions in here, but didn't see Sins of a Solar empire mentioned. I really always loved that one too and still fire it up from time to time.

  65. says

    Between Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV I prefer EU, for its better developed combat and economic systems. What EU lacks is Crusader King's dynastic system, where your ruler character, his relations with vassals, and attempts to pass the kingdom on to a proper heir are quite important, and to my knowledge unique in strategy gaming. It isn't roleplaying, but it has a touch of that feel.

    In EUIV you're playing a nation. In CKII you're playing a family that rules a nation. If you enjoy Civilization (which I haven't touched since EUIV arrived), I suspect that you'll enjoy EUIV a bit more than CKII.

  66. Nyarlathotep says

    I've been playing XCOM with the new expansion. I enjoyed the hell out of XCOM when it first got relaunced a couple of years ago and with the expansion I am enjoying the hell out of it once more.

    I also have been playing a little bit of Talisman:Digital Edition. It's okay but the AI needs quite a bit of work

  67. Parallax says

    Skyrim is an example of a perfect libertarian game. You don't like something about the game? There's a mod for that! If there isn't, make one!

    I just breathed new life into the game by making it far more like a hardcore rpg with Requiem. It makes Skyrim into the game it should have been. Browse the Skyrim Nexus, check out the top few mods in each category, and your experience will improve exponentially.

    I am also a Civ junkie, and have been since the 90s. One of the mods I like for Civ V is Fortress Borders. It lets you claim territory with a General without needing to make a city. Also, to keep things interesting late game, start peeling away the city states from rivals, and declare war a bit more. Being at war keeps things interesting. This game-specific philosophy is completely at odds with how I view real life, of course. :)

    My most played game at the moment is League of Legends. I main Shaco in the jungle. I recommend that game because it is as expensive or as free as you want it to be, and is fluid, real-time chess. It is super fun, and the strategies/combinations make for some serious replayability. If you have a voice chat system, like Ventrilo or Mumble, your team's/friend's ability to coordinate can be absolutely devastating.

    I'm also breathlessly waiting for Elder Scrolls Online. :)

    Also, I see there are a lot of LoL players here. If you see a Shaco named Maleko13, that's me. I'd be glad to Pope it up some time.

  68. Maria says

    I feel so torn when choosing between CK2 and EU4. I think it's better to think of which one you play first. EU would make a better gateway, I think :)

  69. Blah says

    As others have pointed out, the Avadon series of CRPGs is pretty good in that delicious oldschool way. As an added bonus I believe the ones on Steam support cloud saves, so if you're like me and swap computers all the time it's easy to keep playing wherever you've left off.

  70. Luke says

    Got my beta invite for Elder Scrolls Online last night, just a weekend beta so I really hope my wife doesn't plan on seeing me for a couple days.

  71. Toom1275 says

    I've been playing Warframe since it went to open Beta. 3rd-person 1-4 player co-op space ninja shooter. They're having a big update imminent that'll be changing a lot of gameplay, so it may be best to wait a day or two for that to drop before getting into it.
    The action is fun, but prepare for a RNG grind.
    Game has a f2p format, but real-world money is only required for cosmetic items. All non-event-exclusive gear can be acquired without spending a cent.

  72. Parallax says

    Luke, so did I! Already told the girlfriend that I have plans for the weekend. Which alliance do you favor so far?

  73. brewerbob says

    Currently going through the Battle of the Coral Sea scenario in the game "Flattop". Building up to play the old SPI game "War in the Pacific".

  74. Anglave says


    I saw a lot of good 4x suggestions in here, but didn't see Sins of a Solar empire mentioned. I really always loved that one too and still fire it up from time to time.

    I played Sins (single player) when it was new, and felt it had a lot of promise. As a single player game it works fairly well.
    Then I introduced it to our LAN group, and we had no end of trouble. A large game takes too long, and the expansion only made it worse by making turtling more effective.

    We also had great difficulty with server stability, connectivity, and game saving. We never did complete a full 8 player game, and were never able to restore one that had crashed. Kind of a letdown when you invest seven hours into a game, eliminate half your opponents, and then the game crashes and is unrecoverable.
    At least the people who've been sitting around waiting for five hours, because they got killed out early (or their game crashed), get to get to be included again when you all decide to play something else.

  75. Bret G says

    I picked up Hitman: Absolution for $6.50 and have been ignoring the terrible story and writing and enjoying the sneaky killpuzzle aspects of the game.

    Europa Universalis IV is great!

    Oh, for party-based CRPGs, I imagine you've tried Legend of Grimrock?

  76. Adam says

    I'll add my vote to the three prior mentions of Kerbal Space Program/KSP: "Rocket Science, how hard can it be?".

    I'm playing the latest version, 0.22, and would like to assure @Anglave that the game has been stable since I started playing 0.21 in August (but I think there haven't been very many updates). We have career mode now and I don't think there are any shortcut-type tools (I assuming you're thinking of MechJeb, but even maneuver nodes) that are mandatory.

    I think everybody owes it to the people of planet Kerbin too help them with their space program. I've never seen such derring-do or appreciation for the beauty of our universe as on the faces of those little googly-eyed green dudes.

  77. SimpleMachine says

    Games certainly are fun, but I have found that they lose their capacity to entertain far too quickly. Therefore, I have instead recently purchased a pony, which I have been promised will be a source of endless juvelequine adventure. We're going to be the best of friends.

  78. Keith says

    Currently playing the Hexxit modpack for Minecraft. Battle towers! New tools and weapons! Rideable Chocobos! Much death! Oh, and meteors that hit at night and make a giant burning mess of your front yard, dang it.

    I'm also still a World of Warcraft subscriber, since 2004. It has ceased to be a game for me, and is now more like a hobby. Not a raider, though. I prefer solo play, even though my main is a Mage. Clearing an area takes so much time, and I love it.

  79. jtf says


    I have over 500 hours logged on total war games since the original R:TW and preordered the new one, and I have to say that I've been disappointed with Rome II. It has better graphics but the strategy gameplay basically hasn't evolved at all since Empire, which was unplayable without Darthmod. While the battles have been incredible (although the siege AI is STILL buggy as heck), the fact of the matter is that R2TW has failed to hold my interest because the singleplayer strategy is gameable. If you're looking for a new experience, I'd recommend the whatever the latest edition of Third Age Total War (Medieval II mod) is and go from there. I'm going to wait a year to see if RTW becomes at all playable.

  80. Luke says

    @Parallax – I normally go Redguard or Wood Elf in TES games so I am kind of torn but I'm leaning Daggerfall because I like all 3 of their race choices.

  81. Taliesyn says

    Right now I have a Deus Ex: Human Revolution game on hold about 5 hours in, a Mass Effect 3 playthrough about 85% done, and have been playing the hell out of XCom: Enemy Within. I'm thinking of playing the Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition, though. I wonder if I still remember where all the traps are….

  82. Tyson says

    I'm playing Final Fantasy XIV in my solo free time.

    I play Diablo 3 on playstation 3 with my wife. I'm sure the PC master race will have something to say about this, but the console version of D3 is by far the superior version. Local coop on the couch is just awesome.

    I'm also teaching my stepson some respect for the classics. Right now we are alternating between Super Mario World and Super Metroid.

  83. Owen says


    :( Empire was terrible! Such a disappointment (especially since I've recently gotten into the Hardcore History and History of Rome podcasts, so my interest in Roman games could not be higher).

    I'll wait for a mod to come out, I guess. Kind of you to let me know. Thanks.

  84. GeoffreyK says

    @Jacob JH
    I'm curious which version of Terraria you played (how early); I picked it up for the first time earlier this year, and sunk an incredible amount of time into it (and this was after my original Minecraft binge, so not my first go in this genre). I got the impression that the post-WoF content was added after the fact, and was pretty substantial. In addition, they just put out yet another significant expansion (which should be the last one for Terraria), and I've been hearing good things about it.

    Personally, Path of Exile for when I'm playing with others, and Skyrim when my Path of Exile friends are not around (enjoying it more than Oblivion, but less than Fallout 3 [NV is still on the to-do list]). Path of Exile, for a F2P game, has particularly impressed me by never prompting me to spend money even though I've put a solid 50 hours into it at this point, and being extremely high quality to boot. If ARPGs are up your alley, I can't recommend it enough.

  85. Lucas Perin says

    Skyrim and Faster than Light. My kids like Scribblenauts.

    The Humble Bundle is a really nice way of getting a lot of good games.

  86. ... says

    Pony Wars: Total Desolation with the Time to get Dressed Up expansion pack. The new Shopping and Medicine elements have been eating up all of my free time.

  87. Bill S. says

    I've started playing F.E.A.R., got all of the titles on a very good deal through Steam. I love some first person shooters.

  88. Jacob H says

    I did play it somewhat early (there were already 4 bosses though), but I went back recently to check out the last update. Although I haven't really put much time into the new, "final" version, it didn't seem to really turn it into a "complete" game, the way minecraft eventually did (by giving the game a clear objective/end: kill the enderdragon)

  89. Sam says

    Nothing's been quite hitting my fancy lately besides of course Jazz Jackrabbit 2 and its ever-expanding content and scripting possibilities. I've been playing Spelunky while watching the news, though, just to keep me occupied, because I usually win otherwise and the added distraction+slower frame rate makes it more of a challenge.

  90. Colin says

    Eve online. Internet spaceships are serious business. Gotta love wormhole life, every now and then you get to shoot someone, but the rest of the time is spent dealing with your supply lines :)

    Also playing through Bioshock (the original) for the first time.

  91. Ron Larson says

    I've been hearing good things about 'Disney Infinity' in Toy Box Mode. This may not be your cup of tea. But it is a game you can do with your kids, and your kids will love.

    I've heard it described as Disney meets Minecraft with better graphics.

    I've read that getting to toy box mode is a pain. But you might let your kids get you there.

  92. says

    Ken – between the Paradox games, you might want to start with CKII if you are hankering after a little roleplaying. CKII is grand strategy, but you as the player can insert some RP into the game as you shape your ruler's decisions based on his/her past, personality traits, etc. The player also helps to shape the character of each successor as well. So CKII might fulfill your hankering for both strategy and RP all in one.

    Of course, Steam will be starting their holiday sales soon. Everything gets discounted at some point…could just wait for those juicy 50%+ discounts. Then you can get BOTH games with a clear conscience. :p

  93. Anglave says

    So this thread got me excited about exploring new games (some of those mentioned above and also just looking for new material).

    I bumped into Project Eternity, which I had been woefully ignorant of. Too late to become a Kickstarter backer, but I did donate on their site.

    I also just found The Mandate, which one can still join the Kickstarter for, and I kicked them.

    The project isn't yet funded, so if you're interested in "XCOM meets spaceship combat", I recommend you go over to Kickstarter and check it out.

  94. Lago says

    Starcraft II lately. I've also been playing Sim City 5. Debating on whether I want the expansion for that or not.

  95. JLA Girl says

    I'm working my way through the Burial at Sea add on to Bioshock: Infinite. (Yes, I know it's only supposed to take a couple of hours, but I like to sight see!)

    Also playing Arkham Origins (it's a bit meh so far, but I'm in the early stages) and finishing up Borderlands 2's DLC (loot, baby!)

    Any causal gamers/comic fans might want to give Marvel Puzzle Quest (ios) a try. It's disturbingly addictive and free to play if you're content with random prize grabs.

  96. Craig says

    I'm part way through the mass effect series and loving it. The rpg elements are more defined in the first game than the second.

  97. says

    Ken, I propose you start a CKII campaign with the ultimate goal of converting into EU4.

    If you have the Crusader Kings II / Europa Universalis IV converter, it is possible to begin a campaign of EUIV with several entertaining alternate history nations, including Aztecs and Incas with western technology levels. Cortez is in for a nasty surprise when he meets Aztecs with muskets.

    Another one I got a kick out of is the Roman Empire. As Byzantium it is possible, though difficult, to beat the Turks and Mongols and Gernmans, reuniting the Roman Empire in Crusader Kings. If you do, and convert the game to Europa Universalis IV, you will begin the game as a three continent superpower with armies that outmatch the rest of Europe as much as Rome's outmatched the Gauls.

    I have an alternate history game of that sort, where in the mid 1600s Rome is fighting the Aztecs for control of the west coast of Africa.

  98. Ollie says

    I'm shocked that nobody mentioned the new Pokemon games… That's what I've been playing almost exclusively. New items and improved online features make it way easier for competitive battling, which makes the game endlessly playable.

  99. TomB says

    If you just want to kill things, I found Serious Sam 3 (no, really) took me to my happy place. Having never played the first two, I was surprised. Lots of BOOM.

    I'm trying to restart the Skyrim expansion, but as much as I LOVED the game, I'm having trouble getting back into it.

    The new Thief….Is it February yet?

  100. Tarrou says

    Wargame: European Escalation is a great realistic RTS with modern-ish units. Think 1988. A fair bit of a learning curve that repays with years of entertainment.

    Civ 5 is just hard to beat. It won't ever knock WoW off the most-played pedestal, but it sure beats anything else.

    For shooter fans, I play two co-op games that are kind of shite on the graphics, but make up for it in sheer fun, provided you have a friend or two to play with.

    Killing Floor – class-based FPS co-op only zombie shooter. Bar none hte best value for money of any game ever. I got it on Steam sale for three bucks, and have almost five hundred hours into it.

    Payday 2 – like KF, only with cops instead of zombies (Clark alert!) and theft and coke smuggling and blackmailing senators. Property damage! Safe drilling! Stupid masks!

  101. Manglefrot says

    I've been replaying Fallout: New Vegas (with all DLC) using Project Nevada and some mods that turn all the disconnected cells of Freeside The Strip into two big, open areas (I actually understand the layout of Freeside now!). And a smattering of bugfix mods.

    I have Fallout 3+DLC too, and I've been meaning to try Tale of Two Wastelands again. Tale of Two Wastelands puts all the content of Fo3+DLC into FNV, allowing you to visit both wastelands (and do all quests, find all phat lewt, etc.) with the same character, plus take advantage of FNV's technical superiority to FO3. Tale of Two Wastelands requires all DLC from both games (except Courier's Stash).

  102. says

    Just finished "How to Survive", a cheap Windows zombie survival game. It's actually got a fair amount of Diablo in it, with a little talent tree and a lot of crafting mechanics. And, of course, the requisite survival type game features: you need sleep, food, and water. Acquiring each carries various risks and issues. Zombies, you know. Small hands. Smell like cabbage. Err… maybe that's some other group.

    It's not the best game in the world, but solid entertainment for its asking price of $14.99.

  103. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says

    Been on a roguelike kick lately – Dungeons of Dredmor, Legend of Grimrock, and Spelunky. They are all simple fun (Grimrock would be the crpg-est).

    Playing the shorter play games because I've been totally sucked in by the countdown clock site Zenimax registered. Since it looks like marketing for a new Fallout game – or at least DLC – my gaming time might be taken up in the (hopefully) near future.

  104. Drew says

    I'm stuck on Civ V myself now, biding my time for Project Eternity and the new Planscape. I liked Shadowrun Returns but it seems to be picking a fight with the current set of drivers for my GPU, and Rome II: Total War was just too big to be much in the way of fun. I'm also really curious about X Rebirth, which looks like it could either be amazing or a terrible waste of time.

    Also, Popehat comment threads just made my day.

  105. Matt says

    Well, a little over a year ago, I got sucked into Kingdom of Loathing, a semi-MMORPG, thanks to the sense of humor involved (monster names, spell names, descriptions, etc. are usually parodies of classic things and/or pop culture references).

    Otherwise, I too am waaaaay behind on Assassin's Creed games, I'm technically in the middle of several JRPGs (mostly Final Fantasys, but also Tales of Xillia, and Eternal Sonata) and I love the LEGO games.

  106. Grey says

    I'm waiting for the 2 Metal Gear Solid games next year right now, and watching the 11 year old puzzle her way through Shadow of the Colossus HD, hooked up to the good sound system.

    Still incredible today.

  107. says

    I've highly enjoyed "The Room," available for Ipad, Kindle, and Android tablets. It's a picture puzzle game in the tradition of Myst, with an engrossing, creepy backstory, and it costs about four bucks.

    Better than setting the money on fire, which is about the only other thing you can do with four bucks.

  108. AlanF says

    When I have just a few minutes to play, I mostly play Pacman. If I want to settle down with a game for a while, I play Lemmings. If I am standing in line (DMV, event tickets, concerts, etc.) I play World of Goo on my smart phone.

    Most of the time, however, I am so busy with my hobbies that there is little "spare" time for games.

  109. Todd S. says

    Still playing Diablo 3, and loving it. The expansion's closed Beta test has begun, and I'm looking forward to the real thing going live (next year).

  110. Conster says

    I'm guessing you don't have a 3DS; if you do, though, I recommend Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies. It's a bit shorter than the previous games, but it's cheaper too.
    As for CRPGs, there's the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Editions, of course. I wouldn't recommend getting Shadowrun Returns just yet (I backed and played it, so this isn't me hating on it): wait until people have had more time to make custom campaign, there's a sale, or the Shadowrun: Dragonfall expansion comes out.

  111. Geoff says

    Kingdom of Loathing is absolutely brilliant. I never got into its depths (turtles, all the way down), just having played through the main quest lines once, but completely worth it (especially with it being free)…

    Just went to check, and my level 17 Accordion Thief is still just chilling.

  112. SPQR says

    Pax Porfiriana by Sierra Madre Games.

    But I warn you … its not a computer game but a multi-player card game about the Mexican Revolution.

  113. Dan says

    I really really like EU IV, and am now thinking about trying CK2. If you're interested in realistic tactical combat games, Battlefront puts out a game called Combat Mission that is quite good, if you're willing to overlook its less then stellar graphics and invest the time in positioning units properly at the start of the game.

  114. Aaron says

    I've been playing Far Cry 3 lately, but that's not really a strategy game.

    Democracy 3 is a lot of fun, though. Here are some reviews from its Steam page:

    “Apparently somewhere between the genuine bona fide electrified six-car monorail, the prostitutes and the land mines, I lost the support of the electorate.”

    “I returned to Democracy 3 in an attempt to put right the wrongs of my previous administration. On my first visit, I broke Britain, crushing its culture and creating a country reminiscent of Clockwork Orange, filled with gangs and ultraviolence.”

    You get the idea. It's basically a giant data visualizer with lots of sliders, but it's fun, addicting, and somewhat strategic.

  115. says

    Well, another World Of Tanks player here – I have amassed a pretty large stable of upper tier tanks, while only spending like $6 on the game. :) (handle: Wraithe if anyone comes a-looking)

    Been reworking the GURPS campaign that I made for my daughter lo, a few years ago, but I've been putting more focus on writing a GURPS supplement that has been bouncing in my head for a couple of years.

    Aforementioned daughter has been trying to suck me into Borderlands 2 on the FPS side, which I should probably do before she gets too high level.

    And whoever mentioned that EVE was on sale in Steam; "thanks a lot, pal." (insert sarcasm tag) I guess I'll be making another pass at Eve shortly.

    Oh! and my copy of the OGRE tank boardgame showed up last thursday! All 30 lbs of it. I haven't brought myself to unwrap it yet, I'm just basking in its glory. :)

  116. Christoph says

    World of Tanks here, too. It reminds me of the Microprose games back in the good old days, especially M1 Tank Platoon.
    And then there's Plants vs. Zombies, and various roguelikes. And Transcendence, an indie space-sandbox game (but you're mostly blowing things up with increasingly destructive spaceship weaponry).

  117. princessartemis says

    I've been deep in The Secret World, the first MMO I ever played. I'm also running a 4e D&D campaign using the virtual tabletop.

  118. James Pollock says

    I'm about 80% through Lego Marvel Superheroes. It's similar in gameplay mechanics to Lego Batman 2, with NYC instead of Gotham City (and Marvel characters instead of DC, of course).

    Most of the characters you'd expect are there, with a few exceptions (No Namor, even though there's an underwater level) and a few surprises (Galactus as a playable character.) The only part I haven't liked is that vehicles are almost unplayably hard to control properly, and there are several races that must be won to fully unlock everything.

  119. JovialJuggernaut says

    Kerbal Space Program. Learning orbital mechanics has never been so much fun. Also probably one of the best teaching games ever, even if it can be a little unforgiving.

  120. Zemalkop says

    Right now I'm playing a lot of "Trouble in Terrorist Town", it's an addon to the HL2 mod "Garry's Mod".
    You're all innocent terrorists, but one of you is a traitor. The traitor has to kill the other terrorists without the others noticing or figuring out who the traitor is.
    It's a lot of fun, nothing really special, but a lot of fun regardless.

  121. jaydubya says

    Let's see – primary: World of Tanks (jaydubya). It is crazy how much fun it is, much more than I would have expected.
    Secondary: Total War: Rome II – it was buggy and disappointing right after release, but they've been making it steadily better.

    I also received a beta invite for an MMO, so I'll be trying that out this weekend. (Mental note, download it onto a second computer so my Skyrim-loving son will not fight with me over the main computer).

    Previous games I've enjoyed this year:
    XCOM –
    Bioshock Infinite –
    Halo IV – finally finished all of the cooperative missions
    Gratuitous Space Battles – simple and fun

    I've tried a bunch of other games: Don't Starve, The Walking Dead, Sins of a Solar Empire – they were not to my taste.

  122. Woff1965 says

    I'm currently running through the ME trilogy (again), another 100 hours lost :) .

    Also going through the latest CoD, not as much fun as the older versions. Got the latest XCom expansion, I would love to say I enjoyed it but like a lot of other people I've had serious problems with crashes and lock ups; I am waiting for a bug fix so I can actually get further than half way through a mission before needing to do a hard reboot on my PC.

    I have been playing a lot of Civ V, but the real time killer at the moment is a game called Command: Air Naval Operations, I installed it and then realised I had been playing 6 hours or so. Definitely consider this if you are a hardcore wargamer.

  123. ZarroTsu says

    Phantasy Star Online 2: A hack-and-slash kind of over-the-shoulder RPG. Very high quality and a lot of fun. There's been a massive US delay because SEGA supposedly hates everyone over here, so if it peaks your interest you'd have to play on the JP servers… Can be played in parties of 4 a la Diablo, but three parties can participate in a 'multi-party area' at once, resulting in larger enemy groups and higher chances of boss monsters spawning in the field (When 12 people gang-stomp a dragon the size of a small house, it's pretty great).

    Terraria: Minecraft in 2D with a platformer/combat focus. After two years of dead air, there have finally been some impressive updates to it that make every end-game build up to the player. Lots of variety and unique weapons. Can be played on a server of up to 255 people at once.

  124. Cat says

    Starcraft 2 (HotS) at the moment, interspersed with Kerbal Space Program. Because nothing is more fun than dropping mules to victory, then building a rocket that blows up on the pad.

  125. Rhapsody says

    Lego marvel, minecraft, and skylanders swap force! I swear I'm a 32 year old woman, and no… No kids… I just married the oldest 12 year old in the world.

  126. Derek says

    Sadly nothing… I sold my 360 and PS3 a few months ago so I could actually get a decent amount for them knowing the price would crash through the floor when the next gen consoles hit. Tomorrow my XBox One, that I pre-ordered 7 months ago, arrives and Assassins Creed Black Flag will be the first game in.

  127. MrSpkr says

    Skyrim, yet again (never pulled through it all the way as a primary mage). Also loving Combat Mission: Normandy by Just got finished with a Scourge of War: Gettysburg kick.

    My most anticipated game at the moment is Rome Total War 2.

    I only wish I could get in touch with people in the DFW area to do some old fashioned paper RPGs.

  128. Dan Weber says

    Ultima IV, and I'm pretending to have no prior knowledge at all of the game, instead of having every byte of the source memorized like I actually do.

  129. D506 says

    If asked, I would have said my interest in gaming and my interest in blogs like Popehat were a strange coincidence. Apparently, it's not as esoteric a combination as I'd thought.

    If you're interested in grand strategy, I can't stress enough that CK2 and EUIV are the undisputed masters in this area. Paradox's Hearts of Iron II (either the Doomsday: Armageddon expansion or the Darkest Hour re-release) is also fantastic if you prefer something a little more military focused. Hearts of Iron 3 has been out awhile and may be worth a go, but I could never get into it myself.

    For cRPGs, if you haven't played the Baldur's Gate you really, really should. You can get the whole series quite cheaply and fixed up for a modern OS from, then install the Trilogy mod to play through the entire series on Baldur's Gate 2's (much improved) engine.

    Alternatively, reworked Enhanced Editions have recently been released for both games. Frankly, reviews are mixed on these and they offer very little that doesn't already exist as mods for the originals.

  130. says

    So I tried Crusader Kings II last night. It has a steep learning curve.

    I started with the Earl of Dublin. He has the Lustful trait. So he slept with his daughter-in-law — the wife of his heir. She bore his (secret) child). But the Earl's wife is also his spymaster, and assassinated her daughter-in-law. There really wasn't anything the Earl could do about it. Interesting.

  131. Maria says

    @Ken: Playing as Matilda of Tuscany is, I think, a good way to learn the game. Although my favorite playthrough started in Ireland, so I can't diss your choice.

  132. Nathaniel says

    I'm going to add a third recommendation for Spiderweb Software's stuff. I think it's exactly what you're looking for in terms of old-style party-based rpgs.

  133. Marcus says

    Mainly been playing games by Uwe Rosenberg lately, such as Agricola and Le Havre. Really enjoying the 2-player versions of both of those games.

    Oh, you mean video games? Well, I hear there is an iOS version of Agricola that came out recently.

  134. Patrick O says

    I'm splitting time between Metal Gear Solid 4 (only now playing it for the first time) and Payday 2 (i.e. Game of the Forever). I'd recommend both, especially Payday.

  135. Niall says

    Stanley Parable – I got it on sale and felt that was the proper value – then again, I like a certain amount of metaness. To be played late at night, after a (good) beer or two, for maximum effect. I have to say the narrator is just about perfect, which is rare. But after a while I checked a few hints and clues (mostly because I suck).

    Antichamber – this one I refuse steadfastly to check hints. It’s over a year old but challenging puzzles with internal logic are a good way to hook me. I haven’t had a breakthrough in weeks, but when it happens, I feel intensely happy and clever.

    Team Fortress 2 is always good when I want to not think much.

    I just finished Half-Life 2… for the first time. Got the whole series last year and making my way through it without guides. The big end-game environments are… chillingly atmospheric.

    Kerbal Space Program – you get out of it what you can put into it. I once managed to get a trio into deep space with no chance of returning. That was fun! (the planes elude me though. A “little” unforgiving, @JovialJuggernaut??)

    Strategy tabletop, I only play when a local friend hosts day-long game meets with his collection, but I’m always up for Brass or the 18xx series. Tough, but I actually do better than Caylus or Carcassone or those kind. I should reinstall Brettspielwelt on my computer to play some of those games more often…

    I don’t count Rock Band (1/2/3/beatles) or DDR as those are constant recreations.

  136. jackn2 says

    I write more games than I play (which is very little in both cases). Recently, I had a short but extreme obsession with dayz.

  137. kmc says

    Forced, which Husband and I can play together in very short time increments. Both of those things are very important to us these days. Also, it's an indie game with an underdog developers' back story.

  138. Burnside says


    CKII is my current game of choice. If you think you like it, I wholeheartedly recommend putting the money down for the multiple DLC mini-expansions that they've put out. Not a single one drastically changes the game. They just make it more real. I used to complain that I couldn't send my children into the church, but through DLC I can. I used to complain that the only game worth playing was as a Christian ruler because the others weren't fleshed out. Well, now pagan religions, heretical religions, islam, and even judaism are fleshed out. The DLCs make the game so much better.

  139. JonSith24 says

    I used to play KoL, but the grinding got to me, had to put it down. It was fun for a while.
    I'm currently on Marvel Heroes Online, free to play but I got in on the beta, bought some heroes (Deadpool! Emma Frost!) and love it. I started Lego Marvel and liked that so far, but I touch my PS3 a lot less lately, no particular reason why.
    My Win7 machine has been bogging down on Civ 5 with the last few DLCs, it might be clutter on the machine or something else. I switched the video and resolution settings lower but it didn't help. If I could splurge on a Win8 machine it wouldn't be a problem. *sigh*
    Thinking of getting back into DCU Online after a I played a few months premium on PC last year. Trying free play on PS3 might be more affordable, and I think it will play better with the PS3 controller.

  140. Ben says

    CK2 definitely has a learning curve but once you're used to it there aren't many things to fiddle with and you can run the game on high speed. Spymaster wives are nothing but trouble, always trying to kill your bastards. I like to appoint powerful and disloyal vassals as spymaster and send them to Georgia or Constantinople to study technology. Spymasters studying technology have a tendency to get imprisoned which can be a good way to get rid of a problematic duke.

    If you start as the earl of Dublin, I believe your elderly father controls a neighboring county and he's too old to produce a new heir. You can call his forces to war to help take over a neighbor, and/or you can wait for him to die at which time you'll inherit his county. If you don't have any claims, use the chancellor to forge one.

    Dublin was the county I started as in my Irish Britain game but I didn't succeed. I took Ireland easily enough, but then Scotland and England were too powerful to beat so I took Wales, Brittany, and Normandy instead. Then my ruler died and the four kingdoms split up again. Apparently Ireland needs to take all of Scotland and England in one ruler's lifetime in order to found Britannia, unless you use the one child inherits all titles succession law.

    I agree with Burnside, the dlcs are fun. You can play as a Muslim or Pagan, as a trading republic, it unlocks standing retinues as a troop option, and you can start some 200 years earlier. The core gameplay doesn't change though, only pick them up if you want more.

  141. jeremy7600 says

    Gran Turismo 4 on my PS2. Ive had the game for 7 years and I just started a new profile. I got a wheel controller for my PC and am enjoying the replay of GT4 with the wheel. I bought the wheel for F1 2010. played 1.5 seasons. got F1 2012 and only did like 5 races. Im having more fun with GT4.

    PC games include Left 4 Dead 2 Team Fortress 2 and Neverwinter. I play L4D2 with friends from work and we play custom maps on a server i host at my house. (1mbps uplink is plenty)

    Playing Deity Wars on my phone and tablet. I dont usually do card games but my buddy got me into it.

    And of course, due to steam sales and humble bundles, i have about 50+ games i havent even installed yet. THANKS OBAMA.

  142. jtf says


    Keep at it! Ireland is what everybody says to start doing so you can deal with the family and intrigue mechanics, but it's dreadfully dull because you have to build your power from the ground up, and its likely that after you've unified Ireland you will have barriers to expansion in the form of Scotland and whoever owns England. If you want actual ability to do things, other good starting options besides Matilda of Tuscany would be the Duke of Flanders or Brittany, or the King of Denmark (with his umpteen legitimized bastards).


    Gavelkind's a bitch, ain't it?

    Another great thing about CK2 is the ability to play any character from a save as long as it's a valid character. This has allowed me to do things like reform the Roman Empire and then break it up again from the inside, or create fiendishly difficult scenarios for extra challenge. My favorite is one where, from an 867 start using The Old Gods DLC, I have a reformed Norse religious empire spanning Scandinavia, Brittania, and Northern Europe's coasts while the Umayyads have destroyed both West Francia and Lotharinga and the Byzantines are reduced to a few counties in Greece, Cyprus and the Dodecanese by the reformed Tengri Hungarians, all by 1050. I call it "Christianity's darkest hour," and I always start as a Christian count.

  143. wgering says

    @John Ammon: I believe 3rd edition (published by Fantasy Flight) does. However, we're still using 2nd ed, which is d%-based. Still not much math though.

    EUIV and CKII have been on my list since I saw them on Extra Credits. With all the talk here, I definitely need to give them a go.

    Also, CARD HUNTER!!! If you like CCGs, turn-based strategy games or D&D, you will probably like this game. If you like all of these things, you should kiss your free time goodbye. It uses the F2P model correctly (i.e., it's not pay-to-win), and it's browser-based so you can play it from any computer (although I would NEVER endorse playing Card Hunter at work/in class…). I first started playing during the beta, and it's only gotten better.

  144. says

    Like many other commenters, I'm loving EUIV and Crusader Kings II.

    I'm also enjoying Victoria 2 (another Paradox game that plays 1836-1936).

    As well, I write tools that allow you take a save from of of those games and continue it in the next. There's an official one for CK2->EUIV now, but the other ones do exist, just made by fans.

  145. David but not that David says

    Right now playing Faster Than Light, a space based roguelike – picked it up cheap on GOG. It's a blast, and there's a nice modding community too.

  146. Dave says

    Right now I'm hooked on the other Firaxis game to come out last year: XCOM. New expansion Enemy Within is really great too.

  147. Angstela says

    Am I too late to comment? I always save my Popehat reading for an evening of the week that I really need a good laugh.

    Anyway! Been replaying Batman: Arkham Asylum; since they ripped GFWL out of it, everyone's lost all their saves, and I don't have my Steam achievements, &c. &c. &c., and it's been a long time since I played so what the hell? I also recently discovered it's Mark Hamill doing the Joker's voice for it, so that entertains me more than it should (I don't know why).

    Been co-opping through Borderlands 2 as time permits, too; bought it some time ago and hadn't had the chance to play yet. Word of warning: there is talk of a pony made of diamonds — it's not for the faint of heart.

  148. GuestPoster says

    Honestly, if you want an old-style party based crpg, why not just get an old style party based crpg? For my part at least, there are far more out there than I would live long enough to play, all highly recommended. Might and Magic 3 is good stuff, and people swear by 4/5, though the digital voices turn me off. There are lots of Ultimas, or there're always things like Fallout, Torment, Baldur's Gate, etc. I've personally slowly been working through the Gold-Box games (on Dark Queen of Krynn just now), and they're typically pretty linear, but still fun. I know gog carries a lot of these games, and steam carries a handful as well. And the great thing is, they're so old, you can play them on any modern PC without having to even think about what the graphical settings need to be for a good frame rate!

  149. Christoph says

    onestly, if you want an old-style party based crpg, why not just get an old style party based crpg?

    Because "back in the old days", I've already played the popular good ones and some of the obscure good ones, and the obscure good ones that I have missed (or didn't finish) are almost impossible to find today. Tunnels&Trolls? Dark Heart of Uukrul?

  150. JR says

    Lately, I've been letting Shattered Colony: The Survivors suck up most of my time. Playing random quartermaster maps provides just enough challenge to keep me on my toes.

  151. [REDACTED] says

    Been logging a lot of time on FFXIV; it's really managed to get me to overlook the typical WoW-style gameplay. Lot more polished than most of the other MMOs I've tried.

    And I love Antichamber, I really do, but I've mapped the rooms twice over waiting for some kind of substantial update and I'm starting to lose hope that the Under Construction door will ever lead to something.

  152. Anony Mouse says

    Wasteland is available again (either on Steam or at GOG) that is an old school CRPG!

    And it's a great way to pass the time until I get my grubby mitts on the Wasteland 2 beta.

  153. Christoph says

    Wasteland is available again (either on Steam or at GOG) that is an old school CRPG!

    It's not Wasteland if you don't have to spend almost an hour to make working copies of the floppy discs (using the built-in, excruciatingly slow copy function) every time you start a new game.

  154. babaganusz says

    if we hadn't just put winter quarter on the credit card i would've installed steam on the better half's laptop and grabbed EU-IV while it was half price over the weekend… she's been hooked on an old copy of II for the last couple months.

    still getting over the old republic, most days. just took the chance of a 48-hour install of Elder Scrolls Online on the backup xpc – sadly, the one thing missing is hardware support for shader model 3.0. the little custom baby that ran WoW almost flawlessly for three years of its upgrade-less eight-and-counting is finally out of envelope to push; gotta crack the whip to get the tower o'power back on line.

    not that the beast ever gets overclocked by any means; the damage is merely a HD connection pre-fritz, either it was the XCOM reboot (nearly ready for the DLC) or i was puttering around with Torment (again), Tropico (never enough) and DA/awakening; for the moment it's mostly Fallout and Stronghold, might even take another pass at Ultima IV-on.