On The Eleventh Day Of Christmas: Big Pharma
Performance, feedback, revision. Big Pharma is a game about learning the rules and exploiting them - a puzzle game disguised as a management game with a strong sense of humour.
You have some entrances where ingredients can be delivered into your factor and some exits where you must deliver finished medicines to sell to the public. Along the way you need to build an Escher-esque series of conveyor belts and machines to turn those ingredients into potent pills and magnificent medicines.
The humour comes from the game's subject matter, dark as that may be: you're a drug company and many of your drugs have ridiculous side effects that you're trying to remove.
There's some other bits and pieces that tie into the game: researching new machines and new medicines in your bid for pharmaceutical conquest and it's integral to get these to induce the drug's catalysts - changing an ingredient into a different type of drug entirely.
I struggled a bit, in the couple of hours I spent with it, to get stuff worked out properly. Trying to be smart I kept breaking my machines or clogging up the conveyor belt with individual pills rather than boxing them up for efficiency. The game rewards continued revision to your designs in the form of a money counter directly going up, with sales on a chart.
Buy This If: You want to play a puzzley resource management game about selling drugs to the masses.
On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas: Blood Bowl II
Blood Bowl II is the most annoying game I've ever played. A rage-inducing monster that will take your hopes and dreams and literally eat them.
We wanted to review Blood Bowl II upon it's release earlier this year but as is occasionally want to do, the code came in late - but I redeemed it anyway and resolved to sit down and get to grips with it at some point.
I wish I hadn't, but also i'm so glad I did.
The duality is down to the dice rolls, you see. Blood Bowl is loosely based on American Football but with the teams replaced by fantastical races and murder and maiming a standard part of the game.
The fluff around it means you get to manage a team who slowly improve over time, learning new skills or even growing horns or a tail.
But everything you need to do involves a dice roll. Passing, dodging, tackling? All dice rolls. The dice hate you. They hate everyone. The game shows you an accurate percentage of your chances but you quickly learn even a 99% isn't a good bet. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.
Buy This If: You like sports and you don't care who knows. Also fantasy tactics-based games.