Build An Empire With Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gold Edition

Build An Empire With Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gold Edition

Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Explore a new land, research technology, conquer your enemies, and go head-to-head with history’s most renowned leaders as you attempt to build the greatest civilization the world has ever known. For a limited time, we have Civilization VI: Gold Edition available for $24.99 — that’s 75% off the usual price.

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Apple celebrating indie games this week and in the future

Apple celebrating indie games this week and in the future

Visiting the iOS App Store this week was a joy for fans of indie games, those created by small-time developers who don't have the millions to invest in advertising campaigns and marketing blitzes. During the week, Apple highlighted indie games in a "Celebrating Indie Games" section, including wonderful games from independent developers such as Monument Valley (one of my personal favorites), the hilariously gory Surgeon Simulator, and the beautiful puzzler Prune. It appears that the focus on indie game developers is set become a permanent fixture on the App Store.

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Diced: My favorite new anti-productivity tool

Diced: My favorite new anti-productivity tool

I'm not much of a game-player. I don't have a console, I don't buy role-playing games, and I'm much more apt to play a word or number game than any other genre. Lately I have been spending way too much time playing a new simple game that has me hooked. Diced ($0.99) from Agile Tortoise is an incredibly easy game to learn and can be both captivating and frustrating. 

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Alto's Adventure 66% off for a limited time

Alto's Adventure 66% off for a limited time

I'm not much of a fan of side-scrollers, so when I found myself playing the ethereal, beautiful and exciting Alto's Adventure for hours on end, I knew I had found something special. The premise of the game is simple; you guide a character on his snowboard to round up llamas, do increasingly more complex stunts, jump over crevasses, and try to keep from wiping out. Between the fun gameplay, the ever-changing weather in the game, the beautiful sunset and night scenes, and the atmospheric soundtrack, Alto's Adventure is a joy to play. If you haven't yet purchased it, Alto's Adventure is now on sale for just $0.99, down from $2.99

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What to play this weekend: Spyfall

What to play this weekend: Spyfall

At 2014's Internationale Spieltage (or “Spiel”) gaming convention in Essen, Germany, Spyfall by designer Alexandr Ushan made a splash as a great party game. It was difficult to obtain here in the US until June of this year, when it was picked up by distributor Cryptozoic Entertainment. Now you can grab a box and have a fun...or just go online.

Today there's a browser-based version that is mobile-friendly, platform-agnostic, free and every bit as fun and hilarious as its paper sibling. It's a game of bluffing, deduction, light role-playing and a lot of laughter. Spyfall is indeed a great party game that takes minutes to learn and often leads to hilarity. Here's our look at Spyfall. 

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Simple Counter is a great tally app for iPhone and iPad

Simple Counter is a great tally app for iPhone and iPad

This week's featured app grew out of the developer's love of board games:

"When I was playing board games with friends," Sweden's Arvid Lunnemark told me, "we usually resorted to using pen and paper to keep score. We all thought that there just had to be an app for this. We were right, but we continued to use pen and paper. Why? Because in the end, pen and paper was simpler to deal with than any of the apps [we found]. It frustrated me that pen and paper could trump an iPhone, and as a result, Simple Counter was born."

An app inspired by gaming. How could I pass on that?

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What to play this weekend: Agar.io

What to play this weekend: Agar.io

Recently I was hanging out with some friends when someone showed me Agar.io for iPhone (free, universal). "You're a cell who eats other cells while trying to avoid getting eaten yourself," he said. 

"That's it?" I said.

"That's it."

Agar.io comes to iOS after a successful run on PC and browser-based play. This mobile version preserves the low-end, no-frills graphics of its siblings and is somehow just as compelling. I've pretty much explained everything there is to know, but here are a few more details.

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Alto's Adventure 1.1 offers a slew of new goodies

Alto's Adventure 1.1 offers a slew of new goodies

Alto's Adventure from Snowman has you snowboarding through beautiful terrain to capture wayward llamas. We reviewed the game back in February, and now version 1.1 brings cool new goodies and squashes some bugs along the way. 

New goodies! 

If you've played Alto you've certainly slammed into the snow or plummeted to your death. A new helmet and pickaxe will save you from crashes and chasms, respectively. They're single-use items and you can purchase them with in-game virtual currency (there are NO in-app purchase in Alto's Adventure).

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What to play this weekend: Adventures of Pip

What to play this weekend: Adventures of Pip

Let me set the scene for you. PAX East, 2015. My 10-year-old and I visit the Tic Toc Games booth, where a playable demo of Adventures of Pip is set up. He picks up the controller and begins playing this fun, retro platformer. He's doing well, and clears the first major hurdle. He figures out the first puzzle on the first try. "No one has gotten that on the first try," the developer says. A small crowd has gathered. 

He beats the next hurdle, and the next. Puzzles are solved. The princess is rescued, the demo level beaten. First try, first life. 

"Well, @!#*", says the developer.

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What to play this weekend: Her Story

What to play this weekend: Her Story

Her Story (Mac and iOS) is a nonlinear jigsaw puzzle set in the mid-90's. As the player, you must find and review snippets of archival police interview footage to figure out what happened to a woman called Hannah in 1994. Those snippets are brief and jumbled together; only careful observation will allow you to uncover what happened.

I took five pages of hand-written notes before I figured everything out. At 12:30 AM. I could not stop playing.

Even now that I've reached the end (there is a definite end), there's more for me to see, so the replayability is there. This will be a difficult review to write, as I don't' want to give anything away. Here we go with my look at Her Story.

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What to play this weekend: Transistor

What to play this weekend: Transistor

Transistor from Supergiant Games is a full-fledged RPG for iPhone and iPad. You play as Red, a famous singer whose voice was stolen after being savagely attacked. Now, you and your sentient sword must battle the Process, a robotic army hell bent on overtaking the city. Is a futuristic dystopian future with enough going on to engage RPG veterans. Here's my look at Transistor.

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What to play this weekend: 13 Thieves

What to play this weekend: 13 Thieves

13 Thieves (free with in-app purchases) from Space Inch is a tile puzzle game in the tradition of Threes! and 2048. This time, the "tiles" are numbered thieves who would rob you of everything if given half the chance. 13 Thieves is a fun game with nice graphics, goofy sound effects and familiar yet still engaging game play. Here's our look at 13 Thieves.

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