Long Live the Queen! Turns 41-50

The Project Explained

Long Live the Queen is a collaborative Civilization VI base game play through and blogging project conceived of by Naithin at Time to Loot. We have 8 players, and each player is responsible for taking 10 turns and writing about our progress. I drew fifth in the randomly generated line-up, which leaves me to work on the grand empire of England for turns 41-50.

The Story So Far…

Turns 1 – 10: Naithin Gets Us Started

Turns 11-20: Rakuno Does Some Exploring

Turns 21-30: Paeroka Has an Eye Towards Expansion

Turns 31-40: Tessa founds Leeds

The first thing you have to know about me is that when I play Civilization, I play lazy – usually on the lowest difficulty, lots of exploring & automated movement, and since I’m almost always headed for a science, diplomacy or culture victory, I make just enough units to not get murdered while rushing research and making more cities than I can reasonably handle.

For this project, however, I’m trying to play somewhat more meticulously, and even still, ten turns goes by super fast.

However, if you are a lazy gamer, like I am, you might have the option to auto-end turns set to on. I usually pay very little attention to such things, and when I run out of things I can do, I’m fine with the game pushing me forward.

With having to end at a specific point, I had to turn this off. Oops. Thank goodness for autosaves.

The map state when I started playing.

I took a minute initially to panic over the barbarians in Leeds before I examined them more closely and discovered that they were actually warriors belonging to Carthage, which is decidedly less of a scary situation. Leeds is going to be working on that archer far longer than I’m going to be here, so I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that slinger I have in the neighborhood is enough to keep the city safe while I focus on a few … side projects.

On turn 42, I am able to get us rolling with a Pantheon, and while there are many choices that probably maybe could be beneficial, I’m going to look a little more big picture. I choose to go with Religious Settlements, as there are a lot of appealing looking tiles just outside the borders of both of our cities, and expansion leads to population growth, and it’ll be no time at all before everyone is wearing our blue jeans and listening to our rock music, right?

Barbarians are starting to poke their heads up from the area just south of Leeds, so I send our slinger over to dissuade them. There are also barbarians coming up from the southwest of London that our lone scout almost walked into. I grab our newly created archer from London proper, and go to help out the scout. Considering how much coastline there is nearby, I decide to set London’s production to a galley, for some faster, safer exploration.

I think we’ve got a solid little empire going on, but then Gilgamesh pops up to throw some shade our way.

We are true friends with the smaller civilizations. We appreciate that you recognize this fact.

Gilgamesh, circa 2200 BC

While still trying to deal with barbarians (who aren’t much of a threat, but are kind of annoying), our Civic research finishes. I’m given the option to change our policies, but decide not to mess with things I don’t much understand at this juncture. However, it does fall on me to decide what to research next. After a few minutes of … um … having no idea what to pick, I finally went with Early Empires.

This civic will increase our production towards settlers, make purchasing tiles less expensive, and allow us to negotiate open borders with other civilizations, and fits in nicely with my expansionist tendencies.

On turn 47, my galley is ready to start exploring, and I start production of a builder. True confession: I don’t 100% get builders in this game – with the new “three build” restriction in this iteration of the game, my normal tactic of make them and set them to automate obviously isn’t going to be useful. While I’m glad I didn’t have to decide what to do in regards to builders this go around, I figure UnwiseOwl will probably make good use of one.

Another turn of exploring & beating up barbarians. Our slinger gets offered a promotion, and although I suspect our archers have made him mostly redundant, I take Volley (+5 ranged strength vs land units).

In turn 49, two things happen. First, we finish researching horseback riding, and yet again, I have to choose our next research. I go with mining, as it’s the last one we haven’t researched from that tier, and nothing else available feels so urgent as to skip over it entirely. We also meet our fourth (last?) companion civilization leader.

Pedro II of the Brazilians seems nice enough, but I tell him that I’m much too busy to chat right now.

My brief stint as the ruler of England was basically pretty chill, and I leave our empire the in the capable hands of UnwiseOwl. The save file is available to download here.

In Review – April 2020

This was the longest of very long months. We are now wrapping up our seventh week of stay-at-home, and it’s starting to feel like this is all we’ve ever done, so I guess we’re adjusting?


If my math is right (and it’s entirely possible my counting skills aren’t up to snuff), I’ve managed to earn myself a Rainbow Diamond Award! That’s not considering all the things I’m likely to post between now and the official end date of May 9th. I really didn’t think I was going to do much by way of participation, but just the idea of blogging at least most days gave me some structure I’d been lacking, so I’m very grateful for the event.

Community Game-A-Long – #CapcoMonth

Although Remember Me, my first choice of a game for #CapcoMonth didn’t go so well, I had a much better time, overall, with DMC: Devil May Cry. Although there were bouts of serious frustration, and many doubts about my ability to finish it and, oh yeah, a heap of crashes, I made my way through the main story.

This was good for two reasons: (a) it always feels good to get through a game I like but am struggling with and (b) it helped me figure out what type of gaming I should be looking to play next, because despite the rough patches, it held my attention all the way through.

Other PC Gaming

I dabbled in at least a bazllion games this month trying to find something that would hold my interest. Ok, it was closer to 25, but that’s still a lot, even for me. Because of this, I’m skipping The Nope List entirely because I’m sure every one of those games was just fine, it was only me that wasn’t having any of it. So what did I spend a fair amount of time with?

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2: Yet again, didn’t quite get to a point where I feel like it’s finished, but it managed to hold my attention for hours over a week or so when nothing else was working for me.

Majesty 2 Collection: I didn’t get very far, but I spent a few evenings working out the quirks of the sequel to one of my all-time favorite games. Technological advances has left this one with some odd glitches, so rather than try to mod and tweak it, I just moved on.

World of Warcraft: The Impressive Influence buff persuaded me to reactive my retail WoW account to grind out reps for Battle for Azeroth flying. I’m currently playing about 60-90 minutes a day, and making good progress. I’m hoping to keep playing for the duration of my sub, but even if I just manage to finish Pathfinder Part 2, I’ll be content.

Saints Row IV: Probably my favorite gaming time of the month, though, was spent on a full play through of Saint’s Row IV. Although I still love the third installment the most, there were a lot of things about this game that I really enjoyed. I thought getting super powers was going to ruin it. It most definitely did not.

The main story of Saint’s Row IV took a little over 18 hours. I didn’t bother with any of the DLC.

Low Spend 2020

I may not be able to go places or see people, but goddamn it, I can still buy things. Which is to say, I’ve kind of tossed out a lot of my best intentions on this one for the time being, while still trying to stay on a budget. I’m also trying to focus my (limited) spending on independent developers because if my local businesses need extra financial love right now, I’m guessing indie devs do too.

So, what did I buy?

Pretty much exactly what I said I was going to.

I was tempted by many games featured in LudoNarraCon 2020, but since those sales run through Saturday, and a new Humble Monthly drops on Friday, I decided to hold out and make my purchases after I see what’s on offer there. My grand total, including sales tax, was $18.05, so I still have quite a bit of my budget left. I’m in no rush to spend it though because…

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

… I’m finally making some small, tentative progress on my big goal list for the year. I’ve poked at Borderlands a couple of times, but the very beginning is so very very slow and I’ve been suffering from a pretty significant lack of attention span.

The last time I spent any serious time with it was long before the enhanced edition came out, so I haven’t had any “but it’s an old game now” issues. I’m still not 100% sold on the idea of a looter shooter, but I’m having a fairly good time with it.

I had a brief struggle where I thought I screwed up because I was so underleveled, and as it turns out, I did! I missed a handful of side-quests, and was all caught up after doing those. Apparently, side quests in Borderlands aren’t all that optional, no matter what the quest log says.

Good Reads Challenge (10/36)

I only read a couple of books this month, both titles I borrowed via Kindle Unlimited. I absolutely adored Dreamland, which is what led to me borrowing The Ghost of Madison Avenue, which I also liked, but not nearly as much.

At this point, I’m officially a couple of books behind, and I need to make it a point to spend more time reading in May before it gets overwhelming.

What I’ve Been Watching

I made a list of TV shows I’d like to catch up on while I’ve got nothing but time at home on my hands, and I started off by tackling Grimm. I’ve now watched about 2/3 of the way through the third season, which means I’m about a dozen episodes past what I’ve seen before.

I’d likely be further along, but I’ve also been keeping up with Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist, watching a lot of cooking shows, and more or less keeping up with season 7 of the Smite Pro League on YouTube.

Pathfinder Part Two – Halfway There

I acknowledge it probably would have been smarter to work on both reputations concurrently, but Nazjatar has been seriously painful, and once I’d get through a day’s work there, my desire to do anything else was completely evaporated.

I definitely skipped some dailies and world quests, though. There’s a few places on the map I still haven’t figured out how to get to, despite the game having decided that I explored the whole zone. In fact, there’s still a regular old questline I didn’t finish. I did also manage to do a couple of emissary quests, which are worth a ridiculous amount of rep, over the six days.

All in all, not to shabby, but I most definitely have no intention of returning to Nazjatar until I’ve unlocked flying. I expect Rustbolt will take a few more days, but I still anticipating being done about halfway through my month long subscription.

Checking In – Ten Titles to Tackle in 2020

For all intents and purposes, we’re currently about one-third of the way through the year. If I were on track, I’d probably have a couple of these games finished, and be somewhere near the midway point of a third. In actuality, I have played enough of Far Cry: Primal that I’m content saying I’m done with it, and very little else.

But it’s not that I haven’t tried. I have, in fact, loaded up almost half the titles on the list at least once, but none of them drew me in. I’m not tossing them out, mind you, but I’m also not forcing myself to play things I’m not enjoying.

So which games haven’t grabbed me?

Out of the four, I’ve tried to get into Starbound the most. It might be time to acknowledge that I just don’t get it. I like to explore, I like to build, and mining and tunneling are usually big draws. But I really have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing.

What I am actually doing is dying over and over to the equivalent of RPG rats. I’m not good at this game, and as a result, I’m not enjoying it. It’s similar to the issues I had with Terraria, and while it’s not entirely unexpected, I’m still a bit disappointed.

I’m also expecting that Grim Dawn is going to end up in the “not for me” pile – I’ve started this one up many times, but an hour or two in, I’m bored. I do usually like the ARPG format, so it’s not that, and the setting, while not incredibly captivating for me, is fine. I think the problem is that none of the classes appeal to me, so no matter what I pick, it feels drab.

I don’t expect I’ll be going back to either of these anytime soon.

But I’m going to chalk up my failure to engage with both Borderlands and Slay the Spire as “not the right game at the time” – that’s actually been a huge problem for me for about the last six weeks, and I frequently install and sample half a dozen or more games before finding something that feels right for me.

Although I’m still working on my World of Warcraft Pathfinder, I’m between main games at the moment. I keep thinking I want to play something where I’m building and managing things, but the games I find myself actually getting sucked into are full of ridiculous and wanton destruction. It’s strange having no idea what I actually want.

Social Isolation Together – Playing Magic: The Gathering in Tabletop Simulator

This post is part of a new series that I plan to keep up as long as we’re still seeing recommendations to socially isolate in the US because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This one is less for me, and more for my husband, who is the extrovert in our relationship and the one who is often out multiple times a week to play Magic: The Gathering with his friends. I’m not much of a MTG player, although I am the primary deck builder in our house.

There are tons of mods in the Steam workshop related to Magic: The Gathering, but it’s absolutely possible not only to download absolutely zero of those and still play, but to actually import decks you own into Tabletop Simulator to get as close to the in-person game play experience as possible.

Once you’ve gathered up your decks, or pulled up your online decklists from a site like MTGVault, TCGPlayer, or exported from an app like ManaBox (which I highly recommend), you’ll want to pull up Frogtown.me and under My Decks, you’ll choose “New Deck”.

The site will randomly name the deck for you, but you can change that by going to Actions > Change Name. Once you’re happy with your deck name, it’s time to add your cards.

If you have a deck list already, it’s as easy as going to Actions > Bulk Import, and then you copy and paste the deck list into the pop up. This process is pretty smooth – I’ve only run into issues with cards like Aetherflux Reservoir, where deck lists will tend to use the grapheme that Frogtown doesn’t recognize. It’s easy enough to edit the list in box before searching, but if you forget, an error will pop up that something needs your attention.

If you don’t have a pre-built deck list, you can enter cards individually via the search. As of this writing, you can’t add cards from the most recently released set just yet, but everything else seems to easy enough to work with.

Your total card count will be listed right next to the name of your deck, so you can easily see if you missed something.

If you are playing the EDH or Commander variant of Magic, you’ll want to look for your commander card, hover over it, and then use the highlighted button as shown to move it to your sideboard. That will make it spawn on a separate stack in Tabletop Simulator, so you won’t need to hunt for it in your deck every time you play.

Once you have your deck all put together and appropriately named, all that’s left is to get it exported so you can use it in Tabletop Simulator. Simply go to Actions > Export to Tabletop Simulator, and give it a minute to do it’s magic. Then you will be able to go to Actions > Download Tabletop Simulator Deck, and save your file.

For me, it’s easiest to set the download path right to its final destination. I think this should be pretty standard, but if you tweaked install locations or moved stuff around, or even if you are on an earlier version of Windows than Windows 10, your saved objects might live somewhere else. For most of us, the command path below is exactly where you want your new deck.

Finally, you can create a table in Tabletop Simulator and spawn your deck. Any table will do for your basic two player game, but if you’re planning to play with more people, you’ll want a larger table, and there are quite a few really nice custom tables on the Steam workshop.

Click on the objects button at the top, and open up your saved objects. Your new deck should be there, or, if you’re like me, many many decks will be there. Find the one you want, click on it and then click on spawn.

Depending on whether or not you used the sideboard feature, and whether or not your deck can potentially create tokens, you will get one, two or three stacks of cards. For my Sporemageddon deck, I get my 99 card main deck, my single card “sideboard” containing my commander, and a third stack which contains one copy of the tokens made my by deck. Tabletop Simulator makes it easy to create more of a card you already have by simply using CTRL-C and CTRL-V cut and paste shortcuts. If you find yourself playing on someone else’s table, you’ll need to be promoted in order to be able to spawn your deck.

I snagged this screenshot of a friend’s table while in spectator mode.

If you’re interested in trying out the Commander format, but don’t have decks built, I might have spent an afternoon making copies of all of the pre-constructed commander decks to be used in Tabletop Simulator. You can download them here, and just put them into your saved objects folder like you would a deck you made yourself.

This should give you almost everything you need to start playing Magic: The Gathering in Tabletop Simulator. Chances are good if you own Tabletop Simulator, you already have some folks to play with, but …

Now personally, I’m not much of a Magic: The Gathering player, but if you wander on over to my husband’s Twitch stream, or poke him on Twitter, he could probably be persuaded to play a game or two with you.

Quick Look – My Recommendations from LudoNarracon2020

This is part two of two of my quick look at LudoNarraCon 2020.

Looking over the list of games on sale for LudoNarracon2020, I was surprised by how many I already owned. Granted, many of those were from bundles – in fact, I can only think of a couple off the top of my head that I made a deliberate purchase of. Still, of the ones I have already played, there isn’t a single one I’d try to talk someone out of. However, I definitely had some that I enjoyed more than others, so these are my top 5 recommendations from LudoNarraCon2020.

The World Next Door

This is one I bought on a whim, played immediately, and played all the way through, but I was surprised to see it as part of LudoNarraCon. Sure, the story is very cool, but it’s the frenetic match-3 gameplay that really did it for me. I talked about it here a little after playing the demo, and for someone who likes both match 3 gameplay and a bit of speculative fiction, I’d recommend it without reservation.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

This is another game I played and wrote about back in October. I played this one on XBox Game Pass for PC, and even though I didn’t fall in love with the gameplay, everything else about the game really worked for me. So much so that when I spotted it for 75% off on the Humble store, I picked it up to go back and play around with at my leisure, and at its current price, I’d recommend it to anyone who is intrigued by the art of storytelling and is interested in the Depression-era setting.

Her Story

Her Story is a great game, but only if you go in almost completely blind. The real game here is the deductive leaps you need to make – figuring out what keywords are important and what is extraneous as you watch video clips of police interviews with the main character. It’s sort of a choose-your-own adventure movie, and you’re tasked with rebuilding the story from its component parts. The nature of the game means it’s not at all replayable, and best played in a single sitting, but it’s also a fascinating take on what video games as a medium are capable of.

Monster Prom

Monster Prom is a visual novel / dating simulation that requires some measure of strategy to get your desired outcome. Game sessions are fairly short, and there’s a good amount of replayability here. It took me a couple of passes to really start to get it, but the quirkiness grows on you, and it would be great for folks who like to hunt for achievements.

Night Call

My top recommendation, however, would be Night Call. Another game I played through the Xbox Game Pass for PC back in October, and was then thrilled to get in the February 2020 Humble Choice. Full disclaimer: I have only played through the first case (and plan to do so again when I go back to it), but oh man.

As much as I loved the detective work that was required, what really made the game for me was the random conversations of the passengers in your cab. It was a game I thought about long after I stopped playing, and for a gamer who likes both investigative fiction and slice-of-life stuff, playing Night Call is a no-brainer.

Is there a game featured in LudoNarraCon 2020 that you absolutely loved? One you hated? One you’re really looking forward to? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments, or let me know if you post about it on your own blog!

Part one of my Quick Look at LudoNarraCon2020 focused on the games I’m interested in buying and playing in the future. LudoNarraCon2020 runs through April 27th, although many of the demos & sales are available until May 2.

Quick Look at LudoNarraCon 2020 Games

This is part one of two of my quick look at LudoNarraCon 2020.

Although I’ve always been a big fan of games with a good story, it’s only lately I’ve found myself gravitating towards some games where the story is the game. I want to be kept on the hook, so to speak, but honestly, if I’m just going to read there are comfier places to do that than at my computer.

That said, looking through the games on the LudoNarraCon 2020 sale, the ones I have already played, I really enjoyed, and there are several others that look so very very good (many of which were already on my wishlist, and more that I’m adding as I write this).

There’s a handful of games I don’t yet own that have really caught my eye. If I don’t pick them up this go around (and a couple aren’t even out yet), they’re definitely going to be on my short list of ways to be spendy in the future.

Beyond the Veil is a text-based narrative horror game, with a focus on character-driven storytelling. Kara, an unemployed college dropout, has no choice but to move in with her Dad when he decides to relocate to New Orleans. Kara has no discernible skills, and no direction. It’s her exploration of this city, and the friendships she makes there, that will mold her into the woman she will become. These choices are yours. So step up to the threshold- from here, there is no turning back.

Beyond the Veil – releasing some time in 2020

First off, look at that screenshot. Look at it. So gorgeous.

Secondly, New Orleans is a fantastic setting for a horror game.

Thirdly, I love the idea of a horror coming-of-age story, so to speak. The developers state that your choices throughout the game will not only affect the story, but your character’s core personality.

I’m totally into the whole package that is Beyond the Veil, although the price point and expected play length are probably going to be the biggest factors in whether I pick this up on release or wait for a sale or bundle.

Best Friend Forever is the world’s first simulation game to combine pet care and dating (just not necessarily at the same time). Train, pat and play with your very own dog to form a bond that will last the ages. With your four-legged companion by your side, meet, woo and cherish the many cuties of Rainbow Bay’s thriving singles scene.

Best Friend Forever – Coming Soon

Although dating sims have yet to sweep me off my feet (pun absolutely intended), the dual nature of Best Friend Forever makes me want to try again. I am a sucker for anything dog-centric, and it just sounds so chill and adorable, it’ll be hard to pass this one up when it comes out.

In the late 1970s, the charismatic Isaac and Rebecca Walker lead the Collective Justice Mission. Labeled radicals and feeling persecuted by the US government, they relocate their followers to the one place they believe they can create a socialist utopia: the jungles of South America. There they build Freedom Town. But relatives left behind in the US become worried: what exactly is going on at this compound in the jungle?

You play as Vic, an ex-law enforcement officer who has snuck into Freedom Town to check on their nephew, Alex. Whether you choose stealth or violence, you must infiltrate the commune, find out what’s going on within, and locate your nephew, before it’s too late.

Church in the Darkness – Available Now – On sale for $9.99 (50% off)

Church in the Darkness looks like it’s going to give you a fantastic story, maybe even many fantastic stories, although the game’s length will dictate whether or not I personally would give it multiple play throughs or just try to get the “best” ending the first time.

Sadly, I am rubbish at stealth games, and I expect that “doing it right” will require quite a bit of being stealthy. It’s not a game I’m likely to just buy, but something I’d absolutely play if it showed up on a subscription service or in a Humble Choice.

Step through time as you use our device to eavesdrop on conversations from past crime scenes. Every clue, every move, and every motive will be presented in the form of audio. Rather than controlling any one character, you only need listen to their conversations, following along as the story evolves. Use the information you hear to match names to voices and determine how everything (and everyone) is related. Can you discover the truth?

Unheard – Available now – On sale for $4.19 (40% off)

The coolest thing about this game is also – at least for me – it’s biggest flaw. I’d love to play it, but it’s going to require a chunk of time where I can be assured that I can focus on what I’m hearing (and honestly, this is the main reason I haven’t already picked it up).

But I do love detective games and solving puzzles. And with the current sale – which is even better for me picking it up as part of the Surveillance Stories bundle – it might be time to give it a spin.

Disco Elysium is a groundbreaking open world role playing game. You’re a detective with a unique skill system at your disposal and a whole city block to carve your path across. Interrogate unforgettable characters, crack murders or take bribes. Become a hero or an absolute disaster of a human being.

Disco Elysium – Available now – On sale for $29.99 (25% off)

Ah, Disco Elysium – huge commitment, huge temptation. There’s no denying that this odd but ambitious game has become quite the indie darling, winning a whole bunch of awards and captivating almost everyone who plays it.

Even if it’s only a fraction as open ended and customizable as the store page would lead you to believe, it seems like it would allow for so very many playstyles, and the concept wrapped around those choices seems like something that would really draw me in.

Still, I have never spent a lot of time with long-form narrative games, and I worry that at some point, no matter how good it is, it would start to feel like a chore to do that much reading, and that’s the main thing keeping me from clicking add to cart right now.

Part two of my Quick Look at LudoNarraCon2020 will focus on the games I’ve already played and my thoughts on them. LudoNarraCon2020 runs through April 27th, although many of the demos & sales are available until May 2.

From Five, Choose One

On the heels of writing about my five favorite game franchises, I had an idea. I asked for recommendations for one game from one of the favorite series of other gamers here, and then I brought it to Twitter, where I got several more recommendations. The only major caveat was that it had to be playable on PC without emulation.

Only one game series was recommended twice: the Mass Effect games.

Out of those thirteen games, I have only played one in any meaningful way (Dragon Age: Origins), and it was during one of my previous blog projects.

Also out of thirteen, there are only four I don’t currently own on any platform (Warlock 2, Yakuza 0, Ys Oath in Felghana, and Secret of Mana).

I’m still not sure exactly what sort of project I was collecting this list for, but I also thought it was interesting in it’s own right. I am not done with the recommendations at any rate – I’d like to collect up the rest of the ones I’m missing as the opportunity presents itself, and hopefully spend some quality time with these games that other people love in the future.

Quick Look – Simmiland

Not being a person who makes games myself, I have no idea why there are so few good god games. Black & White is ancient (and hard to get one’s hands on nowadays), and many of the newer attempts either miss the mark entirely or are unsatisfying on multiple levels.

I don’t expect much from a god game anymore.

So I am delighted to tell you that Simmiland does a lot of what makes god games appealing very well, even if it does do it in a very bite sized package.

You’re given a random map to place humanity on, and then a handful of cards with which to affect them. In theory, it’s very simple – put down a plant, a mineral node, a creature and see what the tiny humans do with them. In practice, there’s definitely some strategy going on here. The same card – say “tree” – will make a completely different type of tree depending on the type of terrain you put it on. Put it in the desert, and you get a palm tree. Drop it on the plains, and it will turn the land into woods. Drop it on a snow covered tile, and you get a pine tree.

Sure, you could just drop stuff willy-nilly, but your tiny humans will wish for stuff. It starts out easy – maybe they want rain. Before you know it, they’ll be asking for polar bears.

You’ll want to fulfill wishes when you can, because not doing so costs you faith, and without faith, you can’t play out any of your cards. When you first start out, you don’t have a whole lot of cards, and you are likely to run out, if your people don’t die from stupid first.

Each round you play will award you stars, which you can use in the card shop to buy more cards. The more cards you own, the bigger your hand is at any given time, making it easier to grant wishes and terraform deliberately. You can’t directly control your people, but you can use sample and inspect cards to help them learn new things. Before you know it, they’ll be setting up farms and building boats and becoming – more or less – self-sufficient.

Simmiland is not a particularly deep game, but it’s solid for what it is, and you can easily play it for 15 minutes or for hours, once you get into the groove of things. Sure, you have to go hunting for information, and it plays a little frenetically, but I’m betting being a god doesn’t exactly come with a guidebook either. It’s not a game I’m likely to spend hundreds of hours on, but it’s priced right for a more reasonably sized diversion.

A Small Setback for Low Spend 2020

I had a plan for this year. I promised myself that I was going to devote 2020 to experiences – get out more, do things that previously I hadn’t been able to afford or hadn’t been healthy enough to do. I was even off to a fairly strong start – in January, I organized a big group dinner outing with friends, February I went to my first Paint Night, and I went to a concert in early March with my husband and my parents.

And then, there was a pandemic and I’ve spent the last six weeks either at home, at work, or very very occasionally at the grocery store. Even as someone who falls on the side of pretty extreme introversion, it’s been trying. There’s a lot of things about the time before COVID19 that I miss, but shopping – and I mean shopping for fun – has got to be one of the things I miss the most.

I fully admit that retail therapy is one of my greatest vices, and even though I don’t need anything (and yes, I understand how lucky I am to be in that position), I’m finding myself craving the endorphin rush from … getting something just because I want it.

I had initially hoped to alleviate some of that (as well as some of my chronic back and neck pain), by ordering a swank new chair for my desk from Amazon. Of course, being a non-critical item, it’s not going to be here for at least another week, but I’m still really looking forward to a whole bunch of comfier gaming time in my future.

But I’m still struggling, and I hate that I’m struggling when really, things here haven’t been all that rough.

After giving it an absurd amount of thought, I’ve decided to allot myself $100 in Stay-At-Home gaming spending outside of all my other parameters, with an intention to primarily purchase games from more independent developers. For me, that’s a win-win – I get to shop, and I get to feel good about how I’m spending my money because I’m supporting creators and not corporations.

I had to remind myself that this was a challenge I set myself, and the parameters I was anticipating for the challenge have changed drastically, and changing my plans to accommodate that isn’t a failure. Besides, it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve changed the rules; and it probably won’t be the last.

If you stayed with me this far, you’re probably wondering where I’m going to toss some of that money, right?

Well, first off, I want to buy a couple of games to support the Sokpop Video Game Collective. I’m definitely going to grab Simmiland and Sproots. Simmiland has been on my wishlist for awhile (a god game that’s also a card game? Brilliant!), and Sproots looks too adorable to pass up. I could use more adorable in my life right now.

I’m also going to pick up Eastshade, even though I fully expect it to be featured in a Humble Choice sooner or later, because the current sale and the concept of just exploring a peaceful and beautiful world are both calling to me.

The catch is this – I’m not going to let these games just hang out in my library. I’m going to buy them, and within the next few weeks, I am going to play them. It sounds mad, I know, but I think I can do it. Maybe this will be the beginning of a new way of treating myself to the occasional “non-essential” purchase – if I want to buy it, I will make it a point to actually enjoy it for longer than it takes to click the add to cart button.