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Some Thoughts on Cryptic Comet

January 5th, 2015 by Troy Goodfellow · 3 Comments · Cryptic Comet, Design

The news that Vic Davis is abandoning computer game design to focus on board games isn’t that much of a surprise. His western card game Six Gun Saga can be easily imagined as a cardboard and plastic material object. His first game, Armageddon Empires was a deck-building hex-based wargame. And his multiplayer masterpiece, Solium Infernum looked like a boardgame, even though there were so many things to manage that it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone finish a faithful facsimile in their living room.

I’ve played all of Vic’s games, and enjoyed them all. Vic was the first guest on Three Moves Ahead (episode 1 is no longer available because Julian’s mic wasn’t working and a lot of the conversation is lost.) My glowing review of Solium Infernum for Crispy Gamer is now lost to the vagaries of website shutdowns, but I should see if I still have a copy somewhere.

So even though I understand Vic’s decision to move to boardgames (boardgames are hot right now, he already has the mind for them, his choice of development language seems have been a poor one), I’m can’t help but be disappointed.

Vic Davis is one of those developers with an unerring sense of “theme”. Every mechanic and every bit of art buttressed the idea that games can be (though they certainly don’t have to be) escapist, in the best sense; a means to translate the soul to a new world for a few hours.

Solium Infernum, I think, stands out for me because its theme of demons competing to reign in hell is so unique that even people with no head for convoluted strategy games got sucked into play-by-email matches. There was a built-in unfairness to a lot of the systems, and how you build your starting demon can mean everything or nothing if the map and avenging angels had a say in how the game progresses. It’s a game made for chat rooms and secret deals, using cards as blue shells to simply stop whomever is winning and damn the rest.

Vic has always been a friend of the blog and a friend of the podcast. You can listen to him talking about Solium Infernum in episode 41 and Six Gun Saga on episode 120.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Frans

    The review of Solium Infernum is available on Archive.org here.

  • MikeO

    That’s too bad about Vic, but I don’t feel too terrible about it. I love boardgames, and I look forward to playing his designs in that format. I think he’ll be a natural. Go, Vic!

  • Rob

    I discovered Armageddon Empires a day before reading the news on RPS. It’s a shame that his games didn’t get onto Steam, and an even bigger shame that he’s leaving the video game world. Armageddon Empires sold me after a few minutes. I’ll have to keep an eye out for his board games.