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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Game On! Board and Video Games from San Antonio Makers

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge The Tomb of Black Sand - DANIEL HORNE
  • Daniel Horne
  • The Tomb of Black Sand
Public health experts and city officials are warning everyone to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible to slow the rate of COVID-19’s relentless spread. But all that time alone doesn’t need to be so lonely.

Online services such as Discord and Google Hangouts offer free and easy ways to make voice calls and enjoy some face-to-face screentime with friends and family without leaving the house, so quarantine is the perfect time to stay in and enjoy some homegrown San Antone games.



Yanaguana Games is an independent developer based in San Antonio whose games are available for PC and Mac alike. Players need only purchase Tabletop Simulator — a $20 videogame that serves as a platform for virtual boardgame experiences — from the Steam app, then take their pick of Yanaguana’s two free offerings. store.steampowered.com.

Stir-Fry 18 is a simple but endlessly replayable card game in which players compete to cook the most delicious stir-fry bowls from a slim deck of — you guessed it — 18 cards. With elements of deception, risk-taking and BS-calling, games of Stir-Fry 18 are fast and fun. This game is also free to play on the website Boardgame Arena — located at en.boardgamearena.com — but beware: servers are frequently overloaded, perhaps due to other quarantined gamers. yanaguanagames.com/stir-fry-18-gallery.

Folks looking for a little more depth and strategy in their games might enjoy Re-Chord, Yanaguana’s Euro-style game that pits players against one another in a race to earn fame and become a star. Genre cards are dealt to each player, who take turns laying picks on the fret of a guitar to play chords and write songs to earn that sweet, sweet clout. yanaguanagames.com/rechord.

Physical copies of Yanaguana’s games are available for purchase on its online store, though we can’t in good conscience recommend that you convene friends or family for an in-person game in the near future. Still, if you have the dosh, consider buying them now so you can play them once social distancing becomes a thing of the past.

If you’re more of a role-player, consider starting a campaign written by San Antonio tabletop developer Swordfish Islands. Their adventure scenarios, most notably The Tomb of Black Sand and The Dark of Hot Springs Island, feature beautiful art and prose fit for any dungeon-crawler.

Digital copies of their books are available for $15 or less online and are perfectly playable for groups with a screen-sharing gamemaster. The campaigns are system-neutral, so folks accustomed to any Dungeons & Dragons rulebook or other systems such as Basic Role-Playing or Pathfinder. shop.swordfishislands.com/digital.

For single-player videogaming, don’t forget about San Antonio’s indie developers. A hefty fee of exactly zero dollars will net you the freely downloadable Heroes Must Die, Heroic Games’ campy homage to both the 16-bit era of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and the grid-based battle systems reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem. steam. store.steampowered.com.

For something more action-oriented, try Hebi Studios’ RageBall, a fast and frenetic Pong-like game available for PC gamers on Steam for $10. store.steampowered.com.

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