Spending Christmas with Diamond Trust of London

Diamond Trust of London Packaging

How did you spend your Christmas? I played some Diamond Trust of London, a game I funded on Kickstarter a few years ago and first wrote about in November of 2012. Sadly, I never played it until now. What really made me interested was the fact that it’s an indie DS game released on an actual cartridge. The game is about the diamond trade in Angola in 2000.

DTOL is a turn-based strategy game in which the two players choose their actions at the same time, and once they’ve made their decisions, the results are shown. The goal is to have the highest number of diamonds at the end. Each turn, you can move your agents to various regions, bid on diamonds, sell diamonds, and bribe opposing agents. If you bribe an agent with more money that your opponent pays them, you’ll get to see their planned actions and modify your own actions.

One thing that’s cool is that it only takes about 20 minutes to finish a game. You can change the AI difficulty or play against another person. It’s a pretty fun game, although I haven’t had a chance to play it against a human opponent. It’s really interesting that someone managed to release an independent game made by two people as a full retail release.

Happy 30th, Tetris

Today marked 30 years since the original release of Alexey Pajitnov’s amazing puzzle game, Tetris. To celebrate, I quit Dr. Mario Express on my DSi for the first time in months and played some good old Tetris DS.

Most of my Tetris playing over the years has been on Nintendo handhelds – Tetris, Tetris DX, and Tetris DS. It’s funny, but each time a new one was released, I was very resistant. I remember hating the look of Tetris DX at first, but I got over it. I still think that the lack of a similar puzzle game with the same longevity still hurts iOS. Nothing else really comes close.

I also have a ton of great memories playing TetriNET, an unofficial, online Tetris game. Besides playing like normal Tetris, it also had modes with powerups. If you cleared a line with an item in it, it went into your inventory, and you could press a number key to use the item on that player. For example, you could add a line, remove a line, jumble the blocks, switch fields, etc. It was a ton of fun, although maybe I shouldn’t talk too much about a game that’s infringing on the real Tetris.

The original designer, Alexy Pajitnov, designed other games as well. Most notably, he designed Hexic and Hexic HD, which was pre-loaded on all Xbox 360 consoles. I had no idea that Hexic HD was his game, but I played it a ton when the 360 was new.

Countless nights I’ve stared at the ceiling in bed, seeing falling tetronimos under the Tetris effect after playing a lot of Tetris. It’s definitely an amazing game created by a talented designer. Thanks for all the fun, Pajitnov.

Trying a new batch of games

My backlog at Backloggery is now down to 323 unbeat (277 unplayed) from 338 unbeat games from my last post on the subject. That’s a nice bit of progress, but keep in mind that I don’t mind marking games as null, thus removing them from the unbeat count, if I get sick of them and decide they’re not worth more time. I played some games that I thought I’d enjoy like I normally would, but I also played some that I thought I wouldn’t like with the intent to cross them off my list quickly.

hinterlands

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

I usually open with WoW mainly because I don’t want to talk about it here. I already talk about WoW much more at Kor’kron 501st. My warlock has reached his 40s and just finished the Hinterlands.

DC Universe Online

I also started playing DC Universe Online. Again, I talk about it at Kor’kron 501st because it’s an MMO, but I’m playing a mentalist hero, and I just beat the Scarecrow.

Super Mario 3D World

I’m enjoying this a lot, but I still liked Super Mario 3D Land a lot more. I’m currently in World 4.

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

While I don’t have much to report, I began playing this again. I put it down a long time ago now, so it’s nice to get back into it.

Rhythm Heaven

I beat one level. Does that count as progress?

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

I have some terrific news about Tiny Death Star: I stopped playing it. Good bye.

cc3d

Chuck’s Challenge 3D

I finished the fifth bundle, Eclair, in Chuck’s Challenge 3D. It was a lot of fun; I really love this game.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

I picked up the Collector’s Edition of Reaper of Souls when it was released and have been having fun with it. I’m taking my time, so I haven’t finished the new act yet.

Ticket to Ride Europe

Thanks to Collin for letting me know that this was available for free. I never played the board game, but the iOS game is fun. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy, but I still enjoyed it.

Scotland Yard

Here’s a DS game I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did. I was looking for a quick game to cross off my list as boring, but I ended up needing to beat it. It’s a board game as well, so I might need to check out the physical game. Scotland Yard involves multiple detectives and one criminal, Mr. X, taking turns moving around a board. Mr. X wants to last until the turns are expired without being caught while the detectives want to land in the same space as him.

Mystery Tales: Time Travel

One…

Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets

…two…

Murder in Venice

…and three bad hidden object games I was able to cross off my list quickly.

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osborne House

Here’s another I thought would be bad. It seems to be a lot like Layton although they don’t explain the goals of the puzzles. That could be a little annoying, but it was fun enough that I’ve decided I’ll return to it later.

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Mummy

Oh, another Sherlock Holmes game. This is bound to be like the last one, right? No. This one was a terrible first-person exploration game with dismal controls. Next.

Naval Warfare

Naval Warfare is a Steam game that’s basically a “twin-stick shooter” using keyboard and mouse. I can’t say for sure whether I’ll want to play it to completion, but it’s worth keeping in my backlog.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

I’m not usually a big fan of RTS games, but this was decently fun. I highly doubt I’ll beat it, but here’s another I’ll leave on my list.

Again

Speaking of “again,” I find myself leaving a game on my backlog again. Again is a DS game about the FBI. One agent can see the past and must match the present to look like the past to unlock scenes of what happened. It could be decent!

New high score in Dr. Mario Express

Dr. Mario Express

It’s been a while since I’ve played Dr. Mario Express. It’s a DSiWare game, and I used to play it all the time. I recently checked my DSi for something and was surprised to find that there was battery charge in it still. I decided to play some Dr. Mario! On the second day of playing it again, I beat my previous high score! I was pretty surprised but definitely thrilled. And then I tried again and sucked the next round. Oh well, that’s how these things go!

Diamond Trust of London Kickstarter Package

I drafted this on 9/11 and forgot to post it. I honestly have no idea why I didn’t post it.

Diamond Trust of London is a DS game about the (real) diamond trade in Angola during the year 2000. It’s a strategy game about bribing, spying, and more. What drew me to it was the fact that it was an indie game that was attempting to be player-funded over Kickstarter. I pledged $55, which gave me this package:

A limited edition boxed copy of Diamond Trust of London. Only 1000 of these will be available, ever, and this is the main route to get one. Signed and numbered. Special inclusions inside the package. (Free USA shipping. Add $13 to your pledge for international shipping.)

You can see what I got in the photograph above! If you look at the bottom of the front cover of the game, you’ll see it says “limited edition” and is numbered 685 of 1000. Along with the game, I got a traveller’s cheque, four stamps from countries involved in the game, a coin from a country involved in the game, an archival envelope from the actual Diamond Trust of London, and three small envelopes from the actual Diamond Trust of London. Do you see those specks, one on each small envelope? Those are diamonds. They might not be great diamonds, but they’re diamonds!

The back is autographed by developer Jason Rohrer and musician Tom Bailey. And no, Jason Rohrer is not related to the Rohrer with whom I work at Toshiba! I asked.

How’s the game itself? I don’t know yet! But it looks fun, and more importantly, I’m glad I got to contribute to something to interesting.