We talked about a few board games for people to jump into during quarantine, now lets talk about a few computer games worth your time. I’m not including current classics like the Civilization series or Talisman or any of the 1st party shooters, I’m talking games that are long in the tooth but still a lot of fun. You can find all of these game either at Steam or at Myabandonware.com Play them on the site or download DosBox and play them on your current system. Most you can play for free but some are still popular enough that they’ll cost you a few dollars, but they’re all worth it.
Sid Meiers Pirates or Pirates Gold
These were the original Sin Meier’s winners. that you’ve likely forgotten.
Even before the days of Civilization Sid Meier had a winner with Pirates. Long before the days of the Disney movie series you were able to grab a ship and as either a Dutchman, Frenchman, Spaniard or Englishman sail the Caribbean capturing ships, raiding town and enjoying drunken nights with a barmaid. While the graphics are not the 3D of the current versions the gameplay is similar although you don’t do any dancing and can choose to marry the merchant’s daughter if the governor’s doesn’t appeal to you. Expect plenty of action and swordplay.
Sid Meiers Colonization
Back in the early 90’s I spent a ton of time on this game where as with the same nationalities as Pirates you can settle the New world and build your colonies. Each nation has advantages and disadvantages as they deal with the natives of different tribes with different reactions, build up their colonies as thriving centers of trade and managing relations with other nations while working toward independence. It’s a tough balancing act to pick the right time with public opinion on your side but don’t wait too long because your king’s expeditionary forces will grow over time.
There are a lot of great Classic Avalon Hill games that are out there from 3rd Reich to Wooden Ships and Iron men that were converted to the PC but of the batch 1830 is the most playable online. You play 1-5 opponents trying to build a railroad empire from the premiere of the steam engine to the development of the great diesel engines of the early 20th century. Build your lines and lay your tracks but be aware that your opponents will be doing the same and placing stations to aid their runs and block yours, or ignore railroad building and become a stock manipulator and win via picking the right winners. Be aware they’re cutthroat.
Avalon Hill Civilization:
Before Sid Meier created what is considered one of the greatest computer games lines ever made Avalon Hill’s Civilization was the gold standard of games. Begin in the stone age and get to the Development of Democracy. The balance was to limit to the number of cities and pieces and the trade system could lead to trouble. As a board game it ran 8-12 hours to play and you had to set a day aside for the group of six or more but as a PC game you could stop and go allowing you to finish. Still a fine game
Avalon Hill History of the Word.
Another great board game that translated even better to the PC. Over seven Epochs you control a different empire with different strengths and locations can you maximize your advantages and score when you have the chance with a Rome, or an England or the Arabs at their rise to make up for your smaller groups scoring what they can in their fleeting time on earth?
Age of Rifles: SSI
A spectacular wargame where on the brigade level or below you can re=fight battles before the age of armor and the airplane from colonial battles to the Russian Chinese War. Can you out Napoleon Napoleon out Fredrick Fredrick or stop the Zulus charge or as Custer survive his last stand?
It’s 1914 or 1917 and you are a new pilot flying for the French or British or Germans or Americans over the western front. Fly single missions or in a group, escort bombers go after balloons or dogfight with modern instruments or with real ones if you think you can handle it.
How good is this game. The original is a 30 year old dos game and the sequel for windows was for Windows 98 yet it will still cost you a few dollars to play.
Machiavelli the Prince
One of my favorite and better than the updated Merchant Prince It’s 1400 Venice your uncle Nicolo has died and left you a small annual pension and a map of the world. Can you parlay that along with a ship or two into a trade empire that travels the world while gaining power within the counsel halls of Venice and in the Church which hold so much power. Trade, travel, hire Guards and even mercenaries. Get appointed to a job by the Doge or maybe even get a member of your faction to the top seat. Get rich off on indulgences as you buy the influences of Cardinals but watch out for plagues, storms bandits, pirates and your fellow players who aren’t above using slander, arson, or even murder to stop your plans, in fact you might find yourself having to do the same.