It’s time for the 2018 Quarterlies! Vote for Quarter to Three’s Best Game of 2018

  1. Subnautica
  2. Assasin’s Creed Odyssey
  3. Red Dead Redemption 2
  4. Battletech
  5. Monster Hunter World

Since I’m late to the party there’s no real need to state reasons. They’ve all been stated =)


I was being facetous, but I would have probably put it at number 2 or 3 last year if I wasn’t a lame rules-follower. Not an awesome rebel like @arrendek


(Unless you were voting for Slay the Spire. Those reasons haven’t been stated yet, for some reason. But that’s not on your list, so you’re excused. :))

Edit: Oh nice, @Left_Empty went back to his post and explained his love for Slay the Spire. Thanks Left_Empty.


Yes! I am avoiding conflict =) (really I didn’t get into that one enough to have an opinion =) )


Ok. And your whole justification for it was that “life is too short for unfinished games”, but you specifically were not talking about playing but about voting. Just how are your precious remaining years being drained by games of low moral fiber voting for games you don’t approve of?

This would have been a much better argument to open with, since there’s an actual discussion to be had. (Though a sterile discussion, since the rules aren’t going to change).

The thing is, this is not a marketing exercise. Nobody is going to be listing their placement in the Quarterlies on the Steam page or anything like that. This is a bunch of people letting their friends on the forum know what was cool in gaming in 2018, in a somewhat structured fashion. If Slay the Spire apparently defined the year for a very substantial amount of this forum, why should it be excluded?

Witcher 3: Blood and Wine was the forum GotY for 2016, after Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt was GotY in 2015. Exactly the thing you feared happened, with no Early Access involved. But for some reason nobody went all “That’s absurd, it’s not a game, it’s just DLC. DOOM was robbed!”


There is no honor, there is only RimZuul.

Edit: Also, throw me in with the “it’s silly to not vote for a game you played for 300 hours because it’s version 0.9” crowd.

But I’d be cool with the lines we need to draw provided everyone actually went along with it. Given Slay the Spire’s position in the standing I’m comfortable with my vote this year and last. RimWorld may be my GotY for several years to come, although I’ll stop voting for it since it’s 1.0 now.


I don’t care that you want to make a game that no one is voting for # seventy something in the ratings, but I do feel the need to point out that you can’t vote for the same game more than once, any lower positioned re-votes will get thrown out.

I’m calling those “stusser votes”, since he’s the one last year that did that (his #1,4, and 5 were the same game) and I had to change my script to account for it.


I actually did from the start, but I won’t blame anyone for not reading my lengthy ramblings XD


To be fair, people’s descriptions are pretty light on both Slay the Spire (including yours) and Dead Cells, because of the type of games they are. My own description of Dead Cells is pretty light since there’s not much to say. You bash stuff, you jump, collect loot and unlock stuff for subsequent runs. You kind of have to play it yourself to see why that’s so compelling in Dead Cells. So I suspect Slay the Spire is a similar kind of situation, which is why comments are so rare for it.


It’s also very… well, difficult to describe the experience of playing it, as the relation between the player and the game evolves a lot during the first 30 hours. The player goes through multiple phases (at least, I think most of us do, and those phases follow a similar order of sequences), and baring experiencing them, they would probably just read like confusion. You could say it’s common, excepting the game itself doesn’t evolve, it’s just the player’s understanding of it that does.
There, Slay the Spire is a mystical experience, really!

To elaborate a bit: describing it as an acquainted player experiences it will probably sound dishonest to a new player. Errm, well, words fail me.


It is hard to describe accurately. “Deckbuilding-RPG-legacy-game” is about the best I can do. It’s also addictive as hell. I can’t tell you the number of nights I sat down to play and looked up to see two hours had passed.


Debate aside, I think Slay the Spire deserves an industry award for the worst release window in the history of videogames. Early Access in November 2017, 1.0 in January 2019. It’s almost like they’re begging not to be included in any year-end lists.

We’ve got to give them what they want, people!

  1. Slay the Spire - Great use of the drafting/deckbuilding mechanic, layered on top of a combat system just complex enough to chew on without being overly complicated.
  2. Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War - I’m a sucker for 40k stuff, and turn-based, and civ-likes so this one was just right up my alley. They did a great job of capturing the feel of the lore and achieved a solid wargame at the same time.
  3. Into the Breach - Got gifted this for Christmas and then dumped 15 hours into it without a blink, great little tactical puzzles, with enough customization/leveling-up of your pieces so that you get attached.
  4. Cultist Simulator - The card timeout/juggling mechanic was fun to play with, though it starts to dry out towards the midgame in my experience, a rebalancing might make it flow more smoothly, but maybe the slog is the point / the feeling they’re trying to invoke? Anyways, the writing carries it into 4th.
  5. Megaquarium - I enjoyed this as a meditative experience, the latest patch has really helped with the management side of things (staff zones UI got an overhaul + a couple more QoL changes).

  1. Monster Hunter: World

    Oh no! Have I really become a MonHun player? They’re always so… smug. For about two months I was playing nothing but Monster Hunter: World. I loved the detailed environments. I loved the lifelike monsters, getting to know their every move even more than in a Souls game, and I loved turning the monsters into hats. No, seriously. The equipment-based progression system was great since it allowed endless tweaking of builds to suit the expected scenario, and since it made the grind fun.

    The post-release support didn’t really work for me. The drip-feed of a single new monster once a month, and only temporarily, just didn’t appeal. I needed a good 10 hour chunk of content to do in one weekend, not 1 hour here and 2 hours there. But I’ll be there for the big DLC.

  2. Return of the Obra Dinn

    I love detective games. But in the modern incarnation, they’re actually mostly deduction games. The other part of the sleuthing experience is investigation, and that tends to be totally rote (with the exception of parser based games like the Infocom stuff). Walk to a room, interact with everything, see what “facts” pop out. Obra Dinn is fascinating since it manages to make the investigation interesting again, by stripping out all game mechanics. Once the game doesn’t acknowledge the existence of facts, or even allow you to interact with the environment, the game mechanics can no longer be used as a crutch. You as the player have to actually do the work, which makes figuring out the solution all the more satisfying.

  3. Into the Breach

    A couple of years ago I sketched out this design for game that was a campaign of party-based tactics puzzles with no randomness. And then I scrapped it since there were too many issues about making the puzzles solvable regardless of party composition, and with the outcomes of puzzles being binary which doesn’t make for a pleasing tactics game experience. Into the Breach solves both of those problems in one go. Add non-binary success criteria that are separate from your units survival / health, and you can then forget about making the puzzles solvable. They don’t need to be solvable always, just 99% of the time. It’s brilliant.

  4. Slay the Spire

    I played StS for maybe 10 hours in the summer, and then put it down for some reason that I can’t remember. Then late in the year I played a lot of both Artifact and Thronebreaker, and in both cases it seemed just stunning how much less interesting both the cardplay and deckbuilding were than in Slay the Spire. These were games by Valve and CDPR, with actual budgets and in one case even Richard Garfield as the designer! And an early access indie game was just cleaning their clocks. (After shelving Thronebreaker I fired up on Slay the Spire to see if I was remembering it right, and when I looked up it was 7 hours and several runs later).

    The reason I find Slay the Spire is so interesting is that it doesn’t care about moderation. Sure, in the early game you’re just playing boring attacks and blocks. But pick up the right cards / relics with the right synergies during the run, and in the late game you can build totally wild and broken combos.

  5. Hitman 2

    Hitman 2 is more Hitman, and Hitman was my GotY for 2016. I haven’t finished yet, trying to play it at at the obviously superior “one level per month” cadence that the original episodic releases had. But everything I’ve seen so far looks as good or better than the previous game, except for the performance.


This happened to me, truly a “Quarter to Three” type game. I also am still dreaming in Slay the Spire logic right now, like in my dreams I am doing things that require action points and cards it is really weird.


So when does StS get that good? I’ve only done one run and it was the most un-inspiring card game I’ve ever played. Maybe I would’ve gone further if I liked rogue-likes, but that aspect don’t appeal to me at all either.


There aren’t too many hidden layers in Slay the Spire, so if it didn’t work for you then it just might not be your type of game. I will say that the most interesting class, The Defect, is (or at least was when I played) unlocked once you complete the game with The Silent. But the class doesn’t change the fundamental game, it only adds a few interesting character mechanics.

  1. BattleTech
  2. Phantom Doctrine
  3. pillars of eternity 2


Won’t count for the vote until you format it properly (because an automated script collects the votes):

  • Numbered list
  • a space
  • Bold the name of the game by putting 2 stars on each side.


Once you have an understanding of what cards / relics are in the character’s pool, and what enemies you might be encountering. Without that understanding you’re just picking random cards (and probably too many cards), so the synergies just won’t be there.

So here’s an example. One of the status effects in the game is poison: if a unit has a stack of X poison, it’ll take X damage (bypassing armor) at the start of its turn. Then the stack reduces to X-1. Until my last run, I’d had no idea of why anyone would ever care about this mechanism. The amounts of poison you can inflict were just so small and tick down so fast that the effect would be totally marginal.

I had seen the card Catalyst which triples the poison stack on a unit. But it gets exhausted when played, so it seemed like it’d maybe allow one tripling from 3-4 poison to 9-12, but that’s still something like 60 damage over 10 turns. Useless against a boss with 400 HP.

Then on this run I saw the card Corpse Explosion. It puts 6 poison (9 when upgraded), and also adds a status effect that when the enemy dies it does it’s max HP’s worth of damage to other enemies. Suddenly combining that with Catalyst looks a lot more interesting. Now it’ll start killing units quickly enough that the stack ticking down isn’t such a big deal. And it’s turning the normally annoying minions into a resource to use for damaging the boss.

So I took Corpse Explosion and started building the deck around that. Destroy any basic attacks, take things that improve poison, give block, and give card draws. (Especially Backflip for combining the last two). The goal was to mainly block. In the end I had to Corpse Explosions, the Catalyst, and a Burst which doubles the effect the next skill card. Forget getting to 20 poison, now I was getting 150 poison.

… and that’s when I found that the “do damage to other enemies on death” status effect also stacks, and I was regularly getting stacks of three. So triple death damage!

None of this would have worked if I’d just been picking cards randomly rather than building toward a goal, and ignoring anything that wasn’t helpful for that goal no matter how shiny.