As January stretches out endlessly before us, we’ve struggled to find time for games this week between working and staying warm. Although, Joe has found a sneaky way to get in a couple of rounds while waiting for his next Zoom call. All hail HTML5! Here’s what we’re playing this week.
Joe – Writer & Lead Editor
Playing on itch.io via browser
It seems I had a particular itch to scratch this week – a yearning for a simple, engaging game that I could play in my browser between dreary Zoom meetings. It was an itch I scratched with itch.io, an open marketplace for indie developers to share their work and make a little money if they choose to do so.
And my money is on Waterworks!, an ingenious card-based strategy game that puts you in charge of the water supply in the medieval Polish town of Grudziądz. At the start of each round, you’re dealt five cards from your deck which you can use to supply the thirsty town inhabitants with clean drinking water. You could place a water carrier card, for example, to send a peasant up-and-down the street with a bucket, or perhaps order the construction of a makeshift well.
Whatever you choose, you’ll need to position your units on the town grid to maximise the water supply. Any neglected households will negatively affect your influence rating and put you one step closer to being ousted by the parched, angry locals. On top of that, you’ll need to balance a meagre budget and the demands of syphilitic landlords in order to keep afloat. But get it just right and your town will prosper, offering new workers and resource cards to develop more advanced technologies.
And therein lies the beauty of Waterworks; as you advance through each new technological era, the real-life history of Grudziądz’s water supply is told gently through a series of lo-fi images and text – from the first wooden water wheel to the modern day sewerage system. It’s a refreshing take on the history of our towns and cities, told through the lives of ordinary inhabitants, rather than of Lords and Kings.