I miss dice. I miss the days when "social gaming" meant going somewhere and playing a game with people and dice, be it Talisman, Dungeon or just plain old Monopoly. Social game developer CrayonPixel looks to recapture the magic of dice-based board games with Atlas Raider, a new type of board game for the digi-magical age.
You've been hired by a mysterious organisation known as The Foundation to find 13 (never a good number) crystal skulls scattered across the planet. The Foundation also happens to know what happened to your father, who disappeared years ago hunting for treasure (possibly the same treasure?). It's complicated. The point is you've got a magical atlas that can lead you to the skulls, and the fate of your father is on the line. Times like these all you can really do is roll the dice and see where they take you.
Or I can just tell you where they'll take you. Each roll advances your character along the game board that slowly expands as you discover new spaces. A space might hold a villager with a quest, or a random encounter resolved through dice battles, your score augmented by weapons purchased via the in-game store. You'll learn about the land you're in and unlock new playable characters (do they all have the same father?) as the story unfolds via comic book-style interstitials.
Friends are involved, as they are in most social games, giving you the ability to help each other out along the way. Hopefully the social mechanic won't be too intrusive — there are some roads a man must walk alone.
Atlas Raider is due out soon on both Facebook and Zynga.com. Here's to the clatter of rolling dice on a virtual coffee table.