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iOS Board Games

Among the best things in life is playing printed games in person with family and close friends. When those are not convenient we like iOS Board Games. News, reviews, previews, and opinions about board gaming on iPhones, iPads, iPods and even Android devices. (iPhone board games, iPad board games, iPod board games, Android board games)

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App News: Wrath of the Cosmos Arrives for Sentinels and Kamisado Now on Mobile

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Wrath of the Cosmos Expansion Now Live in Sentinels of the Multiverse
Sentinels of the Multiverse isn't one of the best ports on our tablets just because it happens to be a really fun game. It's also due to the fact that developer Handelabra Games have figured out a way to never sleep. That's the only way I can imagine them having enough time to keep adding all this content to Sentinels. The latest example, Sentinels of the Multiverse: Wrath of the Cosmos is now live!

Wrath of the Cosmos is a big box expansion that includes two new heroes, four new villains, and two new environments. They've also included a variant card for one of the villains, Infinitor, that you'll have to unlock. Somehow.

Handelabra has also revealed that Season 2 is coming, but they'll need our help with some Kickstarter funds to get it off the ground. We don't know much about the Kickstarter details, but it will cover Season 2 which will include Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengeance, Sentinels of the Multiverse: Villains of the Multiverse, Sentinels of the Multiverse: OblivAeon, and more. Basically, it's bringing everything that wasn't covered in Season 1 to the digital version, making it just like its cardboard cousin.

The Kickstarter begins on Monday, April 18 and we'll let you know more about it next week. If you want to give Sentinels a try now, it's available for iPad, Android tablets, Kindle, and PC/Mac. Handelabra just lowered the price of the PC/Mac version, meaning that it's $10 on all platforms now.





Two-player Abstract, Kamisado, Arrives on iOS and Android
A few weeks ago a humble little abstract made its way onto the App Store and Google Play, but I was too busy playing XCOM 2 to notice. Shame on me because Kamisado from HUCH! & friends is a brilliant little app that I've been having a lot of fun with.

Kamisado has been around in cardboard form for a bit and this digital version contains everything that the tabletop version has. The game board is 8x8 like chess, but each square is one of eight different colors. Each player has eight pawns, one of each of these colors. The gimmick here is that you can move your pawns forward (either straight or diagonal) any number of spaces, but then your opponent is forced to move their pawn of the color you landed on. The first person to land a pawn in their opponent's back rank wins.



It's incredibly simple, and forcing your opponent to move is just kind of fun. There's also an advanced version in which you play multiple rounds and the pawn that reaches the back rank is promoted to a "sumo". In later rounds, it can push the opponent's pawns one step backward.

The game has five levels of AI and online, asynchronous multiplayer. You can pick up Kamisado for iOS Universal or Android. It's currently on sale for 50% off, so the iOS version costs $2 and the Android version is just under $2.
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Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:39 pm
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Preview: Tabletopia

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To start out, for those that are not familiar, Tabletopia is not a collection of digital board games, rather it is a tool to play board games digitally. This is an important distinction. Like its predecessor Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia does not feature per-game rules enforcement or any other features we’ve come to expect from digital board games such as AI players, tutorials, animations, etc. Unlike Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia features licensed games that you will recognize as well as some light turn and game setup logic built in with hobby board games in mind. Tabletopia lies in a space between Vassal and the digital board gaming singularity. Last week, Dave and I tried a game on Tabletopia and what follows is a report on the results.



The Games
At this early access stage of Tabletopia there is already a good crop of recognizable games. I won’t list them all here but some that stood at to me were: Zooloretto, Scythe, Village, Viticulture, Imperial Settlers, Terra Mystica, Alien Frontiers, Mage Wars Academy, Keyflower, Tigris and Euphrates, Eight Minute Empires, Keltis, and Samurai. They currently boast 223 games though some of those are card or traditional games. It is an impressive list.

Diving in to play last week, Dave and I soon discovered that the games we were familiar with fell into two camps: older games we were familiar with but had not played in a while and newer games that we had heard of but did not know how to play. Since to play we had to know the rules, this provided quite the dilemma for us. Ultimately we decided on Nations the Dice Game and used the included rulebook link to refresh ourselves on the rules.



Gameplay
The game launched after a brief loading process with the first round already prepped. That meant that tiles for the first round were laid out and we each had our dice and tokens. Since we did not discover the forced round rules until later on(it locks the game to you expect when it is your turn), our game started a bit slowly. We decided that I would go first and we figured out to roll dice by right clicking. In fact, right clicking on any object will pop up a wheel of possible actions.

Playing the game worked much like a tabletop board game. We rolled dice, acquired tiles, scored points, and cleared the board. Everything was free and accessible so we had to follow the rules ourselves. Luckily we are friends and familiar with each other, so there was no one cheating or just throwing pieces around (which you can do). Tabletopia is playable with random players, but I fear that you may run across some bad apples.



The End
Things started slow but by the end we felt like true experts. Initially I thought I’d never play like this again, but by the end I was confident I could do this again with friends (still wary about you randos). It really was a total 180 in attitude.

One weird thing about the end of the game is there was no fanfare, I guess like a real tabletop game. We finished, counted out VP and just sort of sat there. Actually, as far as we could tell, there was no official way to close the game after you finish.

The Future
Tabletopia seems to be shaping up well and the game list is quite large. While only on PC and Mac for now, it is planned for tablets. We will for sure keep an eye out on this game as it develops.
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Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:00 pm
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App News: Twilight Struggle Coming Wednesday (to PC), Trapdoor Technologies is Back, and Heroes of Normandie Release Date

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Twilight Struggle Coming to PC/Mac This Week
Before there was 7 Wonders, there was Twilight Struggle. I'm not talking about chronologically, but by how long we've had to wait for the game to be ported (don't even get me started on Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization). The difference between the two games is that Twilight Struggle was in development hell for years before it was re-conceived via a Kickstarter by Playdek and GMT Games. If we drop the first couple years before Playdek came on board, we're looking at less than 2 years of a wait when Twilight Struggle arrives on PC/Mac this Wednesday. That's not bad when you consider that 7 Wonders was initially announced back in 2011.

In a Kickstarter update over the weekend we learned that the game will be hitting desktops and laptops this week and should be coming to iOS and Android shortly.

Playdek wrote:
Along with further developing the AI, our next major milestone will be the iOS and Android releases, with other platforms to follow after...We will be starting with a beta build on these platforms, so the build may not be as stable as the retail release. But having additional play testing on this build will help us polish the game for these platforms much quicker than without.


What's that about further developing the AI? Yep, Playdek admits that the AI can get better, and that's actually the plan. By releasing it to a larger pool of players, they'll have more data to "teach" the AI.

Playdek wrote:
Our focus for the game after this release will be our continued effort to implement AI. By releasing the game to a larger player-base soon, we will be able to generate more game data to use for AI training.


Besides playing against the AI, the game will also feature asynchronous multiplayer that uses Playdek's own servers. That means that online games will be completely cross-platform when the mobile version launches. It also means you'll have to create an account with Playdek to play, but if you've played Agricola, Summoner Wars, or any of the other Playdek games you already have an account, so it's no big deal.

We'll be bugging the crap out of Playdek until the mobile version is ready to go, so keep your eyes here and watch for any other Twilight Struggle news in the next few weeks.



Heroes of Normandie Coming to iPad in July
Last October, Cat Rabbit released the digital version of Heroes of Normandie for PC. I use a Mac, so I was willing to wait until the promised iOS version arrived. Six months later, we were still waiting with no word from the devs on when it might arrive. Lucky for us, Touch Arcade has real journalists and they tracked down the release date for us. Looks like Heroes of Normandie is going to land on our touchscreens this July.

Don't know why you should care? Watch the video and begin salivating. I know that this is one that Brad's been really wanting to put through its paces, so look for him to have a review up as soon as it arrives on his iPad.

If you don't want to wait until July (and don't have a Mac), you can get Heroes of Normandie right now on Steam for $30.





Trapdoor Technologies Bringing Pathfinder RPG to iPad
Ah, Trapdoor. We met with Trapdoor back at Gen Con in 2014 where they showed us a package called Dungeonscape that would be a DM/PC aid for use at the table while playing Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition). Wizards of the Coast killed that project, so Trapdoor picked up their toys and went home.

Lucky for us it doesn't appear they stopped playing with their toys as Paizo Publishing has just announced an official partnership with Trapdoor in which they will create a Playbook app for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

The Playbook app will combine everything from Pathfinder you'll need to run a campaign. It's not just a character creator, although it does have that capability. It will also have all the books, tools, and whatever else a GM needs to create a run a campaign solely from their tablet.

Trapdoor already has a free Playbook app on the App Store, but this new Paizo-backed version will contain the complete rule set, artwork, connection with the Pathfinder Society, and an extensive library of Pathfinder adventures.

Look for Playbook to launch in Q2 of this year, and for more adventures to be released throughout the rest of 2016.


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Mon Apr 11, 2016 7:23 pm
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App News: Handelabra announces Season 2 of Sentinels, Battle for Sector 219 Nearing Release, and Glass Road Gets an Update

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Sentinels of the Multiverse Season 2 Announced
Last night the guys at Handelabra Games had a "listening party" on their Twitch channel, basically introducing the music and new environments from the upcoming Sentinels of the Multiverse: Wrath of the Cosmos expansion. At the end of the stream, however, things got really interesting as they played a new trailer announcing Season 2 of Sentinels is on the way. In fact, they're teasing something that's just over 11 days away from now.

The second season will include the following expansions: Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengeance, Sentinels of the Multiverse: Villains of the Multiverse, Sentinels of the Multiverse: OblivAeon, The Void Guard, and another Mini-Expansion.

If that's too much for you to think about right now, consider that the release of Wrath of the Cosmos is imminent and that the latest patch for Sentinels fixed what was a major bone of contention for a lot of people: app size. That's right, the app which once took up a goodly portion of your tablet has been shrunk by more than 75% on Android tablets and more than 50% on iPads.

If you don't have Sentinels, pick it up. It's an absolutely fantastic conversion of the card game. You can get it for iPad, Android tablets, Kindle, and PC/Mac.





Battle for Sector 219 Enters Beta, Releasing Soon
One of the best little card games to ever make its way onto touchscreens was Your Move Games' two-player tactical gem, The Battle for Hill 218. It's no longer on the App Store, which is a shame, but its sequel is currently in development from Large Visible Machine and should be on our devices soon.

The sequel is the cleverly titled The Battle for Sector 219 and it's pretty close to the same game as Hill 218, but the units are different. If it does well, Large Visible Machine is considering porting the original Hill 218 to the new engine and re-releasing it on the App Store, so lets hope it does well.

Here's a blurb:

Large Visible Machine wrote:
- Game will be released on Steam first, with mobile to follow
- Kickstarter backers can get the beta as soon as it becomes available on Steam
- Complete rewrite of the engine in Unity
- Using our own server for cross-platform multiplayer, asynchronous or live
- Will look at re-releasing Hill 218 later using the same engine as well


If you want to help beta test Sector 219, you can sign up here. They're going to fill up slots with Kickstarter backers first, but then they'll take regular Joes like you and me.



Glass Road Updated to Version 1.0.2
When Glass Road finally released this year after an interminable delay from Apple, it was a decent port of the Uwe Rosenberg title, but had a few rough edges. Luckily, developer Smart and Smarty has been on top of things and has already dealt out a couple of updates. The latest one went live yesterday, bringing Glass Road to version 1.0.2.

What's in the update? I'm glad you asked:

Smart and Smarty wrote:
- Detailed scoring at the end of the game
- You can change the viewport while you are selecting something from a popup
- You can change the viewport while you are getting resources on the wheels
- You can change the viewport while you are paying resources on the wheels

Fixes:
- You can always use the menu button during the game
- Fixing some freezes during player board changes
- Fixing some AI related freezes


See, it's getting better! Want to try it out? You can pick it up now for iPad or Android tablets.
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First Look: Core Worlds

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Core Worlds
Availability: iPad, Android (coming soon)
Price: $5.99
Store Links: App Store

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Wed Apr 6, 2016 6:00 pm
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App News: Core Worlds Digital Releases on iOS and Forbidden Desert get Updated

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Core Worlds Digital Released on iOS
Way back in July of 2014 we posted that Core Worlds was making the jump to digital. A successful Kickstarter followed, and nearly two years later Core Worlds has made the jump onto the App Store.

BrokenMyth Studios released the game earlier this week for iPad, but there are a few issues. First of all, the game appears to only work on iPad Air or beyond, even though comments on the Kickstarter page seem to indicate that the beta worked on older iPads. Also, it appears that many backers still don't have their codes to download the game, while the rest of us can go and download it now and it's apparently $1. I paid $6 for it last night, but right now it appears to be $1. Weird.

After checking it out, the game is undeniably beautiful. It might be the prettiest board game port I've seen, but there are other problems preventing me from enjoying it. The biggest is lack of any tutorial, which means newbies like myself are in the dark. Also, while the game mentions online multiplayer when you first launch it, the button for network play is grayed out on the menu making the app a single-player or hotseat multiplayer game only.

Some of these issues may have been discussed in BrokenMyth's latest Kickstarter update which went live at the same time the app did, but their updates are only available for Kickstarter backers meaning that those of us who paid and downloaded the game from the App Store are on our own when it comes to figuring out what's happening with development. Don't bother with their website, either, as the last Core Worlds update there is from May of last year.

An Android version is on the way, and if you want to go and pick up Core Worlds for your iPad Air or later now, you can nab it here. It looks like it's only $1, so I'd pick it up before the price shoots back up to $6.

We'll let you know if/when we find out more information about where the app is headed and when it might appear on Android.



Forbidden Desert Gets Major Update
Forbidden Desert is one of the best board game ports of 2016 so far, and it just got a little better. Button Mash Games Inc. has just updated the app to version 1.1 which adds a new difficulty level and a bunch of other tweaks.

The biggest addition is the "Beginner" difficulty level.

Button Mash wrote:
Forbidden Desert is notoriously difficult, so we've added a Beginner Difficulty option created just for this iOS game. It changes the Storm Meter to have a maximum level of 5 instead of 6, so that fewer sand tiles are placed each turn. It also changes the Storm Deck to have 3 Sun Beats Down cards instead of 4, so that it is easier for each player to keep the enough water.


They've also added a much requested feature to speed up the animations for both the Sun Beats Down and Storm Picks Up events which will make each game simply fly by.

You can pick up Forbidden Desert for iPad here. The cost is $7.
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Fri Apr 1, 2016 7:58 pm
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App News: The Horus Heresy begins on Android, Tabletopia Released on Steam, Ortus Arena Enters Beta

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Talisman: Horus Heresy Heads to Android
In a great act of betrayal, the gorgeous Talisman: the Horus Heresy hits mobile first on Android. You can actually pick it up right now!

This reimagining of the classic Talisman gameplay in the Warhammer 40k universe is one of the most gorgeous digital board games I have ever seen. The new tweaks to the gameplay also streamline and tweak some of players' common complaints with Talisman.

Horus Heresy is available now on Steam and Android. According to Nomad Games, it will be available on iOS in the next few weeks.




Tabeltopia is Out Now on Steam
Tabletopia is a bit of side genre to what we usually cover. This is a tabletop program that recreates board games with exact pieces and no rules enforcement. Basically it is a great way to play games with live friends in real time across the world. We spoke about it several months ago and today it is available on Steam. It will be coming to iOS and Android in the future.

Some of the games available include Samurai, Keyflower, Terra Mystica, Alien Frontiers, Scythe, Tigris and Euphrates, Village, Viticulture, Zooloretto, and many more.




Digital Version of Ortus Enters Open Beta
Ortus is a successful Kickstarter project from a few years back and is now coming to digital.

It is an arena combat game with control points and many types of warriors. If you’ve played the tabletop version, chime in in the comments below. The game is quick playing on digital, about 30 min, and will feature AI play and online multiplayer. It is currently in open beta and you can sign up here.

Check out this trailer for a look at how the digital version is going:

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Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:00 pm
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App News: Lanterns Coming to Mobile, Wartile Kickstarter Canceled, Chronicle RuneScape Legends

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Lanterns and Other Renegade Game Studios Coming to Mobile
Today, Renegade Games has announced a partnership with Dire Wolf Digital to bring many of their games to mobile. Thanks to Dave’s alter ego at PT for this tip.

Looks like the team plans to bring many games out with the first being Lanterns: the Harvest Festival. If you’ve been hanging around the geek lately, you’ve heard about this game. It will be awesome to see these rising star on mobile. We’ll bring you more details when we have them




Wartile Kickstarter Canceled
So this article started out as a preview for Wartile. I actually spent the last few hours exploring an early build on steam, but looked up to see the cancelation notice.

On their blog they explain that success seemed impossible, so they opted to pull the campaign. The team is going back to the drawing board to figure out how to best form the game for the community.

For what it’s worth, the time I spent with the game was pretty great. It was a pretty game (if not amazing on my right) and an interesting mix of turn based and real time mechanics. You have a team of minis that you move one by one. When near an enemy, combat happens automatically. On top of this, there is a card mechanic you can use to buff or support your characters. It’s a pretty interesting experience.

All in all, it is sad to see the delay, but we will keep you posted as the game progresses.




Chronicle RuneScape Legends Entering Open Beta
A few months back, we posted on Chronicle RuneScape Legends, a digital card game set in the RuneScape universe. I don’t know about you, but this series has always held a special place in my heart.

As of today, you can sign up for the Open Beta on PC. While riding the Hearthstone train, this game seems to be pretty unique and new take on the digital card game.

On top this, we’ve got a brand new trailer. Check it out:

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First Look: Krosmaster: Arena

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Krosmaster: Arena
Availability: iPad, Android
Price: Free (with IAP)
Store Links: App Store, [url=https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ankama.krosmaster&hl=en]Google Play/url]

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Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:00 pm
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App News: The Game Releases and It's Pretty Great

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The Game Releases for iOS, Android Coming Soon
I was late to the party, only picking up last year's SdJ nominee The Game: Are you ready to play The Game? a couple of months ago. I found the multiplayer game a bit bland and disappointing, perhaps because every time we won I felt like we had been cheating, even though I'm not sure that we actually were. The solitaire game, however, was rock solid. And tough.

Earlier this week, Outline Development released a digital version of The Game for iOS Universal, which doesn't mess around with multiplayer at all. This is the solitaire game only, and it's nearly perfect.

For those of you not familiar with it, The Game is remarkably simple. There is a deck of 98 cards numbered from 2-99. On the table are four discard piles, two of which are 100->1 and two which are 1->100. You must discard at least two cards every turn (more if you play on the harder difficulty levels), and the numbers must descend of ascend based on which pile you discard to.

There's a gimmick, however, that adds a bit of spice to the mix. You are allowed to "jump back" if you play a card that's exactly 10 away from the card on top of the discard pile. For example, on the 100->1 pile, if I play the 85 card I will not be able to play any card higher than 85 on that pile unless I have the 95. Playing the 95 backs the pile up and gives me more room to play. It's this combination of luck-of-the-draw mixed with hand management that creates a load of tension and makes The Game shine.



The app allows you to play solitaire using the basic rules I just described, but it also has a couple of variants included. First, there's The Game on Fire (expansion), which replaces six cards with "cards on fire". All this means is that you must cover up a fire card immediately after it's played. If you end your turn with a fire card visible, you lose. There's also a variant created specifically for the digital version called Lift Up. This version has a worldwide leaderboard attached, and will score you points based on how close your discards are to each other. For example, you'll score more if you play the 31, 32, 33 consecutively onto a pile than you would with the 31, 41, 51. I find The Game hard enough to play well without having to worry about trying to score points, but it's there if you want it.



The app offers three difficulty levels, with higher difficulty levels lowering your hand size and increasing how many cards you must discard each turn. The lowest difficulty level is named "easy", but it's not. (Or at least don't tell me that it is...I still haven't beaten it)

The app isn't perfect. For one, there's no undo button. Perhaps this was intentional, but I don't see the need to eliminate it in a non-competitive game. Most of the time an Undo was necessary wasn't due to poor strategy, but a card dropping into the wrong pile, or me swiping a card up to a pile only to realize that my fat fingers had dragged the wrong card. There's nothing to do in those cases but start over.

Another problem with the app is that it takes over your device's sound. If you're listening to music or a podcast and want to play The Game, you're out of luck. The app will shut off external sounds, probably so you can hear the ridiculous voiceover that happens at the start of each game. Oh, and you can't shut off those voiceovers or sounds without muting your device; there are no in-game settings within the app. [I was wrong...there is an options button on the main menu to turn off the music and sound effects.]

Still, The Game is a truly addictive solo game that I could see rivaling Card Crawl as my go-to time waster. It's simple to pick up yet extremely hard to win and games last only a few minutes each. If you can get past the dorky artwork and crazy voiceovers, The Game is a perfect fit for your pocket (or tablet).

The Game is available now for iOS Universal and runs $3. It will be coming soon to both Android and Kindle devices.


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Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:51 pm
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