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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)

Archive for Bradley Cummings, Editor

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Outside the Box: Fire Emblem Fates, Bravely Second, Overwatch & Valkyria Chronicles

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While we spend most our time devoted to covering the latest in digital board games, we do also venture out to games, mobile and otherwise, that are a bit off the beaten path.

In this irregular segment, I will highlight a few video games that may interest board gamers, but fall outside of our normal wheelhouse.




Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
Last week we brought our first ever 3DS review to the site in the form of Pocket Card Jockey. Honestly, for a strategy gamer, the 3DS has been a platform that has continued to deliver time and time again.

Recently I’ve been playing through Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, one of the latest installments in the series. This series has always provided interesting turn based gameplay and this installment does not disappoint. The game features new classes and new ways to interact with the battle environments, making each encounter feel fresh. You also have the option this time around to play the story from different angles. Characters that are enemies one time around may be friends the next.

The game also features the familiar relationship building, which makes this a strong mix of RPG and war-game mechanics. If this hybrid sounds interesting to you, this is certainly one worth checking out.
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Bravely Second: End Layer
Despite it’s pompous and ridiculous name, Bravely Second is a sequel to the very successful Bravely Default, and, by association, one of the best JRPGs in recent memory. While a little more silly, this sequel manages to deliver where it counts.

JRPGs, if you're not familiar, rely on random, turn-based battles where you select abilities or attacks for your characters to perform each turn. In this variant, you can choose to Brave which will let you take extra turns or Default to save turns for later. Unlike many games in this genre, Bravely Second turns each battle into a very interesting tactical engagement.

This is augmented by a job system that allows you to tailor your characters as you would like. This opens up the possibility to create really interesting combinations. Think of it as engine building.

Most video games don’t grab me the way this one can. As a strategy gamer, I feel like there is actually something for me to wrap my brain around here. If you’ve tried this genre in the past, and been disappointed by recent entries, this is one worth getting back into.
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Valkyria Chronicles
Why did I not know about this game when it was released? Ok, I didn’t have the original platform, but this turn-based war-game is one I’m glad I’ve finally discovered.

Set in a pseudo WW2 setting (but with like robots and magic), you command troops in a mix of turn-based movement and real-time aiming. Each troop is ordered from a 3rd person view and you have to take into account flanking, cover, and more. Leaving cover has some real weight as the enemy can start taking shots at you the minute you stand up. It is a unique mix of genres that is a great fit for strategy game fans.

The art looks great in this remastered version and, while featuring an anime tinge, is all very interesting and detailed. The story has weight, even if it does also have some melodrama. This is not meant to be a true retelling of history but rather a story in a similar setting.

The real highlight here is the tactical combat. If you didn’t play this before, take the opportunity to check it out on PC or PS4.
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Overwatch
Now, before you start throwing full wine bottles at your computer screen, let me explain why I dare talk about a team shooter on this site. Overwatch charmed immediately with its first trailer and seemed to continue to do so with each video released. I am not usually a fan of this genre, but something about this grabbed me.

After playing a bit on console, I have to say, I am enjoying it more than I expected. While this game is a shooter, and can be competitive, there are many elements that have made it the one game is this genre I think I could actually get into. If you, like me, have been curious, here are a few reasons it's worth checking out.

First, the story, while thin, is very strong in the character department. Each character is interesting to play and generally represents a unique country and culture. I keep trying new characters and each one is fleshed out and endearing. On top of that, the abilities of each are fun, thematic, and generally easy to learn. If you love characters, this is a shooter that really delivers.

Second, matches are quick, straightforward, and surprisingly rewarding. If you are like me, gaming time (especially digital) is limited. Luckily, a game of Overwatch does not overstay its welcome. You can play for 15 to 30 minutes, complete a few matches be pretty fulfilled.

On top of that, the end game flow of Overwatch is one of the best ever created. Rather than a demeaning KOD, the game offers up a play of the game and then features four heroes that did well. One essence, you see when you do something good, and don’t feel bad when you didn’t have a great game. This is the major innovation of Overwatch and something I want to see copied by future games (even board games). It is the perfect hook to create that one more game feeling.

This ties into my third and final reason to give this shooter a shot. Due to the characters in the game, you can play a role where you don’t need to have twitch reflexes. Shooters are often seen as a young person’s game, but this allows us old folks to hop on board. You could try a healer, a tank, a sniper, whatever fits your play style and mood.

All this being said, a shooter may still not be for you, but this one has really hit the spot for me.
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Sun May 29, 2016 3:19 am
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First Look: Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Brad Cummings
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Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Availability: iOS, Android
Price: $6.99
Store Links: App Store, Google Play

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Wed May 25, 2016 7:55 pm
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First Look: Pocket Card Jockey

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Pocket Card Jockey
Availability: 3DS
Price: $6.99
Store Links: Nintendo Eshop



For the most part our focus is generally iOS and Android with the occasional PC release. This week, I present and exception. Pocket Card Jockey is for 3DS, yes that fancy paperweight that was all the rage a few years back.

Pocket Card Jockey is small game from the makers of Pokemon, Game Freak, and it has managed to get its claws into me, deep. You play an extremely incompetent Jockey who is trampled to death in your first race. You are brought back to life under the condition that you fulfill you dream to be an amazing jockey. The angel who brings you back also allows you play solitaire instead of actually horse racing, since you are just so terrible at it.




The crux of the game are a series of races divided into a set of solitaire hands. This version of solitaire is basic, requiring only that you put a sequential number on top of the number showing. That being said, you are trying solve these boards as quickly as possible. During each solitaire match you will earn giddy up points. These can be used to direct your horse between matches or sent to a pool of stamina that you will use at the end of the race.



Your goal is to place as high as possible in each race. There are different tiers of races and you will be awarded differently by the tear. On top of all this is a light sim system that allows you to buy items of your horse, retire mature horses, and breed new racing horses. There is really enough to keep a player busy for a long time.



I am not sure I am doing this game justice above, and I just broke my arm so typing this is actually a bit painful. I’ll try to wrap up. This game has grabbed me the way Card Crawl did a few months back. It takes card game mechanics and melds them perfectly into a video game wrapper.

If you have access to a 3DS or 2DS I highly recommend this game. It is screaming for a mobile release (like it received in Japan), so let’s hope that comes. If you don’t have the device, the 2DS just got a very cheap and there is enough software to keep a strategy gamer busy for a long time. Thanks for letting me share this quirky obsession of mine.

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Wed May 18, 2016 3:00 pm
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First Look: Talisman - The Horus Heresy

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Talisman: The Horus Heresy
Availability: iOS, Android
Price: $3.99
Store Links: iTunes, Google Play

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Fri May 13, 2016 2:48 pm
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First Look: Pathfinder Adventures Card Game

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Pathfinder Adventures Card Game
Availability: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Store Links: iTunes, iTunes

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Fri May 6, 2016 1:44 pm
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First Look: Ortus Regni

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Ortus Regni
Availability: iOS
Price: Free
Store Links: iTunes

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Wed May 4, 2016 3:00 pm
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First Look: Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods

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Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods
Availability: iOS, Android
Store Links: iTunes, Google Play

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Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:34 pm
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App News Bits: Sentinels Season 2 Kickstarter, PACG and Whispers of the Old Gods Coming Next Week, and more

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Sentinels of Multiverse Season 2 Kickstarter
Last week, Dave let us know about the latest expansion release for Sentinels Digital. Hot on the heels of that, the Kickstarter for the second season of the game is now live. If you’ve been enjoying the game so far, this is a good opportunity to pitch in to see more expansions.


Fallen London Arrives on iOS
This classic interactive story as gone on to inspire strategy games and more. This alternate take on Victorian London has captured many. It’s now available on iOS so you can try it out, for free no less.


Hearthstone’s Whispers of Old Gods Coming April 26th
Hearthstone is on its way to big things next week. With the new standard mode comes a new expansion that seems to change up a lot of classic elements of the games. Get ready for next Tuesday!


Reminder: PACG arrives April 26th
Just a quick reminder, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is coming next Tuesday. We’ll be checking out the game soon and a review up the day of launch.


Acquisition Incorporated Comes to Card Hunter
The PAX folks have teamed with the Card Hunter team to bring a new expansion to the game based on the Acquisitions Incorporated D&D campaigns. If you are a fan, you are not going to want to miss this.
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Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:00 pm
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Preview: Twilight Struggle

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Twilight Struggle
Availability: Currently PC/Mac, coming to Android and iOS
Store Links: Steam

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Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:56 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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