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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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Live Stream: Capitals - Word Battle Game. Watch Now!

Brad Cummings
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Capitals is a fun word game from the mobile gaming giant Nimble Bit. Despite its pedigree, this game seem like a perfect fit for board gamers. Come watch our stream to see what it is all about.

In Capitals each player has a capital on field of letters. You create words by selecting letters to build your territory. The goal is conquer your opponents territory and take their capital. If you are a word game fan, this is worth checking out.



If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Fri May 29, 2015 2:00 am
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Weekly Stream: Capitals - Word Battle Game. Join us live Thursday at 9pm ET.

Brad Cummings
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Capitals is a fun word game from the mobile gaming giant Nimble Bit. Despite its pedigree, this game seem like a perfect fit for board gamers. Come watch our stream to see what it is all about.

In Capitals each player has a capital on field of letters. You create words by selecting letters to build your territory. The goal is conquer your opponents territory and take their capital. If you are a word game fan, this is worth checking out.

When: Thursday, May 28th, 9:00pm EDT
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Myself and Brett Nolan


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Wed May 27, 2015 3:21 pm
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Review Roundup: Knights of Pen and Paper 2, EarthCore: Shattered Elements

Brad Cummings
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Knights of Pen and Paper 2
Availability: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

As you may recall, the first Knights of Pen and Paper grabbed me with its style but failed to deliver in the long term. It was with cautious optimism that I approached this sequel. Have they managed to overcome the weaknesses of the initial release?

In Knights of Pen and Paper 2 you take on the role of both a DM and a group of players in a tabletop RPG. The game features a series of quests that you can follow as well as endless numbers of battles you set up. You can have up to 5 heroes each with their own combination of class, race, and persona. My strongest character right now is a Cheerleader Human Warrior for example. The game almost entirely deals in the American stereotypes from the 80s and 90s. Like any RPG, you can travel from location to location, visit shops, explore dungeons, etc. While you can move anywhere you like at anytime, you will be generally focused along the games set story route.

You will generally use your DM freedom for grinding. The game has a pretty steep curve so you will find yourself murdering wave after wave of easy mobs to level up. This was a weakness of the game before and is definitely carried over. Battles (even on low levels) can feel very back and forth and so even grinding must be watched closely. There is not real option to just “mash A” so to speak.

In moderation the combat is pretty enjoyable. Each character class has a wide variety of skills and can be used in combination for great results. They really added some tactical choice and award players who think a few moves ahead. Of course, boss type characters are still a slog, but I am really enjoying the combat this time around.

The game is quite long you will find a lot to do. The story is nothing to write home about and the humor is a little off this time. That being said, I do find myself coming back from time to time to continue my adventure. It must just be the pace of game that fits of neurosis right now.

Knights of Pen and Paper 2 is a bit of a disappointment. A lot of the issues it had before still exist and the experience feels a little shallower overall this tie around. That being said, if you liked the first one, you will find a nice second helping here. The art is still charming and it is a charming homage to tabletop RPGs.



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How do you rate Knights of Pen and Paper 2?
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      43 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk





EarthCore: Shattered Elements
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store

The app store is full of “card games” that are little more than slot machines disguised with gameplay elements. I have to admit, when I first heard about EarthCore, this was my assumption. I am happy to report that I was wrong. Earthier: Shattered Elements is a fully fleshed out digital card game that does several new things while appealing to existing sensibilities.

In EarthCore, your goal is to lower your opponents health to zero. This is done through a series of rounds in which you will each play a card to each of the three lanes on the board. After all cards are played, the cards battle winning based on their element. Earth beats Water which beats Fire which beats Earth. This simple Rock, Paper, Scissors mechanic is compounded with a few wrinkles. For example there is actually a fourth element called Dust that always loses, but can be evoked at certain times. many cards have abilities that either activate automatically or must by used by the player. These abilities really change the course of battle and are key to success. You are also looking ahead for the write combo to lead your opponent into a trap. Since each card you lay down is visible immediately, you have to figure out how to respond to their eventual counter.

Each card in the game has a risk value. This value is the amount of damage you will take if that card loses the battle. So while you can play strong cards, you also need ensure you will win or they will back fire on you. This is by the most unique element of the game and turns it into a really enjoyable push your luck affair.

This is a collectible card game, so a lot of your success will come from deck building. You will unlock cards by playing and can also buy packs through in game currency. Admittedly, the pricing structure is not extremely clear. You’ve got two currencies, one you pay for and one you earn, and they can be used in different ways. Decks are limited to 25 cards and you typically want to have a mix of all three elements. Cards come in different rarities and there is a limit of three copies of a card in a deck.

The game features a lengthy campaign that features some challenging battles and will net you a bunch of free cards. There is also a pretty robust online system with ranked play and different leagues. I am still in the lowly bronze league, but so far feel like things are pretty evenly matched.While it will take more time for it to mature, online play is enjoyable right now.

The game is certainly free to play but I have enjoyed my time so far with no spend. There is a lot of content upfront for you to get a good feeling for the game before dropping a dime. Because of the way the online leagues are split, you should be able to find someone at your spend level to play against, and stronger cards will not always win.

I’ve enjoyed EarthCore much more than I predicted I would. While it is hard to dethrone Hearthstone, this game is a nice alternative with a different play style and focus. I highly recommend it.



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How do you rate EarthCore: Shattered Elements?
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      26 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk
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Mon May 25, 2015 1:46 pm
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Weekly Stream: EarthCore: Shattered Elements. Watch Now!

Brad Cummings
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EarthCore Shattered Elements is a card game that has been on my radar for a long time. While not my favorite style of game, this is a brand new take on lane-based games. Honestly, it has done a lot to improve my thoughts on the genre as a whole.

Join us as we take a look at this interesting new card game. We’ll dive in and give you our thoughts. We missed a week, but we are back and ready to go!



If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Fri May 22, 2015 2:00 am
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Weekly Stream: EarthCore Shattered Elements. Join us Thursday 5/21 at 9pm EDT

Brad Cummings
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EarthCore Shattered Elements is a card game that has been on my radar for a long time. While not my favorite style of game, this is a brand new take on lane-based games. Honestly, it has done a lot to improve my thoughts on the genre as a whole.

Join us as we take a look at this interesting new card game. We’ll dive in and give you our thoughts. We missed a week, but we are back and ready to go!

When: Thursday, May 21st, 9:00pm EDT
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Dave and I


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Tue May 19, 2015 3:00 pm
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Review Roundup: Legends of Grimrock and SpaceCOM

Brad Cummings
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Legends of Grimrock
Availability: iPad
Price: $4.99
App Store Links: App Store

When I first played Legends of Grimrock on PC, I was fascinated by they way it captured dungeon crawling. Forced into a locked first-person perspective, you are both limited and immersed. There were hours and hours of dungeon exploration and puzzling to encounter. Now on iPad, Legends of Grimrock is simultaneously open to a new audience and right at home on a great platform.

Legends of Grimrock is of the old school style of RPGs. You control a party of four adventures in a fixed perspective. You can always move, map permitting, in the the four cardinal directions as well as rotate your facing. Most of your time in the dungeon you will be moving around and exploring. Items and secrets are scattered throughout each level, so you have to move slow and be meticulous if you want to catch everything. This game throws you your characters in a pretty bare state, so each peace of loot feels like a triumph.

Combat is real-time to a point. Each character can attack, but said attack has a set cool-down based on the weapon. Monsters can attack you from any side and it is up to you to control your facing and positioning. Kiting enemies and similar tactics are essential to success. Character control is fairly deep with an extensive inventory system and skill trees.

For the most part, Legends of Grimrock feels right at home on iPad. The controls have been rethought in a clever way to fit on the device and the graphics look great. Maybe the only weakness with the iPad controls is when you need to move quickly in combat. It is possible, but I find myself pressing the wrong direction at times. This of course is more a weakness of virtual controls in general.

Legends of Grimrock much like FTL is, dare I say, ideally played on iPad. The platform does not lose any of the graphic fidelity but instead offers convenient access to the hours of fun found in this game. The touch controls add a new element to the exploration and combat is generally as straightforward as usual. If you have yet to explore Grimrock, I highly recommend picking it up. If you’ve delved before, it may very well be worth a return trip.



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How do you rate Legends of Grimrock?
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4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
      76 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk





SpaceCOM
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: $2.99
App Store Links: App Store

In the far reaches of space, two factions vie for control of systems and resources. Published by the studio behind Anomaly, SpaceCOM is a semi-RTS game the has you conquering and controlling planets in deep space. Imagine it as a more thinky Planets Under Attack.

In SpaceCOM your goal is to defeat your opponent by conquering planets, raising fleets, and controlling key footholds. The game centers around three types of ships. One type is used for space combat against other fleets, another for conquering planets, and another for razing planets. The tradeoffs of each are central to the game. Do you focus on conquering and holding a planets or do you just bombard it and force your opponent to lose the resource? You have limited number of shipyards and travel takes time, so you really need to plan your strategies in advance.

Planets in the game often have strategic resources such as income, repair yards and more. The value of controlling a system has to be weighed against your gain and how difficult it will be to hold. Combat occurs when opposing fleets meet in a system. It is automatic with a superior force generally succeeding. Each unit can also gain seniority which gives it an edge in combat. The goal is generally to conquer your opponent’s home world and claim victory.

While realtime, the game is not twitch based. Ships take several seconds to move from system to system, so you are always trying to plan a step ahead. Apart from that, there are several choices in strategy. Which planet do you take next? What sort of fleet should you focus on? Many questions.

The game features several missions which can be seen as a tutorial, along with online and local play. I have not dived into only play yet, but the local Skirmish mode works well against AI. As you would expect from this studio, SpaceCOM looks great. The UI is highly polished and the iconography is clear. You’ll be able to jump right in and start your space empire.

SpaceCOM is a polished take on the mobile RTS. It has depth in the right places and also streamlined where it needs to be. While the pace may not be for everyone, it is definitely worth checking out.



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How do you rate SpaceCOM?
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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm
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Live Stream: Coup. Come Watch Now!

Brad Cummings
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Connecticut
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Apologies for missing last week. A cacophony of events made streaming impossible. The good news is we are back and ready to go this week.

Having never played Coup (shocking, I know), I had always assumed it was some sort of complex Resistance variant. I avoided it because I assumed my group was always too small. Boy, how I was wrong.

After playing a few games of Coup on iPhone, I am pretty impressed. The digital version has been polarizing, so be sure to watch the stream to see Brett and I give our takes. We’ll play a few games and give our thoughts on the digital translation.



If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Fri May 8, 2015 2:00 am
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Weekly Stream: Coup. Join Us Thursday 5/7 at 9pm EDT

Brad Cummings
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Connecticut
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Apologies for missing last week. A cacophony of events made streaming impossible. The good news is we are back and ready to go this week.

Having never played Coup (shocking, I know), I had always assumed it was some sort of complex Resistance variant. I avoided it because I assumed my group was always too small. Boy, how I was wrong.

After playing a few games of Coup on iPhone, I am pretty impressed. The digital version has been polarizing, so be sure to watch the stream to see Brett and I give our takes. We’ll play a few games and give our thoughts on the digital translation.

When: Thursday, May 7th, 9:00pm EDT
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Myself and Brett Nolan of App Addict


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Wed May 6, 2015 3:00 pm
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App Review: Coup

Brad Cummings
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Coup
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store

Every once in a while, a digital board game will manage to pull off something deemed impossible. That is the story of Coup. This bluffing and negotiation game seems like an odd fit on tablets as so much of the game seems reliant on table-talk. It would be a lie to say this is not lost in translation, but the core of the game makes it through intact. What emerges is a new experience, and the question is: how well does it work?

In Coup players are dealt two role cards. These role cards represent both what a player can do in the game and their life total. You are eliminated from the game when both of your roles are face up. Each role lets you take a certain action: the Assassin lets you try and kill (reveal) an opponent's role, the Contessa lets you block an assassination attempt against you, the Duke lets you take 3 coins from the bank, the Captain lets you steal coins from other players as well as block steals, and the Ambassador lets you exchange the cards you are holding and can also block steals. On your turn you can take one of these actions (either a card you actually have or claim another card) or you can take two special actions: Coup and Draw Income. A Coup costs seven coins and forces a player to reveal one of their cards. Draw Income lets you draw one coin from the bank.



On a turn of Coup, you take one action and then players can challenge you if they think you are bluffing. If you are caught bluffing, you must reveal a card, if you were not bluffing, the challenger must reveal a card. Gamely continues this way until one player remains. It is a quick game and can be swingy. You may get a bad draw or just get out played, it is all a possibility.

Most the talk around Coup has been focused on its payment model. The game is free to download with various IAP available for different content in the game. Some of this is pretty straightforward: you can buy the original art for the game or additional art styles, you can pay to turn off ads in the game, and so on. The sticking point comes in some of the sillier purchases. The most talked about are the chat packs which give you 10 or so additional preset phrases you can use in-game. They admittedly give you all the needed chat options for free, but you can pay for more, though they feel like purely luxury items. One odd choice is to have a currency for playing ranked games (games with friends are free). That being said, they start you out with enough to play what feels like dozens of games, and you can earn more by winning. It’s odd because Coup is such a swingy game. There are skill based plays, but so much is dependent on the chips falling your way. It does feel strange in parts, but so far I have had a lot of fun in the game and only spent about what I would expect to pay for any other digital board game.



Coup is purely an online experience. Their are three tutorials to get you started, but otherwise there is no AI to speak of. Online play is split into two camps: games with friends and ranked games. Games with friends are pretty straightforward. You can connect with those you know on Facebook or Game Center or with those you friend directly in game. The game supports up to four player games and is asynchronous to a point. With friend games there are no turn timers, but if a friend does not respond fora while, you can boot them. It really is an odd system as you can get added to games without any notice. I have had cases where, while I was asleep, I was both added and then booted from a game with a friend. What kind of friendship is that? I’ve really enjoyed playing with friends, but this sort of failure to alert players is a weakness. Games work best if you can get a group friends that are online at the same time, but this requires outside communication.

Ranked Play is much more structured and should be treated as real time. You can play head to head or with up to four players. So far it has always been fairly easy to get into a game. Turns are done on two minute timers and each player has the chance to challenge as needed. Communication is limited to the preset phrases listed above and so far the community seems pretty tame. The only downside here is you really need to commit to a full game, which is usually around 15 minutes. It really is something you can play quickly on a train, bus or other downtime.

Solidifying this online experience is a progression system. You earn different medals by completing certain tasks in a game. These could include bluffing several times or winning a certain number of games. Each player can then select a medal to display on their profile. These add a bit of theme as well let players know how far along you are in the game.



The game’s UI really does a good job of giving you the info that you need. You can scroll through all the moves made in a game and see the outcome of each, you can also tap on a player to see all they actions they’ve taken so far in the game. Each action is given it’s own button in the UI and those that you are bluffing are clearly marked. You also have quick access to a reminder of what each action does as well as what cards are currently in the deck (at least based on what you know). While you lose the ability to grill someone in person and get them to reveal something, it distills it down to taking the info you have and reading the situation.

I have really enjoyed Coup on my iPhone. Sure, it is no longer a negotiation game, but, much like video poker, it is still a very strong bluffing game. It is a game about learning about players by their actions and past actions. You have to make calls and sometimes you lose, but the rounds go quickly and you can hop right back into another game. Best of all Coup is very pay as you go. You can experience hours of fun for free and then buy add-ons as you want them. I know this not a popular model, but, to me, it has not limited my enjoyment in the least. I for one welcome our new Free to Play overlords.



Poll
How do you rate Coup?
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2 Stars
1 Star
      188 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk
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Tue May 5, 2015 3:00 pm
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CANCELED Weekly Stream: Coup. Join us Thursday at 9pm EDT!

Brad Cummings
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Sadly, we had to cancel this, but we plan to play Coup next week!
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Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:57 am
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