Brad CummingsUnited States
Current Price: $1.99 IAP
Itunes link: Nightfall: Martial Law
This expansion to AEG's Nightfall adds several new cards and new mechanics. It is great to see more support for this app and the expansion is an affordable way to bring new variety. It may not change your opinion on the game if you are not a fan, but if you enjoy it then this is more great content.
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 | iOS Previews
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Compatibility: iPad Only
Current Price: Free (Figures available at retailers and price varies)
Size: 178 MB
Itunes link: Heroclix TabApp
Physical Cards link: Heroclix figures
The Heroclix TabApp is another interesting combination of the iPad and physical components. It is meant to appeal to children and a I think will do well in the that market. Sadly, it is not a full Heroclix game on iOS, but rather a sort of arcade game. I for one see this as a potential growing market and hope this is just the starting point to a deeper experience. If you do have children this is a great toy as it is basically 3 in 1: Heroclix, action figure, and app.
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Current Price: Free (Cards available at retailers and price varies)
Developer/Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Size: 189 MB
Itunes link: Monsterology
Physical Cards link: Monsterology Cards
Monsterology is more of a piece of tech than a game. It is features a cool use of the iPad screen and is worth checking out a for a few dollars. Behind the tech is a basic but interesting turn-based strategy game. It will certainly appeal to children and adults will love the cool invention.
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To start out this week I want to share two brief previews of two upcoming iOS titles. I have had the chance to play around with versions of these apps that should be available in the next while. These are not meant to be reviews (little to no opinion will be given) but rather just a chance to share what I have experienced with these apps so far.
Thunderstone has been available digitally on Facebook for several months. The folks at Zabu have been hard at work preparing the game for iPad. What I have played is non-final version and does not represent the complete final product
The Thunderstone app shares many similarities with the Facebook version. At this point a Facebook login is required to play the app and the interface is similar. If you know your way around the Facebook version, you will feel right at home here. The game features an interactive tutorial and several single player modes. These include a campaign mode versus stacked decks and skirmish mode that players can set up as they wish. Like the previous version there is basic content unlocked, content that can entertain for quite a while. Additional cards are available for purchase at a cost of $0.99. One of the cool features that is still being worked on in the app is online multiplayer. This time around the multiplayer will be asynchronous or real time making it fit for your situation. The app certainly has a lot of great features and will be a good fit for iOS.
We will keep watching Thunderstone as it develops. It does not have the easiest interface (a lot of tapping on buttons) and the need for a Facebook connection may annoy some. However, apart from these annoyances this app will be a great way to play Thunderstone on iOS. It may not have the finesse of some other apps, but it provides the fun of Thunderstone on the go. The information is all there and the game plays as it should. Look out for this app in the near future.
A few months ago there was a call for a designer for Haggis on iOS and now the app will soon be released. This app is farther along than Thunderstone and we could see it on the app store in the near future.
Haggis on iOS is currently a solo experience. You can play against a challenging AI with one or two opponents. You also can choose to play to 250 or 350 points. Haggis is a fun trick taking game without too difficult of rules. The game features the full rulebook as well as an edited rulebook that is called a “tutorial.” The graphic design of Haggis is great. It looks very polished and is definitely functional. The in game interface is well designed and makes gameplay enjoyable. A lot of small touches makes the game faster and nicer. For example there is a simple button to sort the cards by number of suit. This helps you decide what kind of trick to lead with or how to play on later hands. Knowing the score in Haggis will influence all sorts of decisions. Luckily the app does a great job of showing what points have total and what you ahve one in that hand. At the end of each round is a clear breakdown of how points were awarded that is good for new and experienced players.
Look for a full review of Haggis when it is released. This is certainly one to look out for. It is a great solo experience and AI is fun to play against. My only wish is that I could play against another human online or locally. I also think that pass and play would be especially great for couples, allowing it to be a quick way to play this game. Be on the lookout for this one.
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05 Dec 2011
The following is an excellent contribution from Walter O'Hara from his blog Third Point of Singularity. You can read his original blog post here. He takes a look at Cabals and previews some of its different features. I really enjoyed his thoughts and I hope you will as well.
I will be giving my own review of Cabals in the near future so look out for that.
Compatibility: Universal iOS, Android, Browse based.
Current Price: Free
Developer/Publisher: Kyy games
Size: 74.7 MB
Multiplayer: Online cross-platform
AI: Yes. Multiple campaign levels
Itunes link: Cabals: The Card Game
Cabals: the Card Game. A peek at the future of startup CCGs?
By Walter O’Hara
I signed up for the beta of Cabals, the Card Game, and frankly, it went off my radar as it faded back into signal to noise ratio that is social media. My interest is again piqued for a number of reasons. First, they announced that they are out of beta and live, as of today. Second, the game plays across platforms– that is, it plays on Ipads, Ipod touches, Iphones, in a browser, and on Android tablets and smartphones. That is a pretty impressive feat, and as I mentioned in a recent review of the Battleline app, it’s going to start to become a market discriminator. Naturally, Cabals is once again going blip blip blip on my radar screen of attention. I suppose I should introduce the game first– Cabals is a virtual (only) game styled in a similar fashion to the collectible (paper) card games that were all the rage in the 1990s and even today to a lesser extent. The universe is, well, somewhat typical of a mixed genre science milieu, mixing elements of popular tropes for the purpose of creating different factions in the game.
The four original factions are described as:
▪ Order of Zahir relies on the esoteric art of alchemy. They are masters over both mind and matter, and strike at their enemies with strange poisons and animated creations. Their goal is domination over everything.
▪ Vril Society combines strange Vril energy to the latest technological discoveries for powerful and unusual results. They may lack in subtlety, but they more than make up for it in overpowering force and ruthlessness.
▪ Danann Covenant have summoned the forgotten Sidhe to their side, and combined the ancient faery tricks with their own magickal talents. You can never know quite what to expect from Danann Covenant – which is exactly how they prefer it.
▪ Bearclaw Brotherhood is built upon the powers of the old shamans and the command they have over the land, spirits and people of Mother Russia. They may be slow to rouse, but their full might is terrifying beyond comparison.
Honestly, I think even the publishers of the card game consider this stuff to be “the fluff” because the website doesn’t dwell much on backstory. There’s a lot on how to play this newish concept of a web-based trading card game.
If you ever played Magic: the Gathering or any of its many derivative spawns you already have a good idea of how to play Cabals. You are responsible for a deck of at least 30 cards that can no more than 3 duplicates of any one card. Each deck has a main “thematic” character card that represents your faction. You collect and build the deck up in a fashion similar to the older Magic game. You place the cards out on a table to activate them and they combat either main characters or lackeys. Unlike M:TG, you are not seeking to destroy an enemy wizard, rather you are trying to occupy their stronghold area at the back of a virtual gridded space.
The grid areas are called Tiles. Tiles can be either open or marked to give the unit moving into them a special bonus of some sort. Each turn you draw a single card into your hand and then you decide which one to deploy. Moving and attacking units exhausts them so they can’t be used on a subsequent turn. Special characters that have capabilities, like spells, that they can bring into the game will cost resources, which will also deplete them. If you can fight through the opposing force’s wall of underlings and occupy their stronghold, you win somewhere around 60 victory and/or campaign points. I’m not sure what that brings you. I found the basic game as described above to be fairly straightforward and easy to pick up, even if I have (ahem) yet to win a game. Hey, give me a break, I’m learning. I’d assume that there is a heavier element of trading between players, if the word “collectible” is to be attached to this game, but I haven’t really explored enough to understand how card trading is done yet. If the game will feature some form of virtual card trading, I see this as a huge plus.
So that’s essentially what Cabals is. I’m posting on this because I think it could become a breakthrough concept. Games are getting expensive– and card games maybe more so than others, because of the huge startup costs to get a collectible card game going. If you can deliver the same content with virtual services.. FOR FREE.. without going to comic book stores in search of expansion packs, without a giant print-based advertising campaign, relying on social media like Facebook and Twitter and sites like BGG and assorted blogs (like this one?) to pimp it for you, well, you know, you might just make a nickel and a dime in this business, who knows. I presume that the way the company behind Cabals will make that nickel and a dime will be in-game expansions of some sort, much like certain IoS game apps have in-app expansions that cost a very reasonable .99 or near to that. I don’t know if I’ll like it enough to spend even that miniscule amount of cash on it or not, personally. However, it does appear promising to me– I like the idea behind Cabals and I especially enjoy the cross platform method of delivering game content. I wish them success and I recommend it!
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• TIX for iOS to be released June 2nd.
• iDixit: an iOS version of the award winning game available now...sort of.
TIX is an interesting abstract game being released by the original designer.
It involves placing and moving eight blocks of your color in an attempt to trap your opponents blocks. If a player has no remaining active blocks, they lose immediately.
The app implementation looks good so far. The menu is very basic but the in game screen looks very pretty. It also comes out the gate with many impressive features such as online multiplayer via Game Center and pass and play (there is not hidden information so this could make a great game to play face to face on iPad). It also offers AI of various difficulties and achievements for accomplishing things in both AI play and online play.
Being new to the game, I tried an AI game. I lost utterly and need to get my head wrapped around the strategy of the game. One comment on that is I felt like the rules could have been explained in a more user friendly fashion, the long screen of scrollable text just seems old fashioned with this generation of board game apps.
The iOS version of Dixit is available as of yesterday. The price for the full game has now been lowered to Free to compensate an error in programming that makes the current game largely unusable. Currently online multiplayer with strangers is not working due to a server issue. We have heard personally from TOBOCO games that a fix has already been submitted to Apple. We will alert you as soon as it arrives. Gabe and I tried multiplayer last night several times. The first player can tell their story but then it never alerts the other players. This is the exact error TOBOCO described and so it should be fixed in the coming update.
Despite this major launch set back, I would not give up on this game. The art of the game is beautiful (not the cards, of course those are, but the menus etc.) and seems to embody the spirit of Dixit. Their is no real AI but there is a tutorial game you can play through. I tried this and it seems like the system is clear. Another feature that people will find really cool or really annoying (I find it cool for now) is that in the game the storyteller records their story rather than writing it out, so the players will hear what you said. This sounds interesting to me and provides a more personal touch to the game. We will let you know once the game is repaired and we can really get a good picture of it.
You can get it here: http://itunes.apple.com/app/idixit/id438442408?mt=8
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Last week I had the chance to Skype with Torulf from Tribeflame games. We had a great conversation about the developers history and what they had in store for the future.
IOSBG: Could you tell me a little bit about the history of Tribeflame?
Torulf: We were thinking back in 2008 when these devices started to appear, that the touch screens will start to increase in size and once they do you can put them between two people. You are looking from that side and I am looking from this side. And then we can start building a new version of board game experience, where we have the good sides of the human contact from board games and the good sides of the computer taking care of rules and the multimedia aspects. You can build much deeper gameplay because you can offload a lot of what you would usually have to do manually, you can off load that to the computer. That’s how we got started. We had actually talked about it earlier, I remember I had discussed it with Marcus [his partner] years ago that sooner or later this time would come, but we filed it in the drawer. In 2008 we thought, “Hey now we are getting here.”
IOSBG: So your first game was Keltis Oracle, but you also did Racecar soon after. Can you tell me about that?
Torulf: The idea is that there is section between board games and computer games and we wanted to look at the space in-between. Because of this we went ahead and did Keltis first and Racecar as the second one from the other side. Racecar is the classic top down racing game, a genre with a long history on all sorts of platforms, in PCs and so forth. Straight top down, nothing fancy. The idea was that I steer in this corner and you steer in the other corner. This way we could get 4 players using the same iPad, sitting face to face.
IOSBG: I did not realize it had that capability.
Torulf: That is the space we decided to look at from different angles. It actually shot up to the number one spot on the iPad app store pretty quickly at that time. It was kind of a rough time because we gave it away for free and had no way of monetizing it when it went up to the number one spot. Now it has in app purchases. We are selling more tracks for it and we made a version where we experimented with weapons and so we started selling weapons. It is likely the most played game from Tribeflame.
IOSBG: When you convert a board game into the digital space you want to preserve as much of the board game elements as possible, but it is delicate balance. What challenges did you encounter when developing Keltis, your first board game app?
Torulf: Yes, I think Keltis is a pretty straight forward board game. It is a very classic style board game, a family game. It is not a hardcore board game. In this game you have a spiral path, you start on the outer end and you try to get to the middle. In this game you have cards and you play these cards in front of you, according to the cards you play you move those colored spaces. That was the first challenge, what do we do with the cards? We obviously do not have an easy way to do cards on the iPad. For one we thought about putting your hand on an ipod or iphone and then the iPad would be the main board. It got to techy like that and I believe every time we make a decision like that we limit the number of players who will buy the app. We spoke to Reiner Knizia and we figured out that what cards you have in your hand is not crucial knowledge for other players. There are a few game situations where it is, but they are few and far between. In the end the solution was to show the cards, your cards in front of you and my cards in front of me and you play them from there.
IOSBG: Was this the only challenge?
Torulf: Well we launched the iPad version with the iPad launch, so that meant we did not have an iPad while we were developing the game. As a result it did have a few glitches, but the thing that saved us is that every iPad app that launched with the iPad had glitches. Frankly they were all crap. And we then obviously took another month or two to polish the game. We added in the tutorial, at first you had to read the rules. We got some really good user feedback.
IOSBG: Can you tell me about how Through the Desert came about?
Torulf: As you know, we were first building our own iPad or something like the iPad. We did some prototypes and they were twice as big as the iPad, like 15 inches because they are meant to be shared with a group of people. And then we took that prototype and went to Essen in October and we showed this prototype to big board game companies and designers, that is where we got in contact with Dr. Knizia. So when the iPad launched we contacted him again and asked for a few licenses. And we got Keltis and Through the Desert and a third one. These were his first suggestions. And Through the Desert in particular was interesting to us, because we asked for a game that works well in this type of setting where most information is public and doing a move is very easy. That is what I like about Through the Desert. One move is literally done in seconds. A lot of board games you have cards and you arrange your cards in different configurations, and designing that is really a challenge to get all of that on an iPad. Because if you think about it, the iPad is only 1/2 of a standard letter size sheet of paper. It's really not that big.
IOSBG: What made you choose Game Center as a multiplayer tool?
Torulf: Really partly because of feedback that we got. First we made it Open Feint, we released it with that. A lot of people said multiplayer is great, thanks for experimenting with it. We’d be the first to admit it is the first network multiplayer game we did and I think it can still be more polished. The first round of feedback was that multiplayer is great but they don’t like Open Feint. So we moved to Game Center.
IOSBG: Has that been successful?
Torulf: We could track with Open Feint because it was on our own servers. Currently, we have not checked for a long time. I do not think it is very active. Partly because these board games are kind of niche and the number of players are not high and they may have trouble finding each other [plug for iOS Board game Community ]. Of course now, moving to Gamecenter, our android version does not have a built in multiplayer system.
IOSBG: So is Labyrinth an original design or was it published?
Torulf: It is an original design by Knizia. Basically, we got a short 2 page rule description from Mr. Knizia and we got back to him and worked out some more ideas to make the game longer and polish it. The same thing happened with Cluster Master.
IOSBG: Is it different working with these new designs?
Torulf: Of course they are different, they are made for digital platforms. They are more puzzle games. Our original idea was to focus on the face to face aspect, where these games are more single player games. There are more freedoms in doing this. We can do a game and see if it is balanced, and we can tweak the rules. If we do a board game the rules are already set and we can’t make major changes with out pissing off fans of the original board game.
IOSBG: How is it working with licensing? What kinds of freedoms and restrictions do you have?
Torulf: So far we work with designers but we have been in contact with publishers as well, but in many cases it is easier to work with the designer directly. One less party. We get the license for a specific platform, so we get separate license for iOS and Android. We build the game and show it to the designer and the designer approves the game and we launch it.
ISOBG: Have you encountered situations where you wanted to change parts of the game to make it fit more into the platform?
Torulf: In some cases we do a little of that. We also try to choose games that we think will convert well to this platform so we do not have to do things like this. But we do look at what information is hidden and what is open so indeed we have been thinking pretty carefully about that to make the user interface fluid.
Torulf: Sure. I believe we haven’t spoken about it publicly yet, Knizia’s FITS is the next board game we will release. We have a 2 player version on the iPad so 2 players can play on one device. We also have a license for Knizia board game that has not been published in a physical form but will be published in a physical form. Our app version will be released at the end of the year, I cannot really say for the physical board game.
IOSBG: So they might be released close together?
Torulf: Yes of course. Actually with Keltis Oracle we released our digital version the same month as the physically version.
IOSBG: Will FITS feature online play?
Torulf: We think it will not feature online play. We do not think it will not be very much fun if you are not sitting in the same place. There will be an iphone version, one player, the iPad for two.
IOSBG: Where do you see the future of gaming?
Torulf: Gaming is getting more attention in our society. It is diverging in different directions. You have hardcore games on consoles but most attention is going toward social and casual gaming on Facebook, etc. Board games are going strong and I think will continue to grow. We are focused on board gaming on large tablet devices. They are growing very quickly as a technology. We will focus on casual games rather than the hardcore games. We want to focus on games that are easy to get into.
IOSBG: What is your favorite board game?
Torulf: That is a tough one. I think can overdose on almost any game. Games that I have played a lot Catan. I like Catan more than Carcassonne but on the iPad Carcassonne is better implementation. I also enjoy Ticket to Ride. Tikal is also one I have played a lot, Chris snatched that license out from under our noses.
IOSBG: Well thank you for your time.
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Gabe AlvaroUnited States
Checking my fishing nets and traps last week, I discovered RoboArena by developer Bravado Waffle Studios. Since I'm a fan of RoboRally, by which BWS claims this game is inspired, I became interested in this born-digital board-game-like app. I got in touch with Stephen from BWS and he provide me with some useful info that I could share about their still-in-development app.
IntroductionBravado Waffle Studios wrote:A menacing space station has appeared in orbit above the Earth. On board, an army of evil robots is being assembled to invade the planet. Meanwhile, a lone discarded Robo wakes up with a fresh perspective… saving humanity! Can you help our Hero escape the space station and put an end to the evil robot's nefarious plot? Find out in RoboArena, a new game for the iPhone, iPad, and other devices!
RoboArena is a Top Down Turn Based Casual Strategy Multiplayer Action Game (TDTBCSMAG for short). Inspired by the board game classic Robo Rally, it will be a unique blend of strategy, puzzles, action, and casual fun! You play the part of a small Robo who has woken up in an evil factory designed to create a robot army to take over the world. Your mission is to help the little Robo to escape from this factory and stop the evil plot before it’s too late.
As you play, you must use an increasing arsenal of weapons, armors, and skills to solve puzzles, dodge evil robot drones, and destroy key computers to stop this evil factory. Additionally you will be able to test you skills against advanced AI players as well as humans in Arena mode where players will be hunting each other across random battlefields.
We have developed a unique casual style of game play that will push your planning and strategizing skills to the limit. In single player it turns the game into a puzzle game, but in multiplayer it turns into a game of cloak-and-dagger chess. Players will have to anticipate their opponents moves, lay traps, evade detection, and escape from the other Robos that are hunting them!
Getting the App Released
It turns out that BWS is going the KickStarter route to getting the finishing of their app funded and published. App developing, when done right, is not free nor always cheap. BWS needs funds for equipment, polish, and marketing. Though they appear to be very well along, I'm guessing a bit of the old Ninety-Ninety rule is at play here. Y'know the one that says something like:Some wry programmer once wrote:"The first 90 percent of the [work] accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the [work] accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time."
And Now Some Preview Specifics...
• Multiplayer - Yes, up to 4 players on Game Center, bluetooth, and pass and play. Actually the game will always have six players, but two of those will be AI. It will be asynchronous as well.
• Gameplay - The gameplay mechanic we've devised is very unique in that you pre-program up to 15 moves into your Robo each turn and then set him to preform those actions. This means you have to plan ahead, anticipate obstacles, and think of creative ways to surmount them safely and efficiently. It turns the single player Story Mode into more of a puzzle game that is equal parts challenging (planning ahead) and fun (lots of explosions).
This mechanic also turns the arena and multiplayer games into something akin to a cloak-and-dagger Chess game where you are trying to anticipate your target's moves on the game board, lay traps for them, evade other players who are hunting you, and also move in a way that your target doesn't know you are hunting them.
We've got 15 different weapons and armors that are all unique and offer a ton of strategy and depth in how they can be used. From slime bombs and bubble cannons, to grenades with a blast radius, and flame throwers that shoot through walls. How you decide to spend your money and equip your Robo at the beginning of each match will determine your playing style and strategy.
Cannon: Your default weapon, infinite, weak
Slime Bomb: Shoots slime that expands into large area upon impact
Saber: Short range beam saber allows you to ram objects
Proximity Mine: Explodes when enemy comes in range
Missile: Very powerful single shot
Laser: Instant fire, travels through all objects except walls
Bomb: Bomberman style bomb
Bubble Cannon: Slow moving projectile, great for traps and timing switches
EMP: Kills all enemy movement within range
Multi-Shot: Devestating at close range, spreads out at long range
Grenade: Projectile with blast radius
Flame Thrower: Powerful short range weapon, able to shoot through walls
The game is going to be easy enough to pick up and play a few games casually, but offer enough depth to it for hardcore players to really learn strategies and adapt individual playing styles.
• AI - Yes, we will have it, and it will be smart enough to make every game a challenge!
• Release date - We are shooting for late Summer/early Fall
• Price - 1.99 (Since its our first game we have to keep the price low to keep our discoverability up, even though I'd prefer pricing it at 4.99 it's just not practical. We'll be running plenty of .99 sales as well.)
Motion Picture Previews!
Additionally, Bravado Waffle Studios has a couple of YouTube videos up that introduce and better describe their game.
Introduction teaser trailer:
And a voice-guided walk through:
So there you have it. A new app by some hard working developers who are trying to do things the right way and need a little help to get them there. Looks like a promising app!
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Gabe AlvaroUnited States
• Puerto Rico and Tikal Screenshots Posted by Codito
• Ascension Screenshot Posted
• Cryptozoic to release Food Fight in Fall 2011
• Codito Posts Screenshots of Puerto Rico and Tikal - Mar 16
Codito has posted some tantalizing screenshots to BGG from two of their highly anticipated upcoming iOS App releases. They welcome and invite your feedback in the entries for these game on their GeekList that covers all of their iOS board game app releases.
Screenshot from Puerto Rico
Screenshot from Tikal
• Ascension for iPad Photo Posted - Mar 16
Not really sure who posted this, but it's a photo, taken at the GAMA trade show in Las Vegas this week, of an iPad running what is claimed to be the iPad version of Ascension: Deckbuilding Game. Is somebody really using the
• Cryptozoic Entertainment to release Food Fight in Fall 2011 - Mar 16
Cryptozoic Entertainment are preparing to concurrently release both a print board game and video game version (iPhone, iPad and Android) of their new game, Food Fight. The release dates appear to be set for Fall 2011.
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