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 Mark Webb, Android News

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Android News Bits - Phase 10 Released and lots of apps updated.

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• Phase 10 Released - March 27
• Draw Something Updated - April 18
• Uniwar HD Updted - April 18
• Urban Rivals Updated - April 17
• Words with Friends Updated - April 15
• Phase Out Updated - April 14
• Elder Sign: Omens Updated - April 13
• Tichu Updated - April 11
• Card Ace: Casino Updated - April 8
• Blokish Updated - April 7
• Cabals Updated - March 30
• Rage of Bahamut Updated - March 29
• Pax Regalia - Triage Updated - March 22
• Briscola HD Updated - April 14
• Uno (Free version) Updated - April 4
• Androminion Updated - April 4
• Scramble with Friends Updated - April 3


Mostly updates this time. There is one New Release.

• Phase 10 Released - March 27
Last time, I mentioned the game Phase Out, a game similar to Phase 10. About a week after my last article, developer Magmic released the official Mattel licensed version of Phase 10. Some features include three difficulty levels, 15 player avatars, and available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
$0.99 in the Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.magmic.pha...
Lite version, which plays 3 of the 10 phases,
Free in the Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.magmic.pha...


On with the updates:

• Draw Something Updated - April 18
OMGPOP recently acquired by Zynga, pushed an update to its hit app Draw Something. Besides the notice stating that this app is now "governed by the Zynga Terms of Service", this update adds the ability to send a message to your guessing partner so you no longer have to chat via your pictures. Also added is the ability to undo the last pen stroke.
$0.99 in the Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omgpop.dst...
Ad supported Free in the Google Play Store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omgpop.dst...



• Uniwar HD Updted - April 18
Several fixes come with the April 18th update of Uniwar HD.
Quote:
Fix chat issue.
Fix battery drain.
Fix orientation crash.
WarReport now shows info about the map author.
Added ability to delete your own maps.
Fix the list of rated maps, many were missing.
Fix Moving dialog, only Map filter is now movable.
Fix wrong message displayed when Publishing a map.
Fix wrong title displayed in TextEditor.
Fix Swiss flag that was not square as It should.
Fix login screen button being too small.
$4.99 in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=android.uniwar


• Urban Rivals Updated - April 17
Card based fighting game Urban Rivals, by developer Boostr pushed an update on April 17th. The new version updated the Account window, changed how large screens were handled, and made English the fallback language for any languages not supported by the app (Chinese for example).

This app had already been released by the time I had found it in the Google Play Store, so let me include a bit of the app description so that you get a feel for it.
Quote:
Discover hundreds of awesomely designed characters who gain experience after each fight, improve their stats, unlock powerful abilities and change their physical appearance as they level up.
Join tournaments, win prizes, trade characters and complete missions.
...
FEATURES
- Intense and strategic fights
- Over 700 characters available
- Numerous game modes
- In game tutorial to easily learn the rules of the game
- A market to trade your characters with other players
- 19 million registered users means you'll find opponents online 24/7
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.boostr...


• Words with Friends Updated - April 15
The April 15th update brings a much improved notification system to Words With Friends. Until now, only the iOS version notified you when your opponent played, a feature completely missing from the Android version. This update brings that functionality, along with performance enhancements, and recommendation of friends to play as opponents.
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.word...



• Phase Out Updated - April 14
Phineus Media released ver 1.6 of Phase Out, which included over 30 achievements to earn, as well as squashing various bugs.
$0.99 in Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crimi.phas...



• Elder Sign: Omens Updated - April 13
Fantasy Flight Games brings out a large update for Elder Sign: Omens.
First, if you own the app, coming with the update for free is:
Quote:
An exciting Yig campaign
Five new Yig monsters and four Yig adventures
An unlockable investigator (after defeating Azathoth)
Performance improvements and other technical fixes
Second, the update also enables "The Call of Cthulhu" expansion available for an in game puchase of $2.99. This expansion adds:
Quote:
"The Call of Cthulhu," a new campaign
Over 30 new adventures, four new Investigators, and 12 new monsters
New inventory items, a new map, and new game mechanics
An unlockable investigator (after defeating Cthulhu)
Fantasy Flight also recommends that you delete the app and the com.fantasyflightgames.ESAndroid folder in your file system on your device before downloading the update.
3.99 in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fantasyfli...
Expansion $2.99 as in app purchase


• Tichu Updated - April 11
New features come in the 1.4 version of Tichu. Included in this version are :
Quote:
Added partner passing conventions and ability to set conventions
Added passing stats
Added achievements
Changed AI to be more helpful at completing Tichus
Moved position of Pass button to prevent accidentally passing
Added setting to turn off Pass button when selecting cards to play
Added setting to prevent calling Tichu unless you hold down the button and/or confirm it
Fixed lag at the end of the round

$2.99 in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mystcmage....



• Card Ace: Casino Updated - April 8
The Hold 'Em and Word Ace
game interfaces receive a redesign, as well as improved menus and player profiles in this update to Self Aware Games's Card Ace: Casino

Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.selfawareg...



• Blokish Updated - April 7
Open Source Blokus clone Blokish updates to version 1.8, which includes the following fixes and enhancements:
Quote:
Added a drop down animation when a piece is moved by the machine, so you can see last move in action.
Removed dependency to the social game network, introduced in last release for tests.
Added link to YouTube demo in help page.
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.scoutant.b...



• Cabals Updated - March 30
The latest version of Cabals brings four new cards, 2 new maps, and a number of fixes, including fixing the "Clone/Mimic" bug.

Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kyygames.c...



• Rage of Bahamut Updated - March 29
Rage of Bahamut was release back in February but we have since learned about it through the latest update on March 29th. Not too much described as part of the update. Here is a bit from the App description:
Quote:
Battle other players in a trading card game for the ages.
With over 1 million players in Japan, Rage of Bahamut comes to Android for the first time!
FEATURES
Hundreds of stunning cards to collect, with more constantly being added
Fast & easy battles on the go with stunning and alluring characters
Daily updates to continue to expand your deck
Live single and multiplayer action from a seemingly endless database of battle hungry foes!
Quests to claim your place in Rage of Bahamut history
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobage.ww....


• Pax Regalia - Triage Updated - March 22
After the initial release of Pax Regalia - Triage, the developer Anders Tonfeldt pushed an update to version 1.12 on March 22nd. Here is what was changed.
Quote:
Drastic performance increase across the board, especially for tablets I didn't have access to during the initial development of Triage. Thank you everyone who submitted performance logs, you made this possible. Substantial rebalancing of number of diseases vs resources. I hear you, it was a bit brutal initially. Just tell me if you think it's too easy now (Thank you to everyone).

2.96 in Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=se.digitalevol...



These all fall under the heading of "miscellaneous fixes". Not too much information about the updates given by the developers.


• Briscola HD Updated - April 14
Quote:
Fix bug with Scoreloop platform
$1.30 in Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.darthsith....


• Uno (Free version) Updated - April 4
Just listed as "Bug Fixes" Paid app not updated.
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gameloft.a...


• Androminion Updated - April 4
Quote:
Possession!
Additional translations: Now supports French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish
Bugfixes and UI enhancements
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mehtank.an...


• Scramble with Friends Updated - April 3
Quote:
UI support for Galaxy Note
We addressed some minor issues in order to improve the user experience.
0.99 in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.scra...
Free (ad supported) in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.scra...


Some other notes:
BGG user Jost Schwider (JostAusSoest) has released a game timer supporting up to eight players, for chess games, or perhaps to discourage analysis parallasys.
Free in the Google Play Store
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.schwider.mu...

Last news article, David Kershaw (Kerpob2) brought to my attention that I had missed the release of his app, Napoleonics Waterloo. If you like wargames, check out that one, and his other wargame apps in the Google Play Store https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=DK+Simulatio...
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Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:18 pm
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Android News - Pax Regalia - Triage, Skywords , Mastermind,Zynga Pro Poker, Scramble with Friends Released • Shadow Era, Blokish, Zynga Poker Updated, and More News

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• Shadow Era Updates, add card set
• Pax Regalia - Triage Released
• Skywords Released
• Mastermind Released
• Blokish Updated
• Zynga Pro Poker Released and Zynga Poker Updated
• Hanging with Friends Updated
• Scramble with Friends Released
• Kairn (Caveman Curling) price dropped
• Farkle Solo updated
• Tichu Updated to version 1.3
• Phase Out Release
• Draw Something Released
• Cabals Updated
• Scopa HD Updated
• Android Market Renamed to Google Play.
• Games Mag goes digital in Zinio App


• Shadow Era Updates to adds Call of the Crystals set - March 9
Wulven Game Studios updates Shadow Era to add the Call of the Crystals card set. They say this first set of 200 cards is complete and won't change, and has been balanced and clarified with consistent wording.
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wulven.sha...



• Pax Regalia - Triage Released - February 28
BGG user Anders Tonfeldt (TFeldt) released his cooperative resource management game where the goal is to disinfect the four star clusters of viral pathogens. Available only for tablets, not phones. More info in the forums at this thread.
$2.89 in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=se.digitalevolution.tr...




• Skywords Released March 6
Lonely Star Software has released Skywords on March 6. Skywords is their version of Upwords the word crossword game that allowed stacking of tiles in addition to normal Scrabble-like play.
Quote:
App Description:
Sky Words is the tile-based game with a twist: you can stack letters on top of existing letters to create new words! The higher you stack the higher you score, so Aim for the Sky!
Play Single Player
Play Pass and Play with up to 4 players
Play Online with your friends or random opponents
In-game chat messaging for Online Games
Push notifications tell you when it’s your turn (on supported devices)
In-Game help guides you though the rules
$2.00 in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lonelystar...




• Mastermind Released February 21
The classic code breaking game Mastermind comes to Android thanks to developer roel0, member of the phone developer's forum site XDA-Developers. 2 Player or AI play.
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mastermind...




• Blokish Updated March 1
Blokish, an open source implementation of Blokus, pushed an update that adds an optional social feature using the Heyzap gaming community and Sweedish language support.
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.scoutant.b...



• Zynga Pro Poker Released and Zynga Poker Updated - February 23 & 25
Zynga updates its free poker app, Zynga Poker on February 25 with miscellaneous fixes and stability enhancements. Adding to its poker lineup, they also released Zynga Pro Poker on Feb 23 for $4.99. The pro version adds some features not available in the free version, including
unlimited sit-n-go tournaments, elite rooms, and high-stakes tables.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.live...



• Hanging with Friends Updated - February 26
Zynga puts out an update with "miscellaneous fixes", but does add the ability to rid yourself of ads with a $1.99 in app purchase.
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.hang...



• Scramble with Friends Released - March 8
Zynga has been busy... They release on March 6, Scramble with Friends, which enables you to search for words in a grid of letters to find as many as you can, similar to the game Boggle.
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.scra...




• Kairn (Caveman Curling) price dropped - February 27
Developer Forgenext drops the price of Kairn to $1.41 from $2.84.



• Farkle Solo updated February 28
Smart Box Games, who have a series of western themed Farkle games, update their single player farkle game, Farkle Solo.
Here are the updated features
Quote:
Added New Leaderboard: Today's Best Round
Added New Leaderboard: Today's Best Score
Improved the "End of Game" poster
Added a new achievement
Added more sound effects
Various bug fixes and tweaks to the art for Tablets and Phones
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smartboxde...



• Tichu Updated to version 1.3 - March 4
Originally released in February, BGG user Christopher Holdren updates Tichu for Android. The update description lists the following improvements and fixes:
Quote:
Added better layouts for large screens
Added sound effects
Lower skill levels now have more differences
Added ability to change player names
Improved Expert AI
Corrected Toast message issue for Android 3+
Bug Fixes:
A computer bomb before calling Tichu would cause cards to disappear from the game
Could not undo first passed card
Longer straight flushes now beat smaller straight flushes
$2.99 in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mystcmage....



• Phase Out Release - February 23
On February 23, Phineus Media releases Phase Out, a rummy game, similar to shanghai rummy, or Phase 10. More info from the app description
Quote:
Make your way through various stages, satisfying unique requirements for each stage to progress. Be the first player to complete all of their stages to phase out your opponents and become the winner!
-Go head to head with up to 3 other players
-Challenge the computer, or pass and play with your friends on one device
-Choose from two preset game modes, or tweak the rules to create your own unique experience
-Save your favorite game modes and easily replay them whenever you want
-Need to take a break during a game? Save your game and pick up right where you left off later!
$0.99 in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crimi.phas...



• Draw Something Released - February 4
Mix Pictionary with Words with Friends, and you get Draw Something, an app where you draw pictures to have your friends guess the secret word you are trying to portray. Also on iOS as mentioned in a previous iOS news post, this hit the Android Market on February 4, followed up by bug fixing updates on the 8th, 22nd, and 23rd.
$0.99 in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omgpop.dst...
Free (ad supported) in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omgpop.dst...



• Cabals Updated February 21
We have mentioned the online CCG Cabals on this blog before. On February 21, Kyy Games pushes a new update adding many new features:
Quote:
The update introduces 4 new hero cards, 1 for each cabal, and a number of other changes and improvements
Four new hero cards.
Unit abilities can be targeted more freely.
Players also gain experience and get card rewards for multiplayer matches.
Improved matchmaking.
New victory screen with more information.
Free in the Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kyygames.c...



• Scopa HD Updated February 26 & March 10
Cowlab, developer of Scopa HD, release a couple of updates...One added support for the Galaxy Nexus phone, and the other fixing some online features.
$1.36 in Android Market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.brainet.ga...



• Android Market Renamed to Google Play.
Google has renamed the Android Market to Google Play. This seems to be a continuation in the effort to consolidate apps, music, movies and books into one experience. We have already seen market updates to pull the selling of all four together into the market apps on our devices, now the branding is being updated to match that. The app urls do change: play.google.com instead of market.android.com, although the old links are being redirected. More info from Google.

Similarly, Google is trying to tear down the walls of platform, by encouraging cross platform technologies, and combining their various gaming platforms into one label of Google Games. From this article comes the following quote from Google's Google+ Product Manager:

Punit Soni wrote:
By next year, we will not be here talking about Google+ Games, Chrome Web Store games, Games for Native Client and Android games. We will be talking about Google games.”



• Games Mag goes digital in Zinio App
I saw this originally on the Dice Tower News site that Games magazine is getting the digital treatment thanks to Zinio. While not a stand alone app, it is nice to see this piece of the gaming world be available on our phones and tablets and other electronic forms. Zinio says this is available for Android, iOS, WebOS, Blackberry, Windows 7 and Adobe Air.
http://www.zinio.com/browse/publications/index.jsp?sch=true&...




Shadow Era
Skywords

Pax Regalia - Triage


Mastermind

Blokish

Zynga Pro Poker


Tichu

Scramble with Friends

Hanging with Friends

Kairn (Caveman Curling)

Farkle Solo

Phase Out


Cabals

Draw Something Free

Draw Something Paid

Scopa HD

Zinio Magazine Reader
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Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:00 pm
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Android Release Khet 2.0

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Name: Khet

Devices: Android Phone & Tablet

Launch Price: $3.99

Players: 2

Multiplayer: Yes, Pass & Play and Network Play.

Seller/Developer: Schogini Systems

Android Market: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.schogini.KHET

Based on BGG Entry: Laser Chess


Notes: A month after the iOS release, on Sunday the 26th Schogini Systems brings us the Android release (and updates the past two days as well) of Khet 2.0. The app supports 4 levels of AI, as well as the ability to play over network or pass and play with friends.


App Description wrote:

The Award Winning game with AI Engine by Don Dailey (World Champion Chess Engine Creator!)
Mensa Select Award winning board game & Toy of the Year 2011 finalist as an App Now!
** NOW ** 4 AI LEVELS: Powered by the Artificial Intelligence based Game Engine by Don Dailey (developer of KOMODO 4 world's leading Chess Program)
It's the game that combines lasers with classic strategy. Players alternate turns moving Egyptian-themed pieces having two, one or no mirrored surfaces. All four types of pieces (pharaoh, anubis, pyramid and scarab) can either move one square forward, back, left, right, or diagonal, or stay in the same square and rotate by a quarter twist. Each turn ends by firing the real laser diode built into each player's Sphinx piece. The laser beam bounces from mirror to mirror; if the beam strikes a non-mirrored surface on any piece, it is immediately removed from play. The ultimate goal is to illuminate your opponent's pharaoh, while shielding yours from harm!
The Khet Rules: http://www.khet.com/rules.htm
You can buy the Real Khet at http://www.khet.com/store/index.html
FEATURES:
* Artificial Intelligence Engine by Don Dailey (developer of KOMODO world's leading Chess Program).
* 2 PLAYER mode to battle among friends to show them WHO OWNS THE GAME!!
* Thrilling difficulty levels like NOOB, ANUBIS GUARD , PHARAOH and KHET MASTER to provide perfect challenge. AI levels require an active internet connection.
* CLASSIC, DYNASTY, IMHOTEP - 3 unique arrangements ensuring exciting gameplay.
* Play ONLINE and challenge a friend or create an open challenge.
* Play with the invincible game engine to enhance your tactical skills.
* PUSH NOTIFICATION made available to inform player's turns.
* Interrupted games are instantly SAVED.
* Cutting-edge graphics with highly contrasting backgrounds.
* Stunning sound effects and striking interactions.
* Simple to use interface.
* Simplified multiplayer gaming with option to play with iPad, iPhone and other Android Khet players.
* All games get automatically saved and you can resume the game if you want so!
Pieces:
*PHARAOH has no mirrored sides, it is the most vulnerable piece of the game
*PYRAMID has one mirrored surface, it is mainly used for defence.
*SCARAB has two mirrored surfaces and hence cannot be eliminated.
*ANUBIS is weak at all sides but shielded from the front.
*SPHINX that fires lasers.
Rules:
* Every piece can either move one square in any direction or stay in the same square and rotate by a quarter twist.
* Use mirrored surfaces for reflecting laser beams off the pieces
* Non-mirrored sides are vulnerable to laser attacks.
* There are silver and red game pieces on board. Silver starts first.
* SPHINX at the corner of the board can make a quarter turn. It is the only immovable piece on the board.
Simple as that, this game demands strategic thinking from players. With every new move or turn, WATCH OUT, the lasers could even eliminate your own pieces.
Infinite possibilities, gripping gameplay and ever so entertaining this game is an INSTANT
Youtube: http://youtu.be/7LQJ8wnifRA


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Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:37 pm
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Android Release: Tichu

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Name: Tichu

Devices: Android Phone & Tablet

Launch Price: $2.99

Players: 1

Multiplayer: None.

Seller/Developer:
Christopher Holdren
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Android Market: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.mystcmage.android....

Based on BGG Entry: Tichu

Notes: BGG user Christopher Holdren (MystcMage) sends Android users a valentine with the February 14th announcement in the forums of his release of Tichu available for Android devices. Supports both phones, and tablets in stretch or zoom mode. According to the in app FAQ, there are multiplayer capabilities in works. Note this app has a different look and feel, and is not a port of the Tichu app for iOS done by Steve Blanding, but this is the official app for Android licensed and authorized by the publisher, Fata Morgana Spiele.

App Description wrote:

The popular card game comes to Android to test your strategic thinking skills The popular card game Tichu is now available on your Android device!

Tichu is a strategic partnership card game whose goal is to be the first to use all of your cards.
It may seem like a simple game, but ask any Chinese bus driver and he'll tell you it is a challenge for beginners and experts alike.

Your computer opponents will pull no punches, calling Tichu or Grand Tichu nearly 90% of the time.
They also look for ways to go out at every opportunity.
This does not mean the gameplay is incredibly slow.
The computer players will go as fast or slow as you can handle.
If the difficulty proves to be too much, you can turn on the in-game hints and a view of your opponents cards to see why they make the plays they do.
Whatever your skill level, you will find Tichu to be a fun and challenging game!
Post any bugs/suggestions at http://tichuapp.freeforums.org and I will have a look.
Features:
• Fully licensed and authorized by publisher Fata Morgana Spiele
• Full implementation of the card game
• Expert-level gameplay
• Advanced statistics to track your play
• Customizable settings to play the game at any speed
• Optional hints help you to improve your game
• Developer mode lets you cheat and see all cards and play reasons




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Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:05 pm
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Android Review: Monopoly

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The Stats:
Compatibility: Android Phone & Tablet
Current Price: $4.99
Developer/Publisher: EA / Hasbro
Multiplayer: Pass & Play
AI: Yes
Market Link

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.eamobile.monopoly_...




The Good:
-Two apps, tablet and phone for the price of one
-Many options and house rules.
-Stats and Log features
-Tabletop Tablet UI
The Bad:
-Phone UI is lacking.

Gameplay:

Monopoly is a property buying and trading game that started life as an example of an economic theory, as The Landlord's Game, and has over the years evolved into a cultural icon.The object: Bankrupt the other players and be the last one left at the end. You do this by rolling dice to travel around the board buying property in order to charge the other players rent. If you manage to collect all of the properties in the same color group, rents are doubled on those properties, and you have the ability to erect houses and hotels in order to charge more. Besides the properties, the board also has some other assorted spaces: Community Chest and Chance spaces give cards with random events to the player who draws them, Go, which represents your regular salary, giving $200 every time around the board. Other spaces include two spaces to levy taxes against the players, Jail, and a space to send you there, and Free Parking, which is just a safe place to land on, but has no purpose.

Monopoly is no without its detractors. Parker Brothers, Monopoly's publisher now part of Hasbro, originally rejected Monopoly because it had a large list of flaws. Fifty-two to be exact. Many of the other complaints about the game come from the game draging on forever, usually as a result of people not playing by the rules, or developing their own house rules. Putting money on Free Parking usually allows hurting players back in the game with an unexpected windfall. Other house rules also have the same effect of putting cash into the game where the object is to take cash out. Love it or hate it, Monopoly is a rather mainstream game in most non-gamer closets. Also reaching the masses has been many, many software versions of this game, ranging from NES, Genesis, N64, Playstation,PC, Gamecube, and other video games systems, including a protoype made for the Atari 2600. Let's see how the Android version measures up.

Implementation:

The experience you get with Monopoly on the Android platform will differ depending on what type of device on which you are running it. The Android Market allows the developer to specify different binaries for different devices. As long as you are using the same market account on various devices, if you have bought the game on one, you have bought it on all of them. On a lot of games I have seen, some developers just supersize the phone version of a game for a tablet...Not so with Monopoly. Here you get a fully matured tablet version The phone version, however looks like it had to be a compromise for size. I can't speak for the developers at EA, but it looks like they did a superb job on the tablet version, and then looked to see what they could cut, resize, redo to fit the smaller form factor on phones. More on that later.

The Tablet version:

When I first ran the tablet version after the typical screen paying homage to the developer, you get a very bright white screen clad in all things Monopoly, but in an elegant, not tacky way. Very clean, very polished. Three play mode buttons are listed, but the one that jumped out to me was "Tabletop Mode". Tabletop mode is designed to put your tablet down between the players flat on the table. The board stays where it is, but the screen prompts and buttons are rotated around to the orientations of the players that you setup before the game, so that no one has to read upside down. Equally impressive was the overall look of the board and virtual setting the board was in. Similar to Jenga where its developers, Natural Motion Games, put the game in a rendered living room with couches and paintings on the wall, so did EA put Monopoly on a virtual table next to a virtual sofa in a living room. All very clean and crisp, looking like the graphics were well inside of what the device is capable of. Even when playing, the animated moving of the pieces were smooth and jitter free. Yes, by the way, you can turn the animated pieces off. Personally, I don't need to see the race car drive to Boardwalk, but it is nice that it can if I want it to.

The "Play Now" mode is the same as the table top mode, except that the prompts are always oriented the same way, facing the bottom of the device. No differences in gameplay, just the assumption that you are not flat on a table top. Good for playing versus the AI, or in a true pass and play situation. Teacher mode is again the same gameplay as the other modes, except with Pop-up Video style tips, like when you land on an orange property saying, "Did you know that the orange color group is the most landed on?". Other tips are also oriented towards understanding the app's user interface. One confusing bit about the teaching mode is that the tips are not always presented when they are needed for someone that would truly need to learn the game. For example, the tips about what button to press to buy a property are not presented the first time you buy a property, but another time when the buy property box comes up. Granted, some of that may be self explanatory. But trying to think like someone that actually needed to learn the game, the advice was lacking, as why someone would want to take actions, such as buying properties or not.

As I had mentioned before, the Android Market allows developers to supply different versions for different platforms, both tablets and phone models. However, this does have a downside, is that the developer can decide not to support your model of phone, even though it is Android. It will not show in the Android market on your phone if it is not supported.
If you do have the phone version, you will find because of the ability of the phone it is scaled back a bit. The board and graphics surrounding the gameplay is very similar to the tablet version, except for the user interface. Buttons that were presented with a nice looking icon and description on the tablet, are now square, and not as nice looking. To analogize, it is similar to comparing a Windows 7 icon matched up with a
Windows 95 icon. Both show the same picture, but there is a difference in the level of style and complexity of the drawings. Also missing is the description on these, so you may need to poke and try on icons to see what they do if the phone is your only exposure to this game. Other than the icons, some menu screens are different looking, but with the same information. Also, Tabletop mode not present in the phone version either, but admittedly, I didn't expect it to be. A phone is not ideal for a tabletop experience.


I recently reviewed The Game of Life, and was disappointed that there was nothing "extra" included. This was the opposite of what I experienced with Monopoly. Without any additions, this game would have a nice looking Monopoly port. However, EA threw in the kitchen sink... They added eight house rules to turn on or off prior to starting the game. They also added the ability to turn on something called Sleight of Hand where each player gets three one-time abilities, which include choosing a dice roll, one free house when you go to build on a color group, and reducing a rent bill by half. I myself am a Monopoly purist, and don't play with such options, but the house rules are ones that are commonly played with, so it makes sense to include the possibility to play with them.
Also added was a feature that surprised me. It was the inclusion of a play log. While playing, you can examine what has happened, opening the log to read:
Iron rolled a 6.
Iron bought Marvin Gardens for 280
Battleship rolled a 4.
Battleship landed on Go To Jail

In addition to the detailed play log, the game also keeps statistics on Total wins and losses at each of the AI skill levels, Highest money earned and total number of houses and hotels built. Lastly, the game also keeps dice rolling stats.. How many dice rolls there have been, and how fair the human and AI rolls have been compared to the standard 2 die distribution of probability. To prove that the AI isn't cheating getting abnormally good dice rolls, I guess?

Summary:
Overall, Monopoly is a decent experience. It recreates the gameplay of the actual game very well, and the graphics and user interface on the tablet only seems to help, not hinder things. I have even found myself showing off this app, partially for the looks, but also for the addition of the table top mode. I know this is not the only app to offer this kind of view in this way, but it seemed to bring a spark of added interest from gamers and non gamers alike. The phone version, was not as appealing. I do think the UI hurts the phone version a bit, but still a decent play if you have a family vacation or a long bus ride with your phone as the only entertainment.

Rating: 3/4
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Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:28 pm
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Android News Bits: • Neuroshima Hex anticipation update • Words with Friends • Condado, Drisk, Fire and Dice, Uniwar, Shareholder Updated, Kairn, Loot and Scoot Released

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• Neuroshima Hex for Android finished
• Words with Friends updates and adds store
• Condado updated to version 1.1.0
• Drisk updated to 1.4
• Fire and Dice updated to version 3.2
• UniWar updated to UniWar HD
• Shareholder updated
• Kairn (Caveman Curling) Released
• Loot and Scoot Released




• Neuroshima Hex for Android "finished" - February 2
According to their twitter feed (@neuroshimahex), the Android version is finished, but not released as they are looking for a distributor.
We will pass along more info as we get it.
Source: https://twitter.com/#!/neuroshimahex/status/1651177579968020...


• Words with Friends updates February 1 & December 29
Latest updates to Words with Friends include
Quote:

What's in this version:
The Count is now available in the Words with Friends Store!
Tons of improvements to performance and stability!
Loads of bug fixes!
We’ve got more great features on the way, so let us know what you’d like to see next!
Did you notice the part about the Words with Friends Store?
That was the update on December 29th that added the ability to buy enhancements to your Words with Friends games. One enhancement is the ability to block ads, but more controversial by some commentators is the ability to buy features to give advantages that your opponent does not get. One is Tile Pile, which tells you quantities of letters remaining. The Count, tells you the score of your words as you put them down, and before you submit. Lastly, Word-o-Meter tells you a strength of your word compared to other ones you could make with your rack. Yes, a player could always figure these type of items by other means, but what do you think about buying these type of advantages?
Android Market Link: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zynga.words


• Condado updated to version 1.1.0 - January 28
Developer Kevin Quan updates Condado, an unofficial version of Andreas Seyfarth's card game San Juan. This update changes the following:
Quote:
Bug fix: Should not be able to long press cards in hand while waiting to switch to another player in multiplayer mode.
Bug fix: Prevent Paris from crashing the game if Earthquake is played at the beginning of the game.
Don't ask to select a building if you have nothing to free build.
Show level of AI during game setup.
Add a titlebar to a couple of screens.
Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kevinquan.condado


• Drisk updated to 1.4 - January 28
Drisk, an implementation of Risk for Android (which is chocked full of maps, by the way) updates to Version 1.4. This update includes the following
Quote:
moved to a new multiplayer server
added mountains
added 1,3,5 troops option
added random map selection
other minor UI tweaks
fix for AI hanging issue
new maps: Star Wars: Trilogy, Blasted Lands (by smarmy J)
Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=com.game.drisk


• Fire and Dice updated to version 3.2 - January 27
Quote:
Now supports OpenFeint! - Removed Bar at the Bottom!
Added new "Key to the City" feature!
New Menu System!
OpenFeint Leaderboard System!
OpenFeint Achievements!
Various Bug Fixes
Removed all loading screens!
Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=com.SPS.FAD


• UniWar updated to UniWar HD January 16th and various dates
TBS Games updates it's online turn based strategy game to version 1.5.0 on January 16th, which updates the graphics to HD quality good for all phones and tablets. Since then, incremental updates have been pushed every couple of days. These updates include the following:
Quote:
New race colors per theme
Improved theme and units graphics
Filter maps by rating, theme, author, feedback.
Support any resolution even higher than 1280x720.
Neutral bases now supported in Map Editor.
Coming soon:
Replay feature
Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=android.uniwar


• Shareholder updated with bugfixes to prevent app crash - January 5
TwinFeatsKGS Software, developer of Shareholder, an Acquire clone updates their app to version 2.5 which should solve force close errors some were experiencing.
Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=com.twinfeats.sharehol...


• Kairn (Caveman Curling) in Android Market. - December 22
Developer Forgenext releases Kairn for Android, which is Caveman Curling that was published by Blackrock Editions in association Le Scorpion Masqué, and Eagle Games.

Here is part of the app description:
Quote:
On a frozen lake, two prehistoric men's tribes are in confrontation in a KAIRN match (pronounced "KHÈÈRN"), the palaeo-sport.

Kairn is for one or two players, the purpose being to be the team which will throw its stones the farthest on the lake, while getting the nearest possible of the cave’s hearth. To help you, you will be equipped with very thick bludgeons and with particular powers...
Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=com.forgenext.kairn




• Loot and Scoot by Victory Point Games Released - December 13
Victory Point Games brings their fast paced dungeon game to the Android platform. Gather a party, enter the dungeon, and kill monsters, get loot. Supports phones and tablets. Requires Adobe Air to be installed.

Android Market Link:https://market.android.com/details?id=air.com.victorypointga...



Drisk
Words with Friends

Condado


Shareholder
Fire and Dice

Uniwar HD


Loot and Scoot

Kairn (Caveman Curling)
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Tue Feb 7, 2012 1:55 pm
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Android Review: The Game of Life

Mark Webb
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The Stats:
Compatibility: Android Phone
Current Price: $4.99
Developer/Publisher: EA / Hasbro
Version: 1.204
Size: 12MB
Multiplayer: Pass & Play
AI: Yes
Market Link
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.eamobile.life_na_w...



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Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:00 pm
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Android Review - Pool Break Pro

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The Stats:
Game: Pool Break Pro / Pool Break Lite
Current Price: $2.99 / Free
Developer/Publisher: Kinetic Bytes
Version: 1.8
Size: 2.3 MB
Multiplayer: Pass and play, Public and Private Network Play
AI: Yes, 4 skill levels
Android Market: Pro - https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kb.Carrom3DFull
Lite - https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kb.Carrom3D

Also on iOS:
Full Game $2.99 - http://itunes.apple.com/app/pool-break/id422138104?uo=4&mt=8...
Lite Free - http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pool-break-lite/id422185019?u...

The Good:
- Graphics look amazing, but can be scaled for those on older devices
- Physics work well.
- Many different games to play
The Bad:
- Almost no bad points, only things I wish the developer added

Gameplay:
One may question this app's inclusion on a boardgaming blog. Yes, pool is not a board game, but this app not only has pool (and lots of it), but also features Carrom and Crokinole as well. All three games have common roots which involves colliding objects into each other or off of the playing field of the game. Eventually some of those objects are removed by hitting them into holes or pockets, or off of the playing surface.

Crokinole, is a game where discs are shot towards a center hole. Small posts make a circle around the inner part of the playfield for the discs to bounce off of. The rules require players to contact each other's pieces if they are present. Pieces that are shot into the center hole are scored and removed. Other pieces are scored based on their position on the board.

Carrom is very similar to 8-ball pool. The equipment is a bit different. Discs instead of balls, 4 pockets instead of 6, and a portable wooden board instead of a large slate table. Pocket your color of discs before your opponent pockets his. Discs are hit with a striker, whose purpose is to hit the other object discs, similar to a cue ball in billiards games. You must also pocket a queen disc, akin to the 8 ball, except can do that anytime between your first and last piece pocketed, and you must pocket another of your pieces in the same pocket to "cover" the queen.

Pool and Snooker
There are many variations on billiards games. This app has eleven different pool and snooker variations. I will not detail their rules here, only list them. This app includes, 8-ball, 9-ball, UK version of 8 ball, straight pool, one pocket pool, three cushion billiards, pool drills, place and shoot practice, snooker, snooker 6-reds, and snooker 10 reds.


Implementation:
Because of the similarities in these games, Pool Break has been able to present a similar interface to playing all of them. Instead of flicking for carrom and crokinole, all of the games are played with cues, but in my opinion that allows a visual way of aiming and measuring the amount of force you will apply to hitting the disc. The look of this game reminds me very much of the Virtual Pool series of games that was on the PC many years ago. 3D rendered tables, the ability to rotate around the room and zoom in and out were part of the interface of the game. Unlike Virtual Pool, where you had to stoke the cue, usually with the mouse, to make your shot, Pool Break uses the cue more as a measure of the force to be applied. Pull the cue back a little bit, it will deliver a little force. Pull it back a lot, it hits hard. You can move around, line up your shot, pull the cue back, readjust if needed, and then hit a button to deliver your shot. Also similar to Virtual Pool, Pool Break also has the ability to turn on and off tracking lines that show where balls or discs will go.

This app is visually great...It is nice that the developers can get such nice images out of a phone. As I had mentioned in a previous review, I have a phone that is about a year old, and had no problems with any of the physics or graphics processing while playing with all graphics options turned on. Although I had no problems, the developers offer options for both the graphics and the physics. So if the 3D is too much for your device, you can turn down the detail, turn off the background scenery, eliminate shadows, even remove the shine off of the balls.

This app is chocked full of options. You can select to play pool on either the standard rectangular table, or a hexagonal table. Carrom offers square, hexagonal, or circular tables. There is also an unusual option to play the disc games with balls, which is interesting if only for the novelty. I also mentioned options for the physics. While I don't think I will ever need to mess with these, there are settings to change sliding friction, rolling friction and mass ratios of pieces and the coefficient of restitution (whatever that is). I imagine if you want to try to make your crokinole game more realistic, and you are familiar with these terms, you can change these if you want. I think it is cool that the options are offered.

Opponents include the ability to pass and play, or play an AI opponent. The AI has four difficulty levels. Also available is the ability to play via the network. The app connects back to a central server to connect players for live play via the internet. Players can join public games, or supply a name to create or join a private game with someone who has been given the same game name. There is also a chat facility built in, to chat with your opponent. Most interesting is that the game is also cross platform. Kinetic Bytes also makes an iOS version of Pool Break, which connects to the same online games. There are only slight graphical differences between Android and iOS version. They very well could be just the differences between how the OSes interpret the graphics commands the apps give them. No big differences between the two OSes, in fact, I found it very easy to play a game between myself and a friend live, with very little lag between the two clients.

I have mentioned the amount of options. I could not find a flaw or error to point to when evaluating this app. I did have a couple of "I wish it could do..." thoughts, but even without those items, I would buy this app in a heartbeat. I do have to give the developers a lot of credit putting all of the options they have into this apps, as that broadens the appeal to me. (see my postscript below) One wishlist item is that they offer multiple variations of pool and the ability to play on a hexagonal table, yet bumper pool is not part of this app. I also wish that they could put other variations to carrom or crokinole into the app. The instruction manual I have for my carrom set has a lot of different variations and spin off games.

Although I didn't experience this, there are reports of certain models of phones freezing when running this app. Because this is specific to certain models, the developers have created a setting to use if you have that problem. The developers also have a support email on their website and say that they welcome comments and problems to make their app better.

So far, I have been referring to the Pro version on Android. There is also a lite version, that limits the online play to 8 Ball pool only, and limits the many games playable down to only the following:
US 8 Ball Pool, 9 Ball Pool, Pool Drill, Place-n-Shoot Pool, Regular Snooker, Regular Carrom, Crokinole

Conclusion:
I originally heard about this app from the Games for Android Geeklist. After only about 5 minutes, I was compelled to buy the full version because I was that impressed with the app. Second only to Words with Friends, this is the game that gets a majority of my gameplay on my phone. The graphics are quality. The games are fun. The motion is fluid and not jerky or prone to lag, even when playing on the network The amount of different games available in this app is a major plus.

Rating: 4/4 One of the Best



Postscript:
There was one game of the play modes, carrom billiards (aka three cushion billiards) that came as part of an update months after I bought the app. Played on a table with no pockets, and only three balls, it is a game where you must hit the two balls with the cue ball and hit three cushions in between. If this sounds familiar, you may have seen Donald Duck learn three cushion billiards in Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land. I don't know of anywhere I can play on a table with no pockets, so the ability to play three cushion in the app was an interesting, bonus treat.
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Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:00 pm
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Android News Bits - Chameleon Released, Gravity Wins Updated, Rattus Shuffle Released, Spiel 2011 app Released, Word Fighter Coming Soon, Through the Desert Update, Hanging with Friends Released, and more...

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• Chameleon Released
• Gravity Wins Updated
• Rattus Shuffle Released
• Spiel 2011 app Released
• Word Fighter Coming Soon
• Through the Desert Update
• Hanging with Friends Released and Updated
• Words with Friends Updated
• Okey Online Released, Okey updated
• Boardgamegeek App Updated
• German Eagle vs. Russian Bear Updated
• Jenga Updated
• Android Apps on your Ipad?
• Android Apps on your Windows machine?



• Chameleon Released - September 12
Publisher / Developer Blackrock Editions brings cardboard to pixels with an Android version of their game Chameleon. This game merges the quick-grabbyness of Jungle Speed with the goal matching of Fluxx in a fast playing card game.


Chameleon $1.08 in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.forgenext.cameleon


• Gravity Wins Updated - September 21
Search for Connect Four in the app store and you will get hundreds of apps simulating that game. Gravity Wins by developer Andlabs separates itself from the others with an interesting twist. As players play their pieces, a move counter counts down to zero. Once that counter is exhausted, the board rotates 90 degrees and the pieces fall to what is now the bottom of the board, and play continutes until someone gets four in a row. September 21 brought an update to this game, which includes the following:
Quote:
What's in this version:
added new GameMode: SinglePlayer(vs Computer)
new Menu Designs
new AI-Levels added
added Tooltips
added HeyZap (cool new Gameportal)
Couple Bugfixes that Players have reported


Gravity Wins - Free in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=de.andlabs.gravitywins


Gravity Wins Pro (no ads and harder AI) - $1.29 in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=de.andlabs.gravitywins...



• Rattus Shuffle Released - October 5
White Goblin Games releases a companion app on Android for their game Rattus. Rattus Shuffle selects the cards you will play with from all available expansions you own for Rattus. According to White Goblin, there are 652,458,240 different possibilities, and the app includes the latest expansion Rattus: Africanus that they are releasing at Spiel 2011 in Essen.


Rattus Shuffle Free in the Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=whitegoblingames.rattu...



• Spiel 2011 app by BGG user Peter Feigl
Speaking of Essen, if you do find yourself going this year, check out Peter Feigl's app in this thread for managing your favorite must see games of Spiel this year. Since Peter, BGG user ecraven, is offering this for download from his website, at http://www.nexoid.at/essen2011/Essen2011.apk, and not the google market, make sure to allow for non-market apps to be installed to your device. More info on installing non-market apps, please refer back to my previous post on Third Party App Stores

Essen 2011 Free from Developer's website
http://www.nexoid.at/essen2011/Essen2011.apk



• Word Fighter from Developer Feel Every Yummy - Coming Fall 2011
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Not true, think the developers of the upcoming game Word Fighter. Literary characters fight Mortal Kombat style, with their moves being fueled by a fast paced head to head Boggle-like play. Reported to be coming out in the fall from developer Feel Every Yummy.
Source:http://feeleveryyummy.com/
Here is their Coming Soon Trailer:



• Through the Desert Update - October 7
Developer Tribeflame gives a little hustle to the artificial intelligence in the latest update to Reiner Kinzia’s Through the Desert. Faster AI and Fixes for Multicore CPUs


Knizia's Through the Desert - $2.99 in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.tribeflame.through...



• Hanging with Friends - September 19 & 29
On September 19th, Zynga, the developer of the popular Words with Friends, released Hanging with Friends, their Scrabble-inspired Hangman game. Instead of gory imagery of executions, in their version of Hangman no noose is good noose. Players play each other hanging on to a bunch of balloons. The balloons pop with each word between players that is not guessed. As similar Scrabble-style tiles are used to form the words, the value of the letters, as well as random bonus spaces determine score. September 29 brought an update to add Facebook login fixes and overall stability fixes.


Hanging with Friends Free in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zynga.hanging



• Words with Friends Updated - September 27
Zynga also updates Words with Friends... Here is what they have to update
Quote:

What's in this version:
Galloping at break-neck speeds, release 4.03 travels day and night to bring you a message! Now, when friends send you a chat, you'll receive a notification!
4.03 blazes trails through the thorny underbrush! Behind-the scenes optimizations to performance!


Words with Friends Free in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zynga.words


• Okey Online Released, normal Okey updated - September 30
Developer Globile releases an online version of their Okey app. Okey is a rummy game in the Rummykub family. Okey Online takes the same gameplay as the normal Okey app, and add connections to a internet game server to look for human opponents. If not humans are available, bots enter the game. The regular Okey app, which is only solo play againsta AI, gets an update with bug fixes.


Okey Free in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=tr.com.obss.mobile.and...


Okey Online Free in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=globile.okeyonline



• Boardgamegeek App by developers Chris Comeaux and Dennis Bond Updated - October 15
This app, which has already been a good app to check BGG to get basic game information while on the go or to log a game play, just got a big update. This update brings the ability to read the BGG forums, and game forums. Read only, no posting. But the perfect thing to get your BGG fix while away from home or work. More info on the app from its developers, Chris (ccomeaux) and Dennis (rjnfc) in a thread about the app here.


Boardgamegeek App Free in the Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.boardgamegeek



• German Eagle vs. Russian Bear Updated - October 2
Wargame fans, DK Simulations updates its game German Eagle vs. Russian Bear which is Operation Barbarossa as a hex and counter wargame. This latest update to version 8.0 fixes bugs.


German Eagle vs. Russian Bear Free in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.dk.eaglebear&hl=en



• Jenga Updated - October 10
Quote:
CROSS PLATFORM MULTIPLAYER
Multiplayer just got better! If you have friends playing on other mobile devices you can now also enjoy playing against them too.
CHAT
Send a text message to your opponent with each move in an Online game. Try to be nice though, being nice is a nice thing to do.
XP Levels
Now every move and every completed game in Online earns you XP. Level up through a series of XP Levels. Can you make it from Sawdust Sweeper to Grand Axe Master?


Jenga - $2.99 in Android Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.naturalmotion.j3n6...



• Android Apps on your Ipad? Well, not quite.
Developer Myriad as created the ability to run Android Apps on other platforms called Alien Dalvik. Circulating on the internet has been the announcement that they planned to show this at a convention for the wireless telecommunications industry called CTIA. While quite a technical achievement, there is no guarantee that this will come to iOS, as Apple has generally frowned on emulators and apps where additional content could be loaded without Apple’s vetting. For example, earlier this summer, Apple forced ebook vendors Amazon and Barnes and Noble to remove the ability to buy ebooks directly from their apps. Who knows what they will think of Alien Dalvik?
http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/alien-dalvik-2-0-promise...
http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/10/hands-on-with-myriads-ali...
http://www.myriadgroup.com/Device-Manufacturers/Android-solu...


• Android Apps on your Windows machine? Yes...
Another company, named Blue Stacks Inc. has created a program to run Android apps on your Windows 7 PC. Unlike Alien Dalvik above, this project has something for you to try out if you want. Currently in Alpha, there is a download on the Blue Stacks website that comes installed with 26 Apps preinstalled, with the ability to download your own. More info on their website.
http://www.bluestacks.com/tour.php
http://www.bluestacks.com/download.html
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Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:00 pm
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Android News Bits: • Cities and Knights Coming to Android • Uno, Zynga Poker, Words With Friends, Pocket Soccer Updated • RPS Combat enters Android Market • Neuroshima Hex still in development • Industry News

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• Catan Cities and Knights Coming to Android
• Uno Updated - Big Improvement
• Zynga Poker Updated
• Words with Friends Updates with Facebook
• Pocket Soccer Updated
• RPS Combat enters Android Market
• Neuroshima Hex still in development
• Industry News


• Catan Cities and Knights Coming to Android too - August 25
Mentioned in a previous iOS News Bits that Cities and Knights is coming to iOS, Publisher USM tweets that the expansion will also be heading to Android.
Source: http://twitter.com/#!/USM_News/status/106758781291073536
and Gamezebo.com mentions that the update is coming "this winter". Gamezebo also suspects that Traders and Barbarians will come also, saying "With only three major expansions in the Catan series, can Traders & Barbarians be far behind?", but I have found no confirmation on this yet.
Source: http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2011/08/25/cities-and-knights-e...


• Uno™ Updated - Big Improvement - August 18
Also mentioned in a previous news bits was an iOS update of Uno™ that didn't go so well. The same day Gameloft also updated the Android version which went much better. My experience with the previous version was that it was very laggy, almost unplayable. Some reviews had even suggested that it was a port of the Java enabled non-smartphone version of the game. This update improved the graphics, stability and added features.
Prior to the update I was actually in the middle of writing a review of Uno™. I had to throw it out, as it has changed that radically. Besides the performance improvements, Gameloft mentions these features in the change-log:

Gameloft wrote:
Enjoy a unique multiplayer mode!
Play online 24/7 (Wi-Fi) or
locally with your friends (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection).
Online multiplayer mode available for high-end phones
Market Link: http://market.android.com/details?d=com.gameloft.android.Glo...



• Zynga Poker Updated - August 31
Texas Hold'em fans...Zynga Poker has been updated with what Zynga calls a huge update. Here's what they updated:
Quote:

Hello again, card sharks! We're excited to bring you a huge update, including two of the features most requested by you, our Zynga Poker fans…
Tablet support - Beautiful new high definition tablet experience with a customized table view complete and intuitive button placement. Undoubtedly, this is the best way to play Poker on Android!
Guest Mode - Now you can play hold' em tables and tournaments as a guest without logging into Facebook.
More great features are on the way!
Market Link: http://market.android.com/details?id=com.zynga.livepoker




• Words with Friends updates with Facebook - September 1
Zynga also has been working feverishly at Words with Friends. In the past month and a half, Words with Friends has been updated 3 times. The two most notable features of these updates are big stability improvements in the Android version bringing it closer to on par with the stability of the iOS version. The other addition being the integration of Facebook support, which allows you to play Words with Friends against people who may not have an Android or iOS device.
Market Link: http://market.android.com/details?id=com.zynga.words



• Pocket Soccer Updated - September 3
Mentioned in the Android Board Game Geeklist
Pocket Soccer gets an update. Changes to unlockables, performance improvements, and a Tournament mode were added.
Quote:

What's in this version:
Version 1.11
Added Tournament mode
Reduced every asset unlock criteria to half of the previous values
Added new unlockable ball: Golden Ball
Added new countries: San Marino, Armenia, Kosovo, Pakistan
Fixed problem that caused the wrong players to be highlighted after pressing the rematch button
Removed ARBv7 binaries because it caused slow downs on some devices
Market Link: http://market.android.com/details?id=com.rastergrid.game.poc...




• RPS Combat enters Android Market - September 6
RPS Combat is a game that I would best be describe as Rock Paper Scissors meets Stratego.
Place your flag, take your hidden soldiers and try to capture the other person's flag. Sounds like Stratego... but this is simpler. Gone are the Lieutenant, Colonel, Spy, and the others. Now your soldiers are Rock, Paper and Scissors. Initial Release. Free.

Market Link: http://market.android.com/details?id=com.mv.android.rpscomba...




• Neuroshima Hex still in development - September 4
Previous news has stated that Neuroshima Hex is slated to be delivered in Q3 of this year, which means sometime this month, unless it is late.
Big Daddy's Creations, developers of the game tweet that it is still being worked on:
@neuroshimahex wrote:

Well, it's not ready, yet We're currently implementing battle animations. AI and Human vs Human is done and seems to work
http://twitter.com/#!/neuroshimahex/status/11026750691201024...


• Industry News - Various Dates
I know that not every bit of Android news is boardgame related, but there have been some interesting developments this summer that could have reverberations into the board gaming space. First, Android phones and tablets of all shapes and sizes have entered the market. There have even been devices that fold like a book with two screens, or have a gamepad like joystick on them. Another interesting Android device is the Google TV. Earlier this summer, it was heavily discounted by Logitech. While that does sound a little like bad news, the $99 price is a bit more in line with the Apple TV. Then there were announcements that a new version of Google TV would be available to those $99 devices. Also Google TV features were added into the Android SDK. There are mentions that Apps could be developed for it. The biggest news of the summer for Android had to be the announcement that Google is buying Motorola Mobility.

So what does all of this have to do with boardgames? Well, this is a little bit of hopeful speculation on my part. Most websites looked at the influence of the patent portfolio of Motorola for Google, or the fact that they make Android phones, such as the Verizon Droid. But I also see my cable box on my entertainment center says Motorola Mobility on it. Could Google be making a play for a stronger presence on TV? It has already been announced that later versions of Google TV will have a Google Market on it, and could see more app development. Depending on developers, we could eventually see board game apps head to the TV. Later this year, Ice Cream Sandwich (the code name for the next Android OS release) is due to debut. It's main goal is to unite the phone user interface of "Gingerbread" and previous versions for phones with the tablet interface developed in "Honeycomb". Instead of set screen sizes, the SDK helps the developer adjust to whatever size the device reports that it is. A TV is just a bigger screen, and we have already seen some boardgames come to our TV via game consoles, such as Jungle Speed and Hey! That's my Fish on Wii, or Catan and Carcassone on Xbox 360.
Sources:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4546/logitech-revue-slashed-to...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4468/google-tv-20-coming-to-lo...
http://googletv.blogspot.com/2011/08/preview-of-google-tv-ad...
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/supercharging-android...
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Thu Sep 8, 2011 2:00 pm
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