Let's Go Pens!
One more win...Beat the Sharks!
• 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.
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.
• 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:
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:
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.
What's in this version:
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:
Well, it's not ready, yet
We're currently implementing battle animations. AI and Human vs Human is done and seems to work
• 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.