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The Week In Review: Delve again, Mother Lode, Web of Power: The Duel and More...

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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The Week In Review


iOS



Here are some highlights and comments on some apps I have been playing this week:

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Delve: the Dice Game Update
I just wanted to give a quick update on Delve. A new patch has been released which fixes the previous crashing issues allowing me to enjoy a complete game. The game is quite fun and quick. It is really a lot about managing your dice and knowing when to hold back and when to proceed. At such a low price it really is a fun little distraction. Also don’t miss playing the game with the sound on occasionally, there is some pretty funny originally recorded audio in the game. You can check it out here.


Mother Lode
Mother Lode was released a few weeks ago and I have been enjoying playing it. Survive was one my favorite games from last year and Mother Lode is perhaps the closest thing we have to it at this time on iOS. Mother Lode uses the base mechanic of Survive (you are trying to get as many of your team members off an island before it disappears and these team members are worth different hidden point values) but does add a few changes. First, it's in space! Second, players can increase the score of their pawns by mining and adding one or two points of ore to the pawn. Any pawns rescued who are carrying ore score points equal to the amount of or they have. This gives more motivation to hang out on the island. The game also features a different set of player controlled monsters, and only one type of monster eliminates pawns from the game. There are also a few other additions such as an open knowledge game end condition and a wormhole mechanic.

I feel that Mother Lode does add enough to avoid being called a straight clone. The ore mechanic really adds a level of strategy and the lower level of player elimination may appeal to some players. The app does look great on iPad and at $0.99, and it definitely worth checking out to experience another take on a classic. You can check it out here.


Web of Power: the Duel
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My somewhat lukewarm impression of many of the Skotos apps has garnered quite a negative reaction. I have to admit that they do deliver some great euro games for iOS that can be enjoyed against AI. They are not terribly progressive in terms of design or features sets, but they do put out consistent, quality products.

Web of Power: the Duel is a two player version of this euro-card game. The game consists of players taking turns claiming one or two cards of a certain country. The cards can feature a symbol of a country and also a symbol of a type of influence. Players are attempting to amass the most of each symbol, they will score points based on how much of a lead they have on each symbol they control. The game plays very quickly, but there can be some analysis needed. As with many Skotos games, it is purely a solo affair. The rules are presented in text which is annoying, but they are simple enough to pick up. It really has potential as a two player game so it is a shame it is AI only. It does, however, feature the same great challenging AI with multiple levels that we have seen in other games from this developer. If you are a fan of Skotos' other offerings you should enjoy this one. You can pick it up on iTunes.


Other



Battlefield 3
Wait! Before you start screaming “What the H-E double hockey sticks” and throwing full wine bottles at your computer (oh Strongbad...), let me explain my reason for this game's inclusion. Well first, if I didn’t shake things up I think life would get boring, but most importantly I want to share a little of my experience with Battlefield 3 because I think it is the current shooter for strategy gamers if ever there was one. It is almost obligatory that any owner of a console or gaming PC will play some type of shooter. For strategy gamers I can’t see the fast pace world of something like Halo or Call of Duty really working. Sure you can enjoy it, but it is really about who is fastest and team tactics don’t really feed into it that strongly.

Battlefield 3 shares some things with these other titles but at the same time it really provides a more strategic and team based style of play. Players can hop on with a group of friends and enjoy some real squad based tactics. Each person in the squad is more than just a man with a gun. They could be a medic or an engineer, for example. Likewise the squad could hop in a tank, or one member could drive the tank while the infantry helps defend it. All of these choices and chances to be more than just a dude with an assault rifle really make Battlefield 3 an enjoyable experience. I am terrible at shooters but in this game I feel like I can take on other roles that help my team and even help me progress as a character. Shooters may not be for everyone, but if I had to recommend a shooter to a reader of BGG, Battlefield 3 would be it.



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Quarrel
Quarrel was one of my favorite iOS games from last year. It really combined some board game elements in to a an extremely fun game. One of the lacking elements of the iOS version was multiplayer. Quarrel has now been released for Xbox live and features the full game from iOS with new features including multiplayer.


Now before you get too excited, the XBLA servers are fairly vacant at the moment but I do hope that this posting can offer the game some needed publicity and perhaps increase the player count. The game looks great in HD and everything is polished. This game has actually been a hit with my wife and we like to play together (though sometimes in this game, two brains actually slow things down). If you pick this up, be sure to PM me. I can add you to XBLA and we can play. You can check it out here.



Board Gaming



Game night
I was able to attend a local game night again this week. We started out by playing a few dice games including Roll Through the Ages and To Court the King. I had previously only played Roll Through the Ages on iPhone so it was great to play in real life and with competition. I also had the chance to play Dungeon Run which was good fun until some of our players had to leave. The remaining player and I completed a two player game but it just does not have the same level of enjoyment and back stabbing.

Sadly my Risk Legacy group has not been gathered yet. We are still looking for players but hopefully we will get it going pretty soon. I am looking forward to playing in a game with a progressive campaign.


Thought of the Week



I have spent much of this week preparing for PAX East. I have several meetings lined up and now have a petty thorough sound and camera rig sitting in my living room (good bye iPhone camera, hello Final Cut). My thought this week is about conventions and is really more of a question.

For me thus far conventions have been an enjoyable form of work. I spend most of the day running around speaking with different companies and try to get some gaming in at night when possible. Conventions are obviously important to people like me because they offer a chance to interview several companies at once, and they are great for companies because they can interact directly with consumers and press. My question this week is “What are some of your favorite convention experiences and what do conventions mean to you? Why do you or do you not attend conventions?” This is more of a topic for discussion but I thought it would be interesting to see the reactions from different individuals.

Thank you and have a pleasant weekend,
Brad
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