Tabletop • Seven-plus years ago, I would have been glued to news of the Spiel des Jahres–the Oscars of gaming–researching each game, buying them if available in the US, voting in polls about which games deserved to win and more. Yes, I was one of those people that, today, I can’t stand. Still, in its heyday the list of SdJ winners contained a bevy of fantastic games: Scotland Yard, El Grande, Carcassonne, Codenames, Hanabi, and Dominion just to name a few. Today, I keep an eye on the SdJ, but most of the nominated games are simple, family-style games that just don’t excite me anymore. That was definitely the case with this year’s winner, Kingdomino, until I got a chance to actually get it on the table at Gen Con. It’s not going to knock Through the Ages or Twilight Struggle out of my top ten, but as a quick and light filler, Kingdomino hits the spot.
iOS, Android, PC • Wrapping up our major Gen Con stories is our favorite new mobile developer of 2017, Temple Gates. They burst onto the scene this year with the game I can’t shut up about, Race for the Galaxy. We all agree it’s the bee’s knees, and is a clear contender for GOTY come December. Lucky for us, Temple Gates doesn’t plan on being a one hit wonder and have already begun development on their next App Store entry, Race for the Galaxy’s big brother, Roll for the Galaxy.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • The biggest player in both the cardboard and digital board game realm right now is the French company, Asmodee. If there’s a board game publisher you like, there’s a good chance they fall under Asmodee’s umbrella, and not just the cardboard version. Starting with Colt Express last November, they’ve published a ton of digital board games like Mysterium, Potion Explosion, Onirim, Pathfinder Adventures, and more. They’re only beginning, too, with upcoming titles both from their own cardboard catalog as well as tabletop titles that Asmodee has nothing to do with. It’s kind of crazy.
iOS Universal, Android • Nearly seven years ago I picked up my first iPad, the stalwart iPad 2. The decision to pick up a tablet had nothing to do with Apple’s selling points, but instead was based on a short blurb I spotted over on Board Game Geek. Through the Ages, my favorite tabletop game, was slated to make its way to the platform and there was no way I was going to miss it. That blurb was from a small company called Codito, which nearly did release a version of TtA before their license ran out and digital rights reverted back to CGE. That happened back in January of 2013 and we’re still waiting. After talking with Czech Games Edition at Gen Con, it appears we won’t have to wait much longer.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • With all the negative news surrounding Playdek these days, it’s sometimes hard to remember they’re still one of the best digital board game developers out there. That’s going to become obvious later this month when the all-new version of Lords of Waterdeep hits the App Store, Google Play, and Steam.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • Back in April, Czech Games unleashed the online beta for Through the Ages, the app that we’ve all been waiting for since before iPads were even a thing. Several Stately Players were in the beta and it was all very fun for a time, but then other games arrived, and, with the beta remaining somewhat stagnant, most of us moved on. A few weeks ago, the beta added the ability for AI bots to join multiplayer games if someone dropped, which had been the biggest advancement we’d seen. The latest beta update, however, pushes TtA into a whole new realm of awesome.
iOS Universal, Android • It’s a pretty big week on the App Store for board game designer Tim Fowers. Earlier this week his fantastic word game, Paperback, was updated with online multiplayer and, today, a brand new board game arrived for iOS Universal and Android. That board game is Burgle Bros., a cooperative (or solo) game in which you’re attempting an Oceans Eleven style heist.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • A few years ago, Upper Deck leaped onto the board game scene with a deck-builder set in the Marvel universe. It was called Legendary, and since then has taken on so many different IPs that it’s nearly impossible to name them all. Luckily, we don’t have to name them because the digital version of Legendary is right around the corner and instead of using one of the existing IPs, the digital version will have a new fantasy theme tacked on. Considering how much everyone seems to love Marvel everything, I might be the only person on Earth excited by this change of scenery.
PC/Mac/Linux, iOS (coming in 2017) • As a kid I had no use for the Old West. Immersed in things like D&D, Tolkien, and Dragonlance, the Old West seemed like a boring, dusty place filled with images and stories that just didn’t push my buttons. As an adult, I stumbled onto the Deadlands RPG, and all the possibilities and adventure of the Old West suddenly made sense to me. These days, my favorite TV show of all time is Deadwood and I didn’t miss an episode of last year’s Westworld. Thus, when I heard about West of Loathing, I was excited. An RPG set in the untamed West that would, eventually, be coming to iOS? Sign me up! Then I saw the screenshots, and had to wonder what the hell was going on.
iPad, PC/Mac/Linux • It’s official. Darkest Dungeon is officially coming to our iPads, and it’s happening in only a couple weeks. We’ve been asking about Darkest Dungeon on our iPads before the PC/Mac version was out of Early Access, but were always given answers that neither confirmed or denied a mobile port. Makes sense, as developer Red Hook is up to their eyeballs with supporting and expanding the PC/Mac version. Turns out Red Hook had an accomplice in getting the iPad version up and running, Blitworks, which I’d never heard of before, but have instantly become one of my favorite devs. If you can’t tell, I kind of like Darkest Dungeon.