iOS Universal, Android • If you deep dive into the unpublished drafts currently chained up in the Stately Play dungeons, you’ll find a screed titled, “Board Games Suck”. It was started as a rant against the current state of the hobby which, as anyone will tell you, is going gangbusters. Unfortunately, while we’re getting thousands (literally) of new game releases each year, I’m finding my interest in about 98% of them is close to zero. This is mostly in the euro game category where every new game I hear about sounds like an excuse to rehash overdone mechanisms, paste a popular yet loose-fitting theme on it, and get it into the hands of the usual suspects so the hype train can start rolling. So, why haven’t I published the article? Well, my heart is telling me that an article with that headline isn’t a great idea on a site that covers board games. Also, #notalleuros. There are still a few new games here and there that get my blood flowing. Most of them are designed by Vital Lacerda, but one that wasn’t came out back in 2014, won the Kennerspiel des Jahres, and still gets table time. That would be Rüdiger Dorn’s Istanbul.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Acram Digital made their digital name with a well done port of Steam: Rails to Riches and, later, Ryan Laukat‘s Eight-Minute Empire. Both games nailed what made their cardboard cousins so much fun and presented everything polished to a glistening shine. Even better, their releases weren’t just for mobile, but the PC/Mac/Linux crowd could get in on the fun as well via Steam. Looks like those salad days are behind us, however, as all of Acram’s titles have been removed from Steam due to the folks at Acram being naughty.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Maybe it’s just me, but 2018 thus far has been a rather depressing year from a digital board game perspective. I’m still playing the hell out of Through the Ages, Twilight Struggle, and even Race for the Galaxy, but 2018 has been the “Year of the Beta”. It’s been a lot of talk about a bunch of great games set to release in 2018, but nothing has actually manifested into reality yet. We have Scythe, Terraforming Mars, One Deck Dungeon, Onitama, Among the Stars, XenoShyft, and probably a few more that I can’t remember offhand. I get that it’s a long slog to get a game released, but I want more goodies on my iPad and it’s all about me, me, me! Today we have another beta for an upcoming game that I really, really want to start playing, Istanbul.
IOS, Android • Right after 2018 was ushered in, the fine folks at Acram Digital decided to tease us about a new game coming in 2018. Which board game it might be was completely up in the air, but my guess was another Martin Wallace title to follow-up the rather wonderful Steam: Rails to Riches. Turns out I was wrong, and Acram is instead working on a different euro, this one from Rüdiger Dorn. It’s 2014’s Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, Istanbul.
iOS, Android • The holidays are over, it’s 2018 and we’re all probably going to die in a nuclear apocalypse but, on the bright side, digital board gaming just wrapped up its best year ever. Will 2018 come close to 2017’s grandeur? Unless we get a surprise release of Through the Ages 2: Electric Boogaloo, probably not, but there are reasons to be optimistic about digital board gaming this year beginning with Acram Digital.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • If you’re not familiar with board game designer Ryan Laukat, you should be. He’s designed some real gems with themes ranging from battling ancient titans to conquering the stars. That’s not all. In fact, Ryan is a true renaissance man, he’s a board game publisher, designer, and artist all in one. Each game from Red Raven is a complete Ryan Laukat creation, which is kind of cool. As of yet, however, none of Red Raven’s games have gone digital. That ended this morning when Eight-Minute Empire landed on the App Store.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • This might come as a shock to you, but I have a few board games stowed away in my basement that I have yet to play. Actually, it might be a few dozen. Yep, brand new games, still in shrink wrap, just waiting for someone to come and play with them. My basement is basically the Island of Misfit Toys, but without that creepy Charlie-in-the-box. One of the games that remains unplayed is Eight-Minute Empire by Red Raven Games. I think I picked it up because it’s a 4X-style game that plays in slightly longer than eight minutes, but my wife will tell you I picked it up because I have a mental disorder that forces me to continually buy games. Whatever. Anyway, it’s coming to mobile soon so, while my copy will remain in shrink, I might actually get a chance to play it.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Ryan Laukat is the Leonardo da Vinci of the board game world. Not only does he design interesting and much-loved games, but he also does all the artwork, graphic design, and publishing. He’s a true renaissance man, and it was only a matter of time before one of his designs made it to digital. Turns out the first digital title is also one of his first physical titles, Eight-Minute Empire, and it’s coming this summer.
I love me some Martin Wallace and Steam: Rails to Riches is one of his finest contributions to game shelves everywhere. A digital version was released last year from Acram Digital and it was polished and shiny with one glaring exception: no online multiplayer. Today, that’s been remedied. It’s just been updated to include asynchronous play and I think someone needs to organize a tournament.