iOS, Android, PC • A week ago Asmodee Digital surprised us all with the announcement of Gloomhaven and other games coming out later this year and in 2019. I was at the press conference and took pictures of all the games they listed for the next 2 years and nowhere did they list Kings and Assassins. So, it makes perfect sense that, this week, they released Kings and Assassins. [insert head banging into wall gif here]
iOS, Android • I didn’t pay much attention to the Spiel des Jahres this year, so I’m a little behind on telling my Azuls from my Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburgs. Yes, that last one is a real game and it actually won the Kennerspiel des Jahres. Thus I was unaware of another nominee vying for “complex game of the year”, Ganz Schön Clever. A quiet release of a digital version has allowed me to give the game a go, however, and I’ve determined that the English translation of Ganz Schön Clever is “what the hell have I stumbled on?”
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • When something gets too much hype there’s a good chance that reality will never rise to meet the expectations already formed in your head. That was the fear when GMT started talking about a “major” announcement regarding digital games that would be coming in late July. I was expecting the announcement of something like Labryrinth or, if we were lucky, a digital COIN game being announced. Big, but hardly the earth shaking announcement we were led to believe was coming. Then I found out what the announcement was and, damn, if GMT didn’t actually surprise me with this one. Not only is Playdek making digital versions of GMT titles, but they’ve joined forces and formed a partnership which ensures we’ll be getting GMT games on our devices for a long, long time.
iOS, Android • If you’re not aware, there are two [actually three, you dolt -ed.] different Spiel des Jahres awards each year. One for a ‘family’ game that tends to be a little lighter than I prefer, and the other is the Kennerspiel des Jahres which awards more complex titles. Considering that my tastes run in the Vital Lacerda/Martin Wallace/18xx vein, these games tend to still be on the light side for me, but I still try to at least give them a go once or twice. Two years ago the award was won by Isle of Skye and it remains one of the few KSdJ winners that I’ve never played. In fact my only contact with the game came at Gen Con in 2016 when I was working the BGG Game Room and had people returning it to the library. As a rule I would be told two things about the game: it was great and the printing was really, really small and hard to read. Well, now Digidiced and Asmodee Digital have teamed up to bring it to digital and here’s hoping they blew up that text out so even old farts like me can read it.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Digidiced is turning into quite the workhorse. Not only is their port of Isle of Skye currently in beta, but we learned last week that they’re also working on a digital port of the Stefan Feld classic, Castles of Burgundy. Today I was sent a missive of another game Digidiced has in their pocket, the chaotic stock trader, Stockpile. Even more surprising is that it’s already entering beta. Apparently Digidiced has been working on this one for a bit now in secret.
iOS Universal, Android • Released earlier this year, Hostage Negotiator from Peter Kossits and Van Ryder Games, has been a reliable go-to when looking for a solo game that I can’t possibly win. It may have been overshadowed a bit by the more recent release of One Deck Dungeon, but Hostage Negotiator remains a tense, anxiety-inducing experience AND you can play it on your phone. It’s received a lot of new content since release, and recently it received one more bad guy: Gonzalo. Not only is Gonzalo the most difficult baddie to date, he’s also the last expansion planned.
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.
iPad, Android Tablets, PC/Mac/Linux • Sentinels of the Multiverse was deluged with constant updates, new content, expansions, and more after its release and at a pace that would make most developers shut down from exhaustion. You’d think Handelabra would have a hard time replicating that with their latest baby, One Deck Dungeon, but it’s starting to feel like déjà vu. They’ve already added the Phoenix Den and tomorrow the roguelike card game is getting not one, but two new characters to kill with poor dice rolls: Fanatic and Caliana.
iOS, Android, PC, Switch, PS4 • We mostly know Nomad from their continuing love affair with Games Workshop’s fantasy classic, Talisman. Last week they released The Woodland expansion which, if you’re not counting, was the 7,426th* expansion released for Talisman since January. Of course they’ve done some other games as well, most notably a team up with Alderac Entertainment Group for a digital port of Smash Up. Well, they’re teaming up with AEG again, this time bringing 3 of their titles to PC, mobile, and some other platforms as well.
iOS, Android • I first heard of Tim Fowers back when Wok Star was released way back in 2010. It was a cooperative game that didn’t follow the standard Pandemic formula of “take your turn then pull a card and see what terrible stuff happens”. Instead, the game used a timer and players played simultaneously, trying to keep the restaurant running smoothly. Since then, he’s become a powerhouse designer, running his own publishing digs and putting out games that don’t fit into the standard mold set by previous titles. For example, Paperback took the well-worn mechanisms of Dominion, but put them into a word game which, somehow, made deck-building fun! What really separates him, however, is that he learned a long time ago that digital board games are pretty cool and, as of now, has released both Paperback and Burgle Bros. onto mobile. Soon we’ll get their third title on our phones and tablets, a sequel of sorts to Paperback appropriately titled, Hardback.