iOS, Android • Onirim is a highly-regarded, fast-playing solo card game by Shadi Torbey and Z-Man Games, and is now a highly-regarded, even faster-playing ideal phone game by Asmodee Digital. Perhaps the easiest single-sentence summary for Stately Play readers is this: Card Crawl is more like Onirim than Card Thief, and this stands as a strong compliment to all three games. Card Crawl gave about as much satisfaction as a turn-based game could offer in such a brief playing time, and Onirim gives us decisions with a similar tactical feel and memory element. Card Thief has much in common with Card Crawl, but Tinytouchtales innovated with it enough that a third game could be more similar to their first outing without being redundant. In other words, Onirim fills the same niche as Card Crawl while still being sufficiently distinct to justify itself.
iOS Universal, Android • At the end of last November, Asmodee Digital started their deluge of board game ports with Colt Express and haven’t let up yet. In fact, if my counting is correct, Onirim will be their sixth release in just over four months. One constant of the Asmodee releases has been their failure to adhere to the tenets of our multiplayer manifesto, creating multiplayer experiences that have been less than stellar. Onirim manages to dodge that bullet by being a completely solitaire experience and it just happens to be available right now for iOS and Android.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • It’s about time I came clean. I know this will come as a shock to many of you, so you might want to prepare yourself. Ready? Here we go: Back when I was in college, I was a huge nerd. There, I said it. Take as much time as you need to let that soak in. Now, when I say “nerd”, I’m not talking about the kind that spent their time in the library on Thursday nights rather than at house parties, I’m talking about the kind that stayed in and played role-playing games with friends on Thursday nights instead of going to house parties. A lot of Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition was played in many dorm common areas, let me tell you. We even, for a short time, dabbled in something called Vampire: The Masquerade which was White Wolf’s more freeform answer to D&D’s mathiness and was all the rage thanks to Anne Rice and the lingering effect of a young Kiefer Sutherland in leather. Well, Vampire: The Masquerade is back and it’s on your phone.
iOS Universal, Android • The retreat from Game Center has opened a hole in the iOS board game development world. With Apple’s commitment to asynchronous multiplayer looking uncertain and the value of a unified multiplayer solution high, publishers of popular board games are likely to seek partnerships with developers who have proven multiplayer systems. That’s going to be very interesting to observe over the next few years. Potion Explosion is a Horrible Games/Cool Mini Or Not product in the tabletop world, but Asmodee Digital and Studio Clangore have brought it to mobile devices, which means you can use an existing account for any Days of Wonder or Asmodee title. That’s a pretty impressive catalog–just in my own iTunes library, I have Ticket To Ride, Small World (2, he added, rolling his eyes), the recently improved Colt Express, Pandemic, and Splendor.
Asmodee has been on a digital rampage over the past couple months. Since Thanksgiving in late November, they’ve released Colt Express and Mysterium and tomorrow we’ll see another Asmodee creation, Potion Explosion.
Mysterium was one of the victims from the famous Colt Express fallout of 2016. You might remember that Colt Express was launched by Asmodee with much aplomb, only to be met with rather dour reviews especially concerning the state of its multiplayer system. Asmodee quickly pushed back the releases of Mysterium and Potion Explosion to 2017 to work things out. I’m not sure if you noticed, but it’s 2017. As such, we can expect Mysterium to materialize this Thursday on all platforms.
Kelsey took a look at Colt Express last week and thought it was a pretty great rendition of a board game with one huge flaw, the multiplayer system was broken. While online play existed, the ability to create or join games was enough of a mess to prevent him from playing even one multiplayer contest. It was bad enough that Asmodee decided to pull back their December releases to ensure that multiplayer hijinks wouldn’t be an issue going forward. Today, Asmodee took steps to correct what’s already out there and Colt Express has been updated to make multiplayer a little more palatable.
Just to add more fuel to the dumpster fire that is 2016, Asmodee just let us know that their two December releases, Mysterium and Potion Explosion, are no longer December releases. Instead, they’re pushing them into next year. Damn.
Colt Express has two things I adore: an Old West theme of bandits robbing a train, and programmed movement with character decks. Westerns are in sort of a tough place right now. The themes common to westerns are largely in tension with some now-common values, so it’s difficult to make them without effectively taking a controversial political stand (either to support those themes, or explicitly reject them). As a result, family-friendly western content is rare these days. Admittedly, I have never seen Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, but Wikipedia tells me it occurs in the town of “Nice and Friendly Corners”. I am now imagining Fred Rogers in a poncho, chomping a cigarillo, and my attempt to deride the western credentials of the Disney Junior show has gone totally off the rails as I embroider that fabulous image.* Anyway, a western family game stands out.
We’ve known about the flood of board game ports that tabletop giant, Asmodee, is planning on brining to digital. Time to grab your galoshes, because the flood is beginning today with the release of the 2015 SdJ winner, Colt Express.