iOS Universal, Android • When 2017 started I had already been girding my loins in preparation for a certain card game that was originally released in cardboard form back in 2007. Yes, 2017 was to be the year that I finally left my family behind and started the cult of Vlaada, continuously playing the digital version of Through the Ages. Things have changed. While I’m still planning on abandoning my family for a 2007 card game, it looks like it might be Race for the Galaxy instead of the aforementioned civ builder. RftG is out and, yes, it’s that good.
iOS Universal, (Android coming soon) • It’s not often that we post about app updates unless they include some major new features or content, but here we are prattling on about an update to the excellent Card Thief which adds neither. It’s almost as if it’s been a slow news week or something.
iOS Universal, Android • Shortly after this review was published, Funforge updated Tokaido, notably adding the previously missing two-player option. Because two-player local play was my ideal use case for the game, this pleased me greatly, and it deserved special mention. My thanks to forum-goer “Misguided” for directing my attention to the improvement. Tokaido crystallizes thinking about the merits and challenges of digital translations of tabletop games. The cardboard version features lovely art, evocative of stylized watercolors, which sets the mood for a pleasant walk along a scenic road in ancient Japan. Not content to simply replicate these static images, developers Funforge created a 3-D, animated version which captures the artistic impact of the original–given the extent to which this is the game’s greatest asset, that’s genuinely impressive. Unfortunately, the very quality of the presentation highlights limitations of both the app and the underlying game.
iOS Universal • Word games are usually not my go-to, but every now and then one will get under my skin and become an obsession. The last was Tim Fowers’ board game port, Paperback, but Zach Gage’s latest, TypeShift is the newest word game keeping me up at night.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • While it arrived on Steam way back in 2015, Militia escaped our attention mainly due to the fact that no mobile version was on the horizon. Turns out developer BrainGoodGames always had a mobile version planned, they just didn’t let us know about it until yesterday which is a good thing, because that’s when it landed on the App Store.
iOS Universal, Android (coming soon) • Neil Gaiman is my favorite (living) author. I haven’t read anything from him that I’ve disliked, and will buy any new book he writes without even knowing what it’s about. I feel the same way about Wes Anderson’s movies, even though I’m not a hipster (and if you call me one, I’ll take off my glasses and jaunty hat and we’ll have to go outside, mister). For some reason, certain creators just connect with each of us regardless of what they put their minds too. It’s no different in the digital realm. For a long time, Blizzard was my spirit animal, then Playdek. I still like both of them, but I’m starting to think that Tinytouchtales is the one. Maybe it’s the art, maybe the gameplay. Probably both. Whatever it is, they know how to crawl inside my head and hit all the right buttons. Card Crawl is still in there, tapping away as one of my favorite mobile games ever. Their latest, Card Thief, might be even better.
iOS Universal, Android • One of the more prolific board game designers out there is Antoine Bauza. He’s won the SdJ twice (the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2011 for 7 Wonders and Spiel des Jahres in 2013 for Hanabi), and can always be counted on to craft solid titles with unusual themes. He’s made it to the App Store already with his often overlooked Ghost Stories, a cooperative romp in which Taoist monks protect a village from some of the best boardgame artwork ever created. Today another game of his has launched for iOS and Android, Tokaido.
iOS Universal • The small 2-person developer Tinytouchtales arrived on the scene back in 2015 with the release of Card Crawl, an unassuming solitaire card game/dungeon crawl that ended up being the best game of the year. Few mobile games last more than a few months on my devices, Card Crawl has been on there–getting play–for two years. That would explain whey we’ve been so eager to get our hands on the follow-up title, Card Thief. We’ve been teased for over a year with gameplay hints and the occasional screenshot, but today the waiting ends. Card Thief is now available on the App Store.
iOS Universal, Android • Boardnaut Studios has quietly been translating quality print-and-play and small box tabletop games to digital for a bit now, titles like Maquis and Land 6. Their latest has just landed on the App Store, and it’s a port of another print-and-play game, Constantinople.
iOS Universal, PC • Other than the upcoming adventure title Thimbleweed Park, the future of classic point-and-click adventure titles on the App Store looks pretty bleak. Sure, there’s Telltale, but their titles feel more like interactive movies than the point-and-click adventures of old. Luckily, we still have Wadjet Eye Games, makers of the fantastic Blackwell series of games for iOS. They’re the lone soldiers on the point-and-click frontier and their latest, Shardlight, has just made its way from PC to iOS.