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Castles of Burgundy coming on Thursday

iOS, Android, PC/Mac

Remember way back in 2015 when we’d be lucky to get 3-4 board game apps released a year (and half of them would suck)? Times have changed. Hot on the heels of Evolution from North Star comes The Castles of Burgundy from Digidiced, releasing for iOS/Android this Thursday.

The Castles of Burgundy is, possibly, the best well known game in renowned designer Stefan Feld‘s catalog. Even if you haven’t played a Feld game before, chances are that you’ve at least heard of CoB. Turns out there’s a good reason for that: the game is pretty great.

I hadn’t played it before the electronic version, but Digidiced has done their usual top-notch job here, yet again. CoB is a dice game, almost. I mean, you roll dice every turn and they’re value dictates your options each turn, but there are rather easy ways to mitigate dice rolls as well. Thus, you don’t feel completely beholden to chance.

The app itself is gorgeous, taking its aesthetic from the opening credits of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Buildings twist and turn into place, and everything has a bit of a steampunk vibe, albeit set firmly in the medieval. It’s a good look, and it’s cool to watch new buildings flip into place on your 3D hex-gridded platter.

CoB has another defining Digidiced trait: the massive tutorial. Broken over several chapters, the tutorial walks you through everything in detail. The only issue is that you’re presented a ton of information and expected to remember it when you then switch over and play a game. I had the same issue with their port of Terra Mystica, and that one I’d played previously. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re a CoB veteran, but us newbs will have to put in a little work until everything clicks.

That said, Digidiced always has a robust multiplayer system and CoB is aching for asynchronous play. It’s basically multiplayer solitaire and each turn has a good chunk of meat to it, which is the perfect fit for taking turns several hours apart.

Let’s get to the ubiquitous blurb:

• 1 to 4 players
• Play in single-player with challenging computer opponents, against your friends in local multiplayer, or face players from all over the world in online mode!
• Learn the rules with our Interactive tutorial or even watch games of the top players on your device!
• Take your time in asynchronous game mode with push notifications and never miss a turn.
• Family friendly – non violent theme
• Easy interactive tutorial to learn the game from scratch
• Analyze your best games or learn tricks from the best with playback
• 3 different computer opponents
• uses the newest rules of the board game

Look for Castles of Burgundy to land for iOS/Android and Steam on Thursday. I’m hoping to have a full review up shortly after launch, but with the way things are going lately (you may have noticed a dearth of new posts lately, and I apologize), I don’t want to make any promises.

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Notable Replies

  1. Great news, thanks!

    As for Digidiced, I think they are a quality developer that has tended to get better over time (possibly with the exception of Isle of Skye, which for some reason sounded as if it were perpetually bugged). Stockpile, in particular, demonstrates their growth. I am rarely a fan of their tutorials, but that hasn’t ruined a game for me yet. I haven’t had issues with multiplayer and commend them for continuing to put out asynchronous games. I’ll buy this one as soon as it launches.

  2. Neep65 says:

    I’m looking forward to this

  3. Yeah, I saw that. I was going to comment and then decided it wasn’t worth the effort of signing in.

    I know there are fans and critics of both approaches when it comes to digital presentation, but from where I stand, if the game plays well, what does it matter if it is a 1:1 carbon copy of the tabletop game or a creative digital facade? Personally, I like when a developer makes the game look good; I think Agricola looks - and plays - great on iOS, and I wish more games went that route. Terra Mystica looks exactly like the board game, but I would kill to see a digital repreaentation with some flair, like 3D terrain or unique building for each faction or something. But the game plays well, so I can’t complain. Tabletop games are constrained by the medium; why not jazz them up a bit within a medium capable of more?

    But to complain about the developer’s decision in this point is a bit narrow-minded, in my opinion.

  4. It almost sounds like you’re frustrated that people completely don’t appreciate what a golden age we live in as far as digital implementations of board games. But that couldn’t be.

  5. I don’t mind criticism, but these are:

    a: the first two comments and they’re both negative
    b: people who haven’t played the game.

    I can’t wait until Thursday when the first 10 comments will be complaining that it costs $5 (or however much, I don’t know the price yet) and that the game isn’t good without expansions so they won’t be buying it until those are released (the stupidity of that argument always infuriates me).

    That said, I don’t think CoB has any expansions, so it might not be as bad as the usual release.

  6. Strangely, the most recent BGG post complains about all the bloat in Terra Mystic making it unplayable. To me, TM is about close to a straight recreation of the tabletop version as possible, with the exception of having pull down displays for the various game boards. I guess opinions really are just that, opinion.

  7. js619 says:

    And you know what they say about opinions…

  8. js619 says:
  9. Holy crap. I didn’t even look at who posted that and just rolled my eyes.

  10. The board looks really neat actually, so I am intrigued. What is the learning curve for the game? At the moment I don’t have the time to try to get into something as deep as say a Twilight Struggle.

  11. It’s not hard at all.

    I can’t say I’ve played the app (I didn’t get an advanced copy :P) but the game itself is fairly intuitive.

    If the tutorial is any good at all, it shouldn’t be hard to pick up. It’s nowhere near Twilight Struggle. LOL

    (And now I’m suspicious of anybody who supports your comment on BGG…)

  12. js619 says:

    I gave him an upvote on BGG cause I thought it was funny… if you start dropping Ascension games I’ll know what’s up!

  13. I am fairly confident that anyone who upvoted my BGG comment got the joke, and are mostly like all from here on SP, since the whole idea came from the comments that @Neumannium posted above.

  14. @kennfusion What @whovian223 said - you will get the game no problem.

    Plus CoB it is a good game for bite-sized async play. Not too much to do each turn but enough that you pause and think about the available options rather than playing by rote.

  15. I’ve played probably 80 games asynchronously on Boiteajeux.net and it works very well.

    I would hope the app version would implement it seamlessly

  16. @whovian223 Ah, I see you at BaJ. I haven’t played there for a while but I see that I have managed 101 CoB games in the past. Mostly with UK friends that are (no longer) living close to me. One of them has won about 70% of our 4 player games … so skill (or at least paying due attention!) must be relevant.

    I won’t suggest a game there now with the app imminent. If you do get the app … let’s get into a game together …

  17. The game is 8.99 on the App Store. No surprise, considering Dogidiced’s apps tend to range from $5-10 and this appears to have more production value than most of their titles. For me, that price merely means that it isn’t going to be an impulse buy right after waking, but I’m likely to pick it up after hearing some impressions.

    More importantly, that price likely means a riot over at BGG…

  18. js619 says:

    They’re losing their minds… notable quotes:

    • “Any particular reason this is priced at double the cost of other board game apps?”

    • “8.99 is nearly 1/2 the cost of the physical game (on a normal sale)… This marks one of the few times I will wait for an iOS sale for a new boardgame release. Wow.”

    @kennfusion’s comment is still being met with confusion and support, and I’m kind of internet famous thanks to @Neumannium!

  19. Hardco says:

    Who wants to play??

  20. I do far too much impulse buying right after waking.

    And right before sleeping.

    And all the other times.

  21. Such an inspiring group of sweaty, sex-starved neckbeards over there. Oh, and oblivious, too. As funny as our stealth comment was, it did seem like some pretty obvious trolling. Too busy counting up their VPs in the latest round of Der Bischof und die Essiggurke, I guess.

    I used to say this when I bothered posting at that sewer, but I’m going to dust it off again — I’m going to buy this game right now because of the BGG idiots. I’m cancelling out one of their “but $8.99 is almost 900 pennies!” posts with an insta-purchase.

    It’s how I roll, yo.

  22. Gurgeh says:

    Given how popular this game is and that Terra Mystica is £9.99 I had guessed that this would be the same price. So, £8.99 is fine with me. Downloaded as soon as available. I have never played the board game so played through the tutorial and have just played my first game vs Easy AI. Got thrashed but thoroughly enjoyed the app. Obviously have got to sort a few things out that weren’t explained in the tutorial. I am very pleased with my purchase and given Digidiced track record I am sure that the app will be well supported and improved.

  23. Sure, BUT IT DOESN"T LOOK LIKE THE PHYSICAL COPY AND ANGELS ARE WEEPING!!!1!1111!!!

    (I really need to stop reading the comments at BGG)

  24. The irony is that CoB could be the single most-complained about game as far as looks go.

  25. I think you might be right. There was a lot of complaining about Agricola back in 2013, but I think board game apps were still novel enough that more people were just excited to have an electronic version available. The community has gotten spoiled with all the ports we’ve had the last few years…

  26. I actually meant on the table. The irony being how many people hate the way the cardboard version looks and then people being vocal about the digital facelift.

  27. So, after having it for a few days, what do people think of the app? I wasn’t in a rush to buy it since I’ve never played the physical game. Read some nice reviews but wanted to hear from some of you as well.

  28. My goal was to get a review up, but I haven’t had enough time to put it through the wringer. Not having played the cardboard version doesn’t help, as it’s taking me a bit to figure out just what the hell is going on.

    In other words, I have no answer to your question and I probably shouldn’t have made this post.

  29. It’s a pretty good app. I’m not a fan of all the animations in it (even on fast, it does more than I would like in a 4-player game) but otherwise it’s pretty strong.

    I haven’t played the AIs yet, so I don’t know how they are. But I like the multiplayer.

    I’m not as annoyed at the changed art as others, though I am having a bit of difficulty with the buildings and the knowledge tiles that give you points for those buildings. I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

  30. I’ll start by saying the app is a great adaptation of the game. That being said, I still have criticisms:

    As per all Digidiced implementations, it takes too long to get into a multiplayer game, and the only freezes or errors I’ve seen have been trying to load directly into a game from the notification message. This combined with some of the animations taking too long (Im not sure, but it feels like the iris opens and closes on your board after every players turn), means it takes longer for me to get in to play my turn than I am happy with.

    While I find everything looks good on my iPad, I feel like the interface is a bit small on an iPhone X. This may improve when I get more familiar with the building icons, but it definitely an issue identifying what Knowledge tiles you have active when playing in multiple games. I don’t believe there is a clear sign of what modifiers you have on placing or taking tiles other than how many workers it costs you when you try to execute an action. This means that you need to double-check your Knowledge tiles, or else you might make a sub-optimal move forgetting you have the modifiers. Some sort of reminder on screen showing the range you can cover without spending a worker would be helpful…

    Lastly, the game doesn’t tell you whose board you are looking at, and only lists the players on the side of the screen that are not the active board. So by viewing other people’s boards, your info can jump to every location on the left side of the screen. Combine this with the fact that you can’t choose your color (and seem to have a random color assigned each game), I never know whose board I am looking at during the replays.

    Despite all that, the game looks great, and it has been a lot of fun to play!

  31. The developer said that color is determined by turn order, for what it’s worth.

  32. I echo what @whovian223 and @hardco said. It often seems to take an app restart to get my online games retrieved, but then all is fine and dandy. The animations are too much even on fast. The board colours for mines and building are too similar. I want to choose my colour … at BaJ (for example) I can do that and in fact another player can choose the same colour … they just see me in a different colour. Simples.

    But the app works fine, you can readily get a description of any tile, you can reset your whole move as many rimes as you want before committing. All the info is there it is just the other players that get in the way of a trouble-free experience :sunglasses:

  33. Again, I’ve never had a problem with having to restart the app to get my online games.

    One thing Digidiced definitely needs, though, is a “Next Game” feature so I don’t have to go back to the menu and find my online games again.

  34. Or you could stop having so many friends and playing more than one game at a time. I mean, I never have this problem…for some reason…

  35. I only have 2 games. So not that many friends!

    But still annoying. LOL

  36. There is a next game button in CoB. It’s one of their character faces and is sort of bottom right of the board.

    I just went in (without delay) to a game so I could be more precise about it … but it was not there … so maybe it only appears when it’s my turn and/or I have another game in which to take a turn. But I have definitely seen and used it.

    I also have two games on the go and am open to offers for more …

  37. Are you on Android? Maybe it’s an iOS problem…

    Since I have no idea whose board I am looking at during the replays, I’ve decided for this game I’m better off just disabling replays. This is about as multiplayer solitaire as it comes anyway.

  38. @whovian223 I saw it this morning! The next game “character face” appears in a sort of rosette by your current VP score. It was only there when I did have another game waiting. It is not labelled when you tap the info symbol at the bottom.

    @Hardco Agreed that replays can be discarded. There are times when I care about my fellow players, and what they are up to, and at those times the reasonably readily available current situation tells me all I need to know.

  39. I really like it. And now that I’m used to how it plays, full speed takes away the characters in the corner and hastens all the animations. Lovely.

    But is anyone else noticing the seemingly ‘unrandom’ distribution of tiles? There’s always a silver mine in slot 5, a boat in 1 or 4, every time. I want to contact their bug forum with this but surely a load of other people have already?

  40. The game has a set distribution of tiles, so that’s not a bug.

    The randomness is that, for the City and the Knowledge tiles, you don’t know which of those tiles are going to pop up at a certain time.

    But ships/castles/mines are set.

  41. Ah yes you’re right. Not having to use the rulebook with physical pieces let me miss that part of the setup.

    Thank you, Capt.

  42. why did it take me so long to think on the new screen recording feature to create my own replay films??

    it’s great and of course works for every game. we can scroll forward and backward at any speed and can stop frame by frame and even take screenshots. it’s way better than watching the ingame replays.
    even the most complicated and long replays in Ascension, Star Realms or Terra Mystica can be unwinded and enjoyed now.

  43. Whoa, wait! What device is this on and how do you get it to work?

  44. Alrighty, been out for a little while, what’s the verdict? Seeing as it is a t20 bgg game makes me want to get on board. Buy time?

  45. It’s a very well done implementation. Whether or not to get it depends on if you like Feld games. They’re basically themeless (the castle theme is painted on with a thin veneer) point-salad euros.

    The app is good, I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of the game itself. Not saying I’m not…just haven’t made up my mind.

  46. miss it at your own risk! definitely a great game and decent app.
    for me not even the theme is too thin.
    it somehow feels a bit like building castles, towns, mines, merchant ships and farming animals. more so than in many other euros.

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