iOS, Android, PC/Mac • I still play Pathfinder Adventures more than a year after it was released, and more than 8 months after any new major content was added. I’m not sure I can say that about many other board games on my iPad. Maybe Galaxy Trucker? Twilight Struggle? Agricola? Those are some of the App Store’s heaviest hitters when it comes to digital board games, so Pathfinder is in good company. I’m only going to be playing more now that the long awaited Rise of the Goblins campaign has gone live.
iOS Universal, Android • Earlier this week my wife and two eldest children left on a trip to Spain to spend time with an exchange student who had lived with us during the last school year. Now, normally, my wife and kids leaving me home alone for an extended period of time would be cause for celebration–I usually wouldn’t even shower until they came back–but this time she left me with a very energetic 6 year-old, and I’m lost. How do you keep a kid busy when he’s used to having two brothers to annoy all day long? I have no idea, but I found out quickly that they don’t appreciate Twilight Struggle. So, I’m kind of having a bummer week, but then a new title arrived in the App Store, Miracle Merchant from Tinytouchtales, and now all is right in the world.
iOS Universal • Because I’m a filthy hipster when it comes to board games, I tend to shit all over the seminal euro game, Settlers of Catan. It’s the cool thing to do these days, and I’m nothing if not cool [don’t sell yourself short, you’re also a douche -ed.]. I just find the game to be a random mess and, because the guys in my group are all better at it than me, tend to always find myself pinned into a corner from which escape is hopeless. As you can tell, my opinion of Settlers probably lies in the fact that I’m not good at it, but, whatever. This post is about Settlers’ little 2-player cousin, Rivals for Catan. Now, that’s a game that I truly enjoy both on the tabletop and my iPad, but we just found out that the latter isn’t long for this world thanks to Apple.
When someone sits down to write the history of digital boardgaming, Unsung Story is going to have at least one whole chapter all to itself, and not to sing its praises. Unsung Story is the Yoko Ono of digital board games, taking the most prolific and best board game app designer, Playdek, and basically driving a stake through their heart. Sure we got the awesome Twilight Struggle since then, but otherwise the Playdek output has slowed considerably since the Unsung Story Kickstarter kickstarted. Yesterday Playdek announced that Unsung Story is no longer their problem.
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 • One of 2017’s biggest hits around these parts is a little card game called Age of Rivals. With the mixture of card drafting and empire building, it could be seen as a 7 Wonders replacement, particularly since it’s on the App Store and that oft-delayed title has yet to appear. The problem with the comparison, however, is that Age of Rivals is a better game. It’s more complex, requires more strategy, and, dare I say, is just more fun to play.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • “What game had you up so late last night,” my wife asked. I had been up until 1 AM or so, a rare thing is the age of the barbarian-monkey children, aka our seven-year old twin boys. “Predynastic Egypt,” I replied and was quickly greeted with a look of confusion. I explained it was a game set in Egypt, but well before the pyramids. It was a strategy simulation covering two millennia of ancient Egyptian history where you play as a nomadic tribe and grow that tribe, turn by turn, from humble origins toward the ultimate goal of unifying Egypt under your control within 220 turns. “Oooh, I want to play it,” was her immediate response. [Nick’s wife is cooler than my wife. Mine just elbowed me in the back and called me an idiot. -ed.]
iOS • The original Warhammer Quest has a special place in Stately Play‘s heart. Until the day he vanished, it remained Owen’s top game on mobile, and there wasn’t anything that the developer, Rodeo Games, could do wrong. Now we know that Warhammer Quest 2 is on the way with a different developer, Perchang, but we also know that Perchang is basically the new iteration of Rodeo Games, so I’m sure Owen would approve. Then he’d look at this new trailer and his head would explode.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • Yesterday morning I got into a minivan with my family, drove for several hours, and am now trapped in the northern woods of Wisconsin with three unappreciative and sunburnt children. Yay, vacation! Luckily, I found a weak wi-fi signal to log in because today is the day Nomad Games dropped they long awaited gamebook/top-down RPG, Fighting Fantasy Legends. Yes, if you’ve always really wanted to play through the classic gamebook, Warlock of Firetop Mountain, with fancy graphics you’ve been able to do so for quite awhile. Now, you can do it in another app! Just kidding. FFL doesn’t replicate the genius of Tin Man, instead Fighting Fantasy Legends is, to quote John Cleese, something completely different.
iOS, Android • Dave has given me the impression that HexWar are the Lucy van Pelt to our Charlie Brown, repeatedly advertising wonderful games and delivering troubled ones once we get our hopes up. I assume that, once the running gag had been established, the challenge for Charles Schultz was to find a way to create interest in a joke with a predictable ending. With Lightning: D-Day, HexWar did it by translating to app from a well-regarded, unusually simple WWII card game famous for its poorly-written rules. I had hoped that the combination of a lower degree of difficulty than their ambitious past games mixed with an easily addressed problem in the cardboard version made this a superb candidate for an unqualified HexWar success. Then again, we all know how this joke ends.