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.
iOS, PC/Mac • It’s been a long time since I’ve played a true RPG on my iPad. Sure, there are a ton of games with RPG elements in them–Pathfinder Adventures immediately come to mind–but nothing with the joy of building your characters from scratch and watching them level up while working your way through a well-told story. Thus, I’m pretty excited for West of Loathing. Not only is it a “real” RPG, but it offers a graphic style that sets it apart from anything else I’ve seen on the App Store.
iOS, Android, PC • When Onirim launched earlier this year, it was a fun little diversion, a perfect way to kill some time while waiting in line or at the doctor’s office. Apparently, Asmodee wants us to think of it as more than a diversion and, as such, keeps adding more and more content to the game, pushing it closer and closer to GOTY material. Today, not only did Onirim receive a major expansion, but it also spread its wings and is now playable on your PC.
iOS, Android • When December finally rolls around, I think it’s safe to say that Tinytouchtales will have two contenders for Game of the Year. Back in March they released Card Thief, a complex stealth-based card game about looting castles and avoiding the guards tasked with protecting said loot. Next week they’re releasing GOTY contender #2, Miracle Merchant, a card game whose complexity is more akin to their previous GOTY winner, Card Crawl.