iOS, Android, PC/Mac I like to poke fun at the guys from North Star Games for being the Blizzard of board game app development. After all, it took Blizz 10 years to bring us Diablo 3, whereas North Star has been working on Evolution for the last five. Of course, that’s board game years, so its roughly equivalent. Still, Blizzard games are known for their polish and sheen right out of the box, and that was North Star’s plan with this elongated dev cycle: make the board game app that all others will be (unfavorably) compared to. Well, it’s out in the wilderness now, so you can go see if they accomplished their dream.
I was a backer of the Kickstarter for Victory Point Games‘ recent release of Gem Rush Second Edition. I had never played (or even heard of) the first edition, but I love the “premier” stuff VPG has been putting out recently not to mention that most (all?) of their games are playable solo. Oh, and the designer is Jeremy Lennert, who I fell in love with via a previous VPG title, Darkest Night Second Edition. My copy of Gem Rush arrived before the holidays and has sat, untouched, since. Not the game’s fault, just my crappy time management. Anyway, I had forgotten (until prompted in the forums) that the Kickstarter had mentioned a digital version. With little to no fanfare, the digital version of Gem Rush was released way back when and has completely slid under our radar. Time to fix that. Gem Rush is a polished, tight app of a pretty great board game that no one is aware of. Let’s change that.
iOS Universal, Android At first glance, Legends of Andor may resemble other campaign-driven fantasy board games like Gloomhaven or Descent: Journeys in the Dark. There’s a fantasy map (you know it’s fantasy because there’s a castle and spooky caves), characters that fit the usual fantasy tropes, monsters, and even markets where you can buy your heroes better equipment. It may resemble those games, but Legends of Andor is nothing like those games. Not a bit. In fact, Legends of Andor isn’t a board game so much as a puzzle game wrapped in board game attire.
I used to own the cardboard version of Legends of Andor right when it was first released back in 2012. It intrigued me, but the gameplay wasn’t something my group would dabble in and, thus, it was sent away in an auction or trade. This was before I realized I was a friendless loser and held onto solo games like mithril. These days, it would have remained on the shelf and, perhaps, gotten some table time. I’d even considered re-purchasing LoA again just to give it another go. Today, however, saw the sneak release of LoA for mobile, so at least now I can try it on digital before I (re)take the cardboard plunge.
iOS, Android, Steam When we think of the “greats” of digital board games, our minds easily think of names like Playdek, CGE, Digidiced, Acram, and even Asmodee. One name that doesn’t come to mind is Dire Wolf, but that’s more our fault than theirs. Not only have they created two extremely beautiful ports for Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and Lotus, but they’re also the digital brains behind Clank! and Clank! In Space!, bringing to life the digital companions for both of those titles as well. Not bad, but 2019 is going to launch them to near the top of that list. This isn’t hyperbole. They just announced a slew of upcoming board game adaptations that are, literally, going to be insta-buys.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac I heard about a digital version of Evolution way back when I attended my first Gen Con in Indianapolis a whopping five years ago. I’ve seen it in action at every Gen Con since, and it’s always looked polished and ready for prime-time. I was wrong, apparently, as its release was repeatedly pushed back as North Star Games tried to polish Evolution into the perfect digital board game. Did they succeed? We’ll find out on February 12.
iOS Universal, Android • I’m currently putting together our top five lists for the End of Year Hullabaloo and, while I don’t want to drop any spoilers, you may see Meteorfall pop up once or twice. Just to be clear, I collected those lists before the latest mega-patch dropped, which introduces a new skin, new cards, and new Meteorfall goodness. Say hello to the Queen of Shadows.
iOS, Android • While my gaming desires tend to lean toward heavier fare such as Through the Ages or Twilight Struggle, there’s a warm place in my heart for simple, quick card games. Games that, while sitting at your child’s Holiday Concert and you spot another dad from your game group, can be played without dedicating all your attention, thus lowering the chances of your wife catching you sneaking turns. This is an entirely hypothetical situation, by the way. I’d never play games…who am I kidding? Lost Cities was our School Concert/Play/Sports game of choice but it has been surpassed by a little game that, until November, none of us had played, Morels. [Whoa, big reveal! It’s in the title of the piece you dink -ed.]
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • So, all the voices in my head the last couple days have been talking about one thing, the new game from indie dev Kenny Sun, Twinfold. “Wait, what voices?” you’re probably asking. To that I say, Sandwiches! [we’re not sure when Dave fell and hit his head, but we’re all guessing it was somewhere around the age of 7 -ed.]
iOS, Android, PC • I’m not a huge fan of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, but that has more to do with bloat than the game itself. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but when a game keeps adding cards and rules and mechanisms, eventually my brain shuts down and I can’t handle it. Sure, I could play Ascension without the expansions, but then the same part of my brain will keep telling me that I’m missing out on “the big picture”. It’s a sickness. That said, I know a lot of you love Ascension, so you’ll be happy to hear that its follow-up, Shards of Infinity from Stoneblade Entertainment, is coming to digital next year. You’ll also be happy to hear who’s behind the port. No, it’s not the Ascension-crafting Playdek. Instead we have Race for the Galaxy upstart, Temple Gates, taking the helm.