iOS Board Games

Among the best things in life is playing printed games in person with family and close friends. When those are not convenient we like iOS Board Games. News, reviews, previews, and opinions about board gaming on iPhones, iPads, iPods and even Android devices. (iPhone board games, iPad board games, iPod board games, Android board games)

Archive for Bradley Cummings, Editor

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Weekly Stream: Hearthstone - Blackrock Mountain. Join us Thursday 4/2 at 9pm EST.

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More Hearthstone! Woohoo! Ok, we at iOS Board games may be a little obsessed, but it is one game that has really managed to weather the past year.

We’ll be checking out the first wing of Blackrock Mountain, the second adventure pack for Hearthstone. This one is supposed to really focus on dragons, and dragons are cool, right? Be sure to tune and see if this new expansion is worth you hard-earned dollar stacks.

When: Thursday, April 2nd, 9:00pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Myself and ?????


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:07 am
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Review Roundup: Dice Town, Sid Meier's Starships, and Card Crawl

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Dice Town
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: $3.99
App Store Links: App Store

Poker dice may be some of the best dice ever created, in my humble opinion. Dice Town uses these dice to create an interesting poker game.

Each round you will roll five dice up to five times, keeping one or more each time. The goal is twofold: to build the best poker hand and to collect the most of one type of card. After dice are rolled the players head to town to collect rewards for the types of cards they have the most of. The player with the most nines collects gold nuggets from the mine. The player with the most tens gets all the money currently in the bank. The player with the most Jacks gets a card from the General Store. The player with the most Queens can still a card from another player. The player with the most Kings becomes the Sheriff (who wins ties). Lastly the player with the best poker hand gets to draw land deed cards from the Town Hall. Wow, I don’t usually go into that much detail in the rules, but it really is that straightforward. The goal is to collect victory points in gold, money, land, etc. The player with the most is the winner.

Dice Town has finally made its way to digital devices. We heard about it last year but then it was radio silence until suddenly it appeared. This app is what I would call a bare bones offering. The game features a pretty challenging selection of AI players, with a whole slew available to unlock. Sadly, there are no multiplayer options; this is entirely a solo affair.

The interface is another point of contention. You will eventually learn it but things are not obvious at first. One of the most frustrating things is that the design language seems to shift with each mechanic. One general store card can work completely differently from another. Sometimes you will find your self hunting for how to proceed the game.

Dice Town is not going to light your world on fire. It is great to have this game on the go and the single player game really has a lot of neat goals in place. The experience is pulled down by a lack of multiplayer and overall polish. If you can brave the interface and are ready for a solo focused experience, there is a lot of fun to be had here.



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      101 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk





Sid Meier's Starships
Availability: iPad (PC/Mac)
Price: $14.99
App Store Links: App Store

When this game was announced a few weeks ago, I must admit I was very excited. Finally, we would have a Civ game built specifically for tablets. In this regard, the game has succeeded. It is a perfect tablet experience (really, don’t play it on PC) adding to the complexity of Civilization Revolution while still being manageable.

Starships features two different types of gameplay. The first is strategic level control of your planets and the galaxy at large. In this part of the game you will build improvements on planets, research science projects, construct wonders, and improve your starship fleet. The game features four currencies with clear and specific uses. Energy is for upgrading starships, metal is for building wonders and improvements on planets, science is for researching new starship technologies, and food is for building cities which boost production on a planet overall. This is definitely a simplification but it makes strategizing and specializing very clear.

The second part of the game is combat. To expand your star systems you will either need to complete missions for neutral planets or conquer the planets of other players. These all involve combat. Each player has just one fleet, so positioning them between turns is key. Your turn timer is the endurance of your crew. Once you are out of endurance, you pass your turn to the next player. Combat is turn-based with players moving all of their ships at once. Battles are on a 2D plane and are based around using asteroid and other objects for cover and then getting the jump on your enemy. The goal of a given mission may range from eliminating all enemies to escorting a specific ship to safety. There is quite a bit of variety in these battles.

I have really enjoyed Starships, and I think a lot of that has to do with expectations. This is a mobile game at its core. If you are looking for a deeper experience, you will want to look to one of its relations on PC. At higher difficulty levels, Starships players a lot like a game of Eclipse. There are very specific objectives to achieve and you are racing to be first. You have to really specialize and choose a path to succeed.

The game is not without its flaws, of course. Like many Civ games, if you are going for a domination victory, the final battles can be tedious. The enemy’s fleet recovers between each battle so to conquer a player you will find yourself fighting a similar battle over and over. The TBS natures of these battle can make this a long process. Another frustration has been AI players folding to each other towards the of the game. There have been a few occasions when I had a commanding lead and then suddenly lost because three players combined and instantly had a wonder victory. It was very frustrating.

I’ve really enjoyed my time with Starships and it is now my go to 4x game on my iPad. While it lacks the depth that some would like, I think it is the perfect weight for quick sessions on the go. I really recommend it as a portable Civ game.



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Card Crawl
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: $1.99
App Store Links: App Store

This little gem should already be on your phone! Card Crawl is a new take on Solitaire that also manages to scratch the TCG itch. Your goal is to battle your way through a deck of cards full of swords, shields, potions, coins, and, most importantly, monsters.

Each round four cards are dealt and you can hold up to 3 in your hand. You must deal with three of the four cards before more will be dealt. Potions and coins can be collected by dragging them to your hand. You can also equip swords and shields which will help you “fight” monsters. Each monster has a number value and will do that amount of damage to you unless you lower that number with swords or shields. The deck also features special ability cards that allow you to manipulate the cards in the game. Using the right cards at the right time is key to succeeding.

Your character can take up to 13 points of damage. If you can make it through the deck with your character still living, you win, otherwise you;ll need to try again. As I mentioned, the game feels like a TCG game to me because it is all about trading wisely. You need to get two for one deals as often as possible in order to succeed. These choices are so interesting that the minute you are done with a game, you’ll want to start up again immediately.

This is a go to quick game for me now. If you find yourself with a few minutes to kill, this is the perfect companion. Card Crawl is one of the best surprises in recent memory.



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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:06 pm
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Live Stream: Armello Update. Come Watch Now!

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Ok, we are still waiting on Boss Monster, so let's go with a backup.

Armello, the original digital board game, just got a major update. Let's take a look at this early access build and see how things have progressed.

Here are the details:



If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:00 am
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UPDATE: Weekly Stream: Armello. Join us Thursday 3/26 at 9pm EST

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Ok, we are still waiting on Boss Monster, so let's go with a backup.

Armello, the original digital board game, just got a major update. Let's take a look at this early access build and see how things have progressed.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, March 26th, 9:00pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Myself and ?????


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:00 pm
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Live Stream: Heroes of the Storm. Watch live now!

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So, we were going to stream Boss Monster, but as you know, it has yet to materialize. We are looking into that, but hopefully we can try it out next week.

As a place-holder, I am going to try some Heroes of the Storm live. It is an interesting strategy game and has the usual Blizzard polish. If you have been interested in this one, come check it out this Saturday.

Here are the details:



If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:00 am
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Interview with Radek Smektala from Earthcore: Shattered Elements

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A few weeks ago I received word about a new card game coming to iOS called Earthcore. I had a chance to try out the game and it is a pretty fun take on lane-based combat. We did a quick email interview to dive into a few more details on the game. Be sure to check it out.

Tell us about the team behind Earthcore.

Our team is called Tequila Games and we’re from the beautiful city of Wroclaw in Poland.

Currently we’re about 30 people strong with another 20 people from outside the studio involved in the development of Earthcore: Shattered Elements including Michal Oracz whom you might know from his work on such titles like Neuroshima Hex and Theseus: The Dark Orbit.

Have you done other games we may have heard of?

Over the last decade we developed and self-published dozens of smaller casual mobile games under Tequila Mobile brand. After our team separated and formed Tequila Games we published games like the critically acclaimed BattleFriends at Sea and Fantasy Kingdom Defense HD.

Shattered Elements is our biggest and most ambitious production so far. With this game we want to reach out to more hardcore players, just like us, who enjoy playing tabletop and video games, especially strategies and old school RPG’s.

You can say that it’s a game that we all dreamt of creating and it’s happening right now.



Earthcore seems to take a lot of cues from board game design. What are some of your team’s favorite board games?

Well, we owe a lot of that to Michal Oracz’s years of experience in creating amazing board games

Within our team we enjoy both dark and serious titles like Arkham Horror, Mansion of Madness or Chaos in the Old World and more colorful and fun games like the fantastic Imperial Settlers and Smash Up. We also enjoy classic tabletop RPG’s like Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer or Polish Neuroshima as much as our favourite 90’s video games like Fallout, Arcanum and Planescape: Torment.

Obviously we play a lot of collectible card games too, like Magic: The Gathering in all available forms and digital titles like Hearthstone and Ascension.

Tell us a bit about Earthcore.

Shattered Elements is a digital card game in which we want to introduce some innovative gameplay mechanics. The trick we used can be compared to the “tip of the iceberg” metaphor. In Earthcore Fire burns Earth, Earth absorbs Water and Water extinguishes Fire - just like in Rock, Paper, Scissors. That’s only the tip!

What lies below on the high slopes of this mountain? Not to uncover all our cards, I can say that we added a unique Risk mechanics that substituted the corny health vs. damage. Why? Most of all it adds a certain element of gambling to the game in which players can lose more health points when playing more powerful cards.

Another curious feature of Earthcore is how we approached skills that the cards possess. We spent a lot of time on combining skills and making them to combo in certain situations. Then we realized that it is actually a lot of fun! So why not to give this choice to the players?! This is how we came up with Card Crafting which allows players to create their own cards with unique skill combinations they invented.



There are a few lane-based games available on mobile devices, what sets Earthcore apart?

We believe that besides our innovative combat mechanics, this factor is deep story-driven single player campaign and robust multiplayer experience. It’s also the variety of choices and tactical freedom in battle that sets us apart from other card games on the market.

This wouldn’t be possible without our revolutionary Card Crafting that during the beta testing has proven to be a perfect solution for a mobile game and who knows, maybe we’ll even try to utilize it in a tabletop RPG or a paper version of the game, which is one of the things we’re considering if the mobile version be successful.

In my short time with the game, it feels like Earthcore has a ton of variety. How many cards are designed so far and how long did it take?

Like I said earlier, the trick is that we, the devs, don’t design all of the cards. We give players a few hundred basic ones which can be perceived as tools. Armed with those tools, players can build their own cards by adding Recruit cards with one skill to Hero cards that can hold up to three skills. Card Crafting is estimated to give over 500,000 possible card-skill combinations to discover and use in battle.

The basic cards and skills were created throughout the development process but we already have a team working on expanding the number of basic cards on regular basis.



These kinds of games thrive in competitive play. Can you tell us about the multiplayer options in Earthcore?

Shattered Elements will feature three multiplayer modes.

In the first one you’ll be able to duel with your friends, gain experience and master your tactics. This mode won’t grant you any rewards in Gold though. Those you’ll receive in Casual mode where the game will pair you with random opponents based on your experience level and track record.

The most important part of the multiplayer will be the ranked games.

We’re dividing our leaderboards into various leagues in which players will be able to advance based on the ELO ranking system used in chess tournaments and games like League of Legends. In this system not only the number of victories matters but also the win to lose ratio. Your playstyle and even the frequency of playing will also matter. Players will need to take some real effort to climb the leaderboards up to the Masters League with only 30 places for the best players from all over the world.

Currently the game is online only, are there plans to make an offline mode?

The online requirement is the best way to protect the game and all honest players from cheaters but we know that there’s a demand for an offline experience as well. We’re considering adding an offline mode for the single-player story campaign, managing your decks and maybe Card Crafting but this won’t happen before the game is already on the market.



Note: Earthcore: Shattered Elements will be available on the App Store for iPad and iPhone soon. Android and PC versions should follow later in 2015. The game is already available in an early Soft Launch version in Canada and The Netherlands. For more details please visit www.earthcoregame.com
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Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:00 pm
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Weekly Stream: Heroes of the Storm . Join us Saturday 3/21 at 9pm EST.

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So, we were going to stream Boss Monster, but as you know, it has yet to materialize. We are looking into that, but hopefully we can try it out next week.

As a place-holder, I am going to try some Heroes of the Storm live. It is an interesting strategy game and has the usual Blizzard polish. If you have been interested in this one, come check it out this Saturday.

Here are the details:

When: Saturday, March 21st, 9:00pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Myself and ?????


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:28 am
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PAX East 2015 Part 3: Robot Entertainment Updates, Stoneblade Entertainment, the latest from Witching Hour Studio, and more...

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Last week I had the chance to head to PAX East and catchup with the latest happenings in board and digital gaming. Tune in all week for updates on several upcoming games.

Robot Entertainment Updates[/b[
Robot Entertainment, makers of Hero Academy, were at PAX in a big way showing off Orcs Must Die: Unchained and a board game based on the game.

I had a chance to speak with the team about the future of Hero Academy among other things. Check out the video for more details on this great strategy game.




[b]Solforge and Ascension Updates

I had the chance to chat with Brian Kibler at PAX and get an update on their digital properties. With Solforge he was touting the newly released campaign modes which offer some fun single player challenges. Ascension is also going strong and is currently caught up to the physical game in terms of content (pretty impressive!).

Check out the full interview for more details:




Masquerada from Witching Hour Studio
Much to my surprise, Witching Hour Studio was back at PAX East this year with a new title, Masquerada: Songs and Shadows. This is an RPG inspired by the likes of Baldur’s Gate (real time with the ability to pause and issue commands). Set in a world where magic is controlled by wearing masks, the game looks to bring the visual style and depth we expect from this team.

Check out the video for more on the game:




Krosmaster Arena
At the show, Ankama was showing off Krosmaster Arena on iPad. The game seems to be a pretty faithful port. The team mentioned that it should be coming soon and will feature the ability to upload any Krosmaster figures you already own. If you are a fan of this minis game, be sure to be on the look out.




Thoughtshelter Games
While at PAX, I had the chance to check out this interesting digital board game. A Druid’s Duel is a very Go or Chess like game of board control. The goal is eliminate enemy druids and claim any ground they have marked. There are several types of druids and each has an animal form. Each druid is eliminated in one hit, so the game is about positioning and planning. It really seems like an interesting evolution of some classic abstract games.

Check out the game in this video:

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Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:00 pm
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PAX East 2015 Part 2: SOTM Rook City Expansion, Cinelinx, Highlands, and more…

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Last week I had the chance to head to PAX East and catchup with the latest happenings in board and digital gaming. Tune in all week for updates on several upcoming games.


Sentinels of the Multiverse Rook City Expansion
Sentinels of the Multiverse the Video Game was one of the biggest titles of last year. At PAX, I had the chance to catch up with John Arnold and Christopher Badell to learn more about the Rook City expansion, coming very soon.

We even had a chance to see the expansion in action on a device so be sure to check out the video to see that:





Asmadi Games
I had the chance to sit with Chris Cieslik of Asmadi games and talk about perennial topic: Consequential. This game was touting board game/digital integration before it was cool. It’s been a few years in development but looks like all that will pay off. The game will be Kickstarter later this year and then on to production.

Consequential is a story telling game that combines board game mechanics with digital story beats. It is an ambitious project that is attempting to redefine that way story based board games work. I am excited to see what materializes after all these years.




Highlands
This interested area control game was a surprise to us at PAX. Set in a Miyazaki inspired world, Highlands is all about controlling key locations. You control a team of warriors each with special skills. Aside from your standard fighters, you also have engineers that can build up the defenses of location. The enemies you face move forward in very deliberate patterns, which gives it a very board game feeling.

The game is available to preorder now and should be live soon:




Cinelinx Coming to Digital Platforms
In the Indie Tabletop Area of the Indie Megabooth, I got the chance to check out Cinelinx, an interesting mashup of dominoes and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Each card in the deck lists an actor, director, film, or genre. You start with a hand of ten cards and a genre card in the middle. The goal is to empty your hand by placing cards in a positions that works. I’ve tried the game myself and it is, in a word, challenging. It will push your movie knowledge to the limits. Luckily, the game allows you to use up to three connections to link a card, which is much easier than a one to one link and prevents you from getting stuck as often.

Cinelinx will be coming to digital platforms later this year.




World of Tanks Generals
Have you played the world’s great game? That’s World of Tanks Blitz, if you weren’t aware. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the same company is bringing out a new card game called World of Tanks Generals, coming to web and mobile.

Dave and I have both given the game a try, and, while it is early, there do seem to be some interesting things going on. Interestingly, it is uses a sort of Living Card Game model rather than bling buying, so perfect for those that want low cost gaming.

Check out more details here:

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Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:00 pm
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PAX East 2015 Part 1: Hearthstone hands-on, Magic Origins, Pleasant Dreams, and Necropolis

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Last week I had the chance to head to PAX East and catchup with the latest happenings in board and digital gaming. Tune in all week for updates on several upcoming games.

Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain Adventure
Thanks to Dave for getting a post up with all known details while I was stil at the show. In case you’re curious, I’ve got a video here of the full panel presentation (apologies for the camera work at times, I was being bumped).

At PAX East I was actually able to go hands on with the first boss in the Blackrock Mountain expansion, the Grim Guzzler. As mentioned in the previews, this boss’s hero power pulls random minions from both decks and puts them onto the board. At the demo stations they had 3 preset decks chock full of legendaries. The strategy here is to hope that you can trade at a 2:1 ratio. One card that helps with this is the Grim Patron. Every time this card takes damage, a new Grim Patron pops out.

We were able to take the normal level quite easily and after a few attempts, the heroic version was bested. So far the expansions seems to add some great new additions, and the board had some fun click-ables.

Here’s the full video:



Magic Duels Origins
Again, Dave was on the ball here and has already shared a lot about Magic Duels Origins. The big takeaways are that they are ditching the annual model and ever card can be earned by playing. This will also be the first time Planeswalkers will be in a Duels products.

Check out the full video for more details:



Pleasant Dreams Coming to iOS
Last year I first met Aerjen of Aerjen games showing off his Kickstarter title Pleasant Dreams. I was intrigued, not only by the art, but also by the interesting bluffing gameplay. The goal of the game is to stay asleep by avoiding nightmare cards that will start to wake you. The news this year is that it is coming to digital platforms this year.

Check out the video for more details:



Necropolis from Harebrained Schemes
While not as much a strategy title as Shadowrun Returns or Golem Arcana, HBS was at the show presenting a new game that seems right up our alley. It is a third person action rogue-like. The design seems really well done and the gameplay was a great mix of strategy and dexterity.

I had a chance to go hands on and really enjoyed it. The combat is reminiscent of something like Dark Souls, where timing and dodging are important. The game also features cool interactions between the monsters in the dungeon. At one point I was kiting along some sort of giant shark monster who then starting eating some of the other monsters. It was a cool effect and nice to see more than just a straight action game. This studio has yet to disappoint, so be sure to look for more in the near future.

Check out the game in this video:
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Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:00 pm
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