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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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Halloween Special: Ghost Blitz Review

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iOS Universal, Android
Reviewed On: iPad Air, iphone 6
Current Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.6
App Size: 75.2 MB
Developer/Publisher: Terra Infinity
Multiplayer: Yes.
AI: Yes.
Itunes link: Ghost Blitz
Google Play link: Ghost Blitz


Do you ever feel a game is psychoanalyzing you? Ghost Blitz is that sort of game for me. This is ostensibly a children’s game about acting as quickly as you can. Because of this it can find a place with both children and adults, playing differently in each situation. The game actually fits really well on digital platforms and gains new ways to play in the translation.



In Ghost Blitz there are five objects: a grey mouse, a blue book, a red chair, a white ghost, and a green bottle. The game is played by flipping the top card from a deck, each card referring to one of the five objects, and then grabbing that object as quickly as possible. The trick is that the cards are in code. Sometimes the card shows and object in it’s correct color. If that is shown, then grab that object! In other cases objects are show in the wrong colors, These color and object combinations should eliminate four of the objects, leaving the one that is correct for you to grab. The goal is to try and figure out what the card is telling you as quickly as possible. The winner is the person who grabs the most objects correctly.

On iOS the game is played in real time. You can play a solo mode where you go for a high score or against AI or human players. Admittedly, this game is not great against AI as it is hard to not feel like it is either letting you win or cheating. Online play is pretty fun, and it is easy to get into a private game (using a password). Dave and I did notice some odd score keeping errors in our test games. We had one game where it told me I won on my end and that he won on his end. It was a bit odd.

One of the coolest game modes is an online challenge mode. Basically you play against all players worldwide, but not directly. You compete in a solo game, answering as many cards correctly as you can within a time limit. Your score is then sent to the global leaderboard where you can see how you compare with other players worldwide. These competitions reset every few minutes, so you can always try to climb higher the next time around. Admittedly, this feature is a bit empty right now, but with the right critical mass it could be a lot of fun.



Visually the game is great for kids who like spooky things. A friendly ghost appears on the screen periodically and the objects are large and easy to tell apart. The UI is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate. Iconography is used which makes it a fit for younger children as little to no reading is required.

This is a short review, I know, but Ghost Blitz is a game of quick decisions. This is not an iOS title that you will play all the time, but it is a great fit for a quick brain exercise. If you have kids, this is really a know brainer as it is a faithful translation of this hard to find game. I recommend picking this one up for some Halloween fun this weekend.

A fitting port of this spooky game.

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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:38 pm
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Live Stream: Ghost Stories and Ghost Blitz. Join Us Live!

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Happy Halloween! To celebrate Dave and I will be playing two spooky games. The first will be Ghost Stories, a great implementation that seems to be overlooked sometimes. Additionally we will be checking out Ghost Blitz which was released recently. It is a pretty light game, even a kids game, but it has some pretty cool online features.



If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the archive after the fact.
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Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:00 am
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Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front - iOS Review

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad
Reviewed On: iPad Air
Current Price: $19.99
Version: 1.2
App Size: 302 MB
Developer/Publisher: Slitherine
Multiplayer: Yes.
AI: Yes.
Itunes link: Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front

Battle Academy was a revelation on iPad for several reasons. It was, at that point, one of the deepest and most complex games on the platform. The breadth of content and amount of playtime available was outstanding. It also carried a price tag to match it’s depth. Now Slitherine is back with Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front. It promises more depth and a whole new campaign. Can it reach the already high standards set by the first game?

For those new to the series, Battle Academy is a turn based strategy game set in WW2 (although the engine will be used for several different time periods in the future). Each unit in the game represents either a group of 1-5 soldiers or a single tank, truck, or armored vehicle. The system is you go/I go, you attack and move with all of your forces and then the enemy takes their turn. The game is played in a series of missions within campaigns, and each mission has different primary and secondary objectives. Generally these involve capturing and holding victory point locations. The AI, even on easy levels, will do things to surprise you, launching counterattacks and more.



The series has a few wrinkles that really set it apart from the pack. Spotting and line of sight is a key mechanic of the game. Enemy units can wait in ambush in forests or buildings, and you often won’t see them until you stumble into the space next to them. There are scout units that can reveal enemies within their range, and most units can lay down suppressing fire on a space if you suspect enemy forces may be there. You as the player can use the same tactics, ordering units to hold fire until the enemy is in the perfect spot for an ambush. Battle Academy 2 adds smoke which allows you to actually create your own line of sight blockers and get into position.

The amount of rules can be daunting at first and sometimes the number of units you command can be downright tedious, but nothing on iOS really compares with this game in terms of scope and size (ok, maybe XCOM). Battle Academy 2 features four campaigns with an average of eight missions each. Any given mission lasts about an hour, so we are talking 30+ hours of content for a single play-through. Combine that with online play and the new skirmish mode with randomly generated maps, and you have an amazing amount of content.



Most of what I have said so far could be said of either Battle Academy or Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front. If you are new to the series be sure to read my original review of Battle Academy for more thoughts on the system itself (Disclaimer: I am much more of a wargamer now than when I played the original, so take my complaints about rule complexity with a grain of salt).

Let’s get in to what is new in Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front, for those that enjoyed the first one. First things first, for those expecting a new design, a new UI, and a breadth of new features, you are looking in the wrong place. BA2 is more of a sequel in a content sense than an entire new game. That being said, there is a massive amount of new content and features here that should not be scoffed at.

One criticism of Battle Academy was the comic book style that felt a little too cartoony and a little light for the tone of war. BA2 has taken that style and matured it a bit. Things are presented in darker tones and everything has added grit. Admittedly, I’ve found the new style does make it challenging to pick out units in trees and other cover (especially on the night maps). However, it does seem fitting not only for the game but for the tone of the Eastern Front. It was a very different war.

The Eastern Front also brings new units and abilities. A whole new slew of soviet units is available as well as new abilities for existing units. As mentioned earlier, throwing smoke is a new feature and provides a new layer of strategy. The ability to basically create your own cover opens up a whole new world of possibilities. The game also features an army designer which gives you options to customize your army with the units you prefer. You’ll be leading these units on very different terrain as well. Winter tiles sets and night time battles join the mix of possible scenarios.



By far, the coolest new feature is the skirmish mode. This mode allows you to setup random scenarios to play against the AI or online. We checked this out in our live stream and it was quite fun. The random nature keeps you on your toes and provides basically endless play. If you like the BA2 system, this is going to bring you hours of fun. Another feature I am dying to try more of is the online co-op mode. I loved teaming up in games of Starcraft as a kid and being able to do that turn based with a strategy game seems awesome. I look forward to getting more into this mode.

While the merit of these new missions and features can be debated, for me the best new features are under the hood. BA2 was designed with iPad in mind and the controls feel responsive and clear. While similar in UI design to the previous game, I felt like everything was much more polished here. The game feels natural on a tablet.

The game still carries its PC DNA which can be a blessing and a curse. As with the original, modding is available (on PC) and has been expanded in this version. Expect player created content to download soon. The PC baggage carries some clunky UI elements with it. They have streamlined some, but often times icons still feel entirely too small.



If you've never tried Battle Academy, this sequel is the place to start. It takes what made the original a hit and adds in new features. The skirmish mode and new online multiplayer modes have opened up hours of gameplay. If you fall in love with the system, the possibilities are endless.

For existing fans, this feels a lot like an expansion. There are improvements and new features across the board, more than come in the original game’s $25 expansion, so the value seems on track. If you love Battle Academy and want more content, dive right in. If you were on the fence about the game, the sequel will do little to change your mind.

Battle Academy is a step forward, not a leap. The same barriers that blocked it before still exist, such as a PC feeling UI and an odd save system. However, there is also a lot to love here and a raft of new features to keep fans busy. Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front is hands down one of the best and largest wargames on iOS. It is a must have for any digital grognard.

Battle Academy 2 is the wargame to beat on iPad.

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How would you rate Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front?
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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:00 pm
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Weekly Stream: Halloween Special - Ghost Stories and Ghost Blitz. Join us Thursday 10/30 at 9pm EDT!

Brad Cummings
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Happy Halloween! To celebrate Dave and I will be playing two spooky games. The first will be Ghost Stories, a great implementation that seems to be overlooked sometimes. Additionally we will be checking out Ghost Blitz which was released recently. It is a pretty light game, even a kids game, but it has some pretty cool online features.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, October 30th, 9:00pm EDT
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Dave and I


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the archive after the fact.
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Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:00 pm
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Doodle City - iOS Review

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iOS Universal
Reviewed On: iPad Air, iPhone 6
Current Price: $1.99
Version: 1.10
App Size: 37.2 MB
Developer/Publisher: Aporta Games
Multiplayer: Yes.
AI: No.
Itunes link: Doodle City

Games released at Essen Spiel can take months if not years to make their way to the United States. Digital board games sometimes give us the chance to skip this wait and play something new right away. Doodle City is such an opportunity. This new drawing/push your luck game was released last week Aporta and is already available digitally.

Doodle City could almost be described as a tile laying game. It is played on a 5x5 grid and your goal is to draw roads through these grid squares in way that will net you the most points. Each turn you roll dice to determine where you can draw that turn. One die dictates the column, while the two dice mark the rows you can draw in. If you have no legal moves, for whatever reason, you must burn a tree. Trees are limited resources and act as a timer to the game. If one player burns all their trees, the game is over.



Prominent on the board are neighborhood tiles that feature houses and lots to build new houses. These tiles already have roads drawn on them and are crucial to scoring, so they dictate the strategy of each game. When the dice mark these spots as legal moves, you can use your drawing that turn to add a house to one of these tiles. The grid features several other spaces such as hotels, shops, and taxis. Hotels, when a road is drawn on them, score 1 point for each connected road. Shops score similarly, scoring on number of houses connected via road. Shops also feature special bonus point shields, given when a player breaches a certain score threshold. Taxis are worth 4 points each but are contingent on there being at least two taxi stations on the same road.

Similar to Yahtzee, scoring is limited. When you score a certain number of houses, for example, that number cannot be scored again. You will either need to go above or below it. It’s and interesting mechanic and adds to the level of planning needed. The game really boils down to a solo puzzle. You want to maximize your city, your score. Sure, there are competitive multiplayer elements (the bonus point shields for example), but ultimately you will need to worry about how your city is working.



I actually enjoy Doodle City a lot more than I thought I would at first glance. While its merits as a multiplayer game can be debated, there is no denying that the puzzle of trying to maximize your score is extremely enjoyable. It has those beautiful risk/reward moments that really drive a good game. The dice and shifting neighborhood tiles make this a constantly shifting puzzle.

The mechanic of drawing roads fits perfectly on a tablet. The game handles all of the book keeping for you, highlighting just the legal places you can draw based on the dice. The game then lets you draw in the direction you choose. The scoring tracker is also always visible, giving you the info you need to make good decisions at any given point. The game flow can feel clunky at times but it is clear what you need to do at any given point.



You may be initially surprised at the lack of AI in Doodle City, but a few games in, it starts to make sense. The game has a very Yahtzee type feeling, you are playing your own game, trying to maximize your score. Of course, the score mechanics do add some interesting elements, so there options to play multiplayer either pass and play or online asynchronous. So while the experience feels incomplete, there definitely is a lot to do.

Doodle City is a great little preview of an Essen game. The app is pretty basic, but the game is quite enjoyable, especially as a solo challenge. I found myself coming back to it much more often that I thought it would. If you are looking for a game to really tease your noggin, this is a high recommendation.

A basic but surprisingly addictive game.

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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:00 pm
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Weekly Stream: Battle Academy 2. Join us this Thursday 10/23 at 9pm EDT!

Brad Cummings
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Battle Academy 2 is coming to iPad this Thursday, October 23rd! This is a sequel to the hit strategy wargame of 2013. PC gamers have been able to enjoy this one for a few weeks, but now it’s going mobile. I played a bit of BA2 at HOW14 and the reworked UI seems perfect for tablets. The graphics have also been updated with a grittier, less cartoony style. We will be playing this one and will have a review up shortly, but in the mean time, join us as we play through the game live on Twitch.

Join us as we celebrate the launch of this highly anticipated game. We’ll play through a few scenarios and show off many of the new features. This will be a great chance to see if this game is a fit for you. Be sure to watch.


Here are the details:

When: Thursday, October 23rd, 9:00pm EDT
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Just me!


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the archive after the fact.
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Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:05 am
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Sentinels of the Multiverse - App Review

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad, Android Tablet
Reviewed On: iPad Air
Current Price: $9.99
Version: 1.0
App Size: 255 MB
Developer/Publisher: Handelabra/Greater Than Games
Multiplayer: Yes, pass and play
AI: NA
Itunes link: Sentinels of the Multiverse
Google Play link: Sentinels of the Multiverse


Few games have taken the tabletop world by storm like Sentinels of the Multiverse. This was the Super Hero card game on the market before the big guys even considered the space. It features a cast of original heroes, some pretty direct copies of existing properties, that face off against a cast of villains, each with their own plots and powers. The game’s popularity has spawned spin offs, actual comics, and more. We now have, on our iOS and Android devices, the chance to play the game that started it all.



Admittedly, this is my first time playing Sentinels of the Multiverse. Super heroes have never really appealed to me. I find most of the stories to be a predictable arms races. Does it matter that you are super when everyone you fight is also super? That foolish prejudice of mine aside, it is a cooperative game I have always wanted to try, and I am excited to have it on my iPad. It is important to now that this review is coming from someone very new to the game (Dave is a huge fan of this game and should be reviewing it on that other publication soon).

Being new to the game, I first hit the big “How To Play” button on the front menu. What I saw was a text rulebook, and my heart dropped. “Another game with no tutorial?” I thought. Luckily, nestled in the top right corner was a “Play Tutorial” button. What followed was an excellent tutorial hosted by an animated version of game designer Christopher Badell. It is a superb tutorial teaching both the rules and basic strategy.

That being said, there is still a lot to learn. Each villain and hero plays differently and has a slew of new cards. The amount of new content for each character can be daunting to new players. While the tutorial was great, I would love more ways to ease into the remaining content. In the game setup screen you can see the special abilities of each character and villain, but it would be great to get a better summary of how each character is meant to play, even a brief overview.



Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative game, and, on mobile, can be played solitaire or pass and play (no online play). Once you’ve selected your heroes, the villain, and the location, it is time to fight! The heroes’ goal is to bring the HP of the villain down to 0. Each villain can win by either defeating all the heroes or, for some villains, by another mechanic, for example Baron Blade wins by getting his discard pile to a certain number. The game is played in turns, one for each hero, one for the villain, and one for the environment. The heroes’ abilities are represented by cards ranging from one-off attacks to powers and on-going effects. Each hero can play one card from their hand and one power each turn. Powers range from dealing damage to drawing cards, it depends on the strategy of each hero. There is a wide variety of strategy and mechanics. On the villain’s turn, they follow a preprogrammed set of moves which could involve playing cards from the villain deck and dealing damage to the heroes. The environment or location also gets a turn, usually playing cards that affect both the heroes and villain, adding another wrinkle to the strategy.

All of this is presented in amazing comic book style. The locations are brought to live with well done 3D backgrounds. The heroes and villains have different artwork as they take damage or become more powerful. If you are fan of the board game’s art style, you are going to love what they have done here. The comic book feeling is carried into to the menus and the gameplay screen. Each character is given their own panel, and these panels shifts as turns change. You can tell the folks at Handelabra have a love for Sentinels of the Multiverse as well as comic books in general. I may be getting greedy, but I would loved to see them take this one step further. Currently there are no combat animations, which I think, if added, would help round out the aesthetic and give your actions more weight. However, what’s there now is excellent.



The lack of combat animations is just one part of a lack of information in some parts of the game. With so many different factors influencing each action in the game, it would be great to understand these more clearly. Admittedly, the game does this well with combat, clearly explaining why you are being hit with a certain amount of damage. These needs to be carried to other areas. For example, I would love to know how many cards the Villain will play next turn, or how close they are to their special victory conditions. This information is all available out of context on the cards themselves, but I would love to see it within the flow of the game. As a new player, there is currently a lot to keep track of. The team has tried to make identifying card abilities easier with a range of icons. This is a great first step, but still a bit overwhelming for new players.

While Sentinels of the Multiverse could give more information in some areas, it also suffers from a case of too much in other areas. Each time damage is dealt, either to your heroes or to the villain, you must decided in what order it is allocated. This is useful on some occasions, but there are many times when the choice is irrelevant. Luckily, there is a choose for me button to automate this, but I do wish it would be automated in cases where the choice truly doesn’t matter. Not only is it a bit clunky and happens often (several times a turn), as a new player I found the choice confusing. I kept picking my brain to figure out why damage order mattered in a given situation.

All of this does not tarnish the fact that Sentinels of the Multiverse is really fun to play. The amount of content available is amazing. The possible combinations of heroes, villains, and locales is staggering. There is nearly endless variety. I am excited to solve the puzzle that is each villain and learn the synergies of the different heroes. This iPad version makes gameplay quick and easy, managing all the book keeping and letting you focus on the real choices



The gameplay that has made this game a cult hit shines bright in this digital version. The tutorial makes the game welcoming to new players and is a great place to enter this renowned series. This is a must have addition to your digital board game collection.


This compelling cooperative game is so close to being super.

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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:28 pm
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Live Stream: Sentinels of Multiverse

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Few games have been anticipated like Sentinels of Multiverse on iPad. This breakout cooperative game is now available on iOS and Android.

Dave has had his hands on this game for a while now, so we will follow his expertise as we play through a few games. Be sure to join us!

Join us:

BoardGameGeek on Twitch


Watch live on Twitch or check out the archive after the fact.
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Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:00 am
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Weekly Stream: Sentinels of Multiverse. Join Us Thursday 10/16 at 9:00pm EDT.

Brad Cummings
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Few games have been anticipated like Sentinels of Multiverse on iPad. This breakout cooperative game will finally be released on the App Store this Wednesday.

Dave has had his hands on this game for a while now, so we will follow his expertise as we play through a few games. Be sure to join us!

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, October 16th, 9:00pm EDT
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Myself and Dave


Join us live on Twitch or check out the archive after the fact.
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Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:00 pm
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Card Dungeon - iOS Review

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iOS Universal
Reviewed On: iPad Air, iPhone 6
Current Price: $1.99
Version: 1.1
App Size: 168 MB
Developer/Publisher: Playtap Games
Multiplayer: NA.
AI: Na.
Itunes link: Card Dungeon

Cloning and copying is rampant on the app store. As a part of the mobile games industry, apps like 2048 make me a bit furious. True, all video games and board games copy from one another, but the problem comes in the ease of directly copying mobile games (due to small teams and project scopes). When I first saw screens for Card Dungeon, my initial reaction was that it was an attempt to cash in on the potential success of Card Hunter (an earlier web based game with nearly an identical art style). As development continued, it became clear that Card Dungeon would beat Card Hunter to mobile, and potentially snatch the fans of the original.

Now that the game has launched, it is clear that art-wise, this is 100% the case. Everything from the level headings to the card art is extremely similar to Card Hunter. However, mechanically the game is entirely different. Gone is the brutally difficult TBS gameplay, replaced by an interesting rogue-like mechanic that has conquering a series of challenging dungeons. It really is it’s own unique game, I stand partially corrected.



Card Dungeon hinges on a simple card mechanic. At any given time, you can have three cards in your inventory. These cards each feature an attack or spell that you can use against the monsters you find in the dungeon. The trick is that each card is slowly deteriorating. The more you use it, the closer it gets to being destroyed. This is represented graphically by the card turning more and more ragged. This means you need to constantly be refreshing your available actions by picking up new cards found by slaying monsters and searching chests. Your move set is constantly shifting, which means you have to constantly be learning and perfecting new strategies.

To start a run of Card Dungeon, you select one of several dungeons, each featuring their own boss. You then choose a character as well as a perk and a weakness. With this setup, you head into the dungeon, attempting to pass all the levels of each dungeon and defeat the boss without dying.

Like many games in this genre, you can have good runs and you have bad. The selection of cards that come up as you kill monsters and open chests, will determine how far you can get. Many runs will be awesome, while others will just be frustrating. The randomness of card selection (and a pretty large variety) forces you to innovate and find new ways to solve problems. It is rewarding to discover a new way to take on a room of monsters.

The cards range from basic attacks to powerful spells that can even change the dungeon. The game excels at presenting many possible solutions to any problem. For example, when encountering the first boss, I placed a lava pit in a doorway and lured the boss into it repeatedly until he was defeated. As moving and attacking have to be done on separate turns, positioning is a huge part of the game. Many attacks will send enemies flying, while others can pull them to you. There is quite a variety here and a lot to be discovered. This is, by far, the most compelling thing about Card Dungeon; this is where the game really shines.



Card Dungeon is turn-based. Each turn you move or use a card, and then each monster in your vicinity gets a move. It’s a game about timing and planning. You want to get each monster in the right place at the right time to avoid damage and make use of your cards. The turn-based mechanic is awesome for board gamers, but also creates challenges. In combat the system is great, but once you want to explore, the turn system can really slow things down. The game features neutral monsters that will not attack unless provoked. The problem is, if they are in a room you are trying to cross, they all get a turn, meaning to move one square can take 15 to 30 seconds. It just seems unnecessarily slow in the exploration portions.

The game is presented in portrait, which led me to believe this is a phone-centric game. After trying to play standing on a train, I can tell you, it is a challenge to operate with one hand. The biggest crux is the game’s camera. it is rotated by two fingers and is necessary to really get an idea of what is in the dungeon around you. This is challenging to do even on iPad (the sensitivity it strange), and is a huge challenge while playing on an iPhone. I would love to see a feature added to allow dragging around the map with one finger. Getting a read on a dungeon room is important in the game, I just wish it was easier to execute.

Card Dungeon and I got off on the wrong foot with the art style. However, gameplay, especially combat, proves that this is it’s own game, with some neat ideas. In the end, the turn-based exploration really slows the game down, and, combined with the odd camera controls, makes it a challenge to play. Even with these challenges, it does bring some interesting ideas to the table and is worth a look if you enjoy rogue-like mechanics.

A fun rogue-like that could use a bit of polish.

Poll
How would you rate Card Dungeon?
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      34 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk
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Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:00 pm
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