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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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Weekly Stream: Ultimate General Gettysburg. Wargaming fun! Join us Thursday 2/26 at 9pm EST

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Ulimate General Gettysburg deployed on the app store over the weekend, coming from a successful stint on Steam. This is a modern take on traditional wargames. It is sort of RTS but the action is much slower and ponderous than your typical game of that genre. This is not a twitch based affair.

The Battle of Gettysburg holds a special place in my heart, and this game is an interesting and beautiful take on it. Tune in live and watch I try to convince you that this RTS is perfect for turn-based wargamers.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, February 26th, 9:00pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Dave and I


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 Feb 24, 2015 3:00 pm
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Live Stream: Kingsport Festival. Come Watch Live Now!

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Kingsport Festival slipped on to the App Store last week. It is the latest app from iNigma, the developers of Inkognito and Kingsburg.

Dave and I will dive into this surprise digital board game. Can we be the most despicable cultists? There is only one way to find out. Join our live stream this Thursday.

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 Feb 20, 2015 2:00 am
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Weekly Stream: Kingsport Festival. Tune in for some Lovecraftian fun! Thursday 2/19 at 9pm EST.

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Kingsport Festival slipped on to the App Store last week. It is the latest app from iNigma, the developers of Inkognito and Kingsburg.

Dave and I will dive into this surprise digital board game. Can we be the most despicable cultists? There is only one way to find out. Join our live stream this Thursday.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, February 19th, 9:00pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Dave and I


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:00 pm
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Toy Fair 2015 Round Up: King of Tokyo Coming, NorthStar Digital News, Upcoming Releases from R&R Games, and more

Brad Cummings
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This weekend I had the chance to head to New York Toy Fair. This very business focused show sees offerings from the mainstream as well as our beloved board game studios.

While this is a slow time of year for announcements, I was able to get some updates on several projects. Let’s dive right in:


King of Tokyo Coming in 2016
We’ve been following King of Tokyo in the pipe for nearly a year now. This lively game seems like a perfect fit for iOS and it is one of our most anticipated titles.

Chatting with the team at Toy Fair I was informed that King of Tokyo is looking at a 2016 release. Part of the long development cycle is the inclusion of new content from designer Richard Garfield. When I asked if they app will contain content from both King of Tokyo and King of New York, I was told there will be some sort of combination.

Check out the video for more details:





Multilingual One Night from Bezier Games
While Bezier Games has not announced any new digital products, they are hard at work on a major update to One Night. This update will add support for 15 languages. This includes not only the text in the game but also localized voice overs. This is a pretty huge undertaking and shows a great level of commitment to their users. Languages include Dutch, French, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, and even Canadian (eh?). Look for that update coming soon.


NorthStar Games Starts on Evolution
As we announced at Gen Con, NorthStar Games is starting their own digital studio. Things have progressed since then and they now have a team in place. The first project on the docket is Evolution and they are in the early planning stages now. This looks like a great opportunity and we look forward to seeing the first product from this in-house studio.


Martin Wallace's Steam coming Third Quarter 2015
At Gen Con we learned that Steam was coming to digital devices. That was really all we knew and even now, details are still limited. However, I have confirmed with Mayfair games that the title is on track for release during third quarter 2015. We should have more details soon, so stay tuned for that.



A Busy Year for R&R Games
R&R Games is working on a ton of things in the digital realm. First of all, they have a developed a platform app for all their digital and physical products. This app features a catalog of all their physical products with direct links to the app store. The same is true for their physical catalog. Additionally the app features helper tools for many of the R&R products. These include timers, first player selectors, and more. If you are an R&R fan, look for this tool in the next few weeks.

Additionally, a digital version of Plucking Pairs is in the works, aiming to release in April or May of this year. Also the multiplayer update for 1st and Goal should be out in that time frame as well.

Check out the video for more info:

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Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:36 pm
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Live Stream: Darkest Dungeon. Come Watch Live!

Brad Cummings
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Darkest Dungeon is a new digital RPG that has been slowly taking over my twitter feed. It has you leading a team of adventurers deeper and deeper into a dungeon as they slowly go mad. It has even been called the next FTL in hushed, reverent terms.

We’ll join Dave on a run through this dungeon. Darkest Dungeon is currently on Steam Early Access, but designer Tyler Sigam revealed on Twitter that iOS is on the roadmap.

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 Feb 13, 2015 2:30 am
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Weekly Stream: Darkest Dungeon. Join us Thursday 2/12 at 9:30pm EST.

Brad Cummings
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Darkest Dungeon is a new digital RPG that has been slowly taking over my twitter feed. It has you leading a team of adventurers deeper and deeper into a dungeon as they slowly go mad. It has even been called the next FTL in hushed, reverent terms.

We’ll join Dave on a run through this dungeon. Darkest Dungeon is currently on Steam Early Access, but designer Tyler Sigam revealed on Twitter that iOS is on the roadmap.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, February 12th, 9:30pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Dave and I


If you can’t make it live on Twitch, be sure to check out the YouTube archive after the fact.
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Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:00 pm
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Heroes of Might and Magic III HD - 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: 1.12 GB
Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Multiplayer: Yes, local.
AI: Yes.
iTunes link: Heroes of Might and Magic III HD
Google Play link: Heroes of Might and Magic III HD



Heroes of Might and Magic III is a game that is steeped with memories for many of us. Like many memories, our minds have likely embellished and embossed this game. For me, I recall it being a silly game I would play with a group of friends in Junior High. We never really grasped the strategy of the game, rather we just played around, exploring this fantasy world. It was great for hot seat multiplayer. I know many of you have much stronger memories (and, you know, actually played the game the way it was intended). Many video games are hard to go back to. In our minds we gloss over the negative and they shine in perfection. Can you go back to Heroes of Might and Magic III? Does it hold up after all these years?

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Mon Feb 9, 2015 1:01 pm
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Live Stream: XCOM: Enemy Within with chat about XCOM: TBG

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This week we are all about XCOM! XCOM: The Board Game is now available and we are celebrating by playing XCOM: Enemy Within. Dave and I will go head to head.

Be sure to tune in and join in the XCOM fun. If you have not tried it yet, come see what this popular game is all about.

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 Feb 6, 2015 2:00 am
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Weekly Stream: XCOM The Enemy Within. Join Us Thursday 2/5 at 9pm EST!

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This week we are all about XCOM! XCOM: The Board Game is now available and we are celebrating by playing XCOM: Enemy Within. Dave and I will go head to head.

Be sure to tune in and join in the XCOM fun. If you have not tried it yet, come see what this popular game is all about.

Here are the details:

When: Thursday, February 5th, 9:00pm EST
Where: BoardGameGeek on Twitch
Who: Dave and I


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 Feb 3, 2015 3:00 pm
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Overview: XCOM the Board Game

Brad Cummings
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown is an amazing video game. It took a classic concept and modernized it in many key ways. Coming to mobile devices made it even more appealing, allowing long play sessions over a period of time. While not a board game per-say, it found great love with us gamers because of its turn-based battles and complex resource management. With XCOM: The Board Game, Fantasy Flight Games has tried to capture this experience while providing something unique for the tabletop. They’ve tried to maintain some of its digital roots by requiring a mobile app to play. This, as you may know, has been met with much debate.

XCOM: The Board Game is set during a fictional alien invasion. Your goal as a team of 1 to 4 players is to stop this invasion on many fronts. You have the Commander who handles the money and deploys Interceptors to shoot down UFOs. You have the Communications officer who handles the app and also posts satellites to give your team more advanced notice on alien activity. The Scientist runs the research, giving new abilities to team members. The Squad Leader commands the XCOM soldiers and tries to complete missions. While not a TBS like the video game, players will remember that these are all essential components from the XCOM operation. Each role is unique and there always seems to be something to do for each person. As you play with fewer players, things are still manageable though one player games can be pretty tricky.



The goal of the game is to complete enough missions until the final mission is revealed and then completed. The players lose if enough continents are panicked or the aliens manage to destroy the XCOM base.

The game is played in two major phases: one that is timed and one that is not. In the timed phase, the app rattles off a series of commands relayed by the Communications officer, each with a time limit. If you go over the time limit, you have to stop that action and generally additionally alien activity occurs. During this timed phase two basic things are happening. First, each role has things to assign. The Commander decides how many emergency funds to pull and where to place Interceptors (by continent). The Communications officer decides how many satellites to deploy and the Scientist chooses what to research and how many scientists to assign to each project. Lastly, the Squad Leader chooses which mission to go on (if there is not one already) and deploys soldiers to missions, or to defending the base. The sticking point here is that each unit deployed costs one credit and the Commander must manage how much money is available. Going over budget raises panic and gets you closer to losing. The second thing that happens in the timed phase is the bad stuff from the game’s AI. New UFOs are put on the board, aliens show up at the XCOM base, and Crisis cards (bad events) are drawn.



In the second phase everything done in phase one is resolved. The Commander has to start by paying for everything players put on the board, then things progress through scientific research and combat with soldiers, ships, and satellites. All of these resolutions happen in a similar way. There are dice with success symbols on them along with a red 8-sided die. Each time you roll the dice a risk meter goes up. It starts generally at 1 and goes up each time you roll on a specific resolution. If the red die is ever equal or greater to the risk level, you fail that resolution and the ship, satellite, soldier, or scientist is either destroyed or exhausted. Either case is bad and you will have to buy more later on. Crisis cards are also resolved during this phase which can have a variety of nasty effects. As with the timed phase, the app continues to guide you through, step by step.

I don’t usually go into so much rules minutia but I feel it is important here. As you can see, the app is an integral part of the entire gaming experience. Everything revolves around it, and it shepherds the players through the game. It takes on many roles including timer, rules lawyer, randomizer, and even teacher.



XCOM: The Board Game has to be commended for its tutorial. The rulebook in the game is just a few pages long. The players learn by starting a tutorial scenario and going through step by step. Admittedly, there can be a lot of reading in some spots, but it is amazing to see a game that can really teach itself. That being said, if you know the rules yourself, you can save time by just explaining the different roles to your teammates. The app can teach, but it is like a group reading of a rulebook...

Once you are through the learning process, which need only be done once, the app becomes a very useful, non-optrsuive tool. The instructions are clear and there is a wide variety of random outcomes built into the games. The digital nature of the game also means there could, potentially, be future content served right to the app. Many have asked if the app could be replaced with say a deck of cards. While I am not a game designer, it does seem possible. That being said, the level of fiddly-ness that this would add would be prohibitive. I also think it would remove something very thematic from the game. Just like in the video game you have a computer console outputting information and alerting you to threats. The information, combined with thematic sound and visual design, really solidifies the app as a huge add to the game.



The realtime nature of XCOM helps overcome one of the biggest problems with co-op games. Everyone has a job to do in a certain amount of time, so it is hard for one player to control the decisions of all others. If you have a group prone to Alpha Gamer Syndrome, this is a good solution. Many times it will feel like you are making solo decisions, though a limited shared budget really requires that you communicate.

This actually speaks to one of the challenges of XCOM: The Board Game. Because each role is so different and needs to work together with others in a certain way, this game will best be enjoyed by repeated play with the same group. I can easily drop Pandemic on the table and have expert CDC agents by the end of the game. With XCOM it is going to take a few games of learning and coordinating. For example, the scientists generally has a wealth of research projects available. The majority of these are abilities for other players. In order to succeed, you need a scientist who can dish out the right projects at the right time. This is a level of coordination that is not going to happen in a single play-through.



The app is functional while a bit basic in areas. The board and bits are pretty impressive, as you would expect from FFG. It is a massive game that will need a decent sized table. Along with the size comes a playing time that, in my experience, is close to two hours. It wears out its welcome a bit. While something like Arkham Horror is full of exploration, XCOM seems tighter, but loses that wanderlust of seeing what is around the next corner.

XCOM: The Board Game is a fun, thematic take on the XCOM franchise. If you love the series, this is certainly an excellent piece of fan service. XCOM is also a great first step into integrating digital devices into board gaming. Not only is it essential to the experience, it also adds to the overall theme. That being sad, XCOM: The Board Game is not the strongest co-op offering. It holds an awkward middle ground between the exploration of Arkham Horror and the global scale of Pandemic. So while it is essential for fans, the game is not recommended as a first co-op. It is a blast and an excellent encapsulation of the XCOM world, so let that be your guiding light.
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Mon Feb 2, 2015 3:00 pm
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