iOS Board Games

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Review: Medici

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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The Stats:
Compatibility: Separate iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch versions.
Current Price: $.99/$1.99(iPad) (on sale, was $2.99)
Developer/Publisher: Codito/Sage Games
Version: 1.4
Size: 7.8 MB
Multiplayer: Pass and Play.
AI: Yes. Multiple difficulty levels.
Itunes link:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/medici-for-iphone-designed/id...


The Good:
A great consistent design, buttons and functions are easy to understand.
Well supported by the publisher with many updates and fixes. This does not happen with all apps.
The Caution:
Lack of Multiplayer hurts the longevity of the game. Starts to feel like a puzzle game after a while.

Summary:
Medici is one of the first apps developed by Codito/Sage Games who has promised to deliver an impressive slate of iOS board games. It is a solid board game port and adds features sparingly, retaining an analog feel. Due to the very calculated nature of this auction game and the lack of online multiplayer, Medici can feel like a single player puzzle game.

Gameplay:
In full discretion, I have yet to play the physical version of Medici. I have played similar auction games and so the concept is not new, but this game was an iOS original for me

Medici is an auction game by Reiner Knizia that is played in 3 days (or rounds). Players take turns drawing random goods (units of different types and different amounts of those types) to make up lots and then these lots are bid upon. The player who wins the bid then adds these goods to his ship. Each players ship can hold 5 goods. Once each ship has been filled the round is over and the ships are scored earning the players florins. In true Knizia style their are several ways to earn florins: The players with the highest total amount of goods for the round score florins, as well as the players who have the most of each type of goods. The player with the most florins at the end of three days is the winner.

It is a simple little auction game that has a large amount of open information. My only challenging in quickly comprehending the game was understanding the real value of certain lots. This is a problem with many auction games and was quickly overcome after a few play throughs.

Implementation:
Medici in app version has a very consistent feeling. That is the one thing that struck me the most in comparison to other board game apps. From the interface controls to the art design everything is simple and straightforward. All the information is easily accessible and I never felt as if I had to dig through anything or learn some new way to control the app.

This simplicity is seen throughout the interface of the game. A tutorial is provided when you first begin the game but honestly (especially with the latest update) all buttons are clearly marked. The game can handle up to 6 players, either AI or human. I have heard complaints about the AI, but as far as I can tell right now the more difficult AI characters are a challenge. One complaint as a new comer to this game is I was unsure of how many players to include in my first solo game. After looking at BGG I could find the ideal number of players, but it would be nice if the game defaulted to this on opening.

The graphic design for Medici is very thematic and consistent. The characters are all portraits of Mediterranean gentleman and ladies. They do all look like they are having the worst day of their life (something I heard Tom Vasel say in one of his reviews) but it fits the theme of the game. The main play screen is pretty easy to look at. You can easily see what is in your boat and the boats of your opponents. The wheel which tracks which player has the most of each type of good is usually easy to read but I do wish you could click it to zoom in on it (especially for the iPhone/iPod Touch) when needed. I also felt like the game lacked sharpness and many of the graphics and textures felt fuzzy. This is a minor complaint but it would be nice to see higher resolution graphics for the game.

As you can see from my comments above Medici is a well designed game. However, I feel that it lacks longevity. The rules in comparison to a game like Ra are much more simple, and so the choices to make become clear. So much of the information is not random that decisions can almost be weighed mathematically like a puzzle game. This to many is probably a positive feature of the game, but for me, in a single player setting versus AI it makes the game very dry. The addition of online multiplayer could add flavor and longevity to this game.

Conclusion:
Medici is a well designed game with a smooth interface and thematic graphics. The pass and play feature and the AI allow for hours of gaming on iOS. I do feel the lack of online multiplayer does cause this app to lack longevity and the single player games with the AI begin to feel systematic and mathematical, almost like a puzzle game.

Rating: 2/4 Decent
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Subscribe sub options Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:55 pm
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