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)

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iOS News Bits: Shadow Era Update, Starting Player Update, Hunters: Episode 1 Update, Prose With Bros Update, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer Released

Gabe Alvaro
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• Shadow Era Update
• Starting Player Update
• Hunters: Episode 1 HD Updated
• Cargo Runners Released
• Prose with Bros Update
• Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer Released





• Shadow Era Update - June 24
Hot on the heels of version 1.261 comes Version 1.263 of this cross platform online card combat game. Here's what Wulven Game Studios have been up to:

Quote:
What's new

Another huge update is here! Thanks for all the great reviews and helping us to grow to more than 1 million players!!

- fixed fps and options issues in 1.263
- new Rogue class
- many balance changes
- create a custom multiplayer game with password
- revamped turn timer in multiplayer games
- multiplayer chat
- search for multiplayer game history
- tons of bug fixes


http://itunes.apple.com/app/shadow-era/id412380301?uo=4&mt=8...




• Starting Player Gets Major Update - June 28
A while back, we reviewed the iOS version of Ted Alspach's Start Player. A few of you commented that you liked the free app known as Starting Player by Jordan Zimmerman/A is A LLC. Thanks for pointing it out. After all, there are countless ways to determine start player and a number of you swore by this app. Well, it received an update this week:

Quote:
* Major update to the app. Reworked UI with better, consolidated features. Lots of new stuff.

* Fixes several bugs in v2.0 and resurrects the Friends/Things tab


http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/starting-player/id375693304?u...




• Hunters: Episode 1 HD Updated to Version 1.1 - June 29
Rodeo Games has updated its formerly-free turn-based tactical strategy game, Hunters: Episode 1. It's been nearly three months since the last update. Here's what's included:

Rodeo Games wrote:
What's new

Game Center and OpenFeint support
Unlock 39 challenging Achievements
Compete with other Bounty Hunters on Leaderboards
Full game re-balancing
New Skyscraper Environments
More daily contracts
New in-game user interface
Improved Free Gifts

Unfortunately, however, both apps also received a price increase from having always been free to $1.99 for the iPhone and $2.99 for the iPad.

iPhone - http://itunes.apple.com/app/hunters-episode-one/id415278460?...
iPad - http://itunes.apple.com/app/hunters-episode-one-hd/id4152840...




• Cargo Runners Released - June 29
As promised, Trouble Brothers have released their euro-inspired economic game, Cargo Runners right on schedule--how about that! It is is available for the iPad initially, but will soon be Universal. The app is priced at $7.99.








• Prose with Bros Update to Version 1.0.5 - June 29
The wacky asynchronous refrigerator magnet and voting game by Evil Laugh Games rolls on with even more updates. This time highlighted with 100 verbs. Here's what else is new:

Quote:
What's new

-------NEW VERB PACK-------
100 new verbs! You can now putter, squeak, soar, splash, dunk, rumble, giggle, tinker, and squash to your hearts content.

-------NEW FEATURES-------
- PUNCTUATION! That's right folks, punctuation. You can now add commas, periods, question marks, quotations, etc. to your sentences. Appropriate-length pauses will be automatically added to the voice playback based on your punctuation, so you no longer have to add empty space to create the pauses you want (but you still can).

- TWITTER! Using your Twitter account, you can now direct-tweet your prose from within the game (even tweet prose from other players).

- CAPITALIZATION! The first word of every sentence is now automatically capitalized, including after punctuation to start a new sentence.

- Options for player challenges, saving sentences, and tweeting are now added to all sections of the game so that you can access these features from anywhere you see a sentence, not just from the voting section like before.

-------BUG FIXES-------
- Fixed issue with words breaking apart while dragging them back and forth with the "word lock" function turned on.
- Fixed issue with voice button remaining stuck on after playing your sentence, which caused all other buttons to be greyed out and inaccessible until you tapped the voice button again.
- Fixed retina-display art on "Vote" button which was messed up from the previous build.
- Fixed issue with the green kudos checkmark disappearing after scrolling the vote screen.
- Fixed issue with missing voice-over files for the words "been" and "being".


http://itunes.apple.com/app/prose-with-bros/id419361997?uo=4...




• Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer Released - June 29
Incinerator Studios attended last week's Origins Game Fair in Columbus, OH. While there, they demoed the iOS version of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer at the Gary Games booth. According to their weekend Tweet, the app was submitted on June 24th. They were saying it would take one to two weeks to become available. Well, it's finally out now!

This beautiful looking Universal app, priced at $4.99, claims to be "the first officially licensed deck building game for iOS." It's packed with features including:
Quote:
-Universal App – play Ascension on iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 3, or iPod Touch 4 for a single low price.
-1st officially licensed deck building game for iPhone and iPad.
-Over 50 beautifully detailed cards, hand drawn by Eric Sabee.
-Recruit Heroes and Constructs to bolster your deck.
-Defeat Monsters for Honor and rewards.
-Full asynchronous support for multiplayer online games.
-Play against multiple A.I. opponents using varied strategies.
-Introductory tutorial to teach you how to play.
-Enhanced visual optimization for iPhone 4 and iPad using high resolution graphics designed for the retina display.

With that compelling set of features combined with some attractive original graphics...of course we don't need to tell you that we'll be checking it out. Let's hear what you think!



http://itunes.apple.com/app/ascension-chronicle-godslayer/id...
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Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:37 am
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iOS Review: Mu and Tichu

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (Universal)
Current Price: $2.99
Developer/Publisher: House Full of Games/ Steve Blanding
Version: 1.3/1.3
Size: 8.7 MB/ 17.5
Multiplayer: Pass and Play
AI: Yes. Varying difficulty
Itunes link: Tichu and Mu



The Good:
- Well laid out design on both ipad and smaller devices.
- Excellent translations of the card version.
The Bad:
- Mu could use a multiplayer system, both game will benefit by async (coming in iOS 5 to Game Center).
- Leader board system would also be interesting.

Summary:
Mu and, especially Tichu are well known games in the board game community. To translate them to iOS is something akin to the challenge Puerto Rico. However, Steve has managed to not only create quality games but also program AI that is both a challenge and a tutor.

Gameplay:
Mu and Tichu are trick-taking games of some of the most renown. They are played with same vigor by gamers as ladies in Boca play Bridge and Spades. They rely on knowing the value of your hand and working closely with your partner(s). Rather than give a rambling explanation, in this case I will use the summaries found on their Board Game Geek pages:

Mu: Mü is regarded by many as one of the best offerings in the trick-taking genre. Players reveal cards to declare their bids: the highest bidder becomes the Chief and the second highest bidder is the Vice. Both the Vice and Chief choose a trump (either number or suit), and then players try to capture tricks to score the most points. The Chief chooses a partner and tries to cover the bid to score bonus points, while the Vice and remaining players seek to stop the Chief from reaching his goal.
The deck consists of 60 cards in 5 different colored suits. Each suit contains cards numbered from 0 to 9, with two of each the 1 and 7 cards. Cards also have 0, 1, or 2 triangles printed on them to show the point value of that card.
Tichu: Partnership climbing card game -- object is rid yourself of your hand. The deck is a standard 52-card pack with four special cards added. When it's your turn, you may either beat the current top card combination or pass. If play passes all the way back to the player who laid the top cards, he wins the trick and can lead the next one. The card led determines the only combination of cards to be played on that trick. So if a single card is led, then only single cards are played. If a straight of seven cards is led, then only straights of seven cards, etc. The last player out gives all the cards he won to the player who exited first, and the last player's unplayed cards are handed to the opposite team. Fives, Tens and Kings are worth points, with each hand worth one hundred points (without bonuses). The first team to 1000 points wins.
As you can see both games offer a challenging amount options and combinations. Luckily, the iOS versions include excellent tutorials to help walk you through the game for as long as you need it. These apps also offer a chance to train and become better at these difficult games, and hopefully prevent your partner from yelling at your during your next play session.

Implementation:
Both Mu and Tichu offer a deeper trick-taking experience on iOS. Beyond this, they offer a higher quality experience when compared to most Spades and similar clones found on the app store.

The graphic design in both games is generally minimalistic. The game splashes directly into the main play area with a menu popping up in front of you. While Tichu does feature additional buttons for access to online play options, the majority of in game menus are of the generic built iOS fare. Though not particularly aesthetically pleasing in nature, it does seem to blend with the overall classic solitaire design choices. In-game play is clear and easy to navigate. A spotlight moves from player to player clearly showing who needs to make a move. I am very impressed by the information control in these designs. They have thought carefully about what should be shown in what situations. For example in Tichu hand size is shown as going out is a major part of the game, and in Mu the cards remaining in each player’s hands are not show as this is not a factor in the game. The game also uses the devices orientation to display different information. On the iPhone when tipping the device either left or right the score summary and the score reference sheet are shown. When playing on the iPad all of this information is constantly visible.

Both games feature completely customizable AI opponents and partners. You have the ability to set each opponent individually in both difficulty level and play style. I personally am a n00b to both of these games and so I am sufficiently challenged by the normal setting so I cannot speak to the overall challenge of the AI. However, from more experienced I have heard nothing but praise for the AI. In single player mode they offer training to increase your skill for when you play the physical game. That’s right gaming group, next time I won’t make such terrible plays in Mu.
Apart from the AI the game also features several interesting features. These include extended statistics about your play and win percentages against certain AI opponents. If you are a serious player these can be used to analyze your play patterns. Both games also feature Shake-A-Hint which will give you advice on moves when you shake your device. I find it very useful when learning or relearning the game but I do feel you have to shake the device pretty hard in order for it to be read. Another feature which I have not yet taken advantage of is the ability play local multiplayer via Bluetooth. It is nice to have the option but I have not yet seen a situation to use it. Tichu also allows you to run multiple games at once with a mix of online and local games.

As mentioned about Tichu does over online multiplayer. It seems easy to find a game in the evening hours but impossible during business hours (US time). This is probably due to the size of the community. It does give you the option of inviting friends via Game Center, so taking advantage of something like the iOS Board Game guild could provide an easier to find players. I am puzzled as to why Mu has yet to receive the multiplayer treatment (thought I am sure someone will provide the answer in the comments below). I do also believe that when iOS 5 with Async play is implemented it will be a welcome addition to both of these games.

Conclusion:
Mu and Tichu are good minimalistic implementations of popular trick-taking games. Though I enjoy the gameplay of Mu more, Tichu is the better app based on the ability to play both online and multiple games at one time.

Mu
Rating: 3/4 Good

Tichu
Rating: 3/4 Good
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Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:38 pm
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iOS News Bits: Kard Kombat, Mille Bornes, Wots Is Name?, Diaballik, Noir: Killer vs. Inspector, Jenga, Army of Frogs, Cargo Runners, Red Rover, Shadow Era, Puerto Rico, Battleship, Crazy Poker

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• Kard Kombat to Release in US Soon
• Dominion For iPhone?
• Mille Bornes Released
• Wots Is Name? Updated
• Diaballik Released
• Noir: Killer vs. Inspector Released
• Jenga Finally Gets Async
• Army of Frogs Releasing Soon
• Cargo Runners Releasing Soon
• Red Rover - The War to End All Wars Updated
• Huge Shadow Era Update
• Puerto Rico Release Date Moved
• BATTLESHIP for iPad Released
• Repos Releases Crazy Poker Variants App





• Kard Kombat to Release in US Soon - June 16
Kard Combat will soon be joining the likes of Orions 2 and Shadow Era as another game in the card combat genre for iOS. With Richard Garfield onboard, expectations are that this will not just be another card combat app. Gamezebo reports that Hothead Games will be releasing Kard Kombat to rest of the world beyond Canada some time in end of June or early July. They've posted a nice preview of the game. Additionally they've published an interview with the game's producer Hamish Millar.

Preview - http://www.gamezebo.com/games/kard-combat/preview
Interview - http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2011/06/20/interview-hothead-ga...





Hoax or not?

• Dominion For iPhone? - June 17
A new BGG user, coryhammer has posted in the Dominion forums seeking beta testers for an iOS version of the popular game by designer Donald X. Vaccarino and saying that he has received permission from Rio Grande Games to release the app to the App Store. As he is occasionally wont to do, Donald X. himself has made an appearance on the thread saying that it is not possible to get permission to use the art from the game. Guess we'll grab the popcorn and see where this goes. Gotta love the Internets!




• Milles Bornes Released - June 19
By now few people probably remember the Mille Bornes clone, Milliarium from 2010. I still have it on my hard drive somewheres. But all of that is several mile markers behind us now as we see a licensor not just shut down a clone, but replace it with a bonafide official version. Game publisher Dujardin Sas has released the classic French card game Mille Bornes as Mille Bornes® and 1000 Bornes® HD. I've not yet played it but I'm thrilled to see the game's original mid-century modern artwork being used. Strangely, both versions are Universal with Mille Bornes® priced at $2.99 and 1000 Bornes® HD priced at $4.99. We've seen this before when a developer releases separate iPhone and iPad version, so we're wondering if they are both Universal or not. Caveat emptor if you are concerned. If you are not, then I wish you coup-fourré!



Mille Bornes® - http://itunes.apple.com/app/1000-bornes/id440226994?uo=4&mt=...
1000 Bornes® HD - http://itunes.apple.com/app/1000-bornes-hd/id440232886?uo=4&...




• Wots Is Name? Updated to Version 1.1 - June 15
Wots Is Name, besides employing bad grammar Cockney in its title, appears to be inspired by Guess Who?, a deduction game in which you narrow down choices by asking characteristic questions. Rather than using game art faces this app uses your friends' Facebook pictures. Recently this game was updated with a feature that allows network play through "instant messenger". I'm not sure yet if this means async play or not. Here's what's new:

Quote:
What's new

In-built instant messenger allows you to play with your opponent remotely. You are no longer required to play face-to-face.

Streamlined and improved entire user interface. All new graphics and icon.


This app is for iPhone and priced at $0.99.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/wots-is-name/id424383692?uo=4&mt...




• Diaballik Released - June 21
Philippe Lefrancois & Guillaume Lemery have released their abstract strategy game app Diaballik for the iPad and priced it at $4.99. It's a two player board game inspired by team sports like Hand-Ball, Ultimate, Football, Rugby etc. The players have to bring their ball to the opponent’s start line in order to win the game. To do so, each player has to be active both in attack and defense and employ good strategy.

Philippe & Guillaume think they will release a Lite version soon so people outside of France and Germany, where it is very well appreciated, can discover the game and test it out. There will be an iPhone version to follow in a few months.



http://itunes.apple.com/app/diaballik/id443241014?uo=4&mt=8&...




• Noir: Killer vs. Inspector Released - June 21
D Brad Talton Jr. of Level 99 Games has released Noir: Killer vs. Inspector for iPad at a price of $0.99. It's a card game for two players with a 1950's film noir theme. Each player takes on a role of either Killer or Inspector and must attempt to uncover the secret identity of his opponent first. The game features artwork by Fábio Fontes and music by Kevin MacLeod that grows more intense as the game progresses.

The game is meant to be played face to face and has no AI or online, but designer Brad boldly describes it thusly:

Brad Dalton wrote:
This is a game about looking your opponent in the eye and shaking him down for clues. Table Talk and bluffing are big parts of it, and those are both completely lost on an AI or blind online opponent.


There is currently no print analog for this game, as it was designed for the iPad, but Talton says he's talking to different publishers about creating a physical card game version and is sure it will happen eventually.



http://itunes.apple.com/app/noir-killer-vs-inspector/id44029...




• Jenga and Jenga HD Finally Go Async in Version 1.2 - June 22
We reported back in February that the dudes at the aptly named NaturalMotion Ltd. were going to add async to the official Jenga iOS app. Well, four months later we can say they have delivered on that announcement by bringing online play to their app. Natural Motion Games has now updated both of its $0.99 Jenga apps to Version 1.2. Here's what's included:

Quote:
What's new

MAJOR UPDATE ALERT:
We’re proudly introducing: JENGA ONLINE!

Yes – you can now play Jenga against your friends online, or challenge new players around the world!

WHAT’S NEW:
Play Jenga against friends around the world
Add users to your Jenga Friends
Earn all-new Online Achievements
New weekly leaderboard


Jenga (iPhone) - http://itunes.apple.com/app/jenga/id392915994?uo=4&mt=8&at=1...
Jenga HD (iPad) - http://itunes.apple.com/app/jenga-hd/id393106605?uo=4&mt=8&a...




• Army of Frogs Releasing Soon - June 21
We have learned from Big Daddy's Creations that their Universal iOS app for Army of Frogs is almost ready. They are just fixing bugs, which will take about a week and a week to test again. So look for an expected release in early July. No word yet on price.

As far as I know, there's no promotional video trailer for this game, but if there was I would expect an intro to go something like this:

[fade in]
Voice: In a small pond...
[Lily pads floating on a serene pond.]
Voice: with a population of frogs that is constantly growing...
[Frogs hopping. Tadpoles. Frogs lovingly rearing their young.]
Voice: the fight for territory and the best possible location is always...
[Blue frog knocks Green frog into water with a frantic splash.]
Voice: a battle!
[Cut to frog army, dangerous-lookin, locked, loaded and armed to their sticky tongues roaring out in a thunderous battle cry!]


Well, that's how I imagine it anyway.





• Cargo Runners Releasing Soon - June 21
Last winter, Trouble Brothers, LLC, makers of the born-digital board game Wizard Hex, announced they were developing a euro-inspired economic board game named Cargo Runners. Well, rather than tease us for months on end, the Brothers just clammed up, went to work, and will finally be finishing and releasing their app next Thursday on June 30.

Cargo Runners is available for the iPad initially, but will soon be Universal. The app will be priced at $7.99.

Gamezebo has posted an informative preview of the app, in which we learn that the Brothers will

Jeff McCord wrote:
"address one of the most important lessons learned from the release of Wizard Hex – a good board game needs online multiplayer from day one."


We also learn that the game started out as a design for a print board game whose manufacture was shelved due to a bad economy, but that there will now after all be a print version released in Holiday 2011 or Spring 2012.

The art looks great, the descriptions of "economic game" and "euro" certainly press the right gamer buttons with us. And as Trouble Brother Jeff McCord says "Who doesn't want to play a richly-detailed but simple retro-looking game that is played on a world map?!"

Ya got me. We hope to bring you more on this game once we get a chance to play it.







• Red Rover - The War to End All Wars Updated to Version 1.1 - June 23
I've yet to check out this war game for iPad, but we've learned that it has received an update that adds both online multiplayer and voice chat. wow Perhaps now is the time we finally checked it out at it's $3.99 price tag. Here's more from Mantid Interactive:

Quote:
What's new

Full Game Center Support
* Real Time Online Play for exciting head to head action
* Voice Controls to communicate with your opponent (requires both players to be on WiFi)
* Leaderboards
* Achievements

New battlefield backgrounds







• Huge Shadow Era Update to Version 1.261 - June 23
Wulven Game Studios has released a so called "huge" update to their free Universal app for the multi-platform freemium card combat game Shadow Era. Here's the latest:

Quote:
What's new

Another huge update is here! Thanks for all the great reviews and helping us to grow to more than 1 million players!!

- new Rogue class
- many balance changes
- create a custom multiplayer game with password
- revamped turn timer in multiplayer games
- multiplayer chat
- search for multiplayer game history
- tons of bug fixes





• Puerto Rico Release Date Moved to July - June 23
Codito, as is their endearing habit, has been on the forums at BGG and TouchArcade filling people in and keeping everybody up to date on the release of their forthcoming release of Puerto Rico for iPad. The app is slated to be their fourth title for iOS and is currently awaiting final approval by Ravensburger. Both sides are now purported to be very happy with progress that's been made in recent weeks. The new release date has been set for July 2011.

Of course we'll wait.




• BATTLESHIP for iPad Released - June 23
It seems just like yesterday that I watched those television commercials for electronic Battleship with all of the lust a 7 year old could muster. Fast forward to 2009 and we've since seen the official iPhone version and such a fleet of Battleship clones that you would think it was an iOS developer rite of passage. And now, Electronic Arts (really, who else would it be?), has released the official game for iPad known in all caps as BATTLESHIP for iPad priced at $2.99.

From the bad pun-riddled app description, there appears to be a modicum of spice added in the form of "super weapons", some "spectacular HD-quality graphics" and local multiplayer over WiFi and BlueTooth so you can say "you sunk my battleship" while lying on the couch in the other room. Not sure if that's enough to cause excitement for a classic game whose print version rates a lowly 4.44 here on BGG and whose primary appeal seems more fueled by nostalgia than actual game merit. Perhaps though I unfairly sell it short?



http://itunes.apple.com/app/battleship-for-ipad/id438314423?...




• Repos Releases Crazy Poker - Variants for Poker - June 24
Back in the day (late 80s), before the homogenous craze for Texas Hold 'em took hold (so to speak), me and the boys would round up the posse for a night of Baseball, Mexican Stud, Hi/Lo Chicago, and a zillion other variants of that classic game we simply called Poker. We didn't know what Hold'em was. Hell we didn't even know what a "variant" was, but we were playing 'em. We simply called it dealer's choice.

Repos Production isn't going that far back because, let's face it, Hold'em makes money. But they have created an app which appears to be a game aid collection of Hold'em variants called Crazy Poker - Variants for Poker. The idea is that you whip our your iPhone on Poker night for introducing more variety and spice to your Hold'em games to make them more fun and strategic. It's a simple concept with some humorous pictures to go along with it. And at $0.99 to have this on your iPhone, doesn't it beat a fart app? We think it does.

Bonus: Props to Repos for simply slapping their logo into the icon for this app. It fits perfectly!



http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/crazy-poker-variants-for-poke...
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Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:11 pm
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iOS Review: What's My Word

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad (Universal), iPhone, iPod Touch
Current Price: $0.99
Developer/Publisher: Vintru
Version: 1.05
Size: 15.7 MB
Multiplayer: Yes
AI: N/A
Itunes link:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whats-my-word/id424426775?mt=...



The Good:
- Offers a fun word game in a small package.
- Launches with a plethora of features.
The Bad:
- Graphic design could be more polished.
- Friend challenge system could be refined with additional tracking tools.

Summary:
What’s My Word is a game where players use Mastermind like guesses to determine a secret word. The game works well in an electronic form and allows players to challenge others. On iOS it seems poised to compete with games like Words with Friends or Hanging with Friends.

Gameplay:
What’s My Word is older than me and has been around since 1972.

In What’s My Word one player is trying to figure out a secret word either chosen randomly from a list or sent from another player. The use guess words starting with 3 letters and going up to try an determine letters found in the secret word. Players receive 1,000 points for each letter that is in the right position and 250 points for each letter that is in the word but not in the right position. Players continue to guess words trying determine which letters are in the word and finally what the whole word is. Not only this, but players are also attempting to score the most points while guessing.

It is an interesting word game that combines both logical deduction and word game elements. It especially seems very functional as a portable game, allowing players to challenge others that a distance.

Implementation:
Full disclaimer What’s My Word is a game developed Vintru which is partly created by Scott Alden. I was under no obligation to review this game or give it some special score, in fact I was determined to use a fine tooth comb in order to avoid cries of foul play. On top of that I have some sort subconscious fear of Mastermind (I guess I will need to see a psychoanalyst to determine what childhood event cause it) and was ready to dislike the game. However, though it is not something I will play all the time, it is a fun word game that is quick to use and highly interactive.

The graphic design is basic and simple to navigate. The buttons are clearly labeled and it is easy to navigate to the various screens of the game. The color scheme and backgrounds are not my favorite, but they are in line with the latest printing of the game and so I can’t really complain. In game play is very simple: selecting a row brings up the keyboard allowing you to enter any word. You are also able to tap the letters in words you have guessed to mark them green, red or yellow to help you track the information you have gained. The game also contains a scratch pad that allows you to mark off letters as you eliminate them as possibilities. In the iPhone and iPod versions this scratch pad is on a separate screen and sometimes cumbersome to access and use. This is not a fault of the app, but the screen space available. On the iPad both are displayed together, providing a much more pleasant experience.

The game launched with many play options. There is solo play option where a random word is selected from a library and you attempt to guess it. There are also several additional word packs available for purchase on different subjects. There are also two daily challenges (a 6 letter and 7 letter word) that you can complete and compare scores with other players. If you fail one of these challenges you must wait until the next day to see the word you missed. Lastly, the app includes the ability to send and receive challenges from you friends. You can send these challenges via email or through a social networking site and you are able to choose any legal word. You can also see a summary of challenges you have received and how you did at them.

The game is a solid experience but I feel that the multiplayer could be fleshed out a little more. Sending challenges is fun but it would be great if there could be more competition. The provided leaderboard shows your score in overall friend challenges, but it would be great to compete directly against another friend like in the physical board game. Also the design could also be given a fresher look to attract the iOS masses, as I feel this game could appeal to Words with Friends players and the like.

Conclusion:
What’s My Word is a good game. It launched with sufficient features and provides a casual word game experience, something that many use iOS devices for. I feel that some refinements in the multiplayer system and the graphic design could push this app into mainstream success.

Rating: 2/4 Decent
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Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:27 pm
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iOS Review: Money and Modern Art TCG

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad (Universal), iPhone, iPod Touch
Current Price: $2.99
Developer/Publisher: Skotos Tech
Version: 1.31/1.00
Size: 16 MB/13.6 MB
Multiplayer: No.
AI: Yes, varying difficulties.
Itunes link: Money and Modern Art TCG


The Good:
- Challenging AI allows for a great single player experience.
- Consistent game design makes navigating on Skotos apps easy.
The Bad:
- Lack of multiplayer in fairly simple card games gives this app a short lifecycle.
- Rules are presented archaically and in some cases there are omissions.

Summary:
Money and Modern Art: the Card Game share many things in common. They are both implemented well on iOS and the gameplay is presented cleanly. However, the lack of multiplayer options causes these games to become samey very quickly. There is little technically or stylistically wrong with these games, they just fail to make an impression.

Gameplay:
Money and Modern Art: The Card Game are two card games from Reiner Knizia. They are quick games that have both strategic and tactical decisions.

Money: Money is bidding card game. Players each round bid on lots of cards place in the center of the table by using cards in their own hands. These cards show different suites of currency as well as different amounts. Bids are based on the amounts. After players bid they then take a lot in order of their bid, the player who bid highest going first. Players may switch their bid with a lot from the middle of the table or one of the other player’s bids. The goal of the game is to collect sets of currency. Players receive points at the end of the game based on the currency they collect as well as bonuses for collecting sets of the 20 or 30s for each currency. The player with the highest total wins.

Modern Art TCG: In Modern Art: TCG players are attempting to score points by playing paintings from a certain artist. Each card they play will help them score points if that artist is one of the top 3 at the end of the round. Playing an artist’s card also raises the total value of that artist. Once 6 cards of an artist have been played, the round ends. After 4 rounds they player with the highest score wins.

Both of these games offers a fun card game with interesting choices. I would most certainly prefer to play one of these rather than Uno or any of the other popular card games on iOS.

Implementation:
As you can see from the descriptions above Money and Modern Art are not identical. However, in execution as apps they are very similar both in scope and design.

Skotos Tech has taken to using a similar menu layout in all of their games for iOS. The menu layout if not beautiful, is clean, clear, and easy to navigate. There are several options available that allow players to change their name, AI difficulty and other game options. I do think some of these options should be included in some sort of game creation screen when "New Game" is pressed. The high score list is useful, though certainly the human player will begin to dominate after a while (perhaps they intend multiple users to use the app and compare high scores on single device). The most disappointing problem with the menus in both of these games is the rules. They are short written summaries that are presented in small type with no visual examples. In both cases I felt that the rules could be written more clearly and organized better. It also baffles me that there is no visual tutorial provided.

Both apps feature similar design and graphic art. The front menu design is basic but allows for clarity, it is easy to determine what is a button and what is not. Most of the menu navigation is also clear but it did take experience to learn that one must tap the screen to bring up the button to exit the rules screen. Little bumps such as this could be ironed out. The in game graphics are very clear allowing all information to be presented. Skotos does excel in this type of interface design. A minor quibble is that there is no way to see how many cards remain in the deck, something that is sometimes important in certain strategic situations. However, overall, I enjoy their minimalistic card game design. It is, in a word, functional.

Skotos cannot be blamed for the somewhat bland nature of these two card games. Yes, they offer interesting choices and strategy that show UNO and Phase 10 the door, but they seem to lack the depth within themselves to create staying power. It is up to Skotos to create attraction for iOS players, however they have somewhat failed in this respect. By only offering AI play they have limited the longevity of this app. Pass and play as well as online play would be welcome editions and add the social aspect that simple games need to survive. Granted, if their desire is a game where you play against the AI to achieve a high score, at least incorporate Game Center with leader-boards. That way at least I can compete with friends.

Conclusion:
Both of these games offer a functional iOS board gaming experience. The games play well and have very few flaws. However, in an increasingly crowded market apps must stand out either with content or features. Sadly, I feel that neither of these apps really shine because they lack key features. They are fine games and if you are fan you will enjoy the portable version, otherwise they will provide only a passing amusement.

Rating: 2/4 Decent
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Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:00 pm
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iOS News Bits: Boggle for iPad Update, Carcassonne Update, iDixit Free, Puerto Rico Update, iAdmiral Released, Splut! Coming, Blogs on iOS 5 Game Center, ePawn Arena

Gabe Alvaro
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• Boggle for iPad Update
• Carcassonne Update
• iDixit Free!
• Puerto Rico Update
• iAdmiral Released
• Splut! Coming?
• More on iOS 5 Game Center Improvements
• ePawn Arena Introduced




• Boggle for iPad Update - June 9
The guilty pleasure app of many an iOS Board Gamer received its first ever update on June 9th. Boggle for iPad has now been updated to version 1.1.98. The biggest additions here seem to be Facebook integration and support from Dictionary.com so you can look up definitions to those monstrous 6 and 7 letter words you've just spelled. Ok, kidding aside, it could be a cool feature for kids. Here'e the scoop:

Electronic Arts wrote:
What's new

** NOW ENJOY SUPPORT FROM DICTIONARY.COM & CHALLENGE FRIENDS VIA FACEBOOK CONNECT! Download the NEW UPDATE for the best BOGGLE for iPad experience yet. **

Improvements, additions, and optimizations include:

• Support from Dictionary.com – Now when you complete a game you can select a word from the word list and get the definition. Improve your vocabulary as you play!
• New Facebook Connect features – Challenge friends, view global leaderboards, and track game achievements
• Fast App Switching – Get in and out games faster than ever (latest iOS version required)
• Better performance – We’ve made some behind-the-scenes adjustments to enhance overall gameplay




• Carcassonne Update - June 9
The king of board game apps has had 4 quick updates in the last month. A rare flurry of visible activity from The Coding Monkeys has got the app up to version 2.30 with the following fixes and improvements:

The Coding Monkeys wrote:
What's new

FIXED
• Fixed issue where unlocked Game Center Achievements weren't reported to Game Center. (Will submit unlocked achievements retroactively.)
• Fixed crash on iPad that could occure when pressing the tile overview
• Fixed crash on opening chats with iOS 4.1 and below
• Fixed layout issue with long names in resume game view on iPhone/iPod Touch
• Fixed issue where account could be temporarily removed if Game Center had network issues

IMPROVED
• Improved feedback on first run with game center support
• Improved feedback for receiving moves on iOS 3.x
• Improved "Max ELO" Game Center Leaderboard reporting




• iDixit Free! - June 9
This beleaguered app had its price dropped to free on June 9th. If I had not spent so much time with this app myself I would think it some of the strangest pricing practices I have yet seen. I do like this app very much, but in truth, the play experience is nothing short of broken. I really hate to say that, but there are just too many ways the game can be completely stopped. Combine this with the fact that its currently difficult just to get a game started and you can begin to see why there might be dramatic price swings. Despite that, I'd recommend picking the app up for free in hopes that Toboco really get in and address some of the glaring weakness in the gameplay experience of this app. We'll be attempting to reach Toboco to find out more about their plans for this app.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/idixit/id438442408?uo=4&mt=8&at=...




• Puerto Rico Update - June 11
According to posts by Codito both here and on TouchArcade, Puerto Rico seems to have been held up due to Codito "working closely with them [Ravensburger] to try to make version 1.0 as complete and polished as possible." Also according to Codito, another update had been submitted to Ravensburger this week. They're still aiming at some time in June but insist that it's really not up to them.

Despite the wait, I think these are good signs for the app. If it's taking longer because the app needs testing and polish, then so much the better. I've got faith that for all their flaws Codito really is doing the best it can and that ultimately their efforts (and maybe a good turn-based save by Apple's Game Center) will pay off for them and for gamers pinning their hopes on their releases. You can read both of Codito's recent announcements regarding their iOS version of Puerto Rico:

• BGG Post
• TouchArcade Post




Yes. It's the same ship
image used by PirateBay.

• iAdmiral Released - June 11
Ahoy! I'm having a lot of fun with this little naval battle game from iOS board game developer, Piotr Sarnowski. Beautiful art and thematic music are great touches to an app with some solid and straightforward gameplay. I think the app description is very accurate:

Piotr Sarnowski. wrote:
Take control of several warship types and destroy your enemy with cannon fire or by brutal boarding actions. Maneuver amidst the isles of the Caribbean to get into better position, and always pay attention to the wind!


While some may draw comparisons to Wooden Ships & Iron Men, a quick review leads me to believe it may have more in common with Flying Colors. I admit I've not played either of those print games. Amongst the game's features are ship hit points, guns, soldiers, move points, turn points, speed, line of sight, terrain effects, 6 ship types with large and small ship movement, boarding attacks and wind effects. The wind changes every turn and your ships' movement and turning are affected by it. Elegantly simulated and fun to watch and hear. Would be nice to have multiplayer, but I think it's every bit worth the $0.99 as is. And it looks great even in x2 pixel doubling on the iPad. So check it out mateys!



http://itunes.apple.com/app/iadmiral/id441896242?uo=4&mt=8&a...



• Splut! Coming? - June 16
Ok, perhaps that headline sounds a little gross. Splut! is an unpublished abstract strategy game currently available only in print and play form. An iPad version is supposed to release "later this year" according to it's designer, Tommy De Coninck. And now there's a teaser screenshot.





• More on iOS 5 Game Center Improvements - June 16
We'll all be waiting to officially hear more from Apple about the much anticipated improvements to Game Center that are supposed to happen this fall. If they can truly make Game Center into a true "center" for turn-based games, an app where you can see all of your turns at once, and developers figure out how to implement it for their turn-based apps, then I will be happy enough. Though in truth I think it will probably still be somewhat lacking as a true social center for gaming. Put it this way, if after the updates you are not going to Game Center first before opening other apps, then these improvements will not have lived up to the hype or the expectations of many.

So in the meantime check out these two blog posts also ruminating about what's coming for Game Center in the Fall.

• http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/Multiformat/Game+Center/featu...

• http://www.padgadget.com/2011/06/15/ios-5-game-center-gettin...




• ePawn Arena Introduced - June 17
Ok, it's not an iOS board game, but it's device that might assist you with playing iOS board games on a MUCH bigger flat screen. And since we already asserted this week that our interests go beyond mere iOS and stupid platform wars to any system that allows you to play board games on a flat touch surface device, we thought we would mention it. The ePawn Arena is a horizontal 23" screen that can display output from a device as well as sense physical objects placed on its surface, like playing pieces, minis, etc.

I've been predicting for some time that Apple will make a bigger iPad at some point when the time and market is right. Until then, this device might fill a niche market for demand for bigger touch flat screen devices. If not for games, then perhaps for some in the creative industries. And fresh from E3 Expo, a rep from ePawn visited BGG this morning and posted about the ePawn Arena in the computer based board gaming forum.
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Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:56 am
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Interview: iOS Board Games Learns About EveryGame For iPad and iPhone From Developer Nathaniel Dirksen

Nathaniel Dirksen
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Today we present an email interview with Nathaniel Dirksen, one of the developers of EveryGame, a universal board game app available for iPads and iPhones from Apple's App Store. I posed the questions to Nathaniel and asked him to post the answers to iOS Board Games so that we could get an introduction and better understanding of this very interesting do-it-yourself board gaming app. -Gabe

Can you give a brief overview of what EveryGame is?

EveryGame is a program for playing board games of all sorts on your iPad or iPhone.  It comes preloaded with a wide variety of game modules and more are added with every update.  But we've also tried to make it as easy as possible to load on new modules created by others, or even to create your own.

When you load up a game module from the main screen, the game board is displayed on the iPad. It's very much like a virtual copy of a board game -- you can interact with the pieces by dragging them around the board, and roll dice or flip cards over by tapping on them.

You aren't just limited to a handful of pre-defined kinds of pieces though.  We strove to make EveryGame as flexible as possible, so that it can be used to represent virtually any game.  And we're constantly adding new features to expand what's possible, and make games easier to create.


What sorts of features are available in EveryGame?

Let me just walk you through some of the screens for EveryGame to give you an idea of what you can do with it.

Here is the Main Screen.  It has a list of all the games on the right, and various menu buttons on the left. If you load on a game module, it's automatically added to this screen, and from here you can view the module creation docs, email entire game modules to your friends, or just start playing.




Here I've started a new game of Castle Capers. You can see that the basics of the game are set up already. By tapping the tower of blocks on the left, I can finish the setup based on the appropriate number of players in the game, and then start dragging the pieces around to play.




You can see that EveryGame tracks how many pieces are in each stack. It also snaps the pieces to their spaces, and only lets you put one on top of another when appropriate (so in Castle Capers, you can make sure that knights only share they same space when they're in the supply). The game rules also explain all of the EveryGame specific interface additions. For instance, here I can quadruple tap any of the decks to shuffle them and double tap unused stacks of blocks to send them back to the box.




At the bottom of the screen, there are tabs for each player. In Castle Capers, players have a hand of cards that are kept secret from their opponent. These hands are kept on taps that slide in and out from the bottom of the screen so that secrecy is maintained. Pieces can be dragged back and forth between the tab and the board, but in Castle Capers, you can also simply double tap the card to move it to the correct tab.




Castle Capers also has a scoreboard, kept on another tab to provide the maximum playing area on the main board.




Finally there are the Options and History tabs. These appear in all games. From the History tab, you can move forward and backwards through the game history. EveryGame saves each move performed, so you can even go back to the beginning, and play back the entire game if you desire. There is also the "Play by Email" button. This will send off the saved moves as an attachment in an email. If your friend has EveryGame, they can simply tap the attachment to open up the game on their own iPad, so they can make their moves, and then send it back to you. Any game in EveryGame can be played by email.




The options tab provides various game functions. It lets you view the game rules, save or load a game (EveryGame automatically saves after each move for you, but this can still be useful if you have games going with two different people). The "Edit Game" screen provides access to tools useful if you're creating your own games, such as the error encountered loading your files, and the ability to edit the module directly inside of the game.





How does EveryGame handle hidden information?

Currently, the only way to work with hidden information is to place the players' hands in an off screen tabs, which can be expanded when it's their turn. This isn't much of a problem for a play-by-email game, but for a face to face game, it isn't ideal, since you have to keep passing the iPad back and forth.

This will soon change though. We're currently working on enabling Bluetooth connectivity, which will let each player see their own hand on an iPhone connected to the main iPad. The iPhones won't be required obviously -- you'll still be able to play games on a single iPad as you do now. But when several players all have extra iPhones or iPads ready, we think that Bluetooth will make playing games on EveryGame even more fun.


In what situations does EveryGame work best?

There are three areas where EveryGame really excels.

First, in terms of pure portability, it can't be beat.  Having it on your iPad (or even iPhone) means that you've always got a large game collection right at hand.  Suddenly those trips to the coffee shop, waits at the theater, and long plane flights can all become gaming opportunities.  You don't need a table top or lots of pieces -- just pull out your iPad and start playing.


Second, for games that take a long time, having a fully digital representation is a big win.  If you have a game that takes several sittings to play, you no longer have to have to find a place safe from pets and inquisitive small children to leave it set up. And if it's been a while since your last session, EveryGame's also lets you play back the entire game, move by move, making it easy to get caught back up.

Finally, it's great for folks with a bit of a creative spark, who want to make their own games.  Game designers can easily build a digital prototype to test out ideas before they commit to any physical production (and the built in play-by-email support means your testers don't even need to live nearby).  For the rest of us, it can be fun even just to create a digital version of your own existing games though, copying the images (or better yet, creating new ones), and then sitting down with friends to enjoy the fruit of your labor.  We also take game submissions from anyone, so if you build something neat, it could be shared with every EveryGame user.


How do you get new game modules onto the iPad?

Downloading game modules is easy.  You can open them directly from Safari or Mail on the iPad, so if someone sends you an attachment or web link, it's a simple click to install it.  Alternatively, if you download the module onto your computer, you can use iTunes to copy the file onto the iPad.






What games have been made for EveryGame?

People have been creating all sorts of great modules recently, some of which are available here.  Z-Man games was generous enough to allow a module for Dungeon Lords to be posted.  An Endeavor module is also available here on BGG.






On the smaller publisher front, some great solo games also have had EveryGame adaptations posted, like The Dungeons of D or Delve the Dice.




One of the craziest adaptations I've seen is for Arkham Horror.  One of our users literally digitized the entire game so that he could easily play it solo without the space or setup constraints.  That can't be distributed due to copyright, but there are some videos of it in action on YouTube.




People have submitted all sorts of games which we've gone on to include in EveryGame, either taking inspiration from some existing game, or creating something absolutely new.  Gamers on the geek would probably be most interested in Castle Capers, Cities of Calvino, Freez! or Pirates vs. Ninjas.




EveryGame can be used to make gaming aids, as well as games. For instance, it comes with a simple module for tracking the turn and score in any game.




It also ships with a variety of classic games, including Backgammon, Checkers, Chess, Go, and more. We're adding new creations from our users with every release -- maybe the next one can be yours!




Are there games for which EveryGame just won't work?

The flexibility of EveryGame does come at a cost -- there is no Artificial Intelligence for it, so much like your physical games, you'll still need to find an opponent. 

The lack of AI can also make automatic rules enforcement difficult.  When the rules are simple, automatic enforcement can work well -- say for moving a captured chess piece off the board when an opposing piece is moved on top of it.  But where it's complex, (verifying if castling is legal for instance), you'll need to enforce the rules yourself. This isn't any different than with a real chess set though.

Dexterity-based games are pretty much impossible. I don't imagine we'll see an EveryGame Jenga module anytime soon.

Because the iPad is smaller than your actual board, certain games are more difficult (though certainly not impossible). Games with really tiny pieces can still be played by zooming in the screen, but if you then often need to drag them across the entire board, that can be a bit cumbersome.


Could you briefly outline the process of game creation?

Creating a game for EveryGame is easy -- you merely need to create correctly named images, and copy them onto your iPad. You'll immediately be able to move your pieces around the board, tap them to perform some basic actions (like rolling dice or flipping cards over), be able to save your game, and share it with your friends.

Once you get into EveryGame though, you might find yourself wanting to add more advanced behaviors -- like snapping pieces to squares or restricting where they can be played, providing buttons to roll several dice at once or streamlined behavior for decks of cards, perhaps even automated score tracking. All of these are possible to implement by editing an XML file.

The XML file is very similar to the html file used to represent webpages, but instead of text-focused tags like "list" or "paragraph", you have tags like "piece" and "single tap action." Documentation for all of the tags comes with EveryGame, and you can open up the game module from any existing game to use as an example when making your own game. You can even view and edit the XML files from inside of EveryGame, so you can get instant feedback on any changes you make.


What resources are available for people wanting to know more about designing new EveryGame modules?

As I mentioned, EveryGame comes with documentation and many examples for creating modules.

Sometimes having other users to question, coordinate, test, or share with is useful. One of the best resources (as is the case for any other board game related inquiry) is BoardGameGeek. In particular, there's a very long thread in the Computer Based Board Gaming forum, which many people follow and post updates on. Folks should also feel free to start their own, more directed threads if they want though.

Then there's the EveryGame Google Group, where people can email out questions or suggestions to a broad number of EveryGame users.
http://groups.google.com/group/everygame/topics

Finally, we're more than happy to answer direct questions and feedback. The email for our development team is eggy.everygame@gmail.com.

Want to give EveryGame a try? It can be purchased from Apple's App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/everygame/id370362079


[Note: Just after this article was written, EveryGame was entered into the VGG database! So an additional resource for support and information about EveryGame is now right here on VGG! Yay! -Gabe]
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Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:00 pm
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iOS Review: iDixit

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad (2x), iPhone, and iPod Touch.
Current Price: Free. (Regularly around $4.99)
Developer/Publisher: Toboco
Version: 1.0.1
Size: 11.2 MB
Multiplayer: Online, Local Network
AI: No.
Itunes link:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idixit/id438442408?mt=8

The Good:
Beautiful interface.
Interesting use of sound recording in online play.
The Bad:
Major bug at launch seems to have killed any online play.
Lack of ability for players to communicate in online play or while setting up a game really hampers this app.

Summary:
iDixit is a beautiful app and the designers took an ambitious approach. They wisely avoided AI or pass and play options and went for strictly online experience whether local or online. Sadly, the initial launch was plagued by a game breaking bug, and now the online server appears to be a ghost town.

Gameplay:
Dixit is the Spiel De Jahres winner for 2009. It is a beautiful party style game. I have seen the game work well with both families and gamers alike.

In Dixit each player is given a hand of picture cards. Each of this cards has picture on it, usually of some abstract or surreal situation. Each round one player is the storyteller. They pick one of their cards and say something about it. It can be a phrase or one word or whatever they like. Then each player chooses from their hand a card that they feel matches the phrase. The storyteller takes all of these cards, shuffles them and then lays them face up. Players then vote on which card they think was the storyteller's. The storyteller then reveals which was his and the players reveal their votes. Players receive points for guessing the storyteller's card and if they card was guessed. The storyteller receives points if their card is guessed unless everyone or no one guesses their card. Play progress until the deck is empty at which point the game ends. The player with the most points wins.

Dixit is a game about giving hints and focuses on beautiful art. The app really captures these elements in excellent ways which we will explore below.

Implementation:
iDixit is in many ways a bold take on iOS gaming. They strove to make a social experience using the online capabilities of the device and incorporated voice recording. However, due to a lackluster launch that was plagued by an online play bug, the app barely has a pulse.

iDixit has beautiful minimalist design. The menus are easy to navigate and any iconography is clear. The app really shines in the gameplay interface. The cards are shown in full screen fashion that really allow the art to shine. A small light at the top of the screen indicates your player color and will flash when it is your turn to make an action (tell a story, play a card, or vote for a card). When you tap the light a cute designed menu drops down from the side of the screen and you can tap and drag the light again to close the menu. The menu's really serve to maintain the excellent art of the board game while also in most cases being functional.

The game of Dixit is pretty simple to learn and the app includes an excellent interactive tutorial to teach the game. It allows players to play through a few sample turns. Surprisingly, the tutorial does not explain how to use voice recording which is used to send the "stories" in multiplayer. This to me is a major oversite since it is perhaps the most complicated functionality. There also do not appear to be written rules accessible in the game, but I feel that in the case of Dixit, seeing may be the quickest way to learn.

As mentioned above I feel that Toboco took two bold steps when designing iDixit, one that has been a success and the other that is proving the apps downfall. The first is the inclusion of voice recording in the gameplay of Dixit. Rather than type out your clue to the other players when you are the storyteller, you record a short clip of audio and send it over to them. While this does eliminate some devices from using the app, it also shows a great level of innovation and adds a social element to this online game. For those that asked how Dixit could be played online, this is the answer. Simply by hearing someones voice a connection is formed. This was a brave decision and in the games I have played it seems to be successful.

The second bold choice was to make iDixit focused on online play. You can play on a local network using multiple devices, however it seems that in most cases you would simply pull out the game. Obviously a pass and play or AI version of Dixit would be not only difficult but perhaps not the easiest experience. Playing online seems like an interesting concept and allows friends from across the globe to play together. However, as of this moment and many previous moments for the last week, the online server seems empty. I have left games open for several hours only to have no one join. There are I estimate 2 reasons for this. First, upon launch iDixit had a bug. When you recorded your story it would not go from the server to the other players, the game was at a stand still. There as no way for players to communicate and Gabe and only figured out by texting back and forth while playing. This bug was fixed quickly and a patch was up within a week. Their commitment to repairing the app must but admired but I feel the damage may already have been done. There seem to be many users who were scared away. The price of the app has again dropped to free and invite anyone reading this to download and search for a game or create one. The launch was a disaster and has really slowed down this beautiful app.

The second reason for the dead online play is not as forgivable. There must be more multiplayer options. Players need to be able to chat and communicate with each other. Players need to be able to create a game, leave it, and then be informed when players join so they can start it. Players need to be able to invite their friends using game center to play a game. Players need to be able to play asynchronously. In short, the multiplayer system needs more improvements. This game relies on multiplayer interaction therefore it should have the best in the business.

Conclusion:
iDixit is a beautiful app and has some great online potential. The designers took some bold moves that really preserved the nature of the game. However, the lack of online features and a stumble out of the gate has really caused iDixit to be on the brink of collapse.

Rating: 3/4 Good

Note: On the iOS Board Games Community I will shortly create a player matching page for iDixit. If this game intrigues you please join and post your gamecenter name, as well as times when you think you can be online. Let's see if we can get a community started on this game.
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Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:00 pm
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Android News Bits: Catan Coming Soon, Carcassone Screenshots, Jenga Released, Words with Friends update, Hardware Releases

Mark Webb
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• Catan for Android Coming in June?
• Carcassone Screenshots
• Jenga Released
• Words with Friends Update 3.51 June 13
• Hardware News




• Catan for Android Coming June ???
Catan.com reports on June 9th that the Android version of Catan is to be released "in June". Catan for Android is being developed by Exozet Games and distributed by USM, who both were involved with the iOS version of Catan. The Seafarers Expansion will be offered as in-app purchasable content, or as a higher priced bundle, depending on which app store it is purchased from, since Android permits 3rd party app stores. Features include up to 4 player hotseat multiplayer and updated graphics and user interface from the iOS version.

The Cities and Knights expansion and online multiplayer is currently under development.

http://www.catan.com/gamenews/308-catan-for-android.html



• More from Exozet Games - Carcassone screenshots
Back in March, Exozet Games announced that it was taking applications for people to beta test the Android version of their Carcassone app. On May 30th, they posted 7 screenshots giving their followers on Twitter a sneak peek.



http://twitter.com/#!/exozet_games



• Jenga Released May 20
On May 20th, Natural Motion Games released Jenga to the Android App Store. Jenga offers players three play modes: Classic mode which is a solo challenge recreating the block stacking tenseness of the physical game. Pass and Play offers hot seat multiplayer for up to 4 players. Arcade mode allows the player to earn coins for tricky moves, and bonus points for putting the same colors together at the top of the stack. Arcade mode has various power-ups to spend the earned coins on to change block colors, add more time, or other boosts to modify the game.

Jenga $2.99 in App Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.naturalmotion.j3n6...




• Words with Friends update to version 3.51 June 13
The Android version of Words with Friends continues to be behind the iOS version when it comes to features and fixes. This update, however, continues to squash bugs and adding a shuffle tiles button, improves memory consumption, and improves the updates to the list of game statuses. Also mentioned is the developer's appreciation for those who give feedback of problems and mention of an upcoming version supporting Honeycomb tablets.

Words with Friends Free in App Market
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zynga.words



• Hardware News
There are many manufacturers, carriers and models of Android phones and tablets. Too many to detail every release here, and that would probably be better served by dedicated Android news sites. However, just as when the iPad was released, it caused discussion on the 'Geek of how that form factor would influence or be used in board gaming, we will highlight hardware that has possible uses for our users here.

That being said, since the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, several companies are trying to bring out their tablet offerings. Here is a quick rundown of some highlights:

Samsung is offering 3 sizes, one that is 10.1 inches similar in size to the iPad.
http://www.androidcentral.com/samsung-reminds-us-all-galaxy-...

Coming soon is Toshiba's 10.1 inch tablet
http://www.officedepot.com/a/promo/pages/0426_toshibatablet/

HTC is offering a smaller 7 inch tablet
WIFI only http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Computers-Promotions/HTC-Flyer/p...
3G http://newsroom.sprint.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=19...

Viewsonic tablet
Viewsonic announced a smaller tablet that hits a price point below $300. While not as powerful as the other tablets, and running an older version of Android, it may be interesting to see what happens if these are more affordable. http://www.viewsonic.com/company/news/vs_press_release_48934...
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What About Android?

Gabe Alvaro
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So What About Android?
It is a question that comes up a lot when we talk about iOS board games. And not to make light of their differences, but it's a natural question given the number of Android devices out there and the similar mobile device capabilities and basic user experience--that of a touch screen mobile device capable of playing boardgame-style apps. For reasons that have certainly been discussed in many places, board game apps on the Android are still catching up to iOS but have much potential. We think this makes for the perfect time for us to begin covering Android board games. And to be honest, we're just darn curious about them!


Let's Cover It!
So as of today iOS Board Games Blog will begin covering Android and eventually other tablet/mobile device board game apps as well, in addition to our main regular iOS board game app coverage. Some of our reasons for expanding a little into this coverage include:

• because there is a demand (as evidenced by the cries for Android whenever an iOS board game app is announced or released).

• because we feel that what is essentially happening is that flat screen touch devices are becoming common and playing board game apps on them will become common as well. While this is a maturing activity on iOS, it is beginning to happen on other platforms, namely Android, as well.

• to simply cover iOS on the front page of a site dedicated to board games in general feels a bit parochial and we believe our placement somewhat obliges us to report a little more widely to benefit more than just those who choose iOS over Android.


We've Got Help
In our efforts to bring you news of Android board games, we've brought on some help in the name of Mark Webb who will be posting from time to time to keep us abreast of news related to Android board games. Mark is of course a fellow BGGer and an Android enthusiast who impressed us with his knowledge and understanding of Android and of course his willingness to share them with us and you.

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We'll let Mark introduce himself in his own words:

Mark Webb wrote:
Hi everyone, I am Mark Webb--wwwebb here on the Geek. In 1999 I bought a Palm 3 PDA. Since then, I have played board gaming programs on various mobile platforms, my most recent being iOS and Android devices. Gabe and Brad asked me to contribute news and information about Android board gaming apps. I thank them and BGG for giving this opportunity to share my passion for gadgets and games.


We look forward to hearing all about juicy Android board game stuff and expect Mark will be dropping in from time to time (and probably soon) to fill us in. Welcome Mark!


Related Blog Changes
You will probably have noticed that we have modified our categories. This is to better help our readers select what they would like to read from our blog. Additionally, it will be clear in our posts which mobile operating system we are covering. And for now the blog's title will probably remain.

Though they will be under the same blog, we do intend to keep iOS and Android blog posts clearly separated so that readers interested in only one or the other may easily ignore or click "mark read" in their subscriptions. We do hope, however, that a cross-pollination of interest can eventually grow on both sides because, after all, we are all united in board games!


iOS Board Games Wants You!
You will have no doubt noticed that we've lately featured some guest contributors. It's our intention to feature even more in the future. So if you feel that you have got something to contribute to the iOS Board Games blog (and please, no product promotion), we would love to hear from you! Send us a GeekMail!
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Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:30 am
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