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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)

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What Digital Board Game Developers Think of Nintendo Switch

Brad Cummings
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Connecticut
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Early this week, it was reported that there was an touch only Nintendo Switch game planned for release in Japan. This drew my attention.

The Nintendo Switch is a portable tablet console that can be docked to the TV for bigger play. To this point it was understood that only games that worked in both ways would be featured on the device. The above announcement changes things.

If correct, this would mean the possibility to play digital board games on this device is there. Not only that, but the Switch is touting easier porting for Unity and UE4 games. That means the process could be less than terrible for devs.

This got me thinking, what do you digital board game developers think of the Nintendo Switch? Is it a viable future platform? I asked a handful and below are the responses I received:

INKLE
Joseph Humfrey wrote:
Despite never having owned much Nintendo hardware myself, I’m extremely excited about the Switch. The flexible way it can be a console, a handheld and a tablet means lots of different genres and scales of games will work beautifully on it. Nintendo has shown a great breadth of both 3d console experiences as well as smaller 2d games, and it excites me that they’re really starting to cater well towards indie developers. As a company we’re definitely thinking about it very seriously as a platform for narrative games like 80 Days.


STONEBLADE
Justin Gary wrote:
We are always excited about new platforms that help bring the best of the board-game world to new audiences. Ascension was the first deckbuilding on mobile devices and the first to enter into the World of Virtual Reality. The switch represents another potential horizon to create more accessible social board game experiences. I won't commit to any platform until I have a chance to play it, but I am definitely keeping an eye on the Nintendo Switch.


THUNDERBOX
Dan wrote:
Nintendo have consistently innovated with their hardware, and should be commended for always trying something fresh, rather than just upping the graphics power like most other consoles.

If the Switch has a touch-screen, and similar system architecture to an Android table, then it makes a lot of sense to bring existing titles designed for this input mechanism to a new platform.

However, it's a fair bet that most people buying a Switch already have a phone or tablet, so I wouldn't expect a massive pick-up, especially given the limited amount of hardware available at launch.

On top of this, 3rd party games usually struggle on Nintendo hardware as they have to compete with 1st party exclusives like Mario and Zelda but, if you can get in right at the start, like Voez, you might be able to establish a strong foothold on the platform.

What is really interesting, is that this could mark the beginning of Nintendo merging their home-console and hand-held platforms, which would be a canny idea as the 3DS has massively outperformed the Wii-U (a quick look on Wikipedia shows the 3DS at 35.3 Million units worldwide, compared to the Wii-U's 13.6 Million). Fusing the two markets could generate a strong uplift in hardware sales, which is great for both developers and consumers alike.

The fact that the Switch has a touch screen on the controller is of particular interest to us, as it's a great tool for creating a physical bond between the real-world player and the virtual-world experience - something we really focused on with Tsuro.

Voez's decision to not support the TV screen is an intriguing one. Having made a number of games on various Nintendo platforms, I know that they can sometimes enforce weird design restrictions around how their hardware can be used, particularly in the early days of a new console or peripheral. That having been said, the gameplay in Voez looks like players need to keep an eye on the touch screen, so I'm not sure what benefit using the TV would bring.

If Thunderbox were to do a Switch version of Tsuro we'd probably want to leverage the unique hardware to reinforce the immersion - sure you'd be able to play Tsuro on the go, just like the iOS and Android versions, but we'd probably put the board on the big screen, and have the players' tiles on the controller, so they could strategise in secret. Hmmm... maybe we should get on the phone to Nintendo!


NOMAD GAMES
Don Whiteford wrote:
We are considering Nintendo Switch as a potential new platform for our games, and are excited at the prospect of this new hardware, along with the opportunities it may bring.


TIN MAN GAMES
Neil Rennison wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Switch's potential for game developers and this news has piqued my interest even further! I think this opens up lots of opportunities for companies like us working in the digital tabletop RPG/board game space. Lots of food for thought.


NORTH STAR GAMES
Scott Rencher wrote:
This seems like a great potential platform for board games. Play by yourself on the touch screen, or utilize the TV to play with others in the room. Hopefully they make it affordable for others to join in. The closer a platform mimics the natural interactions of moving physical pieces, the better we can maintain the illusion that the game and the experience is real.


CODING MONKEYS
Martin Pittenauer wrote:
It's hard to tell without having touched the final hardware yet ofc. Saying that, it is an interesting hardware package and might be a great board game platform. Being a worrier, I see two issues:

1) I'm sceptical of Nintendo's efforts to support and empower independent developers. Some of that might be prejudice and of course I'm very happy to see Nintendo taking more proactive steps to facilitate indies on the Switch, but well, given it's track record with third party devs, it's an issue to keep an eye on.

2) I'm not sure how well no-tv-mode games will be received by the audience. It's one of the main selling points of the system and violating that implicit promise (made by marketing) will make people angry. Maybe rightly so at Nintendo, but also at developers not supporting the TV mode. Board games are in an especially awkward place here, because they profit a lot from touch controls, but also lend themselves perfectly to local multiplayer, which would be associated with TV mode on the platform rather than handing the Switch from person to person.


RODEO GAMES
Ben Murch wrote:
It's an interesting piece of kit, and I find it curious that not all the games will support TV mode given that's one of the big system selling points. Feels like Nintendo are cannibalising their handheld market. Are they trying to phase out their DS line of products? The controllers themselves don't look that great for digital board games, and the handheld screen itself is smaller than a tablet.... which makes me think tablets or PCs are still the leading platform for digital board games. Would I be tempted to make something for Switch? Sure. However, that something would most likely be a port from an iOS game, and not something totally bespoke and new. Nintendo are positioning themselves in a very odd space in the market, and it will be interesting to see how the next year progresses for them.
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Fri Mar 3, 2017 3:00 pm
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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #2 and #1

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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Welcome to the new and improved gift guide!

It occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Apps Every Board Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS device this Christmas, or want

To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Brett Nolan and Suzanne Sheldon, who are, among many other things, avide digital board game enthusiasts.

The 4 of us have created a top 10 list and will share one rank each day with you. Let’s go!


Number 2

Suzanne



Let's face it - a lot of app gaming is all about solo gaming. The Game is a stand out as a solitaire app experience. Not only does the core game provide a fun and challenging solo experience, The Game app included the Fire expansion at release as well. On top of that - the app-only "Lift Up" game provides a totally different way to experience the game. The Game app hits that sweet spot for app gaming - quick, simple, but endlessly challenging and entertaining.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $2.99
Purchase Links: App Store


Brett



I was already a huge fan of Uwe Rosenberg's award-winning two- player tile laying game Patchwork when it was announced that an app version was in development. I love the puzzly, almost Tetris-like nature of this game as you are trying to buy oddly shaped quilt pieces and add them to your own such that you avoid leaving any gaps and hopefully get that 7x7 bonus tile first. DIGIDICED has done a phenomenal job with this app, and it is probably my most-played online multiplayer digital board game. I've participated in several Patchwork tournaments and leagues on BGG and there are always people to play against. It is so convenient to have instant access to this elegantly simple, yet strategic game, no table is required to spread out all of those quilt pieces, no need to add up all of the buttons and you can easily try a wealth of orientations and locations before laying down a quilt piece. DIGIDICED has released digital versions of a number of Uwe Rosenburg's two-player games and while all are well made, feature nice art and music, this is easily my favorite and I can't recommend Patchwork enough. This is another studio to keep an eye on in the coming years (they have Terra Mystica coming in 2017) , not only are they great at what they do, but DIGIDICED also offers its players some of the best post-release support and interest I've seen. A two player game that will appeal to a wide audience, you should have no problems finding someone to play this with you.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $2.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Dave



I had said that 2016 had produced two board game ports that have surpassed Galaxy Trucker for me, and Pathfinder Adventures is the second (after Twilight Struggle). I do, however, pause in calling Pathfinder Adventures a board game port. Yes, it’s a port of the first adventure path for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and a very good one. That said, it doesn’t feel like a board or card game when its in the digital realm. Instead, I feel like it's a full-flung RPG which is the reason I love it so much. Gone is the mind boggling fiddliness of the cardboard version, trying to keep track of every bonus or penalty or which dice to roll as more cards are added to a check. Gone is the sterile feel of having several decks of somewhat bland cards representing supposedly mysterious and exotic locales. The digital version takes all that away, making combat and other checks feel natural and easy and transporting you into a fantasy world via excellent graphics and cutscenes. Not only is it a fantastic card game port, but it’s the best RPG on the App Store as well. Here’s hoping that Obsidian can keep creating more and more content so that our campaigns never have to end.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.



Brad



Collectible card games shaped not only my gaming history but also my life. They influenced my group of friends which resulted in the career I have today. Hearthstone is so high on my list because it is the best digital CCG available. It takes great elements from many existing games while striking out on its own identity. Hearthstone has managed to keep me coming back to both competitive and casual play. The cadence has continued to engage me over and over, for years.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free(ish)
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.



Number 1


Suzanne



Carcassonne is the quintessential tile laying game, and - in many ways, it's the quintessential board game app. Released way back in 2012 (which is light years ago in the board game app world) Carcassonne has been well maintained and updated and it holds up as a classic app as well as a classic board game. Solid asynch online play, unique solo challenges, and available expansions ensures Carcassonne deserves a spot on anyone's device.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brett



When Days of Wonder released the iOS version of Ticket to Ride way back in 2011, right out of the gate, they pretty much set the gold standard of digital board gaming. At the time they had already sold over 1.5 Million copies of the board game version and more than 23 million games of Ticket to Ride Online had been played on Macs and PCs. So it was pretty clear they knew how to make a digital board game. The touch interface that iPad offered added a whole new level of engagement that felt closer to playing the physical board game than ever. DoW supported both solo AI as well as online multiplayer and there was an interactive tutorial…all of the hallmarks of a well-designed digital board game. Over the years they continued to polish and refine the app with a huge graphics update when Retina displays were released by Apple. Numerous expansions were(and continue to be) added and they even tried an iPhone version. About a year ago (post Asmodee acquisition), the entire app was rewritten to make it a universal app and allow for asynchronous multiplayer (previously only available on the iPhone version). I wish Asmodee would port THIS multiplayer system to ALL of their games. Perfect for any age player and all skill levels, this is the ultimate gateway game which brings so many people into the hobby and its wealth of expansions give the game a ton of replayability. The consistently high level of polish this app has had since day one makes Ticket to Ride my top pick and it should have a permanent place on every digital board gamer's mobile device(s).

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.



Dave



When FTL landed on the App Store in January of 2014, it was a revelation. Here was a well-known and well-loved PC title that not only had arrived on the App Store without any corners being cut, but the developers had redesigned it to work on a touchscreen ensuring that iPad players would get the same experience as those using a mouse and keyboard. They failed at that as the iPad controls ended up actually improving on what we’d grown used to on our laptops. This is what happens when developers care about their game and aren’t just looking to turn a quick buck on the App Store. I immediately became addicted to FTL and the USS HelloNeumann has had many, many adventures over the past several years, all of them ending in tragedy for Jean-Luc, Geordi, and Data. One of these times I’ll beat that mothership, but I have yet to pull it off. No game I’ve ever played has been so difficult and yet so engaging and fun that you want to play it regardless. This is a desert island game, the one game I could take and leave all others behind and still enjoy myself years down the road. A true masterpiece.

Devices: iOS
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.


Brad



Carcassonne is an achievement. Not only was it one of the earliest digital board games, it set all the rules. The game has had what feels like an unending amount of support and still get game requests from friends from time to time. While it may feel like an older game, it still holds a special place in my heart. This is still the measure by which I judge all other digital board games.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Lists So Far:

Suzanne:
10. Neuroshima Hex
9. Pathfinder Adventures
8. Ticket to Ride
7. Patchwork
6.Splendor
5. Lords of Waterdeep
4. Qwixx
3. Star Realms
2. The Game
1. Carcassonne

Brett:
10. Lost Cities
9. Lanterns: the Harvest Festival
8. Card Crawl
7. Hearthstone
6. Can’t Stop
5. Galaxy Trucker
4. Splendor
3. Lords of Waterdeep
2. Patchwork
1. Ticket to Ride

Dave:
10. Don’t Starve
9. Agricola
8. Sorcery! Series
7. XCOM
6. Card Crawl
5. Elder Sign: Omens
4. Galaxy Trucker
3. Twilight Struggle
2. Pathfinder Adventures
1. FTL

Brad:
10. Forbidden Island/Desert
9. Hey That’s My Fish
8. Neuroshima Hex
7. Pathfinder Adventures
6. Talisman
5. Lords of Waterdeep
4. 80 Days
3. Galaxy Trucker
2. Hearthstone
1. Carcassonne
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Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:00 pm
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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #4 and #3

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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Welcome to the new and improved gift guide!

It occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Apps Every Board Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS device this Christmas, or want

To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Brett Nolan and Suzanne Sheldon, who are, among many other things, avide digital board game enthusiasts.

The 4 of us have created a top 10 list and will share one rank each day with you. Let’s go!


Number 4

Suzanne



Released in late 2016, the Qwixx app (specifically the iOS implementation) is stellar. The game plays excellent in solo mode and I think it's a phenomenal feature that the app can be used as a scoresheet or as a dice set for the physical game. But for me, the standout feature of the Qwixx app has been the Duo mode in which two players can face off on the same device. I've used this app so many times waiting at restaurants. It's an incredibly fun way to pass the time. Even though Qwixx doesn’t have online play at this time, the app is well worth the price especially because it includes the alternate board layouts that change up the game a surprising amount.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $3.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brett



Asmodee Digital's debut digital board game release post acquiring Days of Wonder, the studio has done an amazing job bringing this Spiel des Jahres nominee into the digital realm. Well organized and intuitive, the app is inviting to both new and experienced players of the tabletop version. Casting players as merchants of the Renaissance, Splendor is a game that's really all about building an engine of gems and using that, along with gem chips, to buy and build cards that will contribute to your engine and/or contribute to your prestige (victory) point total. The app not only recreates the main game, but as the best digital board games do, it adds an engaging new way to play. The Challenges mode breaks the traditional rules and sets up specific scenarios and win conditions which force players to experiment with new strategies. At launch the game lacked multiplayer support, but eventually it was added, closing a unfortunate gap in the initial feature set. Honestly I personally would have preferred an asynchronous multiplayer (more akin to Ticket to Ride's tested and near perfect system) but it appears that Asmodee is all-in on their real-time lobby based system (as is evident by their other recent and upcoming digital board game titles). No matter this small gripe, Splendor is certainly a must-have digital release. Easy to learn and approachable this one works with all levels of gamers and games are quick and fun.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Dave



Of all the board games Czech Games Edition could have chosen to be their first port, Galaxy Trucker seemed like it would be the least likely to succeed. First of all, CGE had no experience porting board games and, secondly, why pick one whose mechanisms involve real-time pulling of tiles from a collective pool? How on earth would that work in multiplayer, and asynchronous multiplayer—everyone’s favorite mode—seemed an impossibility. Turns out we needn’t have worried. When Galaxy Trucker hit the App Store in the fall of 2014 it instantly became the greatest digital board game port ever created. Not only did multiplayer work flawlessly, but they put one of the most brilliant minds in gaming to the task of creating a new mode of gameplay that would facilitate asynchronous play and, guess what? Vlaada Chvátil somehow created a new way to play Galaxy Trucker that was more fun than the traditional real-time version. On top of that, they loaded the game with the most robust single player experience that any digital board game has had then or since. The campaign was witty and challenging and still managed to tell a fascinating story while adding new gameplay mechanisms along the way that eventually became an expansion for the cardboard version of the game. Galaxy Trucker did what every developer should be looking to do with board game ports, kept the original game intact while offering new ways to play and tying it into the physical product enough that the two can feed off one another as they go forward. Simply brilliant.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brad



80 Days is a game changing experience on digital platforms. It captures the heart of something like Tales of Arabian Nights. Inkle may be more famous for their excellent take on Sorcery!, but I think this is the real gem. It tells an interesting story in a unique way with many branching paths. I find this one a goto on long flights. Despite my many playthroughs, I keep finding new things to discover.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.



Number 3


Suzanne



No game has gotten more play on my device than Star Realms. This app nailed its feature set including a solo campaign mode and cross-platform asynchronous online play. The Star Realms app handles all the fiddly score keeping, has regularly been updated with additional challenges and expansions, and plays well on the phone or tablet. Star Realms is truly a best-in-class board game app.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free(ish)
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brett



Oh Playdek, how I miss when you made amazing games like this. One of my earliest forays into worker placement games, the first time I played Lords of Waterdeep, I had never even seen or played the physical board game (which I now own) and I was absolutely blown away. Played over 8 rounds, Lords of Waterdeep is a turn-based strategy game where players take turns assigning their agents to certain locations on the board to collect points and/or resources or taking on quests (which when completed earn you more points and/or resources). The game can look a bit daunting at first, but the app has a good quality tutorial and the gameplay is quite straight forward. If you do pick up the app, I highly recommend also grabbing the two expansion IAPs (Skullport and Undermountain) as they add even more strategy and depth. Not a D&D fan? If you have concerns about the theme…don't! I watched the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon as a kid, and I think I played D&D once in my life, that's all the D&D knowledge I had going in the first time. Please don't let the theme drive you away, otherwise you will miss out on arguably the best worker placement game on the App Store.

Devices: iOS
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.



Dave



Until 2016 the best board game app I’d ever played was Galaxy Trucker from Czech Games. In 2016 there have been two games that have surpassed it, the first being Twilight Struggle from Playdek. Twilight Struggle in a digital format had always been a grail game for me, and I’d been playing, for years, using spreadsheets and the Automated Card Tracking System at Warhorse. The system worked, but it was clunky and prone to errors and became more of a struggle than it was worth. Since GMT announced a digital version of TS way back when, it had been at the top of my wish list. When Playdek took over the reigns, I became even more excited and wasn’t disappointed when it landed on my Mac in the spring. Here was Twilight Struggle in all its glory with an AI that was competent (I’ve heard it’s not very good, but then neither am I and I find the AI sufficient to keep me interested) and, more importantly, an asynchronous online multiplayer system that worked beautifully. They managed to create a wonderful UI that brings everything a player needs to know to the forefront, including a brilliant timeline recalling each turn of the game, while still allowing the player full access to the map and each of its regions. Did I mention it has multiplayer? I’m not usually a big fan of multiplayer games, but the friends I’d been playing with all those years on ACTS were more than happy to jump in and engage me online and I have yet to have a bad experience in any of my online games. Twilight Struggle is currently my favorite multiplayer title and I see it being that way for a very long time.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brad



Objectively, Galaxy Trucker may be the greatest digital board game of all time. There are other reasons why I’ve put games above it, but this truly is a masterpiece. Can’t say much more than, go buy this!

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Lists So Far:

Suzanne:
10. Neuroshima Hex
9. Pathfinder Adventures
8. Ticket to Ride
7. Patchwork
6.Splendor
5. Lords of Waterdeep
4. Qwixx
3. Star Realms

Brett:
10. Lost Cities
9. Lanterns: the Harvest Festival
8. Card Crawl
7. Hearthstone
6. Can’t Stop
5. Galaxy Trucker
4. Splendor
3. Lords of Waterdeep

Dave:
10. Don’t Starve
9. Agricola
8. Sorcery! Series
7. XCOM
6. Card Crawl
5. Elder Sign: Omens
4. Galaxy Trucker
3. Twilight Struggle

Brad:
10. Forbidden Island/Desert
9. Hey That’s My Fish
8. Neuroshima Hex
7. Pathfinder Adventures
6. Talisman
5. Lords of Waterdeep
4. 80 Days
3. Galaxy Trucker
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Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:08 am
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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #8 and #7

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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Welcome to the new and improved gift guide!


It occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Apps Every Board Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS device this Christmas, or want


To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Brett Nolan and Suzanne Sheldon, who are, among many other things, avide digital board game enthusiasts.


The 4 of us have created a top 10 list and will share one rank each day with you. Let’s go!



Number 8


Suzanne





A classic game and now a classic app. Ticket to Ride is a stand out app that's improved over time. All the must-have features like online play, solo mode, pass n play, etc. are here in a beautiful digital experience. But the addition of a number of expansions ensured Ticket To Ride's longevity as an app as even experienced players can find new ways to challenge themselves and others. Ticket to Ride is a game deserving of a stellar app, and it has one - so there's no reason for you not to have this on your device.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Brett





My mobile game of the year in 2015, Card Crawl is a unique take on Solitaire with an engaging dungeon crawling theme as well as stellar art. Players attempt to ‘clear’ a dungeon of 54 cards by playing these cards into either of their two item slots or their backpack . Then they either bank treasure, use shields and swords to attack monsters , potions to heal themselves or one of their five selected special abilities that were randomly mixed into the deck. The game requires players to employ a mix of skill and luck in order to properly manage their inventory to not only survive through the entire deck, but also bank some treasure. It feels like a very different solitaire experience and the app has continued to get updates and support by the developer with the addition of many more unlockable ability cards. A possibly overlooked gem with great replayability, a solid, digital original.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $2.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play


Dave



Before inkle Studios arrived with the first Sorcery! volume, interactive fiction on our tablets consisted of trying to recreate, as close as possible, the act of reading a dead tree gamebook. It was sepia tones as far as the eye could see with links to whichever page you were going to travel to next. With Sorcery!, inkle left the gamebook behind and instead created the game I imagined while reading gamebooks as an 11 year-old punk. Here was a vast world ready to explore where my choices and actions meant something as you continued on your journey. And what a journey! Stretching over three years and four apps, the Sorcery! journey has both an epic feel and the feeling of growth and discovery. It’s simply incredible and there’s nothing else quite like it on the App Store.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brad



Neuroshima Hex is a strategy staple. The app was eye opening about how much can really be pulled off in the digital space. This is a complex game that needs to relay all the information it can to you so you can make correct decisions. It really is an achievement in information design. It has had continue support and has never left my device.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.






Number 7



Suzanne



This two player Uwe Rosenberg game is simple but deep and is a delight to look at and play. Patchwork as an app is satisfying, well implemented, and a must-have game. Digidiced ensured the app has all the features you look for in a top tier app including cross-platform online play removing any entry barriers for players. Patchwork, as an app, is intuitive and entertaining and smart choices were made in how you access the boards and pieces. With Patchwork, you get all the brain-tickling fun of the board game…but as a play-anywhere app.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $2.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brett



Unless you've been living under a rock, odds are you've heard of Blizzard's free-to-play collectible card game. With its high production values, massive amount of content as well as regular content updates for balancing as well as numerous expansions, this (considered by many as a) Magic-killer has been a juggernaut since it debuted in 2014. The game continues to grow with the introduction of new Heroes, classes and mechanics. This kind of content growth can be daunting for new players who want to join into the game, so last year Blizzard made some important changes to the app, introducing a new Standard Play mode which is more friendly to newcomers. I also helps with organized tournament play by standardizing the card pool and forcing players to build their decks from a limited, consistent set of cards which were released in the current and previous calendar year, giving all players access to the same cards, putting them on an equal playing field. Hearthstone has become the new go-to standard for digital collectable card games, a fact that can be seen by the numerous other digital CCGs which have in some cases outright copied them. I'd say you need to try this out, but odds are, you already have. A top in class CCG that just keeps getting better.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free(ish)
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Dave



It’s XCOM and it’s on my iPad. I think that sums it up fairly well.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brad



When this game was released, Dave and I jokingly called this the marriage killer. This is one of the deepest RPG experiences on digital devices. It is a brilliant app that takes away a lot of the fiddly parts of the tabletop experience. This is a must own for anyone looking for a deep, long, digital board game experience.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Lists So Far:


Suzanne:
10. Neuroshima Hex
9. Pathfinder Adventures
8. Ticket to Ride
7. Patchwork


Brett:
10. Lost Cities
9. Lanterns: the Harvest Festival
8. Card Crawl
7. Hearthstone


Dave:
10. Don’t Starve
9. Agricola
8. Sorcery!
7. XCOM


Brad:
10. Forbidden Island/Desert
9. Hey That’s My Fish
8. Neuroshima Hex
7. Pathfinder Adventures
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Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:07 pm
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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #9

Brad Cummings
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Welcome to the new and improved gift guide!


It occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Digital Board Games Every Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS device this Christmas, or want


To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Brett Nolan and Suzanne Sheldon, who are, among many other things, avide digital board game enthusiasts.


The 4 of us have created a top 10 list and will share one rank each day with you. Let’s go!




Number 9




Suzanne





Produced by a top video game maker, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game was long in the making and very late to release. Thankfully - it was worth the wait because this deckbuilding adventure is a rich immersive experience full of thoughtful details. Personally, the app fired the card game because I prefer the game as a solo RPG adventure, the app removes all the fiddliness of deck and card sorting and management, and I can play it whenever and where ever I want to play.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Brett





Released earlier this year, this gorgeous digital adaptation of Renegade Game Studios' tile laying game set in imperial China casts players as artisans, decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns. Players take turns placing lake tiles which depict different color arrangements. All players then receive lantern cards based on the color arrangement facing them. Sets of these lantern cards can be traded in to earn diminishing amounts of victory points. One aspect of Lanterns that I love is that each and every turn counts whether or not you are the active player and that there is a satisfying risk/reward element as you try to keep from giving other players the lantern colors that they want, while still getting what you need. It means that all players are engaged every turn, so no down time. The app features beautiful animations and intuitive controls which elegantly transport the analog tiles into the digital realm. This may be a recent release, but it has already earned a prime spot on my iPad. Dire Wolf Digital has done an impressive job translating a game with a fairly large footprint to even the small screen of the iPhone. This is a studio to watch and I expect to see some great things coming from Dire Wolf Digital over the coming years as they bring other Renegade titles to the mobile devices (hoping to see Worlds Fair 1893). Delightful family-friendly fun.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Dave





While Agricola wasn’t the first “heavy” euro to make its way to the small screen, it was definitely the one that made me realize that just about any game could be made into a digital port. Not just any digital port, but a great digital port with polish and pizzazz. Agricola broke the mold by leaving behind the shackles of the physical world and giving us a presentation that could only be done with software. Chickens pecked around the village, fountains fountained (or whatever fountains do), and more. Uwe Rosenberg’s classic starving farming sim had come to life, and it was glorious. While Playdek has done better games since Agricola was released (spoilers!), this is where it became apparent that digital board games could be everything we wanted and more, and that the future was going to be very bright indeed.


Devices: iOS
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.




Brad





This is one of the oldest digital board games still on my iPad. It still gets regular play as a quick pass and play favorite. It truly set an early bar for UI and design from the cute penguins to the vicious Orcas. The simple point and click interface can span many age groups. This one is a road trip favorite and seems like it will be around for a bit. This is an oldie but certainly worth a look.


Devices: iOS
Price: $1.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.








Lists So Far:


Suzanne:
10. Neuroshima Hex
9. Pathfinder Adventures


Brett:
10. Lost Cities
9. Lanterns: the Harvest Festival


Dave:
10. Don’t Starve
9. Agricola


Brad:
10. Forbidden Island/Desert
9. Hey That’s My Fish
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Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:00 pm
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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #10

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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Welcome to the new and improved gift guide!

It occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Digital Board Games Every Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS device this Christmas, or want

To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Brett Nolan and Suzanne Sheldon, who are, among many other things, avide digital board game enthusiasts.

The 4 of us have created a top 10 list and will share one rank each day with you. Let’s go!


Number 10


Suzanne



This two-player tactical battle game is endlessly entertaining with a plethora of available armies - each of which plays quite differently. But, it's arguable, that the app is even better than the board game because any of the fiddliness in actions, battle resolution, or scoring you have in the physical game is handled by the app. With almost all the armies available in the base game or as IAP, Neuroshima Hex is more than a fun game - it's a tactical learning tool that enables to you explore the armies at will. And playing Neuroshima Hex online against a buddy is extremely satisfying.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brett



The app version of Lost Cities was released back in 2012, but still holds up as one of my go-to quick, digital board game time fillers. This Reiner Knizia two-player card game is super easy to pick up and play, (ignoring the theme) players are essentially trying to build stacks of (always) incrementing like-colored cards to earn points. Players take turns drawing (from either the draw deck or discard pile) and then either playing or discarding a card until all of the cards in the draw deck have been taken. When a player decides to start a new colored stack, they get negative points until they can play enough points worth of cards onto the ascending pile to work their way back into the positive. There is a nice press your luck element to the game as well as some tough decisions as you have to decide when to skip a number you may not have and continue incrementing your stack(s) or otherwise figuring out what to discard. Any card you discard may be picked up by the other player and this can lead to some immediate regrets. Despite its age and lack of native iPad support, Lost Cities looks great on an iPad even in 2x mode and the app continues to hold up well; there are always online opponents available as well as multiple levels of AI. A reliable old friend, Lost Cities is a great game to have on your device for whenever you need a quick little escape.

Devices: iOS
Price: $3.99
Purchase Links: App Store,
Our Review.


Dave



When Don’t Starve arrived on mobile back in 2015, I was unaware that it was originally a very well-regarded PC title. Thus, I was a taken aback when I discovered that Klei had somehow conjured up not just an entire world, but worlds within worlds on my iPad. In my hands I was holding a game that looked like an animated film and was full of so many possibilities that it seemed endless. I was blown away. After 5 plays I was struggling to unravel the crafting mechanisms, after 10 plays I could survive for a few days, after 50 plays I could build a formidable base and yet still wander and discover something I hadn’t seen. While it doesn’t get the play it did in the months after its release, it still resides on my iPad and I will stroll around a new world, fighting off spiders and beefalo, every now and then. Simply one of the best experiences you can have on a touchscreen.

Devices: iOS
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play


Brad



Cooperative games really shine on digital platforms. Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert are two great examples. The graphics are well done and the digital platform makes for quick play. The pass and play functions of both make these essential for road trips, long lines, etc. This is a great one to pull out with the kids and has a permanent place on my iPad

Devices: iOS
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.
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Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:34 am
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Outside the Box: Fire Emblem Fates, Bravely Second, Overwatch & Valkyria Chronicles

Brad Cummings
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Connecticut
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While we spend most our time devoted to covering the latest in digital board games, we do also venture out to games, mobile and otherwise, that are a bit off the beaten path.

In this irregular segment, I will highlight a few video games that may interest board gamers, but fall outside of our normal wheelhouse.




Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
Last week we brought our first ever 3DS review to the site in the form of Pocket Card Jockey. Honestly, for a strategy gamer, the 3DS has been a platform that has continued to deliver time and time again.

Recently I’ve been playing through Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, one of the latest installments in the series. This series has always provided interesting turn based gameplay and this installment does not disappoint. The game features new classes and new ways to interact with the battle environments, making each encounter feel fresh. You also have the option this time around to play the story from different angles. Characters that are enemies one time around may be friends the next.

The game also features the familiar relationship building, which makes this a strong mix of RPG and war-game mechanics. If this hybrid sounds interesting to you, this is certainly one worth checking out.
Learn More




Bravely Second: End Layer
Despite it’s pompous and ridiculous name, Bravely Second is a sequel to the very successful Bravely Default, and, by association, one of the best JRPGs in recent memory. While a little more silly, this sequel manages to deliver where it counts.

JRPGs, if you're not familiar, rely on random, turn-based battles where you select abilities or attacks for your characters to perform each turn. In this variant, you can choose to Brave which will let you take extra turns or Default to save turns for later. Unlike many games in this genre, Bravely Second turns each battle into a very interesting tactical engagement.

This is augmented by a job system that allows you to tailor your characters as you would like. This opens up the possibility to create really interesting combinations. Think of it as engine building.

Most video games don’t grab me the way this one can. As a strategy gamer, I feel like there is actually something for me to wrap my brain around here. If you’ve tried this genre in the past, and been disappointed by recent entries, this is one worth getting back into.
Learn More




Valkyria Chronicles
Why did I not know about this game when it was released? Ok, I didn’t have the original platform, but this turn-based war-game is one I’m glad I’ve finally discovered.

Set in a pseudo WW2 setting (but with like robots and magic), you command troops in a mix of turn-based movement and real-time aiming. Each troop is ordered from a 3rd person view and you have to take into account flanking, cover, and more. Leaving cover has some real weight as the enemy can start taking shots at you the minute you stand up. It is a unique mix of genres that is a great fit for strategy game fans.

The art looks great in this remastered version and, while featuring an anime tinge, is all very interesting and detailed. The story has weight, even if it does also have some melodrama. This is not meant to be a true retelling of history but rather a story in a similar setting.

The real highlight here is the tactical combat. If you didn’t play this before, take the opportunity to check it out on PC or PS4.
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Overwatch
Now, before you start throwing full wine bottles at your computer screen, let me explain why I dare talk about a team shooter on this site. Overwatch charmed immediately with its first trailer and seemed to continue to do so with each video released. I am not usually a fan of this genre, but something about this grabbed me.

After playing a bit on console, I have to say, I am enjoying it more than I expected. While this game is a shooter, and can be competitive, there are many elements that have made it the one game is this genre I think I could actually get into. If you, like me, have been curious, here are a few reasons it's worth checking out.

First, the story, while thin, is very strong in the character department. Each character is interesting to play and generally represents a unique country and culture. I keep trying new characters and each one is fleshed out and endearing. On top of that, the abilities of each are fun, thematic, and generally easy to learn. If you love characters, this is a shooter that really delivers.

Second, matches are quick, straightforward, and surprisingly rewarding. If you are like me, gaming time (especially digital) is limited. Luckily, a game of Overwatch does not overstay its welcome. You can play for 15 to 30 minutes, complete a few matches be pretty fulfilled.

On top of that, the end game flow of Overwatch is one of the best ever created. Rather than a demeaning KOD, the game offers up a play of the game and then features four heroes that did well. One essence, you see when you do something good, and don’t feel bad when you didn’t have a great game. This is the major innovation of Overwatch and something I want to see copied by future games (even board games). It is the perfect hook to create that one more game feeling.

This ties into my third and final reason to give this shooter a shot. Due to the characters in the game, you can play a role where you don’t need to have twitch reflexes. Shooters are often seen as a young person’s game, but this allows us old folks to hop on board. You could try a healer, a tank, a sniper, whatever fits your play style and mood.

All this being said, a shooter may still not be for you, but this one has really hit the spot for me.
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Sun May 29, 2016 3:19 am
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The Digital Board Games Gift Guide 2015: Part 1

Brad Cummings
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Connecticut
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Welcome to the fifth annual Digital Board Games Gift Guide!

Are you looking for apps for your strategy loving friend or family member? Or, perhaps you just received a new iOS or Android tablet as a gift? This guide will point you to some of the best experiences on iOS and Android. Here is a quick rundown of some of our favorite strategy and board games on those platforms.

Happy Holidays from Brad and Dave.


What's in Part 1
• For Gamers: Hot Titles from 2015
• Story Based Games
• Family Games
• Party/Dexterity Games

Coming in Part 2 (Coming 12/16)
• For Gamers: All Time Favorites
• Role-Playing Games
• War/Strategy Games


Coming in Part 3 (Coming Wednesday 12/18)
• Children’s Games
• Card Games
• Abstract Games

Our 2014 Gift Guide.
Our 2013 Gift Guide.
Our 2012 Gift Guide.
Our 2011 Gift Guide.




For Gamers: New in 2015




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play
Our Review.




Devices: iPad, Android
Price: Free ($85+ to complete)
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play
Our Review.




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play
Our Review.




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play



Story Based Games






Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play
Our Review.



Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $12.99 (for all three)
Purchase Links: Sorcery Trilogy iOS, Google Play
Our Review of Part 1. Our Review of Part 2. Our Review of Part 3.




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $2.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play
Our Review.




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: Free ($19.99 for all episodes)
Purchase Links: App Store
Google Play



Family Games





Devices: iPad
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.




Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store Google Play
Our Review.




Devices: iOS Universal
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.



Party and Dexterity Games






Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.



Devices: iOS Universal
Price: $0.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.



Devices: iOS Universal
Price: Free ($2.99 to remove ads)
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.



Devices: iOS Universal, Android
Price: Free
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play



Devices: iOS Universal
Price: Free
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.
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Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:00 pm
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Digital Board Game Sales for Black Friday/Thanksgiving - UPDATED

Brad Cummings
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Connecticut
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Hey everyone,

We've been reaching out to many of the great developers to see what deals they have for this holiday weekend. The list will continue to grow throughout the next few days, so be sure to check back and follow us on Twitter.


Without further ado:
Digital Board Game Sales for Black Friday/Thanksgiving 2015


Found a game on sale that we don't have on the list? Let us know in the comments, and we will get it added.
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Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:40 pm
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Review Roundup: Legends of Grimrock and SpaceCOM

Brad Cummings
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Legends of Grimrock
Availability: iPad
Price: $4.99
App Store Links: App Store

When I first played Legends of Grimrock on PC, I was fascinated by they way it captured dungeon crawling. Forced into a locked first-person perspective, you are both limited and immersed. There were hours and hours of dungeon exploration and puzzling to encounter. Now on iPad, Legends of Grimrock is simultaneously open to a new audience and right at home on a great platform.

Legends of Grimrock is of the old school style of RPGs. You control a party of four adventures in a fixed perspective. You can always move, map permitting, in the the four cardinal directions as well as rotate your facing. Most of your time in the dungeon you will be moving around and exploring. Items and secrets are scattered throughout each level, so you have to move slow and be meticulous if you want to catch everything. This game throws you your characters in a pretty bare state, so each peace of loot feels like a triumph.

Combat is real-time to a point. Each character can attack, but said attack has a set cool-down based on the weapon. Monsters can attack you from any side and it is up to you to control your facing and positioning. Kiting enemies and similar tactics are essential to success. Character control is fairly deep with an extensive inventory system and skill trees.

For the most part, Legends of Grimrock feels right at home on iPad. The controls have been rethought in a clever way to fit on the device and the graphics look great. Maybe the only weakness with the iPad controls is when you need to move quickly in combat. It is possible, but I find myself pressing the wrong direction at times. This of course is more a weakness of virtual controls in general.

Legends of Grimrock much like FTL is, dare I say, ideally played on iPad. The platform does not lose any of the graphic fidelity but instead offers convenient access to the hours of fun found in this game. The touch controls add a new element to the exploration and combat is generally as straightforward as usual. If you have yet to explore Grimrock, I highly recommend picking it up. If you’ve delved before, it may very well be worth a return trip.



Poll
How do you rate Legends of Grimrock?
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
      78 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk





SpaceCOM
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: $2.99
App Store Links: App Store

In the far reaches of space, two factions vie for control of systems and resources. Published by the studio behind Anomaly, SpaceCOM is a semi-RTS game the has you conquering and controlling planets in deep space. Imagine it as a more thinky Planets Under Attack.

In SpaceCOM your goal is to defeat your opponent by conquering planets, raising fleets, and controlling key footholds. The game centers around three types of ships. One type is used for space combat against other fleets, another for conquering planets, and another for razing planets. The tradeoffs of each are central to the game. Do you focus on conquering and holding a planets or do you just bombard it and force your opponent to lose the resource? You have limited number of shipyards and travel takes time, so you really need to plan your strategies in advance.

Planets in the game often have strategic resources such as income, repair yards and more. The value of controlling a system has to be weighed against your gain and how difficult it will be to hold. Combat occurs when opposing fleets meet in a system. It is automatic with a superior force generally succeeding. Each unit can also gain seniority which gives it an edge in combat. The goal is generally to conquer your opponent’s home world and claim victory.

While realtime, the game is not twitch based. Ships take several seconds to move from system to system, so you are always trying to plan a step ahead. Apart from that, there are several choices in strategy. Which planet do you take next? What sort of fleet should you focus on? Many questions.

The game features several missions which can be seen as a tutorial, along with online and local play. I have not dived into only play yet, but the local Skirmish mode works well against AI. As you would expect from this studio, SpaceCOM looks great. The UI is highly polished and the iconography is clear. You’ll be able to jump right in and start your space empire.

SpaceCOM is a polished take on the mobile RTS. It has depth in the right places and also streamlined where it needs to be. While the pace may not be for everyone, it is definitely worth checking out.



Poll
How do you rate SpaceCOM?
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
      22 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk
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Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm
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