Walter OHara(hotspur)United States
Current Price: $6.99
Multiplayer: Yes, local.
iTunes link: Wars and Battles
I was given the opportunity to play and review the recent game from the Battle Factory, called "Wars and Battles". The core of Wars and Battles is a hex based battle game with an old school look to it, set in a very narrowly defined battlefield in linked campaign. Battles are launched from a standard interface that should be able to host future campaigns from other eras.
The main screen
Kermorio is gambling on a standard interface approach, somewhat modular with unit icons OR 2D pieces being the default view. These are played on a standard 22 hex map with variable terrain features whose cumulative effect is usually reduction of movement or influencing combat or line of sight.
In game touch tip and tutorial help is very good, as you can see above.
A Campaign is essentially a linked progression of battle scenarios played out on these 22 hex battle maps. Campaigns are in game purchases, with the base game being 6.99, and at time of writing, the Normandy Campaign in WW2 is available for additional charge beyond the default basic game.
Having played through the Normandie (sic) campaign, I would recommend this IGP. Historical material is very well done and it's clear research went into this game-- each unit has a background piece and it's more than a drag and click interface. The historical campaign follows Normandy closely and I had no complaints based on what I know about the campaign from a historical viewpoint, which is a decent familiarity. Campaign missions follow a progression from Easy to Very Hard, and you are debriefed for success or failure at the end of each one.
Mission Debrief, end of every scenario
I'm not sure if the map sizes will expand beyond the 22 hex per screen standard or the approach will be to stay modular. I can see the benefits of a modular system when
More Normandy Fun
More of the Wars and Battles in tutorial mode
Artificial Intelligence in this game is decent to moderate and the decisions being made were okay, though predictable at times. I found it to be overly defensive and not as aggressive as it could have been, but if you factor in that Normandy actually is a defensive campaign for the Germans I guess that makes sense. The campaign structure is logical and sensible. Players will accrue experience over time and replacement units to fill in for casualties. In this respect I was reminded, strongly, of several other games I've played in the last year that use a similar progressive campaign structure-- in particular and variation of Panzer General or its various incarnations over time, or near-knockoffs. That's neither here nor there-- a campaign really needs some form of structure or it is difficult to execute, and the PG template works as well as anything.
The modular "game engine" approach is somewhat new for wargames on the IOS. Kermorio has high hopes of porting the same approach to many different battles, including Napoleonic or ACW era battles. I remain unconvinced the scales of those two eras will work in this engine, but I'd be willing to give them a try.
In Summary, Kermorio has had a very decent first outing with WARS AND BATTLES-- which is a mix of old and new ideas that will appeal to hard core wargamers and newcomers alike. For 6.99 plus a pittance for the IGPs, I certainly think there is plenty of value for the retail price.
Note: Repost from the 3PoS (Third Point of Singularity) Wordpress blog.
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Archive for Walter OHara
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23 Oct 2014
Commander The Great War
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd
Available on PC, Mac and Ipad
Itunes Link SRP as of review: $19.99
Ipad version reviewed
I've been meaning to get to this review sooner rather than later, but this is no light historically-flavored game, like my previous two Slitherine reviews (Quadriga and Frontline: Road to Moscow). Frankly, it's taken a long time to plod through just a few games. Commander The Great War (CTGW hereafter) is designed for serious wargamers who are in it for the long game-- and willing to pay a serious price for the privilege. Yes, that's right, CTGW is not going to be a cheap purchase, it's 20.00 as of this writing. Is it worth the high end price tag? Right up front I'll say yes, it is, with a few caveats that I will expand upon.
SCOPE: Commander the Great War is a grand strategy scaled game. Players assume the role of supreme leader of a nation or coalition of nations on either the Entente Cordiale or Triple Entente sides of the Great War (meaning World War One in this instance). In pursuit of this role, the player will be making strategic decisions for the individual nations on his or her side, including army movements and attacks, naval movements (and resulting battles) as well as research and development of new military technologies.
Game Start and setup-- with some nice multimedia bits
If I were to draw an analogy to a boardgame, CTGW relates to Advanced Third Reich and/or World in Flames the most, in that the player has to operate on the same grand strategic scale in a major theater of war, and there's a similar diplomatic and research element to those games. Yeah, I know, World War Two. I just don't know of any that fill the same niche set in the First World War era-- certainly not Guns of August. In terms of computer games, Matrix Games' own Guns of August (PC version) is roughly similar in scope, but not mechanics. To End all Wars (also published by Slitherine) looks similar in scope but is mechanically very different (being developed by Aegeon), but I have no experience with it.
The setting for Commander the Great War is vast; playing out on a hex map of Europe from North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula up to the North Sea, East to the Ural mountains, West to the Atlantic and French coast. That is a lot of hexes and a lot of ground to cover, especially in the grand campaign games after 1916, when so many fronts are opened up. This can get a little confusing on the Ipad, as one furiously swipes across the map to see what the enemy units are doing during his opponent's turn.
There are five preset Campaigns:
1914 The Great War
1915 Ypres – Artois
1916 The Battle of Verdun
1917 The Nivelle Offensive
1918 The Kaiserschlacht
Echoing the course of the Great War, the Triple Entente (Germany, Austria, Turkey) are favored in the first two scenarios and somewhat in 1916. In game terms, 1917 and 1918 become a real challenge for the Triple Entente player as more and more military technologies are present at start of the game (tanks, better airplanes, better artillery, armored trains, better ships, and etc).
I'm playing Serbia in the 1914 campaign versus the AI. Serbia is a thankless role, but the whole shooting match starts here and it's worth a shot as the Entente Cordiale player. I do have the advantage of interior lines, and a ponderous response from the Austrians, but numbers eventually tell.
No matter which you select, don't expect to be done with any grand campaign quickly. The AI is slow to make decisions (More on this later) and progress is very incremental-- there were no Schlieffen Plans for me.
Here are my vacation snaps from the invasion of the Low Countries (also the 1914 scenario). No grand Schlieffen Plan here; it's more like a bulge forming in the Allied line as the Germans pour in after limited local success. This pattern repeats throughout the game-- It's ALL about finding a spot to break through and exploit-- it's a real gamble, and broad front assaults are almost impossible
There doesn't appear to be any instructions or help file anywhere, but most of the action happens in a few screens and are very easy to figure out. Mechanically, moving land troops is just dragging them from hex to hex and clicking on highlighted squares when the moving unit is adjacent to enemy units. Terrain and Zones of Control factor into movement and combat in a very general way, in that you will move faster on a railroad and be held up by terrain features, or not be able to pass an enemy formation.
Example of moving Serbian movements into the abattoir.
The mechanics aren't the interesting part of the game, not so much. Movement and Combat are pretty simple. It's the other decisions you make per turn that will change the long game one way or the other for the player. Those decisions are made using a simple five tabbed menu:
How to fight a war, emphasis mine!
The management menus lead to production, research, diplomacy and management sub-menus. This is the point where I remind you of your role-- you may want to fight those tactical battles, they're fun and very visually rewarding. However, you're in it for the long haul here, and you are making decisions about what you'll be doing not just this year, but the next two years. So you need to start making the hard decisions early.. do I spend a lot of money on researching better weapons and hope I'm just lucky and don't need a lot of infantry replacements? Or do I feed more men into the meat grinder I'm dealing with right now?
The Diplomacy screen is rather innocuous, I haven't seen much come as a result of using it. Players need to focus on Production and Research decisions exclusively-- resources are what they are-- very precious. You have what you have and you must spend them wisely to be effective.
Serbia's rather bleak production options in 1914.
What can Serbia research this early in the war? Well, I'd choose barbed wire...
When you play a side, depending on the campaign you're playing, you are playing multiple fronts and multiple nations, with multiple national priorities. The Serbian/Austrian front at the start of the war is pretty much a doomed confrontation, so the Serbians need to do what they can do to stall the Triple Entente until the other powers can get engaged. So that "Cheap Infantry now versus expensive Tanks later" equation doesn't really work there, but it will for, say, Germany or England. You also have to consider what the major front you are working on needs-- not just now, but in three turns. For instance, Russia could use those cheap cavalry units. Sure, they are crap troops-- but they are great for moving vast distances without railroads fairly quickly, and can cut off troops nicely. The Germans will be tempted to spend it on better airplanes and artillery to force a result on the Western Front. The English may be the best power on Water but that superiority doesn't necessarily last forever-- and what about buying transports and more infantry, you know, to help those Allies out somewhere?
And this is where you get feedback from your decisions, each turn. What will be next in the production queue, what is coming up in the research queue..
There are a lot of variables in CTGW, and a lot to experiment with-- just don't expect a quick payoff. As I've already mentioned, this is a long game, and you NEED to be in it for the long game. Don't bother if you want a quickly resolving tactical battle game like Frontline. That's not the focus of Commander Great War. Even success creates tough situations-- combat is often very bloody for both sides-- when you lose most of your attacking force in a victory, what then? What happens next year when the other side comes roaring back in a counterattack? I certainly hope you planned for reinforcements!
What does all this mean? You have to plan ahead in almost every turn. In this respect, the game really generates interesting, and often historically flavored results. The game really does feel like World War One-- there's no way a broad front strategy works-- The Western Front ends up a pushing match, the Eastern Front has great scope for movement. The best results for the Western Front is to exploit a salient and push through in localized areas. That often is such a grinder that the Entente player really IS tempted to explore other fronts like Turkey.
The technological developments really enhance that feeling. Germany is tempted to use its finite surface fleet early-- but things really change for them when U-boats come into play.
If I sound enthusiastic, I am-- however there are a few drawbacks to this game-- it's slow, which is why I found it harder to review, than, say, the last 2 Slitherine games I've bought. I find that the AI is very capable, but is facing so many decisions that it does bog down somewhat after about four turns. Before the last update, the AI was consistently freezing right about turn 4. That seems to be fixed. It's still not greased lightning but remember, this isn't an arcade game. Each turn will require a lot of actions on the player's part, expect that to be the case for the AI as well. The other element that I find a drawback to total enjoyment is the lack of transparency. I often was stumped about units appearing out of the "Fog of War fog" that is on the edges of the map.. sometimes I was asking myself how the heck that unit got THERE.. teleporting? I also would like to know what the AI player's decisions were in the proceeding turn. I know it's historically appropriate for the human side to NOT know this, but it would help understand the mechanics, which certainly aren't explained.
Summary: Commander Great War is like a sipping whiskey; drink it too fast and you'll choke. CTGW is far too complex of a brew to be swallowed whole on first sip. You'll have to be patient, take it in gradually. This game will reward patience and foresight, but not an arcade player. Commander The Great War is a game of elegance and simplicity, and it will reward a player with a strategic mindset. Is it worth 20 bucks? That's up to you. I think there's a LOT of game in that 20 dollars, and a real wargaming fan will consider his money well spent. Replay value is excellent.
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FRONTLINE: ROAD TO MOSCOW
Publisher: Slitherine Software
Post repeats HERE in case of broken links or graphics
When I saw the first glimpses of Frontline: Road to Moscow online, I admit I had mixed feelings. On the plus side, this is a Slitherine product. They are an outfit that knows military conflict simulation games-- they've published dozens for the PC, and a few for the Ipad and other platforms. They know their craft. On the negative side, I have not been that impressed with Slitherine's game interfaces on an Ipad, which often are straight ports from computer games and are hard to read on an Ipad. Lastly, there was something about this game that seemed, erm.. hauntingly familiar, as we will see!
Probably the smallest screen on the IPAD version. This wasn't a port (at least I don't think it was), and thus far easier to read.
First of all, you should know, unless you're remarkably lacking in perception, THIS IS A WORLD WAR II game, about war on the Eastern Front. It is what most people would refer to as a "Wargame", meaning it is a game that simulates conflict in a historical context, usually involving a war of some kind. Old School wargame fans would call this a "light" or "not very complex" wargame. In Frontline: Road to Moscow, you play a role-- a sort of Eastern Supreme Commander or Field Marshal. You start with a few representative unit types, which become a coherent army of sorts, always heading East to the main objective, Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union (duh). Front Line is a turn based, Igo-Yugo design, played against an AI. As a German general you fight 12 missions that are strung together episodically. Slitherine definitely went for the "Storyboard" concept.. having the campaign unfold as an ongoing narrative that you play in a straight linear fashion, right to the finish line. I could see where this approach might get a little tiresome after repeatedly plays, but I'm enjoying it for now.
The Big Picture.. the Road to Moscow, in several acts. The game unfolds in a story fashion.. kind of.
Along the road to Moscow, you'll earn a kind of victory point called Prestige (or honor, or glory or whatever). Prestige will give you more SUPPLY during a mission, and Supply is the currency that can be converted into new, tougher units with enhanced abilities, or to repair damaged units. The scale in time and distance is somewhat abstracted. You are aware of the passage of time in a general sense by the progress of technological change. This impacts what units will be available the farther along you get on the road to final victory. For instance, your first mission will start you off with a pretty crappy German tank (the Panzer II, I think), Regular Infantry, Paratroopers (which are pretty great), and some artillery against the Soviets with some half tracks, a decent tank, regular infantry, and some other units in greater abundance. As you accomplish more missions, more and better units become available. Each unit does one or two things unique to them, like Entrench, or Ambush, or Snipe, etc. As the game progresses, units will get tougher and you will have more choices of unit. There are apparently two expansion IGP modules that will expand potential units even further, but I haven't felt the need to expand game play yet, it's just fine as it is. So far.
A scenario/episode from fairly early in the game narrative. Unit choices on both sides are limited at this point; they will get better.
Combats between units are intense and bloody affairs, even when you are doing things right. A typical battlefield is seen above. There is an invisible hex overlay that regulates movement, and it recognizes terrain choke points such as rivers, bridges, woods, hills, etc. and will deny movement in certain circumstances and slow it in others. For instance, a unit may not cross across most rivers, except on a bridge. If another unit is on the bridge, it doesn't cross the river this turn. If it is next to blocking terrain, such as a cliff, river or dense woods, it will become evident when you select the unit where it can't go. Actually firing upon opposing units is easy enough-- move your unit within range and the opposing unit will display an overlay that indicates that it can be shot at. Depending on what you're shooting, you'll have greater or lesser chances of causing damage. Regular Infantry, for instance, don't do much damage to an enemy tank, but an anti tank gun surely does. One thing I liked about combat is that it never a sure thing. Bullets miss or ricochet all the time in this game, which is closer to reality than you'd think. Combats can cause retreats, sometimes unexpectedly. Missions (scenarios) are laid out with a pretty standard objective on some of them (take this town, bonus points if you take that town, etc.) but also they sometimes add in something unique, like "conduct an air strike for more victory", etc. Most missions seem like a race-- you are funneled by the terrain into making a certain avenue of advance, or maybe two or three, but the maps constrain any wild sweeping maneuver around a flank. Thus most missions become a flat out race to either bludgeon your way past resistance or fake them out and make an end run when an objective is lightly defended.
Only FAIR victory, hey, I had a single unit left! What the?
One thing I would point out for anyone new to the game-- use your supply points very wisely. You can heal a damaged unit up in the field with supply points and buy new units with them, but those points get used up fast, and in the early game, I found myself running out before achieving objectives once or twice. Note a few obvious things; the enemy AI can heal up HIS units, too, and never fails to. He also either purchases new units with his supply points or has reinforcements lurking in that foggy area you see around the edges of every battlefield. I'm not certain if the AI is cheating or not; the Soviet AI player always seems to have more units than I do and always seems to have reinforcements that I do not. No matter, it makes the game balanced, and dare I say it, FUN. The opposing AI is NOT a genius; I have end-run around it multiple times in the ten games I played for this review. However, it does seem to out-produce the German routinely, and it can win a game on numbers alone.
Unit Iconography, from the Tutorial scenario. You can see the overlay that indicates the German unit may fire upon the Soviet unit, plus the opportunity for advancing fire.
Unit iconography and map graphics are quite good. Normally, I find the little isometric soldiers and tanks to look a tad too cutesy.. not in the case of Frontline, however. They are easy to figure out, not confusing, and I was never at a loss to sort out who was who with infantry and artillery. Tanks do tend to look a lot alike, but you can always figure out who is a Soviet and who is a German by their orientation on the map.
So, in summary, that's generally the game of FRONTLINE: ROAD TO MOSCOW: you're playing a role somewhat like a German field marshal, episodically advancing on Moscow, mission by mission. You're earning victory to spend on more units with more capabilities so you will eventually end up on the doorstep of the Kremlin. Pretty cool and unique, huh?
Well, no, of course it isn't. We're describing Panzer General from SSI from way back in 1994, aren't we? Ummmm, yeah, well, we kind of are.
As paradigms go, it may be done to death, but it's still fun.
That's not to say there aren't differences. Frontline has a very similar flavor, but isn't the same dish. The older Panzer General engine did tend to flood the game with units that were all rather bland and lacking any special functions-- in Frontline, the units have much more individual character and there are fewer of them to move around. This cuts down on the micromanagement aspect of the older games a lot. I liked PG back in those days; but I really wouldn't go back 20 years to play it again. Or even Open Panzer, the direct clone of PG on the Ipad. Way too clunky on an Ipad for my liking.
"Hold the phone!" You might be saying. Doesn't this game resemble TANK BATTLE: EASTERN FRONT, by Hunted Cow, which was released a couple months ago? Thematically, sure. Tactically? Not the same game by a long shot.
Tank Battle: Eastern Front. I found it to be middlin' okay.
You either like that standard engine of Hunted Cow's or you don't. I tend to like the Ancient Roman game of theirs the best. Hunted Cow has improved gameplay quite a bit, but it is still fundamentally the same hex-based scenario driven wargame that they utilize for many periods. I give points to Frontline for being a little more unique than Tank Battle.
So, further along in our summary, you have a game that is something of a blast from the past, kind of like a more narrowly focused Panzer General with much better graphics, fighting a linear series of engagements using a limited store of units to fight combats in. Is it worth my precious 2.99? The answer is YES, it certainly is a very entertaining investment for three bucks. I'm even going to pop for the expansions. Eventually. I imagine it will run out of steam sooner or later but it's a decent gaming engine, with good graphics and an "okay, not very great, but not too stupid" AI that will try its best. I've played over a dozen games so far and I'm still very engaged with Frontline. Recommended for wargamers and non-wargamers alike- the game doesn't have much history to teach beyond the broad brushstrokes, and the level of decision making is rudimentary at best, but it is easy to entertaining and easy enough for new players. For 2.99, I'd definitely recommend it. For 6.99? Eh, maybe not so much.
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For Immediate release: April 7, 2013
For Further Information Contact:
Thoroughbred Figures, Portsmouth Virginia
Toby Barrett of Thoroughbred Figures and creator of the popular 1/600 scale naval miniatures of the American Civil War wishes to announce the posting of a funding campaign on Kickstarter.com:
The project will create an IoS app which will run the famous Yaquinto board game “The Ironclads” re-adapted for miniatures play around the tabletop or regular boardgame play.
The App will contain everything from the original Ironclads game - all the rules, data cards, scenarios, and such for miniatures play. Game set up will include flexible scales – 1/600 and 1/1200 mainly – and quick generation of orders of battle. The groundbreaking heart and soul of the app will include a computer-assist game referee and a combat resolution module to greatly help to speed up the operation and ease of the game. What happens on the table will still be key with the app freeing the players to be more able to concentrate on movement, decisions and tactics (e.g., the fun stuff) instead of searching through bulky charts, ship data and modifier lists.
This app is really a first of its kind, there few apps for miniature games and no game assist apps.
Pledge rewards will be new Thoroughbred 1/600 kits and finished collector sets as listed on the right side of the Kickstarter project web site.
Full disclosure: I have a cameo in this kickstarter...
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This is a crosspost from my Wordpress blog The Third Point of Singularity http://misternizz.wordpress.com, so it may be longer than the reviews you are used to. In the words of Mark Twain, I'd have made it shorter if I had had more time. Posted at request of Bradley Cummings.
Zulu on the Ramparts HD
Publisher: Victory Point Games
Price: 7.99 as of this writing
Zulus on the Ramparts (Victory Point Games) is their third outing into the world of conversion of their low-cost boardgames into portable gaming apps, the first one being the somewhat lackluster dungeon crawl Loot n’ Scoot and the second being last year’s much better Levee En Masse. This game is a conversion of one of Victory Point’s biggest sellers, a game about the landmark assault on Roarke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. If you don’t know much about the war, I suggest reading The Washing of the Spears, by Donald Morris. If you don’t have that much time and dedication, just rent the movie ZULU on Netflix. Perhaps that is the better idea, because let’s just say the programmers are (ahem) paying homage rather liberally to the 1964 film in places.
ZULUS ON THE RAMPARTS takes place on two screens for the most part: this screen, showing the attacking Impis (from four directions) and the Barracks, where Attack Cards and Heroes enter the game.
Like many Victory Point Games, ZULU! is one of their solitary States of Siege games, which, like Levee En Masse, consist of the player taking a central position, and playing cards (or other randomizers) that cause an opponent of some kind to attack the central position from four different directions. As the artificial opponent often can advance from two directions at once or march forward multiple spaces, tension is created because the central position player usually only has one action to play in response. If the game app was as simple as what I just described, I probably wouldn’t purchase ZULUS ON THE RAMPARTS at all. After all, I already have Levee’ on Mass, and that would be the same game, wouldn’t it? Not this time. The programmers of this app took pains to hide the similarity of this game to other State of Siege games– it looks more like a video game and less like a board game. As the implacable foe approaching on four tracks are Zulu impis this time out, the programmers expanded the decision space a little bit by forestalling the card draw look and feel from Levee en Masse and implementing a “chit pull” randomizer that not only moves Zulu impis forward on four tracks, it also adds in all kinds of random events that effect game outcomes, such as snipers in the hills, retreats, regrouping, starting fires in the hospital, etc. I know Levee en Masse had random event card draws too, but this just looks different. Like pulling chits out of a cup.
This is how the ZULUS ON THE RAMPARTS activates Zulu advances on the four tracks during the game. You can see that most of the actions are “Advance 3, 2, or 1 spaces”, but there are other actions such as set fire, sniper fire, command regrouping, etc.
Much like in the other games, how the player responds to the impending doom attack depends greatly on card management. A ZULU ON THE RAMPARTS player has two resources to use to fend off attacks: hero cards and volley cards.
HERO CARDS represent the historical individuals that were present at the battle. Initially, the player has two at his disposal, LT John Chard and LT Gonville Bromhead. Each hero has a unique special capability that influences outcomes at various parts of the game.
A Hero card, in this case Lieutenant Adendorff. Heroes have three characteristics, short, medium and long for volley fire, and one or two special abilities. In Adendorff’s instance, you may discard his card to return 3 impi markers to the pool. A great ability, but it makes LT Adendorff’s card go away for the rest of the game.
As stated, every turn, you will pull a Zulu chit that moves the Zulu unit forward 1-3 spaces or do other nasty things like fire the hospital. The player, playing the role of the British, needs to fend the Zulus off or drive them away. When they get within 1,2,or 3 spaces away, the Zulus are then within volley range at Short, Medium and Long range, respectively.
VOLLEY CARDS: The other type of card in the game is the volley card. A volley card represents the infantry of the Drift firing in volley order against a Zulu impi at ranges 1,2, and 3.
Assorted volley cards, that work at assorted ranges, some better than others.
A Volley Card. In this instance, the card rolls 1 dice at short, 2 at medium and 3 at long range. You can also perform a non-volley action after firing.
So, we’re firing volleys, how do they get resolved? Through the spinner. For each dice rolled at a certain range, a column in the spinner is rolled. This is just a fancy way of rolling dice. You are trying to avoid “MISS” results.
The combat mechanism.. it’s really just a way of rolling dice– results Miss, Miss, Miss, Retreat, Retreat, Casualties.
And that’s about it! You fend off the zulus for as long as you can, but gradually you can get overwhelmed if you can’t fight off all attacking columns and keep them at least two areas away from the central area of the Drift. Once an Impi gets inside of that area, the Zulu player wins. Like all States of Siege games, this is what leads to the tension and fun of the design. You only have one fighting action (and a reroll if you have a private card activated). This design (which I have not played in paper format) is very reminiscent of other games in the series that I have played, such as SOVIEET DAWN and LEVEE ON MASSE. And yet, designer Joseph Miranda has included many elements to increase the variable element of ZULUS, particularly in the activation chits of the Zulus and the special ability of the Heroes, making a turn far more interesting to me.
SUMMARY: I’d have to say this is the best game that Victory Point has brought to IoS yet, because of the level of variety and unusual extra abilities of the central location being attacked. This makes ZULUS very different from LEVEE, for instance. I find the Easy level can go pretty slow and is probably only good for learning the mechanics. Play at Medium level up. I do think the game is a bit pricey for what you are getting here, but I think that of most State of Siege game apps– they are fun for a while but I get more long term enjoyment from other (often cheaper) games. 8 dollars is pretty steep for a game with this much repetition, even one with this much variability compared to previous entries in the series. 4.99 would have been fair, but I kind of resented burning 7.99 on this one. For that reason, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 for being overpriced, but otherwise a great adaption of a fun series of games.
English: Drawing of Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (1845-1892) who was second in command of troops stationed at Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu wars in January 1879, where he won a VC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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FOR THE WIN
Price: $0.99 as of this writing
Size: 36.0 MB
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games, LLC
Up front disclaimers: I've never played the board game FOR THE WIN and had no experience with it, nor do I have any prior relationship with Tasty Minstrel Games (that's for Brad).
FOR THE WIN is a game of tile placement were the tiles have powers to affect game play. There are five tile types-- Monkeys, Zombies, Pirates, Aliens, and Ninjas. Victory is gained by connecting five (or more) tiles, including at least one of each type together, sides OR corners. The game has a unique twist in that the special powers of the tiles affect the tile location on the board, which can lead to surprises and turnarounds.
Alien - tractor beam pulls any tile adjacent to it.
Monkey - flips all tiles over that are adjacent to it.
Ninja - can move from current place to any spot on the grid
Pirate - moves pieces to any unoccupied space on the grid
Zombie - infects any adjacent tile. The infected tile is removed from the grid and replaced with a Zombie tile that has not yet been added to the grid.
I like the game design a lot.. it's simple to play and learn but has many interesting quirks. The grid movement and piece properties gives it an abstract flavor like Chess, building the line formation reminds me a little of Reversi.
The app recently released by Tasy Minstrel Games is very well done. The interface is bright and cheerful looking and the buttons large and easy to figure out.
FTW also has a very good tutorial that explains the game clearly and a rulebook in addition to that. There is also contextual help, which is an unusual feature
Tile placement is handled pretty easily via the interface. The game will indicate a legal or illegal move which helps when you are learning how to place the tiles.
I have played several games so far (all against the AI, sadly, there is no network play option). The game interface perfectly executes the game design on an IOS device. I was pretty happy with the effort made on user interface design. It showed that the folks at Tasty Minstrel Games understand the nuances of IOS interface very well.
The AI opponents I played were not bad at all. They routinely kick my butt. As the game can only be played hotseat or versus AIs, you will appreciate the AI Strong setting, it can put up a fight.
The AI doesn't use the special powers as often as a Human player might, but it can still mess up the strategy of the FTW game.
As a player, I was delighted with this game at .99 cents a pop. It's a real steal of a price and that's a lot of game for a pittance. I felt the lack of network play keenly, however. It's as if something crucial has been left undone, and it's a shame. I think network play really should be considered a minimal requirement from now on, no matter how hard it is to program.
Summary: I'm going to give this one a 4 out of 5. It's a tightly designed implementation that perfectly realizes the design and intent of the parent game. My big disappointment was with the lack of network play, but let's hope Tasty Minstrel's programmers add that in in a later patch. Recommended.
Note: The community voted and wanted to see Walt review For the Win here. - Brad
- [+] Dice rolls
- [+] Dice rolls
- [+] Dice rolls
- [+] Dice rolls
- [+] Dice rolls