Compatibility: Separate iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch versions.
Current Price: $.99/$1.99(iPad) (on sale, was $2.99)
Developer/Publisher: Codito/Sage Games
Size: 7.8 MB
Multiplayer: Pass and Play.
AI: Yes. Multiple difficulty levels.
A great consistent design, buttons and functions are easy to understand.
Well supported by the publisher with many updates and fixes. This does not happen with all apps.
Lack of Multiplayer hurts the longevity of the game. Starts to feel like a puzzle game after a while.
Medici is one of the first apps developed by Codito/Sage Games who has promised to deliver an impressive slate of iOS board games. It is a solid board game port and adds features sparingly, retaining an analog feel. Due to the very calculated nature of this auction game and the lack of online multiplayer, Medici can feel like a single player puzzle game.
Medici is an auction game by Reiner Knizia that is played in 3 days (or rounds). Players take turns drawing random goods (units of different types and different amounts of those types) to make up lots and then these lots are bid upon. The player who wins the bid then adds these goods to his ship. Each players ship can hold 5 goods. Once each ship has been filled the round is over and the ships are scored earning the players florins. In true Knizia style their are several ways to earn florins: The players with the highest total amount of goods for the round score florins, as well as the players who have the most of each type of goods. The player with the most florins at the end of three days is the winner.
It is a simple little auction game that has a large amount of open information. My only challenging in quickly comprehending the game was understanding the real value of certain lots. This is a problem with many auction games and was quickly overcome after a few play throughs.
Medici in app version has a very consistent feeling. That is the one thing that struck me the most in comparison to other board game apps. From the interface controls to the art design everything is simple and straightforward. All the information is easily accessible and I never felt as if I had to dig through anything or learn some new way to control the app.
This simplicity is seen throughout the interface of the game. A tutorial is provided when you first begin the game but honestly (especially with the latest update) all buttons are clearly marked. The game can handle up to 6 players, either AI or human. I have heard complaints about the AI, but as far as I can tell right now the more difficult AI characters are a challenge. One complaint as a new comer to this game is I was unsure of how many players to include in my first solo game. After looking at BGG I could find the ideal number of players, but it would be nice if the game defaulted to this on opening.
As you can see from my comments above Medici is a well designed game. However, I feel that it lacks longevity. The rules in comparison to a game like Ra are much more simple, and so the choices to make become clear. So much of the information is not random that decisions can almost be weighed mathematically like a puzzle game. This to many is probably a positive feature of the game, but for me, in a single player setting versus AI it makes the game very dry. The addition of online multiplayer could add flavor and longevity to this game.
Medici is a well designed game with a smooth interface and thematic graphics. The pass and play feature and the AI allow for hours of gaming on iOS. I do feel the lack of online multiplayer does cause this app to lack longevity and the single player games with the AI begin to feel systematic and mathematical, almost like a puzzle game.
Rating: 2/4 Decent
Regular coverage of board game experiences on mobile, PC/MAC, Console and more.
Archive for Bradley Cummings, Editor
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Please accept this review. I know it is brief but look forward to reviews of Medici, Carcassonne, and Ra in the coming weeks.
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
Current Price: Free ($.99 for more features)
Developer/Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
Size: 28.6 MB
Multiplayer: Gamecenter leader boards. Pass and Play with upgrade.
A great example of a publisher producing a quality app version of their game.
All of the art and design flows well together
It’s hard to enjoy a dice game without the dice.
Zombie Dice is a great example of a developer and publisher working together to create a quality version of a board game. It has all the right features for a dice game and even some you wouldn't expect (achievements). If you don’t like push your luck dice games, this app will not change your mind, but it is an excellent translation for fans of the game.
Zombie Dice is simple, push your luck dice game. On your turn you roll three dice. You keep the brains you collect and also any shotgun symbols you roll. You continue to roll until you choose to stop, taking any brains you have collected, or get three shotgun symbols, at which point your turn ends and you lose any brains you had collected. Players take turns until one player gets 13 brains total.
The free version of the game lets you play against one computer opponent. By upgrading for a small fee you can play pass and play with up to 8 others.
As I have said already, I feel Zombie Dice is a good example of what an app can really be. Yes, it lacks many features I usually demand, for example online multiplayer, but it has everything a simple dice game needs.
The single player version of the game does offer a fun diversion. However, after a few solo plays the fun may wear off. The upgrade to pass and play will add longevity to the game. Essentially it is like carrying the dice game in your pocket. It captures the press your luck feeling of the game in an even more portable form. It becomes a quick little game pull out while waiting in line or doing other mundane tasks.
The interface for the game is set up well and easy to use. I never had to refer to the rules, but I have looked at them and they are very extensive. In the interface they even include links purchase a physical copy of the game. In this way the app then acts as an advertising tool. The functions of the gameplay look great and the dice actually look like dice. The only part of the interface that bothered me is that I never got to touch the dice. They are automatically rolled and the user is only allowed to choose to keep going or end their turn. I would have liked to use some sort of touch motion to flick or throw the dice, it would have added more of an analog feel to the game.
Reading through the above review, I realize there are several contradictions. I would correct them but the fact is I am torn. In many ways Zombie Dice is the perfect example of an app done right. It has graphics and design that appeal to wider audience and all the right features for a game of its type. But Zombie Dice seems to fail in other ways. It loses the analog feel of a dice game, and in a dice game rolling dice is almost your only action, and its gameplay and charm does not last long in a single player setting. On a gameplay level, the game is not for me, but as far as execution Zombie Dice receives flying colors.
Rating: 1/4 Needs Improvement
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07 Mar 2011
I know this post is long, but please bear with me. I believe this is something many need to hear. It builds off some of our previous opinion articles.
Introduction (or On Beyond Avalon Hill):
From this gamer’s point of few, the board game industry seems to be in a sort of heyday or golden age. More board games are being produced than ever before and more and more start-up companies are entering the market each year. We have seen games from small or new publishers become successful and highly ranked on BGG. Services that allow game designers to self publish and fundraising websites like Kickstarter are creating more opportunities for games that would not otherwise be printed. The industry, from a consumer’s perspective, is doing well.
Another reason for the current success of the industry may be the fact that many gamers who grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, and other collectible/time consuming games have now matured and are looking for a gaming experience that is compatible with family life and careers. Euro games and other designer games that allow high re-playability in a small package and within a short time-frame fill this niche.
The most impressive development stemming from the success of the board game industry is that the icy stigma surrounding hobby gaming (largely created during the 80’s and early 90’s) is beginning to thaw. Many games that target light players and families are being produced and are some of the communities highest rated titles. With this change some game stores have become places that a soccer mom would enter to purchase a game (this, in my opinion, is a good thing). Also the wide availability of board games online (especially on major retailers such as Amazon) allows consumers to make purchases without having to brave unbathed 14 year old stench or sometimes rude and odious employees. These family games, with their easy to learn, hard to master designs create a great connection between gamers and families and build a bridge to the land of mainstream consumers.
This blogger feels that all of these developments are great, and I delight in the success of my hobby. However, I fear that there is a change that is being widely ignored by the board game industry that could prove to be its undoing. That change is the digitalization of media.
Digitalization and Other Industries (or History Does Repeat Itself):
The digital distribution of media and information has changed the way that we as users and consumers receive goods. I am not talking about online purchases, that is a different discussion, I am talking about the digital download of information and goods. Great strides forward in innovation have eliminated many of the old constructs and have created new markets and new opportunities for those willing to invest in them. Sadly, old distribution channels suffer or even collapse due to digitalization. Smart industries have used digitalization to their advantage, foolish ones have crumbled and fallen. Let’s look at a few examples in hopes of highlighting a pattern:
Music: In 1999 Napster went live. It quickly became the largest peer-to-peer sharing site, but more importantly it introduced millions of teenagers to the concept of digitally downloading music. Napster got the music industry’s attention. They strove to shut it down and eventually did, however, the seed had already been planted. In 2001, iTunes was launched, currently the largest digital music distributor. Not only did it offer an easy way to digitally purchase music, but it has created a quality user experience. It seamlessly integrates with ipods and other mp3 players, it provides recommendations and much more. The music industry is suffering because of this, not the artists but the labels. CD sales continue to spiral downwards. Apple and similar distributors hold all the cards: they control pricing and the distribution channels (and they take a cut), music labels must bend to their standards. The labels can try and compete digitally, but frankly, they are coming into the game far too late.
Film and Television: More recently a similar pattern can be seen in the world of film and television. After suffering crushing defeats in the world of DVD rentals which was a huge profit source, the film industry remained stagnant instead of looking for the next major trend. Ok, that is not entirely true: major networks NBC and Fox teamed up to bring out Hulu. They did it only after mass piracy, youtube, and movie downloads on iTunes had led to crippling loses for the industry. Netflix has also started the streaming of major hollywood films, and many TV shows. It stands as a major competitor to Hulu. Services like Apple TV and others are also allowing customers to stream movies or download them if they like. These new services are innovative and easy to use. Many networks and studios are working with Netflix and iTunes, but again, they are at the whim of these new distributors, rather than controlling the distribution. Netflix also allows independent filmmakers to distribute directly through their site, rather than going through a traditional distributor. Many studios are still trying to find winning digital strategies, something that should have happened a decade ago.
Print Media: This is a more recent development. Yes, e-books have been around for many years, however, the Kindle and the iPad have put digital readers to the forefront. By combining a platform for selling, a digital product, and a hardware platform Amazon and Apple are starting to change the way we read. More digital books are being sold than ever before, and Amazon claims they are selling more digital books than paperback books. This new method of distribution eliminates the need for book stores, and sometimes even publishers. Borders is suffering greatly, closing many of its stores (if you live near a closing store you may be able to grab some board games for cheap), and perhaps other major booksellers will follow. Publishers are also being hit hard, they are laying people off and consolidating departments in some cases. Amazon also allows authors to self publish their books. Steven Covey is going to digital publish his next book. This gives the author a profit margin of usually 70%. Also new authors can publish their book on Amazon and after garnering a following can approach a publisher to release a physical book. Digitalization is changing the way we read.
Some trends we can see from these examples:
- Piracy always precedes the digital revolution.
- The media always survives, it is the publishers, etc. that are affected. New players step in to be the major distributors.
- Digitalization finds ways to recreate the analog experience. They have done it for many types of media.
- Digitalization provides new features and ease for the consumer. It increases the audience for product.
- Digitalization provides ways for the little guys to break in (ie unknown authors, independent filmmakers).
Will Board Games Have a Digital Revolution? (or Never Say Never):
The answer is yes. It will not be complete, just like people will not stop going to the movies, or reading physical books. We will never ditch our game collections for entirely digital versions of our games. The physical game can never be replaced, but the industry will not continue to grow as it is assailed on all sides by digital media.
The gaming industry is already being affected by digital media. The stigma used to be that video games were for children, or man-children (count me in). The industry went from a social event (pong, arcades) to games with long stories, violent art, and the like. These games are great, but they drove gaming away from the mainstream. The answer to this for many families was board games. Board games provide a wholesome family activity that encourages social interaction. However, innovations like the Wii and Kinect have moved onto board gaming turf. Families can join together to play these devices. One board game publisher I spoke to months ago said he feared families gathered to play Rockband rather than a board game. It is a threat to the board game industry.
Publishers and player alike must be aware that in order for the hobby to survive and continue to succeed we need more players and a greater audience. Economics drives everything. If there is no money in the industry then we will have lower quality games (both components and rules). An industry cannot be a perpetual labor of love, we are operating in a capitalist system. Digitalization has the potential to increase the audience and the platforms games are available on. There must be a greater support for board games in digital forms.
The Attitude of the Board Game Industry Toward Digitalization (or All Is Well):
The general attitude of many on BGG and in the industry toward digital board games is a very dismissive and mocking attitude. I agree with you all that board games are meant to be played socially, I understand that is one of the crown jewels of our hobby, I only want to inform you that I feel digitalization will change this industry, and we can either fight it and die, or work with it and build something greater. I know some readers will disagree with me, perhaps angrily, I only ask that you keep your comments constructive and polite.
To this point I would like to share a story. Last month, at my local game store (which happens to be in Manhattan) one of the largest board game publishers held a promo event. At this event there were several executives from the company and they gave away prizes as well as mingled with the dozen or so gamers that showed up. At the time this blog was just starting and I thought this was a great opportunity to get an awesome interview to go up on the blog. I first approached one of the Vice presidents of the company. When asked about iOS board games he told me they had one app (of their most popular game, not developed by them, but by a German company) and that he did not have a device so did not really know much about it. Later on I had the chance to speak with the VP of Sales and Marketing. I asked him what he thought of digital board gaming. He said, “Tell me this, have you ever been able to bluff a computer?” He then went on to mock and scoff at the thought of digital board games. This is the VP of sales and marketing! It was his comments and the utter dismissal of the topic that led me to write this article. Frankly, his attitude scared me. We must learn to take digitalization seriously
This one publisher does not represent the entire industry, however it does demonstrate a general attitude held by the industry and board game community. The board game industry is in a really good place right now. There are more games and larger conventions that ever before. Many do not see any problems arising. I must contend, I think we need to be aware of the changes brought on by digital media. Publishers and developers need to work together to bring games to digital devices. We need to compete in the markets that are threatening to eat away the industry, like video games. Many developers are beginning to release great games and even some publishers have been directly involved, but the effort has just begun and in many cases is not wholly supported.
I am no prophet, I can’t see the future, but I do fear that this upswing and positive climb of the industry will not last forever. If we are able to move into new and budding markets (digitalization) I believe the industry can not just survive, but thrive.
Why We Must Take Digital Markets Seriously (or My Two Cents):
In my opinion, digitalization is on its way to the board game industry. The new advent of casual games in the video game market is cutting into board game profits. Families are sitting around in front of the TV instead of around the game table. In order to get families and casual players to play games we have to fight an uphill battle. Not only must we compete against video games, but we must also continue to break down the stigma that has surrounded hobby gaming.
The other danger I see is that unless we as gamers, publishers and developers do not work together to move forward, the industry will suffer even more. There have already been huge divisions in the digital board game world due to cloning. Despite your opinion, cloners are creating clone games because they see a need that is not being filled and are taking the initiative to fill it. Publishers then take steps to get these apps taken down to protect their properties. Because the whether these apps or legal or not is up for dispute this has begun to create a rift for consumers. Suddenly an app will disappear. I understand both developers of these clones and the publishers who force them to be taken down are doing what they think is best, but this battle in the end hurts the consumers. The publishers do not replace the clone apps with licensed versions so in the end the consumers are left with neither apps. The digital progression of board games is being hindered by this infighting.
If we embrace digitalization and work in tandem with it, we can reap the benefits that will help the entire industry.
1. Digitalization opens new markets and sources of profit:
The board game industry is small in comparison to many. The businesses are usually run by a small group of individuals. For these reasons there is not cause to leave the market of digital board games untouched. By creating licensed and well done versions of board games, a publisher can create a new source of revenue for themselves.
2. Digital platforms can bring innovation while preserving the analog feel:
Tablet devices allow games to be played by multiple players on the same device. The Small World app is a great example of this. Others, such as the Jenga app use the gyroscope on the iPad to recreate the feeling of carefully removing a block. It is being proven that many of the original elements of game can be preserved when ported to a digital form.
3. Digitalization allows New Features:
There are so many new features that can be added a board game when it is digital. These new features allow for the game to be improved upon or experimented with. Worldwide multiplayer, wether asynchronous and synchronous, opens up a new world of competition for board game players. It will be possible to hold tournaments online with players around the world. Apps also add small improvements that could only exist in a digital space. Scrabble offers a teacher that will tell you, after you play, the largest word you could have played. In Jenga the computer will tell you which blocks are harder or easier for you to remove. Games can also offer new modes, for example Carcassonne offers a single player puzzle mode.
4. Game Designers can self publish an app:
Developing an app is cheap. You can download the software from Apple for free. You can then either learn to program or work with a friend who can program. Through this you can then create an app version of a game you are developing. This allows you to 1. make a small profit on your game, and 2. see how well the game does. Zombie in My Pocket has done this. If your game does well in the app store then it seems logical that a publisher may later want to pick it up. The app store can become a testing ground for new games.
5. Digital games can break the stigma and advertise to new audiences:
The key to the board game industry surviving and thriving is by opening up the games to more audiences. Eric, from the Dice Tower, once shared story about he Carcassonne app. It has received a lot of good press. In Eric’s wife’s office the game was being played by everyone who had an iphone. One day an employee was telling her about it, Eric’s wife explained to the app player that Carcassonne was an actual board game. Through the Carcassonne app Eric’s wife was able to introduce a whole office full of people to hobby board games. If high quality apps are produced by publishers, that take full advantage of the devices and their capability, they will be noticed on the app store by non-gamers and then it will increase the visibility of the hobby. It is a great way to get around the stigma by presenting our board games in a new way to new consumers.
Conclusion (or the End):
Digitalization is transforming all types of media. It has started to and will continue to have an effect on the board game industry. We can ignore digitalization and the hobby will survive, however, if we can embrace and work with digitalization I believe the board game industry can continue to thrive. Publishers need to stop fighting clones and start focusing on getting their major properties on to iOS. Publishers need to ensure that their apps have great features, they must find developers that can deliver. Board game apps must have the quality to compete with the rest of the app store. I want to challenge all players, publishers and developers to support and work together to create great board game apps for the iOS and other digital platforms.
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Compatibility: iPad(2x), iPhone, and iPod Touch.
Current Price: $2.99
Developer/Publisher: Tech20 Group, Inc. (Designed by Michael Schacht)
Size: 5.7 MB
AI: Yes. Quite challenging with varied play styles.
Itunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tricky-chicken/id394279847?mt...
A challenging AI that creates a great solitaire experience.
A simple game with a simple purpose. Don’t expect more than that.
The price m
I must be honest. Before playing Tricky Chicken, I had never heard of Drive or Crazy Chicken, I guess they were a little before my “time” per se. This being said, I am grateful Tech 20 Group has taken the time to bring such an interesting rummy style game to iOS.
In Tricky Chicken there are 9 suits of cards with the number of cards in those suits ranging from 20 to 6. The number of cards in each suit is equal to the amount of points it is worth at game end. Players start with 3 cards. They draw two cards each turn from either of the two draw piles or the two discard piles. Each turn a player must either play a set of cards or discard one card. Play ends when all nine sets have been player or a single player plays six sets. The tricky part is that once a player has played a set of one suit, their opponent can play set of the same suit if they have a larger set. This creates a great twist and adds an element of press your luck to the game.
Tricky Chicken feels like an effort that was built for iOS from the ground up. The presentation and controls feel natural and fluid. The cards of the deck are displayed as squares to allow a bigger size. The entire playing area fits nicely on the screen. Playing cards is as easy as taping and sliding.
The graphic design of Tricky Chicken is an area which could be improved. It is true that all functions are clear and the game works brilliantly, but I would love to see the graphic design improved to give it less of a home-brewed feel. It is important that apps look their best, since often a consumer may only see the icon and a few screenshots before they make a decision to purchase or not.
Tricky Chicken offers a great solitaire experience. Like Solitaire it is addicting and quick to play, but it does lack the meat of some heavier game available on iOS. Sometimes light is what we are looking for, therefore despite its home-brewed look Tricky Chicken offers a great game on the go.
Rating: 3/4 Good
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This is not quite news and not quite a review. I guess I am trying to alert you to and give my opinion on a new trend in iOS board games. That trend is the increasing amount of party games being made available for iOS. There are several already available and hopefully they are the first of many to come.
Games, especially party games are meant to be played face to face. Bringing some party games to iOS allows us to have them in a cheaper and more portable version. Due to their nature converting them to iOS is very simple. Most consist of just a deck of cards, a pad of paper, and perhaps a timer. Transforming all of this into an app does not change the way we play but instead innovates the way these games are made and enjoyed.
One great example of this is the Reverse Charades app which was released recently. It includes the entire play experience of the recently released board game. Rather than carrying a game box, you can just bring your phone or ipad to your next get-together. It also allows for more options than the physical version. Through the use of in-app purchases you can buy additional decks to add to the game. This offers the consumer more control, allowing them to purchase more of the game as they need it. This also offers the designers the option to quickly introduce new expansions to the game. For this type of game, an app seems like the perfect model.
I do not believe that digitalization will ever be the complete future of board games. However, it may be the future of party games. So many of them could be converted into this portable form. This is an area where I feel board game publishers and app developers must focus. This is a piece of innovation that cannot be ignored. The gaming industry must move forward with technology.
Of course this is just my opinion. Please chime in with your thoughts below.
Below are a few party games I have found while snooping around the app store. I am sure there are many more that I have missed, but you get the idea.
Reverse Charades - A licensed iOS conversion of the card game from last year. This game has received praise from podcasts like the Dice Tower.
Party Games - A combination of several basic party games like charades and catch phrase. From a brief look it seems very well laid out.
Word Party - This is a Taboo clone. Seems very well done.
Kwingle - A strange game that seems similar to Apples to Apples or Dixit. You read a word and everyone writes a word associated with it. The group then votes on the one they like best. Feels a little half baked.
Family Feud - A conversion of the TV show. Works well in large groups.
Would you choose... - Would You Rather clone. This includes online connectivity that adds another element to the game.
in Reverse - This seems like a very interesting game from Rusia. One teams sings a song, the second team hears it in reverse and tries to guess the song. If they can’t then they try to mimic the reverse sound and it is then played forwards for them, they then try to guess again. This is a good example of using all the capabilities of the iOS device.
Phrase Party - A Catch Phrase clone. It seems to try to mimic the electronic Catch phrase device.
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Compatibility: iPad(2x), iPhone, and iPod Touch, iOS 4.0 and higher.
Current Price: $4.99
Developer/Publisher: Spin Bottle Games/Chillingo
Size: 15.9 MB
Multiplayer: Pass and Play. Up to 5 players.
AI: Yes. No difficulty settings.
Itunes link: itunes.apple.com/us/app/zooloretto/id312840471?mt=8
A faithful reproduction of the board game.
A solid single player experience.
Multiple rule breaking bugs.
Gameplay can become stale after a few plays.
The iOS version of Zooloretto offers a satisfactory recreation of the board game, and though it lacks serious multiplayer, it can provide a fun solo diversion. However, rule bending bugs and a non-existent updates make this one title to be cautious of.
Zooloretto was the Spiel des Jahres winner in 2007. If you are a fan of European board games chances are you have played and passed judgement on this game. If you are new to this genre, Zooloretto is a great family game that shares elements of Rummy and Go Fish. Its push your luck mechanic creates a tension that really drives the game.
In Zooloretto, each player is the owner of a zoo. During the course of the game players are trying to fill each of the three(or four) enclosures in their zoo. Each enclosure can only hold one type of animal. Each turn players draw a tile from the pile and put it on one of the trucks (each holds 3 tiles). These tiles can be animals, stalls (ice cream, souvenirs, etc) and coins. Instead of taking a tile, a player use their coins to expand their zoo among other things, or take one of the trucks (ending their play for the round). The game progresses until there are less than 15 tiles left in the pile. At this point players get points based on how full their enclosures are and how many animals they have that are not in enclosures.
The iOS version of Zooloretto is true to its roots. It provides a quality recreation of this great family game.
Zooloretto offers a clear and straight forward user interface. If you are new to Zooloretto there is a tutorial (automatically turned on when you install the app, though you can shut it off in the options menu) which can quickly explain how to use the interface and play the game. It usually functions correctly, but there have been moments when I have dropped a tile on the wrong truck because of an error in the interface. It includes a couple options that you would not have in the board game version, like being able to see how many points each player has at given time. It also displays how many tiles are left to be drawn, letting you gage how many rounds remain. One annoyance is that there is no way to skip through AI turns. You are forced to watch the animations for each player’s turn causing a game to take between 20 to 30 minutes (close to the playing time of the board game).
A unique part of the Zooloretto app is the shop. It allows you to use points you have collected by playing to buy additions to the game. They include a 4th and 5th player and “the polar bear” option which adds a new rule to the game. Though there are only a few rewards to earn, the shop gives you motivation to play your first few games.
Graphically, Zooloretto takes a safe approach. It combines traditional elements from the board game with cartoony graphical representations and animations. For example, players still draw and drag tiles from a stack onto one of the trucks, but when place in enclosures the animals become animated sprites. These childish elements are found throughout the app, even the start up screen features a cartoony zoo keeper and a random encyclopedia blurb about one of the animals featured in the game. Though the childish representation does make it feel like you are playing a “kids” game, it is fitting for the theme of the board game.
The AI in the game is easily bested. I have to admit that a adding more players increases the difficulty, but my win percentage is still over 80%. For an app that seems to be intended to be played solo, the lack of challenging AI is inexcusable. And that leads to one of my greatest complaints about Zooloretto: it lacks longevity. This game is much less variable than most euro games, and it need expansions to add the flavor and depth. Yet, the app has received little to no support by its developers, and the functionality that is there eventually becomes stale as you triumph almost every game.
A little TLC could really make an ok app great. Two bugs have been submitted by players over and over, yet there has been no remedy. One is that a computer player will sometimes play an animal of a different type to fill their enclosure. Another is that tiles may be placed on a truck that is no longer there (only human players can do this) allowing tiles to be dumped (they later appear in the next round). They, in my opinion, do not break the game nd can be overlooked. The AI is so weak, that if this bug does allow them to win, it is a rare occasion, and as for placing tiles on trucks that are not there, that should not happen unless you as a human player decide to cheat. What cannot be overlooked is the apparent disregard of the developers for their app. I guess a big publisher like Chillingo has bigger fish to fry and cannot be bothered to fix two bugs that have been brought to their attention over and over. Honestly, one of the benefits of working with apps is that they can be updated so easily, the producer can be in direct contact with their consumer. They can use feedback to quickly improve their product...but I digress (Perhaps we will explore this in a later rant...urr I mean post).
Don’t get me wrong, the Zooloretto app is a very faithful and quality recreation of the board game. It offers a single player experience of Zooloretto on the go. However, it lacks the love and care that has been put into so many other great iOS board games. Zooloretto is a popular game and Chillingo is a large publisher, and, in this reviewers opinion, where much is given much is required. Therefore, despite its pedigree, Zooloretto falls short of what is expected of it.
Rating: 1/4 Needs Improvement
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Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, iOS 3.0 and higher.
Current Price: $1.99
Developer/Publisher: Sheeta Creative Limited
Size: 11 MB
Multiplayer: None as of this version.
AI: Yes, no difficulty settings but generally pretty challenging.
Itunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battle-of-gundabad/id41647873...
First deck building experience on apple devices.
Challenging campaign mode.
Clear and simple interface
Lacks many basic features and options.
The art style will not fit all tastes.
Battle of Gundabad is a well done deck building game, creating a portable experience that mirrors one of the highest rated games in the board game community.
Battle of Gundabad is, as it claims, a deck building game. In fact, aside from a few cosmetic differences, it feels like Dominion. This is not meant as a negative remark, but to show that any player of Dominion or similar deck building games will feel right at home with this app.
In each game of Battle of Gundabad, four players begins with a small deck of cards. With these they can purchase any action cards (10 of 20 are randomly selected to form the supply of each game), more power cards (the money of the game), or victory point cards (the player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins). The game ends when three card piles are exhausted or the Castle victory point cards are gone.
Unique to Battle of Gundabad is a campaign mode. There are 14 levels with their own victory conditions, for example trying to purchase 25 action cards before the game ends. Many times your starting deck will be altered and your computer opponents will have advantages over you. Each of these levels has been challenging, and it has taken me many attempts to complete them successfully. This campaign mode gives Battle of Gundabad a unique spin and adds longevity to the play experience.
Battle of Gundabad brings the deck building genre to the iOS in an overall positive fashion. The interface is simple and easy to understand after viewing the brief tutorial, and it offers a great experience, the first of its kind.
For a first build of the game, it does offer some options. You are able to control the speed of the AI players animations, which makes games go much faster. You can also mute or use sound (the background music is nothing to write home about). You can change your player name as well as the names of the four AI players. However, Battle of Gundabad still lacks many features. The lack of online multiplayer is common in many board game apps, but it seems like a pass and play feature could have been implemented easily. The AI players are challenging, I have won only one out of several games, however, there is no way to play anything other than a four-player game or edit the AI difficulty. As players of Dominion will know, the number of players changes the gameplay significantly. Another minor annoyance is that it also lacks multitasking support.
Battle for Gundabad is an excellent effort by Sheeta Games to bring the deck building genre to iOS. It lacks much of the polish and style of many board game apps from major publishers, but it offers solid gameplay despite the packaging. The bottom line is that if you are looking for a deck building experience on the go, Battle of Gundabad is for you.
Rating: 3/4 Good
Battle for Gundabad has no official association with Dominion or Rio Grande Games. Any relation implied by this reviewer was for the purpose of putting this Battle of Gundabad in context with similar games available on the market.
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