The Week In Review
Here are some highlights and comments on some apps I have been playing this week. I got the chance to play many iOS titles this week:
Earlier this week Gabe mentioned Happy Meeple.com. This site is a way to play board games online and is formatted to be play well on both iPad and iPhone. While the site is certainly a dud in the graphical department, there are some cool features. One such feature is the varying levels of AI. For each game there appear to be several AI opponent that play in different ways and can be unlocked by beating the previous opponent or purchasing them with in game currency. Some may be scared by this micropurchase system, but initially you get Lost Cities (perhaps the most popular game on the system) and can play several games of that in a row before your “energy” is depleted. Spending money appears to only be necessary if plan to play extensively which seems fair.
You can check the game out here.
I am not terrible at all classic card games, but Hearts is one that I fail at. Sadly, in my family we grew up playing Rummy and Canasta but never Hearts or Spades. If you actually do see me a “Hearts tournament” do not elect to be my partner. The app Hearts Tournament on the other hand is actually a success. It has a very polished look and is focused on having multiple games going at one time. You can play with AI, random folks online, or friends. One of our team members is currently working on a full review. For my two cents, if you are a fan of Hearts this is one of the best iOS implementations.
You can check it out here.
Conquest! Medieval Realms
Before I go on I must tell you that every game of this app I have played so far has been very enjoyable. The game is quite fun and brings back memories of old games like Civilization and Rise of Nations. However, unlike Battle Academy, Conquest! Medieval Realms lacks polish and stability. The game is a hex based strategy game where the player is trying to conquer 80% of the map to win. You start with a few territories and must use soldiers to conquer additional hexes. Each soldier can only conquer one hex per turn and only hexes below their attack level. Players can build defensive buildings and defend with soldiers to raise the level needed to invade a certain hex. Players must also make sure they build enough economic buildings in their territory to support their army or the soldiers will disappear and riots will start in the territory. It is a fun concept but is hindered by a few problems:
1. The app has been unstable in my experience. After rebooting and clearing my iPad the game will crash randomly. It has been more stable on my iPhone but I have still experienced crashes. This can often be far into the game, which can be very frustrating.
2. The interface is clunky. One example: the tutorial hints that there are more types of units and buildings but it does not teach you how to pull them up. If you press and hold the soldier unit it will pull up the list of other units to buy, however this was never explained clearly. Also this system is quite slow.
3. The end game can be quite slow. After conquering about 50% or 60% you are so supreme that the last 20% is quite uneventful. I guess this is more of a complaint against the entire genre rather than this game in particular.
I have to say that despite all of these problems, I really enjoy the game when it works. There are several maps to choose from and starting position is always random, which provides new challenges. You can check it out here.
Draw Something Pics of the Week
I did not receive any new submissions this week and I have not had any great ones myself lately. As always, if you want to share your drawing please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your BGG username, and you may see them show up here.
You can check it out here.
War of Honor
War of Honor is a game I have had for a while but it has been hard to get to the table. War of Honor is a variant of Legend of the Five Rings which focuses on multiplayer and multiple paths to victory. It is lauded as a great entry point for new players. In junior high, when I was trying a new CCG every few minutes or so I had played L5R and remember enjoying it. For this reason I was excited to play War of Honor.
This week a stalwart gaming companion and I decided to try it. We both had some experience with the CCG and had both read the entire rulebook so we were ready to go. In the end we abandoned the game. It is not that the game is bad, in fact it was quite fun and the ability to go after different victory conditions is a nice touch. However, what pushed us away was the amazing amount of game text. The prebuilt decks they give you are meant to be simple but even they contain lines of game text. Almost every card can be used in two ways and your opponent has so many abilities available to him, it is hard to judge when going to battle is a wise move. We want to try it again with multiple players. There is a fine game in there but it will take time to study and learn the decks.