iOS Board Games

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App News: Coup Coming to iOS, Roar! Catch the Monster Coming and more...

David Neumann
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In life you have to do a lot of things you don't f*cking want to do. Many times, that's what the f*ck life is... one vile f*cking task after another.
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App News




Coup Coming to iOS, Possibly Android
I absolutely adore games with hidden roles that involve lying to your friends. My first, and still best, foray into the genre was Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game but 3 hour blocks of time are hard to come by, so games like The Resistance and Coup are ones that go with me to every game night.

Soon, I won't even have to wait until game night as Coup is coming to iOS via Kickstarter. How do I know it's coming? Because they've already met their funding goal with 22 days still to go.

Designer Rikki Tahta has posted a nice explanation of how Coup Mobile will work, discussing the inherent issues with a mobile game such as not being able to read your opponents and having a game full of interrupts work asynchronously. I don't want to repost the entire thing (you should go read it), but I'll reprint what Rikki says about the main risks with a mobile version of Coup:

Rikki Tahta wrote:
Challenge 1 – you can’t see people

Not seeing people is an issue and hence the importance of chat and spies. (More on spies in a second) While the huge advantage of mobile is that you have a bigger audience to play against and can join a pick-up game whenever you have 5 minutes, it lacks the face-to-face quality that I enjoy so much. Being a bit nerdy and analytical I figured that really broke that down into 2 things I really missed: the banter and “reading” your opponents.

Firstly on the negotiation and trash talk, we added that as best we could in chat packs. I was for free-form chat but having the experience of the Banana boys helped as they pointed out the UI and speed issues. We’re still working on the chat packs to streamline that, so you can quickly taunt, make alliances, offers, pleads with just your thumb and without the game grinding to a halt.

Secondly we worked on how you give someone a “read” of their opponents. This is important and frankly what distinguishes players. Some people just win Coup more than others, not because of the cards they are dealt but because they take a view of how the playing style is going to be and how the game is going to pan out. That’s where Spies come in. They are designed to give you a view of the character of another player, by revealing their historical stats. Nothing that would interrupt the in-game dynamics but just as if you had had an auditor sitting over a player all their life taking notes of what they did. It is what one actually does in a card game with a regular group– after a while you notice someone is a little reticent to challenge, or doesn't bluff much or always claims a captain etc. The Spies just give you a snapshot of someone’s past playing style. We also decided to use them to solve a problem you have in a face-to-face card game. On BGG I have chatted with people who no longer played Coup as much as they used to as they said they were always considered the strongest players at the table and so were the first to be targeted. So we are adding the reverse ability that you can use the Spies to hide your profile if you want. We don’t know how these will work out but in the test plays I have had with my friends and family the Spies have been wonderful fun.

Challenge 2 – It’s asynchronous

That needed some rule changes particularly over the challenges and foreign aid. The main issue with challenges is how long do you wait to give everyone a chance to challenge? If you ask everyone each time the game grinds, if you set a timer then someone could miss it and besides timers are unstable if you’re not stateful (ie all players online on a server at the same time). We settled on a neat solution that was anyone could challenge until the next person took their turn, and before they took their turn they had to acknowledge they weren't challenging. That way everyone had a chance, the claim was never missed by a timeout, and the game was not halted.

Unfortunately that doesn't work with foreign Aid. In the original game Foreign aid speeds up the game in the final stages as it’s inflationary, but has the reverse effect in a mobile game as every player has to be given a chance to claim a Duke. So we just dropped it. Sometimes you have to make trade-offs.


They are creating all new art for the mobile version, but they are in talks with Indie Boards & Cards about having the Coup: Resistance art as an in-game choice. My preference would be the La Mame or French version art, but what are you going to do?

If you're an Android user and are wondering if/when an Android version would be released you're in luck! Kind of. One of the stretch goals is to create an Android version of the app. Yippie! Unfortunately, they're looking for $100K before they consider it, so you have about $95K to pony up over the next three weeks. Good luck!

We'll let you know more about mobile Coup as we get it.





Roar! Catch the Monster Board Game/App Hybrid Coming
Roar! Catch the Monster is an upcoming board game that utilizes an app, similar to Alchemists or XCOM: The Board Game. Roar! looks to be more of a children's game, however, and also appears to use augmented reality as a part of the game. Augmented reality is when you add digital objects into a real-world scenario. In the case of Roar!, you use your camera to view the board and you can see things on the board that aren't there in the physical realm. It looks pretty cool.

As a board game, it appears to be a Scotland Yard or Letters from Whitechapel type game in which the players are trying to hunt down a monster that uses hidden movement to move about the board. Unlike those games, however, you don't need a dedicated player to play Mr. X, but the app appears to do that for you. Can we get an app for Letters From Whitechapel that does this, pronto?

Roar! Catch the Monsters should be released in 2015. That's as close as I can get at this point.





Runespell: Overture Coming to iOS
Okay, here's one I've never heard of. Runespell: Overture is a PC game that has RPG elements, but combat is handled via a poker mechanism. Sounds good, no? Add on top of that collectible cards, however, and I'm not entirely sure what to make of Runespell. Is it a money sink where you need to invest in collectible cards, or a poker game in which you pay once and have a deck at your disposal? It's recently been ported to iPad and doesn't appear to have any IAP, so I'm leaning toward the latter.

Anyway, it looks pretty cool and includes both poker and Norse myths. I'm trying to find a downside here, folks.

You can download Runespell: Overture for iPad for $5. You can also nab it for PC/Mac on Steam for $10.


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