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Review: Battle of Gundabad

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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iPhone
The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, iOS 3.0 and higher.
Current Price: $1.99
Developer/Publisher: Sheeta Creative Limited
Version: 1.0
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...


The Good:
First deck building experience on apple devices.
Challenging campaign mode.
Clear and simple interface
The Bad:
Lacks many basic features and options.
The art style will not fit all tastes.

Summary:
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.

Gameplay:
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.

Implementation:
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.

A clear interface is key to the success of a board game app and Battle of Gundabad does not disappoint. The opening menu is simple and easy to navigate. The included tutorial will quickly show you what all the functions on the main game screen are and how they work. Basically, all ten supply cards are displayed in two rows of five, with the power and victory cards in a row below them. Below the supply cards, your hand is displayed. By double tapping on a card it will zoom in so you can read the text of that card. From the zoomed out view on my iPhone it is near impossible to read what each card does or the card name, however, after a few plays you will begin to recognize the art of the cards and be able to make purchases without needing to zoom each time. To play cards or buy cards you simply drag from your hand up or from the supply down to your hand. It is very clean and very simple. I have yet to make an accidental move, something that sometimes happens with less polished interfaces.

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.

Graphically Battle of Gundabad is satisfactory. As I mentioned before, everything is generally clear and well laid out, though it does lack sharpness on my iPhone 4. It is difficult to identify some button functions but referring to the tutorial and play experience will help solve this. The art of the cards is completely original and seems to be done by the same artist. I find the art a little juvenile and not really per my taste. However, if you like a fantasy theme it should appeal to you.

Conclusion:
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

Note:
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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Subscribe sub options Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:00 pm
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