The Week In Review
Welcome to the first of my weekly columns. After shifting the way we post here on iOS Board Games, I decided that a weekly column like this may be useful. This column, apart from possibly being vain, will allow me to talk about more apps and games than we usually have a chance to cover. This column will also evolve as I receive new ideas and suggestions.
Initially, this column will do the following things:
- Allow me to highlight and comment on games that may not receive a full review for one reason or another. Perhaps because they are on the edges of what we cover or perhaps they are in need of severe technical fixes.
- Be a platform to speak about video games that may be of interest to lovers of digital board games. It will be a space where I can talk briefly about my physical board gaming experiences.
- Lastly, this column will be a place where we can discuss various topics surrounding table top and digital gaming. This will mostly be thoughts about the genre and industry as a whole.
I hope you enjoy reading this weekly and that it provides a small look at the bigger picture. If you have ideas or things that you would like to see in the column, please let me know in the comments below.
Here are some highlights and comments on some apps I have been playing this week:
Delve: the Dice Game
Based on the popular print and play game found here on BGG, Delve has now made its way to iOS. Some have complained about the anime art style used for the game, but it did not really seem to affect my experience. This game is a very fun dice management game with strategy level between Zombie Dice and Roll Through the Ages. Players venture in to a dungeon with four heroes. These heroes have abilities that are activated with various dice combinations and these combinations are used to damage dungeon monsters or heal the party.
I meant to play this one more this week, but currently it has some big glitches that will need to be repaired. This game has potential so keep it on your radar. We will be sure to let you know when a patch has arrived. You can check it out here.
Chaos RIngs II
Before starting iOS Board Games last year, my first iOS review was actually of Chaos Rings for iPhone. It is a series of original turn based RPGs for the platform. The first two installments were connected and featured similar mechanics, while this newest installment breaks new ground not only in story but also in the level of polish. The previous installments seemed like worthy experiments in bringing this genre to iOS, whereas Chaos Rings II feels perfectly at home on iOS, almost tailored to it, while still delivering a deep level of gameplay comparable to many console games of this genre. The term “console quality” gets thrown around a lot, and I dare not use it here, rather this game is iOS quality, but proof that iOS games can feature deep gameplay.
Chaos Rings II feels like a complete package. There are defined side quests and a tailored, compelling narrative that features real player choices. The basic premise is that you are tasked with sacrificing 5 people to save the world, and you make the choice of the order they are sacrificed. This can change your game drastically and encourages replayability. I have played for nearly 10 hours at this point and there appears to be much more adventure to go. This genre may not be for every player but the battles are very strategic and interesting and this is a great example of a deep title on iOS. Upon completion of the game and time permitting I hope to get a full review of the game up on Video Game Geek. You can check it out here.
This app has been advertised all wrong. Before its release Touch Arcade called it an Action RPG, and many other said similar things. Battleloot Adventure is actually a turn based battle game. Imagine the battle system from a 32bit Final Fantasy game combined with the quick-time events of the Mario RPGs, and then take all of that and mix it with the Tank, Healer, DPS mechanics of a MMORPG. After you combine all of those ingredients, distill it all into its purest form and skin it in some of the most beautiful art I have ever seen on iOS. That is a lot to imagine, I know, so justcheck it out yourself for $0.99.
Seriously though, this game is a blast. You assemble your own team of adventures which you can customize and take them on missions to battle monsters or other adventures in various locales. I have played a few hours, completed several missions and appear to have just scratched the surface. It may not be a board game port but it is extremely strategic and should be a good fit for fans of team based tactical battles.
One of my hopes is to one day expand the blog to cover board game experiences on many platforms. One such experience I had recently was with Magic 2012 on Xbox Live. This game is simply Magic: the Gathering with pre-constructed decks. There are several decks available at purchase as well as several that can be purchased afterwards. I found this game very enjoyable as a MTG player in my youth. It gave me the game of magic without the collectable aspect.
I would recommend this for any fans of the mechanics of MTG that do not want to have to find and build their own decks. You usually know your deck can match what is coming at you in this controlled arena. It may be worth a purchase if this fits your bill. You can check it out here.
Counter to popular belief, I do take the chance to play physical board games whenever possible. Lucky for me I have had many opportunities to play games over the past week.
Conn Con 2012
This was my first year attending Conn Con, a local convention in Stamford, CT. It was a fun straight gaming focused convention with plenty of open gaming as well as scheduled events. I was able to play a few titles such as Haggis, The Resistance and Hive. I participated in an event for Eminent Domain, winning one of the two games we played. I am really enjoying that game and new strategies seem to open up each time I play. I got to shake hands with Eric Summerer and then played a game of Summoner Wars with Octavian of BGG. The game, like many SW games came down the wire but Octavian pulled it off just in the nick of time. Overall it was a great convention and I hope to attend in the coming years.
My wife recently started a great video editing job that has her working from noon to 8pm. This schedule is a bummer in any ways but one positive is that I can now attend a weekly game night at Battlegrounds Gaming in Norwalk, CT. This week we played Summoner Wars, 7 Wonders, Memoir 44, and Dominion. It was a fun night and I am looking forward to doing this more often. We are also hoping to start a Risk Legacy group in the next few weeks, so perhaps I will discuss that in the future.
This week I have been thinking a lot about games that elicit an emotional reaction and how much you can really become emotionally invested in a game experience. I am not referring to the desire to win or lose which can be a strong emotional trigger, but rather the ability to feel an emotion with/towards characters in a game. This has been on my mind after hearing the folks at Gamers with Jobs talk about the emotional feelings created for them by Mass Effect 3. This puzzled me as I had experienced emotional connections through other media such as books and films, but I don’t recall often being connected that closely to video game characters. However, with Chaos Rings II this week I actually experienced some moments of emotional and moral dilemma. For example, in the game you are forced to choose which of five characters will be sacrificed. This removes them from the game and changes the rest of the story. My first thought was to choose the weakest character stats-wise, but then I found myself thinking, there is no way I can kill a child or a woman first so obviously the choice must be so and so. This intrigued me as I suddenly felt the dilemma of the character I was controlling.
So that is my thought for the week. Can/should games have the power to elicit the same character connections and emotional reactions created by films and books? Also, are their board games that do this successfully and in what ways can board games do this? Discuss.