Digital version of sci-fi card game Core Worlds is locked and loaded

2016 is shaping up as a great year for digital board games.

2016 is shaping up as a great year for digital board games.

The Kickstarter for a digital version of Core Worlds wrapped up way back in the summer of 2014, so you’ll excuse us if we’ve somewhat forgotten about its existence. Yesterday, however, the developers updated the Kickstarter page with some good news: the release candidate is heading to backers and they’re planning on submitting to Apple on March 1.

Core Worlds is a deckbuilder of sorts, putting players in the roles of factions who exist at the fringes of the galaxy, but are building armies and fleets as they take over planets on the way to the core worlds at the center. This is all abstracted out on cards as you progress through “zones” to the core worlds which are available in the final two rounds of the game. The goal is to have the most victory points (yea!) and the deckbuilding is done via an Ascension-like central pool. You can draft cards from this central pool or deploy units into you tableau to invade worlds, collecting points as you go along.

The digital version of Core Worlds is coming to iOS a week or two after it’s submitted on March 1. The Android version is underway and will come out shortly after that.

Curious to learn more? Check out the overview by Joel Eddy after the break.

Hat tip: Jeremy Scranton

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Welcome to The Show, here’s how to beat Baseball Highlights 2045

You know what that makes you? Lollygaggers.

You know what that makes you? Lollygaggers.

When Baseball Highlights 2045 was released a few weeks ago, I had already been playing it for over a month. Not just digitally, either, I was enchanted enough to pick up a cardboard copy so I could play with my kids. In that time, I’ve played dozens of series using the solitaire variant and have yet to beat the damnable “AI” in a series yet. Why the quotes? Because it’s not a legit intelligence, it’s just a random collection of 15 cards which makes it even worse.

Devoid of hope, I decided to call in a ringer, Ralph H. Anderson, the VP of Communications and Special Projects for Eagle-Gryphon Games, the publishers of the previously mentioned cardboard version of Baseball Highlights 2045. If it sounds like he’d know more about running a business than coaching first base, don’t fret. His alter ego is none other than Clutch Hayes, legendary manager and a guy who’s thrown his share of bats into the showers. He knows Baseball Highlights 2045 better than just about anyone, and he let me in on a few tips and tricks.

Strategies await you after the break.

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Choice of Games ready to go under the sea in The Daring Mermaid Expedition

I take it back. I do not want to be part of your world.

I take it back. I do not want to be part of your world.

Ah, mermaids. If ever a mythological creature could become reality, they’d have my vote. First of all, Ariel, and the argument ends there. I win. In the latest gamebook from Choice of Games, you’re tasked with locating these shellfish-wearing sirens as part of the esteemed Royal German Marinological Society. If you can’t tell, this is a little bit lighter fare for CoG, who wowed us last year with the somewhat deeper Choice of Robots. Since then they’ve launched about a billion* gamebooks and Daring Mermaid is set to launch tomorrow.

The basic story has you looking for a way to get into the aforementioned Marinological Society, with admittance requiring you to prove the existence of mermaids. Seems straightforward enough, but if you’ve browsed through a CoG gamebook, you know that the seldom get you from point A to point B via the straightest path. In Mermaid you’ll have the chance to fight pirates (or, maybe, even become one), practice dubious academics, and maybe even find a mermaid or two.

The book is over 71,000 words and written by Andrea Phillips who has done a ton of cool stuff including The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart (which you can tell is awesome just from the title).

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get more coverage for Choice of Games’ gamebooks and we’re making it happen. I couldn’t stick to the “no peanut butter after midnight” resolution, but one out of two ain’t bad! Look for a review of The Daring Mermaid Expedition in the next week or so.

The Daring Mermaid Expedition will be available on Steam as well as iOS Universal and Android tomorrow.


HexWar tackles the English Civil War with their latest, Fire and Fury

Looks like someone's trying to win Longest Road.

Looks like someone’s trying to win Longest Road.

Every time I see a new press release from HexWar come in, I get excited. Will this be news of a a 1775: Rebellion release? I’ve been playing the cardboard version quite and bit and have somewhat fallen in love with it. In other words, HexWar can’t release it quick enough. Today I received a press release from HexWar and though it wasn’t for 1775: Rebellion, it focuses on another period that catches my fancy, the English Civil War. I’d like to say it tickles my fancy because of the interesting politics or tactics of the era, but it’s really because one side was known as the Roundheads which still makes me giggle like a 12 year-old.

Fire and Fury: English Civil War is HexWar’s latest, and it was released last night for iOS Universal and Mac. It’s standard HexWar fare, using the same engine we’ve seen recently in games such as Civil War: Pea Ridge. This one puts you in the boothose of either the aforementioned Roundheads or the Royalists and let’s you fight on either side over 2 campaigns set in 1642 and 1644. There is also a 7 mission tutorial campaign included. To fill those campaigns, you’ll have over 30 unique units from the era of pike and shot which is an era that we tend to love around here.

Fire and Fury: English Civil War is available now for iOS Universal and runs $2.

Review: Forbidden Desert

Remo Williams is in this? Awesome!

Remo Williams is in this? Awesome!

I have added Button Mash Games to my list of developers whose work I should always check out. Their only other release was 2011’s Forbidden Island, so I might well forget all about them by the time I have the opportunity to make good on that desire, but their digital translation of Forbidden Desert (henceforth FD) is very nearly perfect. An uncharitable player might point out that this is a cooperative game with no information possessed by some players but hidden from others, which simplifies the programming task immensely. Doubtless this is accurate–I really wouldn’t bother playing online even if the option were present, and there’s no AI to write. But FD does so many things not just adequately, but exceptionally, that I find myself feeling like it’s the best profile I’ve ever seen. They just get me, you know?

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The quest for total world domination begins today

We were going to call it Order 66 but that was taken. And dumb.

We were going to call it Order 66 but that was taken. And dumb.

Sorry for the lack of news here at Pocket Tactics today. Slow days at Mt. Hexmap usually only occur for two reasons: it’s mani-pedi day, or I’ve fallen asleep playing Civ 5 again. Both are pretty good reasons, actually, but today I have an even better one. Stage one of Operation Owen was launched successfully this afternoon, and you can see the results here.

For those of you too lazy to click on that link (and I do admire that, believe me), our sister site The Wargamer has taken on a fresh coat of paint. Seriously, bounce on over and check it out. It’s a brighter, shinier site that no longer looks like it was created in 1995. Of course, The Wargamer was created back in 1995 and has been a leader at posting news and reviews of strategy and war games for PC and tabletop ever since. That’s not changing. In fact, it’s going to get even better with the likes of James Cobb, Alex Connolly, Matt Thrower, Zac Belado, and the rest of the crew providing content.

Not interested in wargames or heavier strategy games on your PC? Don’t worry, this post is also for all you Pocket Tactics readers who just want the best mobile game coverage on the web. You see, one day soon Pocket Tactics is going to look a whole lot like the new Wargamer site. So, head on over and take a look at what the future holds. Don’t like something? Make sure to let us know at We’ll take all the comments and criticisms of the new Wargamer site to heart before the new Pocket Tactics site opens, which isn’t too far down the road.

Upcoming Baldur’s Gate expansion now helmed by BioWare veteran

"Make it quick" is right.

“Make it quick” is right.

Way back in July we announced that Beamdog, those video gaming necromancers that brought the Baldur’s Gate series back from the dead, were creating a new and original expansion for Baldur’s Gate called Siege of Dragonspear. The new expansion is set to take place between the events of BG1 and BG2, and should offer 25+ hours of new content. What any of that content would be was a mystery, but yesterday Beamdog acquired an old hand at this Baldur’s Gate stuff, so I think we’re in good hands.

David Gaider worked for BioWare for 17 years, starting with Baldur’s Gate II and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic content and worked his way to lead writer for BioWare’s other fantasy juggernaut, the Dragon Age series. So, if Morrigan always annoyed the hell out of you, blame Mr. Gaider. Yesterday, he became the Creative Director at Beamdog, so at least we know that the upcoming expansion will have a decent story to go along with all that hobgoblin bashing.

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is due out on PC/Mac later this year, with the iOS/Android port coming shortly thereafter. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer after the break. One of the better “teaser” trailers I’ve ever seen, but that might just be because we get to hear Minsc. I love Minsc.

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Review: Space Grunts

Enjoy the sunlight... and the alien skulls on poles... we're going underground.

Enjoy the sunlight… and the alien skulls on poles… we’re going underground.

Pascal Bestebroer, the mind behind tiny indie studio OrangePixel is known for tight, finely-balanced action games that actually play well on a smartphone. His Metal Slug-inspired shooter Gunslugs is a better mobile experience than the official ports (and Dot Emu did a great job with those!), and Heroes of Loot is more of a spiritual successor to the original Gauntlet than any of the recent sequels, albeit without multiplayer co-op.

Nonetheless, OrangePixel games have been an odd fit for me, like listening to a mixtape created by an audiophile friend with different taste in music from my own. Like many Pocket Tactics readers, twitchy mobile games aren’t my jam. Interestingly enough, contemplative turn-based strategy isn’t Bestebroer’s thing, but he created one anyway, and designed Space Grunts to be a turn-based roguelike that feels like a dynamic shooter.

I have a fascination with games that attempt to extract the critical strategic elements from real-time games and present them in a turn-based format, like Sean O’Connor’s squadron space shooter Critical Mass (sadly Windows only) and fighting game distillation Yomi. As a “turn-based action game,” Space Grunts raises two distinct questions: first, can this game capture shooter mechanics in a turn-based format, and second, is the result a winning combination?

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