Posts by: Dave Neumann

I got pig iron, I got all pig iron: Steam coming to tablets next year

I got cows, I got pigs, I got sheep, I got mules, I got all live stock [Image by John Moller]

Martin Wallace is one of those board game designers who’s work is criminally underrepresented in the digital medium. Sure, you can play Brass in a browser (and it works great), but where are the native apps of his other classic board games? Why can’t I play Automobile, Tinner’s Trail or Liberté? More importantly, where is his magnum opus Age of Steam or its slightly streamlined cousin Steam?

The answer is over at iOS Board Games where they’ve snagged an interview with Alex Yeager of Mayfair Games indicating that Steam is coming next spring/summer to tablets, presumably both iPad and Android.

Steam is a pick up and deliver game in which players must build networks of rails between cities and then deliver cubes from one city to another. The trick comes in supplying cities with goods that they actually want and having both a rail system and locomotives that are capable of delivering each good. Make no mistake: Steam is beefy. It will be the heaviest euro game available for digital, surpassing even the robust Agricola in terms of complexity. That said, it’s also incredibly rewarding and one of my favorite board games ever.

Check out the interview with Alex Yeager of Mayfair Games after the break.

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Not just another Mötley Crüe tribute band: Heavy Metal Thunder coming to iOS next week

You had me at Mr. Wiggles

You had me at Mr. Wiggles

As a teenager, I dealt with my insecurities and troubles the way most teenagers in the 80′s did, I grew a spectacular mullet. This has absolutely nothing to do with Heavy Metal Thunder, the new app from Cubus Games, even though it sounds like it should. Seriously, Heavy Metal Thunder sounds like a terrible set you’d see at the county fair, headlined by Warrant or Faster Pussycat. That said, I did have a pretty awesome mullet.

Instead of a app that lets you hire a one-armed drummer or replace your lead singer with a pale imitation who only got the job because he can’t drive 55, Heavy Metal Thunder is a sci-fi adventure that puts you in charge of repelling an incoming alien invasion. After saying it out loud, I guess the whole sci-fi thing does sound a lot better, especially since Heavy Metal Thunder is interactive fiction in the same vein as the gamebooks from Tin Man Games or inkle. Honestly, the screens and trailer for this one look a lot closer to Tin Man’s take on digital IF.

Heavy Metal Thunder releases on September 3rd, so we can probably expect it next Wednesday night. I’ll be spending the weekend playing the hell out of this one, so I should have a review ready at launch.

Trailer after the break.

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Smart me up: Smarter Than You releasing on Sept. 25

Never get involved in a land war in Asia

Everyone here at Pocket Tactics should be familiar with Luca Redwood’s work. Not only did his last game, 10000000, win puzzle game of the year back in 2012, but the rogue AI, M.E.T.I.S., from his latest game and set forth a challenge that the readers of Pocket Tactics blew apart.

Well, the game that spawned M.E.T.I.S., Smarter Than You, is slated to hit the App Store on September 25.

Smarter Than You is asynchronous Rock, Paper, Scissors which involves lying, bluffing and basically doing your best Vizzini impression except you’re doing it against people all over the world whom your never actually met. If that’s not enough, Luca’s added a crazy monetization scheme that involves giving tips to other players who you enjoyed playing against. Somehow, Luca gets a cut. Or something. Even he’s not quite sure if it’s going to work. Otherwise the game will be free to play. Yes, it’s a free-to-play, social game and I can’t wait to try it out. What’s happening?

Trailer after the break. See you on September 25th. Or, maybe I won’t. Or maybe that’s just what I want you to think.

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Holding out for a hero: Sentinels of The Multiverse gameplay revealed

The greatest super-power of all? Getting rid of fiddliness.

The greatest super-power of all? Getting rid of fiddliness. [Image by Grant Holzhauer]

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a comic book that tells stories of super-villains, each with their own dastardly plot, and the small group of heroes who ensure they don’t succeed. The difference between Sentinels and other comics is that Sentinels isn’t a comic book, but a game played entirely with cards. Even so, what you take away from a good game of Sentinels isn’t the mechanisms of the game, but the stories that it creates. For example, there was that time Omnitron killed off The Wraith and Legacy but Ra managed to defeat him on the last turn, just before succumbing to death himself. Or the time that Haka and Bunker were about to kill Baron Blade, but the evil Baron managed to build another Mobile Defense Platform just in time to save himself and, in turn, knock the heroes out of the fight.

Every game of Sentinels has stories like these buried in it, if you’re willing to look past the individual cards and see the narrative that the card combinations can create.

We’ve known about the digital port of Sentinels from Handelabra Games for over a year now, but until Gen Con we hadn’t actually seen any real gameplay. Sure, there were glimpses of the interface and some environment graphics thrown at us, but nothing really meaty. That all ended last week, when Handelabra revealed a trailer showing the game in action. I had the pleasure of playing the game while at Gen Con and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I cannot wait to play some solo games while running 3-4 heroes. I play that way quite a bit at home but, even with Handelabra’s Sentinels Sidekick app, keeping control of all those heroes and the villain by yourself can be a bit overwhelming. On a tablet? Dreamy.

After the break, take a look at some gameplay for yourselves. Sentinels of the Multiverse is expected this Fall for both iPad and Android tablets.

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Review: Star Realms

The final frontier

The final frontier

Deckbuilding has long been the one board game mechanic that never quite lived up to its promise. It was born from the out-of-game experience every Magic player had of building a killer deck but, in practice, never really felt like that. Instead, games like Dominion and Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer use deckbuilding as a means to create a euro-style victory-point generating engine. Compare the feeling you get when your newly crafted Paladin deck in Hearthstone wipes out some poor hunter in ranked play versus the lack of a rush you get as you use a newly crafted Dominion deck to purchase another province. Somehow deckbuilding, an activity closely associated with the most Ameritrashy of genres, had been turned into a euro-styled efficiency engine.

Star Realms changes that. Here is a deckbuilder that actually feels like you’re building a weapon to smash someone in the face with. It feels like Hearthstone, only the deckbuilding takes place while you’re playing instead of outside the game. It’s incredibly simple, and yet layered enough that you can build satisfying combos that are guaranteed to make you grin as you put them together in your hand.

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Dungeon master: Boss Monster for mobile currently Kickstarting


Dungeon Envy

Dungeon Envy [Image by Dylan Wolf]

Boss Monster is already a Kickstarter success story, having successfully Kickstarted a cardboard version of the game back in 2012. Actually, Brotherwise Games didn’t just succeed at that Kickstarter, they slaughtered it, raking in $200K more than their initial funding goal. Well, Brotherwise is back on Kickstarter to bring the now published cardboard version to iOS and Android.

If you’re familiar with games like Dungeon Keeper you’ll have an idea of how Boss Monster plays. You and your opponents each play a boss monster in a video game and need to construct a dungeon to lure in annoying do-gooders and destroy them. Everything in the game is done with a fantastic 8-bit art style, and everything about the game is reminiscent of old NES platformers from the 80′s.

The intention of Brotherwise is to include both single player against 3 levels of AI as well as online multiplayer. The Kickstarter is already more than 50% funded, and they still have 24 days to go. There are pledge levels that will get you the app and the cardboard version, if what you see looks interesting.

Video of the Boss Monster digital prototype after the break.

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Dealer’s choice: LackeyCCG for iPad will let you play any CCG you’d like

Deal me in

Deal me in

Are you frustrated that Fantasy Flight didn’t announce Android: Netrunner for iPad at this year’s GenCon? Sad that you can’t play Lord of the Rings Card Game digitally? Well, dry those tears, because LackeyCCG was released for iPad last week and, with a little work, you can play virtually any CCG on your iPad.

LackeyCCG has been around on PC, Mac, and Linux for some time now, and if you scour their forums you’ll find people playing all the FFG living card games, Legend of the Five Rings, Magic: The Gathering and everything in between. It’s not just a card database, either. LackeyCCG offers online head-to-head play as well as a solitaire mode to test out decks or build/test your own CCG. I’m guessing solitaire mode would work great for games like Pathfinder Adventure Card Game or the LOTR living card game as well.

What’s the catch? Find out after the break.

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Love in no man’s land: Valiant Hearts coming to iOS

Oh, the humanity

Oh, the humanity

After the recent release of Commander: The Great War on iPad, we celebrated the fact that a war game focusing on something other than World War Two or the Civil War found life on the App Store. A few weeks later and Ubisoft announces the upcoming iOS release of Valiant Hearts: the Great War and we begin to have hope that World War 1 is finally getting its due. Before you get too excited, however, you need to realize that Valiant Hearts, while being set in WW1, is most definitely not a war game but a puzzle-adventure game.

Valiant Hearts puts you in the shoes of Karl who is a German living in France when Franz Ferdinand meets young Gavrilo Princip and the world changes. Karl is deported to Germany, while his French wife and child remain in France. I hope you can see where this is going. Drafted into the German army, while his in-laws are drafted by the French, Valiant Hearts tells the story of Karl’s trials to reunite with his wife and child and the interaction he has with his, now enemy, in-laws during the war.

Originally released for PlayStation and Windows, Ubisoft promises that the game has been rebuilt with touch controls in mind for the iOS Universal release on September 4th. Until then, have a look at the trailer after the break. This one looks pretty special.

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