Multiplayer Game of the Year 2012

Asynchronous, too. Some of it, anyway.

The Olympics: the original multiplayer game.

I have always loved multiplayer games. I’ve spent (and spent well) so many hours of years gone by across a board from my friends, or playing PC or Xbox games online. In 1998 I sank so many hours into Quake 2 CTF that I dreamed about grappling hooks until the mid-2000s.

But this was the year that my iPhone and my iPad monopolized my multiplayer gaming time. Part of that is getting older and having less time to spend in front of a TV, but the biggest reason is that 2012 is the year that iOS gaming has matured enough to merit the lion’s share of my gaming time. This year we have been spoiled for choice when it comes to multiplayer games: the sleek and beautiful Letterpress, the sadly under-appreciated Outwitters, sophisticated late arrivals Battle of the Bulge and Stone Age – and many more besides.

But one game stood out above the rest. After the jump, the Multiplayer Game of the Year.

The Pocket Tactics Multiplayer Game of the Year for 2012 is Summoner Wars.

Lex is a Summoner Wars shark.

A Summoner Wars deck that I built for the specific purpose of defeating Lexicon. It still didn’t do me much good.

The virtues of Summoner Wars are many (we just eulogized the game yesterday) – but chief among them is that almost every multiplayer turn feels significant. Many of the best asynchronous multiplayer games on iOS are let down by turns where you don’t do much more than hit the “pass” button or acknowledge something trivial. Summoner Wars is the exception – pretty much every time you get the notification that it’s your turn in a game of Summoner Wars, you know that there’s a meaty tactical decision awaiting you.

It’s a game that can be equally rewarding of bull-headed audacity or patient deliberation – I’ve never seen a Summoner Wars match play out the same way twice, and I’m still continually surprised by it. There’s little else of its quality on the App Store and alongside Ascension, it’s the most prominent feather in Playdek’s cap.

To see all the games recognized in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2012 Awards, visit the awards index page.

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