Posts Categorised: News

Ask the Askaras: Here’s Justin Gary’s favorite set to play Ascension: Realms Unraveled with

So many cards it's like Justin Bieber's in the hospital.

So many cards it’s like Justin Bieber’s in the hospital.

Now that Realms Unraveled is out for Ascension, there’s different seven core sets you can choose to play with, plus a mess of promo packs. I did the math, and there’s now three digital Ascension cards for every man, woman, and dog on the planet. If we actually printed all of these cards out, the Earth would collapse under its weight and become a black hole, which would be pretty cool for Interstellar cosplay, I guess.

Clearly, playing with every single set is only good for the occasional lark or if you want to drive an OCD friend to insanity, but which sets should you be playing with? I decided to take this question straight to the source: Ascension designer Justin Gary.

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Things fall apart: Ascension’s Realms Unraveled arrives on iOS & Android

The Canon Templar does not approve of your Lifebound-Mechana shipping.

The Canon Templar does not approve of your Lifebound-Mechana shipping.

In the wee small hours of the morning, Playdek dropped another expansion on us. Realms Unraveled is a highly respected box for Ascension, the durable deck-building card game that would almost certainly be elected the official pastime of Pocket Tactics if we ever put that to a vote. The expansion is available as a single $2.99 purchase within the Ascension app, and it’s on both iOS and on the recently-launched Android port.

With the release of Realms Unraveled, digital Ascension has now achieved parity with the tabletop version. Ever since Playdek and game designers Stone Blade put aside their differences earlier this year the duo have been cranking out card sets; after Rise of Vigil and Darkness Unleashed, RU is the third expansion to get digitised this year.

For those somehow still unfamiliar with Ascension, stop reading this and go play the tutorial already. There simply aren’t any hobby card games that are easier to get into, and certainly none whatsoever that are so well-supported by mobile apps.

For Void-weathered Ascension heads, this expansion introduces multi-faction heroes that play with the Unite and Transform mechanics from earlier boxes. I’m still wrapping my head around it but I’ve enjoyed my couple of online matches already. Ascension artist Eric Sabee is also at the very top of his game with this set. Make sure you read my interview with him from earlier this year if you want to understand how Ascension’s one-of-kind card art comes into being.

Feel the beat: Tempo coming to iOS next year

Sleeves optional

Sleeves optional

Tempo is a new shooter from Splash Damage, the blokes behind 2012’s colorful but soulless tactical game RAD Soldiers. This one looks pretty as well, but has dropped RAD’s cartoony overtones in favor of more realistic ones. In Tempo, you control a team of soldiers trying to prevent a guy from blowing up London. He’s kind of like Dr. Evil with hair, and I was fully expecting him to raise his pinky to his lips as he drawls out £1,000,000,000,000 in the trailer.

Speaking of the trailer, that’s really all we have to go on about the gameplay of this one. The press release is pretty vague other than Tempo has “reflex-driven gameplay” which, in my mind, equals quicktime events. Hopefully not, because that would make this game full of suck, but we’ll have to wait until January when it launches to see for ourselves.

Teaser trailer after the break.

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Strange (home)brew: Dungeonscape becomes Codename: Morningstar and moves to Kickstarter

I can't wait to upload my completely original modules, Fort on the Borderlands and Against the Large People.

I can’t wait to upload my completely original modules, Fort on the Borderlands and Against the Large People.

When we last left the intrepid band at Trapdoor Technologies, they had just been released from their deal with Wizards of the Coast and their plans for a Dungeons & Dragons 5E digital toolset had dissolved into the ether. What the hell are you going to do now, we wondered. Well, I wondered. I got to meet the folks at Trapdoor at Gen Con and see what they had been working on, and couldn’t wait to run my next D&D campaign behind nothing but the soft, comfortable glow of my iPad. It seems that both their and my dreams had been dashed.

Not quite. Trapdoor has taken the technology behind Dungeonscape and has parlayed it into something bigger and better called Codename: Morningstar. They’re looking at a fully functional campaign organizer and creator that doesn’t rely on any one ruleset, but can be used for any home brew our little brains can think up. This isn’t just a tool for flipping through digital handbooks and rolling up characters any more, now you can start a new campaign or, even more exciting, import campaign materials you’ve already written, and all this can be done on a tablet.

Oh, and it’s not just your materials. The plan is to allow users to upload their content for others to use, or possibly buy. Need a quick one-nighter for tonight’s game? Head to the library and download one. Want to share the world you’ve spent the last 8 years building? What’s stopping you?

Codename: Morningstar is currently over on Kickstarter looking to rake in over $400K. They’re only at about $50K now, so they’ll need a lot of help over the next 17 days. Check out some of their videos after the break to see how they’re trying to incorporate digital into tabletop RPGs.

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For the Er-win: Field Commander Rommel for iPad ambushes the App Store

Men, make sure you're wearing your primary color camouflage out there.

Men, make sure you’re wearing your primary color camouflage out there.

It’s been the year of the surprise digital board game release: BattleLore Command, Yardmaster, and Stalag 17 all arrived on the App Store with no warning at all. Ambush releases have quite a mixed record this year; BattleLore is nothing less than excellent but Trainyardz and Stalag 17 were… well, less than excellent.

Here’s one more release rolling under the rapidly descending App Store door, just hours before the holiday approvals freeze takes effect. An iOS and Android conversion of Dan Verssen’s big WWII operational-level tabletop wargame from 2008, Field Commander Rommel is $12.99 on the App Store and comes with three full scenarios: France 1940, North Africa 1941, and D-Day 1944. It’s also on Android, the Mac App Store, and it’s coming to PC forthwith.

This new release comes to us from Finch Digital, a statement to which the obvious question is:”Who the heck is that?” I put the question to Craig Finch himself, who told me all about his operation and this new game.

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Space shooter Rogue Star receives a new launch window

Shake it off.

Shake it off.

Only the most old-school PT heads will recall Rogue Star, a pleasingly chunky space combat sim with an penchant for bombastic (and royalty-free) classical music and over the top 3D dogfighting that we wrote about back in January of 2013. Back then, British developers RedBreast Studio had planned to release the title in the spring of that year, a ship date that they seem to have missed by just a tad. Maybe they were developing on that planet from Interstellar where every ten minutes there is like 10 hours here.

But (as I often remind my wife) who cares about punctuality when you look this good? Rogue Star has unveiled a brand new trailer to announce their new “early 2015″ release date for iPhone and iPad, and it’s just lovely. It sounds like Rogue Star is going to be a big open-universe swashbuckling sim: “players will be able to blast, trade and scavenge their way to fortune and glory”. Blasting not make one great, Yoda reminds us.

Watch that trailer after the jump (it’s a good ‘un) and follow Rogue Star on Facebook or Twitter for more frequent updates.

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Out Tonight: Pre-Civilization Marble Age (??), Pentaction, Galcon 2, and more

What's all this then?

Ah, yes: the Marble Age. The swords were terrible, let me tell you.

Owen here, temporarily taking back the Out Tonight reins from Neumann. Oh man. I’d forgotten what it was like here in the Pocket Tactics New Release Observatory high atop Mount Hexmap. Cold and airy. A light breeze smelling faintly of freshly rezzed cyberspace. The whole infinite sweep of the App Store stretching out before you for miles and miles. It’s bracing. Stimulating! I notice that the web browsing history has a strangely significant number of searches for sexy pin-up pictures of Vlaada Chvatil. I should probably talk to Neumann about that.

Anyway, let’s have a look at the new releases tonight, shall we? This is the penultimate batch of new games we’ll see in 2014, as the App Store’s game-extruding orifices will all shut next week for Christmas. We’ll have a slew of games coming in at the very last minute on Friday, but let’s look at the ones landing tonight for right now.

Trailers and chat after the jump.

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Winter came: Carcassonne gets arctic with new expansion

Not the gumdrop buttons!

Not my gumdrop buttons!

We mentioned the upcoming Winter Expansion for the venerable Carcassonne a couple weeks ago, and today the update has made it to the App Store.

The Coding Monkeys have added all new art assets for the iPhone 6 and 6+, as well as including 2 new expansions that are available via IAP. The first is the Winter Expansion which turns the French countryside into a winter wonderland, and also adds the Gingerbread Man expansion. Apparently, the gingerbread man can leave extra points in cities or something. It’s not very clear and even BGG is unusually quiet on the topic. The winter expansion can be purchased for $2.

The second expansion is the double-tile expansion, which does exactly what you think it does. It doubles every tile in the game, making for some huge and epic games of Carcassonne. The double-tile expansion can be nabbed for $1.

On top of the expansions, the new update also includes the obligatory bug fixes. Carcassonne is currently available for iOS Universal and will run you $10. Trailer after the break.

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