Posts Categorised: News

Fail to the chief: Classic card game, President, comes to mobile

Actually, don't play with your friends. Don't play at all.

Actually, don’t play with your friends. Don’t play at all.

If you’re old enough to shuffle a deck of cards, chances are you’ve played President. Of course, the only time it’s called President is when you’re playing with your mom, otherwise you probably know this game by its more colloquial name, Asshole. It was a staple at college, and the unlucky bastard who was stuck in the asshole chair was forced to do all sorts of unsavory acts, although always after refilling the president’s mug.

Well, now this game has come to iOS and it’s about as terrible as you’d expect. The game itself is fine–it’s a very basic ladder-climbing card game, and those are always fun–but the best part of playing President was mocking those poor saps at the low-end of the table, which doesn’t work with bots or faceless, emotionless human opponents you can neither hear nor see. That’s not even really an option right now, anyway, because the PvP portion of the app (which is it’s main function, playing against bots is called “training mode”) doesn’t work. I’ve tried both a Game Center and email registration and both end up with authorization failures. Not only that, but the game is limited to 4 players and has no rule customization at all, which means you’re stuck with their rules instead of one of the countless other iterations of President that you’re probably used to.

So, as I said, the game itself isn’t terrible. President is a fun game that just doesn’t translate well, but if you’re really jonesing for a fun and interesting climbing card game, you have a lot of other choices on the App Store. Heck, this isn’t even the first version of President to make the App Store, and might be the most limited.

You can pick up President for free on the App Store right now. Usually we’d drop a trailer or more screens after the break but it’s too ugly for screens, and trailers don’t seem to exist. Instead, I’m putting a video from Paul Springer about Tichu. Tichu is a fantastic ladder-climbing game that also happens to have a really good iOS app as well. Oh, and Paul Springer makes the best videos, so double bonus!

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Out Tonight: Vietnam ’65, Pixel Heroes, Twilight’s Last Gleaming and more…

Remember when Owen compared the graphics to mini-golf? That was a long time ago.

Remember when Owen compared the graphics to mini-golf? That was a long time ago.

Vietnam ’65 has the distinction of being the App Store’s version of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, with the difference being that Vietnam ’65 is releasing today whereas Terry Gilliam’s pet project isn’t scheduled to release until next year. Since last summer, Vietnam ’65 has been submitted to the App Store with a scheduled release date, and then pulled before its release while a new publisher was sought. Eventually, Slitherine took the reins, updated the graphics and, finally, tonight we’ll see the fruit of their labor.

Vietnam ’65 is a different kind of war game, one in which you need to control not only the strategic aspects of fighting a war, but also the political aspects and trying to keep the locals on your side. It looks pretty nice, too. Vietnam ’65 will be for iPad, but I can’t find a link so I’m not sure of a price. Guess we’ll find out tonight.

More of what we can expect on tonight’s App Store after the break.

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Field promotion: You can sign up for the World of Tanks Generals closed beta

Matilda deck OP.

Matilda deck OP.

Around here, we write about free-to-play games about as often as Uri Geller gets invited to antique silverware conventions — but our position shifted ever so slightly last year. Hearthstone and World of Tanks Blitz showed us that–while 99% of free-to-play games are still hot, smelly garbage–it is possible to have an F2P game experience that isn’t skeevy and condescending to the player.

World of Tanks makers Wargaming.net are bringing another of their unusually beguiling F2P games to mobile: World of Tanks Generals is rather a more abstract combat simulation than Blitz — it’s a head-to-head multiplayer card game. Like Hearthstone, it’s a collectible game where you unlock new cards customize your deck with. Wargaming say that there’s 200 cards in the game at the moment, with more coming. There’s three different factions (the US, USSR, and Germany, following the WWII and early post-war setting of WoT) and you can probably count on the British, French, and Japanese eventually showing up, too.

Generals just started a closed for desktop web browsers that you can sign up for here. The game will be available for iOS and Android “in the future”. Trailer (with dramatic voiceover!) below.

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Deck trek: Card Crawl coming next week

I just need to soak up 14 points of damage with my 4 HP and a healing potion that heals 5. Shit.

I just need to soak up 14 points of damage with my 4 HP and a healing potion that heals 5. Shit.

Last time we talked about Card Crawl from small, 2-person dev team Tinytouchtales, we really didn’t have any clue what to make of it. We knew it used a 54-card deck and that those cards, somehow, formed a dungeon. I’ve been fortunate enough to try out a pre-release version of Card Crawl and I’m happy to report we were on the right path, but there’s a lot more to it.

The Card Crawl play area consists of 2 rows. The bottom row contains your in-game avatar as well as two slots for your hands and an extra slot for your backpack. The upper row consists of cards being dealt from the aforementioned 54-card deck which makes up the dungeon. The deck consists of weapons, shields, potions, special abilities, and way too many monsters. Seriously, there are a lot of monsters. Your job is to collect the items and abilities and use them to remove the monsters until there are no cards left in the deck. You score points based on how much gold you collect on your journey, either from picking up gold cards or from selling items back to the dealer.

It all sounds simple, and it is, but the complications arrive when you realize that you can only use each slot once per turn, but you also need to remove 3 cards from the top row each turn. So, when you get double swords, you might have to sell one for gold just to move forward. Or, do you fight that goblin and take the full hit to your HP hoping to draw a potion card on the next turn and save the sword for later?

Overall, Card Crawl isn’t a Thunderstone-like dungeon crawl, but a simple puzzle game with a dungeon theme. That said, I’ve been having a really great time with it so far. I’ve played 7 games thus far and have yet to win a game, although I’ve repeatedly gotten the deck down to zero cards before succumbing to wounds.

Card Crawl will be arriving on iOS next week. Check out the release trailer after the break.

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Buzz kill: Apple rejects Buzz Aldrin-designed game for featuring Buzz Aldrin

Touch-and-go landing.

Touch-and-go landing.

I was over at Slitherine yesterday talking to director Iain McNeil and–you’re gonna love this–he told me that Apple have rejected Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager because the game “contains well-known third parties”. Bwuh?

Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager has been in production at Polar Motion for a couple of years, with Slitherine publishing. The game is meant to be a spiritual successor to the classic space sim Race Into Space, and is being made with significant input from Buzz himself — America’s most storied (and pugilistic) living astronaut. So for maximum clarity: this is a Buzz Aldrin-endorsed game being made (in part) by Buzz Aldrin. How Aldrin can be considered a third party to a game he worked on (a fact that Slitherine’s App Store description trumpets all over the place) is beyond me. Meanwhile, just a week ago, Apple approved a game taking the mickey out of Kim Jong Un, so somebody tell me how this “well-known third parties” thing is supposed to work.

McNeil just sort of shrugged his shoulders about the whole thing. “We thought we were pretty safe this time,” he told me. “It’s one of the only Slitherine games I can think of with no violence or guns.” The game does feature flags, though — we know that Apple gets touchy about those sometimes.

After the “realistic violence” fiasco and the German/Soviet “enemies” affair, I feel bad for the Apple approvals people. They get mocked when they mess up and don’t get noticed at all when they do their jobs right. So let’s just thank them for giving Slitherine a reason to tell us that Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager will be out for iPad soon — assuming this nonsense gets cleared up.

Read my preview from last year to get a feel for what’s coming.

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Dungeon maestro: Knights of Pen & Paper 2 coming in May

Level 99? Pretty much how we played 1st edition, although my character, Indiana Smith, had all 32 Teeth of the Dahlver-Nar as well.

Level 99? Pretty much how we played 1st edition, although my character, Indiana Smith, had all 32 Teeth of the Dahlver-Nar as well.

Knights of Pen & Paper was an RPG from Brazilian developer Behold Studios who are currently knee-deep with their super sentai game, Chroma Squad. Thus, we were a bit surprised to hear of a sequel to Knights of Pen & Paper coming out on May 14, until we saw that Behold wasn’t the developer for the sequel. No, this one is being done by KYY Games and published by Paradox Interactive.

Knights of Pen & Paper puts you in the shoes of not just nerds with character sheets at the ready, but also thrusts you behind the DM screen and has you making decisions on where the adventure goes. The sequel follows the same road, but changes things up a bit. For starters, instead of the simulated 8-bit graphics, the graphics will now be simulated 16-bit graphics. I can only wait for Knights of Pen & Paper 14 when we reach simulated Dejarik graphics. It’s not just the look, however, we’re also getting new racial feats, a new d20 combat system, and, of course, more jokes.

We have a new trailer after the break, but it doesn’t show any gameplay. That said, it’s still a fun trailer and gives you a glimpse into the kind of humor you can expect in the Knights of Pen & Paper games.

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The big sommeil: Criminel launching this week

Actual screenshots were hard to come by, so I'm just including this pic of Owen's laptop.

Actual screenshots were hard to come by, so I’m just including this pic of Owen’s laptop.

Other than Philip Marlowe, the best Raymond Chandler character might just be the city of Los Angeles itself. It’s more than just a setting, it has a beating, rotten heart that underlies each and every novel. Criminel is a new noir detective game that treats its settings with the same gravitas. Criminel’s setting, however, is 19th century Paris which sounds just about perfect.

Criminel puts you in the shoes of a detective hunting down murder suspects in turn of the century Paris and, if it plays anywhere as good as the trailer looks, we’re in for a treat (although the “where CSI began” tagline doesn’t really feel necessary).

Not much else to tell you about this one, other than it will be released this Wednesday night for iOS Universal and will cost $2. Check out the two trailers after the break.

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Screenshots from Gambit, the first expansion for Star Realms, coming to iOS & Android later this week

Less than 12 parsecs?

Less than 12 parsecs?

The thing I get the most emails about is beard-grooming advice, followed closely by mewling requests to stop holding the world for ransom from my sinister lair high atop Mount Hexmap. But number 3 is definitely PT readers wondering what the heck is up with Star Realms.

The sci-fi flavoured deck-building card game got a good write-up from us last year and it did even better over at Board Game Geek, where it pulled down a fistful of Golden Geek Awards. It’s a nifty little card game that had some UI wonkiness in its iOS and Android incarnations, and it had a strong tang of “pre-expansion” gameplay — there were a lot of obvious open sockets waiting to be hooked up to more elaborate gameplay mechanics.

The Gambit expansion for the Star Realms base set came out on cardboard back in 2013, and it’ll hit desktops and mobile versions of Star Realms this Thursday, White Wizard Games told me this morning. Gambit cards are randomly dealt to the players at the beginning of the game and allow the player that holds them to bend certain rules, encouraging players to pursue different gameplay styles. It’s a neat idea and the expansion is generally well-reviewed on tabletop. Perhaps even better: there’s two new chapters included in the much-admired single-player campaign. Gambit will be available as a single in-app purchase for $4.

Besides the new cards, there’s been some welcome tweaks and additional functionality to the Star Realms app, and everybody will get these improvements when the game updates this week, whether or not you buy the new card set. There’s a new update feed which will help you stay on top of your asynchronous games (a big pain in the engines in 1.0), an option for faster card animations, online leaderboards, and new tips and hints to smooth out the learning curve for new players.

Lots more images from the expansion after the jump.

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