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TraptionBakery was released back in January and for a few fleeting moments we thought it worthy of a post on Pocket Tactics. Then I "played" it, where it quickly became clear that it wasn't a game at all but an intricate and detailed Heath Robinson-esque illustration with no true purpose other than looking interesting. Turns out, and you might want to sit down for this revelation, I was wrong. There is a game buried in there. Somewhere. The details of it are still incredibly scarce, but it appears that the mystery is supposed to be part of the fun.

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Last week we heard a rumor that the next big update for the outstanding Pathfinder Adventures would be landing early this week. The days came and went with no update to be found. As darkness was descending on Friday and still no action on the App Store, it was looking like the promised update wouldn't be in our hands until after the long holiday weekend. On a whim we gave the App Store one last look after dinner last night and, what did we find, but the 1.0.3 update waiting to be downloaded. It's going to be a good weekend.

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Back in April the latest Age of Conquest title arrived on mobile, but only on the Android side of the tracks. We knew an iOS version was on the way, but communication had gone dark (on our side. We had hit our head and have spent the last month lying unconscious in a ditch) and we weren't sure when it would land on the App Store. Turns out that day is today, as Age of Conquest IV was released this morning for iOS Universal.

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After typing that--admittedly stupid--headline, it dawned on me that XenoShyft has always offered a high sense of achievement. Not sure if you know this, but the game is hard. Freaky hard. Like, "I'm just happy I made it to the 2nd wave", hard. Thus, succeeding in even the most meager of ways can generate heart bursting pride. Of course, that sense of achievement wasn't what I was talking about. No, these are Achievements with a capital "A", goals which games use as proverbial carrots. Considering that I'm still playing and loving XenoShyft, I'm not sure a carrot is necessary but who am I to look a gift horse in the choppers?

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Last week we managed to get the Wednesday release post out on a Wednesday and, while we were rather pleased with ourselves for such a monumental achievement, you had to know it couldn't continue. There's just too much going on, what with summer temps finally reaching the peak of Mt. Hexmap and my whipping everyone into PeeWee league shape. No way we're losing the mobile-blog league again this year. Not on my watch!

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Back when Exploding Kittens first landed on the App Store, it was met with what can only be called derision. The developers had apparently seen how great Cadwallon: City of Thieves was received and failed to incorporate usable multiplayer or an AI for solo games at launch. Yes, it was a game you could only play against others who had purchased the app and only if you were on the same network. Things got better. In an update in March online multiplayer was added, making the game at least playable around the globe. I'm not saying you'd want to, but the option was at least there. Another major update landed for the app today, bringing in a new expansion pack and more.

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It's been a bit since we had a wargame offering that wasn't the work of either HexWar or Slitherine. That's more on us, as tracking down the small indie releases isn't the easiest task in the world and I'm spending most of my time making PB&J sandwiches (crustless, of course) for the writers. Back in early May a new wargame released from a small, one-man dev that plucks from the cornucopia of wargaming scenarios, World War 2. The game is called Carrier Battles for Guadalcanal and it lets you play the US Navy in 1942 against a Japanese AI.

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TheGameInterface
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Cards Aren't Cards

25 May 2016 23

There are many screeds against skeumorphism, the practice of making the digital imitate the physical. Sometimes it provides valuable cues, but there is one particular form which requires attention from both developers and players at this juncture in digital gaming: cards.

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A week ago we learned that Jeremiah Maher, the developer of the digital port of Ted Alspach's The Castles of Mad King Ludwig, would be submitting the app to Apple some time during the week. Using our finely tuned knowledge of how the App Store operates--a knowledge that has been refined and polished from years of experience--we predicted it would arrive in 2-3 weeks. Over the weekend we learned it would be arriving tomorrow. The prognosticators have been sacked.

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Well before Kelsey even knew what Cadwallon was, he was involved in reviewing another board game of a dubious nature. That was The Manhattan Project, a pretty great board game whose app was less than stellar. It wasn't the developer's fault as the app was made with the hopes that a Kickstarter campaign would propel it to a polished state. When the Kickstarter failed the well went dry and the app was released as-is. It did a good job of showcasing the game, but the AI was poor and the UI wasn't much better. Since its release in 2014, the one-man dev has kept plugging away at it and in January released a major update pushing the game to Version 3.

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