No, his name is Shebob. Yes, it’s totally different.
Reiner Knizia is known for being a master when it comes to game design and then falling down a bit in terms of theme. Sure, games like Lost Cities and Tigris and Euphrates have what some people might call theme, but deep down they are really abstracts with pretty pictures on the box covers. There are exceptions, of course. Reiner also created the first co-op board game based on the Lord of the Rings, and designed the Stratego-like The Confrontation in that same universe.
As we mentioned back in December, The Confrontation is coming to iPad albeit with anything related to Tolkien’s world removed. Instead, we’re getting the same game with a different fantasy world attached. This might sound like a bad thing–and it isn’t great–but it’s not as bad as it sounds, mainly because The Confrontation is such a good two player game, that having access to any version of it is better than none at all.
The developers behind The Confrontation are the same guys behind the ridiculously good implementation of Reiner Knizia’s Samurai which, besides being a fantastic board game port, had also figured out the whole asynchronous play thing way back in 2010. They’re about half way through a Kickstarter for The Confrontation and have definitely upped their game since we caught glimpses of it last year. From what I can gather, this isn’t a Kickstarter to bring The Confrontation to iPad, that’s going to happen regardless. Instead, this Kickstarter will back the creation of an expansion consisting of 18 new characters to fill your board. They’re only about $1K away from successfully funding with 15 days to go.
The current plan is to release for PC and Mac first, with the iPad version coming a month or two after that. If the Kickstarter successfully funds, expect the character expansion to launch along with the game, or very shortly thereafter. No concrete date, yet, but it’s looking like May or June for the PC/Mac release.
Check out the new updated trailer after the break.
Some of my favorite board games are the ones that reward you for being able to lie right to your friend’s faces. What can I say? I’m good at them. Maybe too good, all things considered. This genre of game has been around forever, but is generally thought of in the hobby market in games like Bang!, Werewolf, or Battlestar Galactica. Those are great hidden role games, but they can take forever to play. Enter Coup.
Coup is a small card game consisting of just 15 cards and plays in 10-15 minutes. There are 5 different characters, each with 3 cards. Each player is dealt 2 cards face down and then the starting player chooses an action. The trick is that you don’t have to pick an action of one of the cards you have. In fact, you can do whatever you want so long as the other players believe you. For example, one of the characters is the Captain. His power allows you to steal 2 coins from another player. On my turn I can announce that I have a Captain and am stealing coins from my hapless foe across the table. Now, anyone can challenge me on this and, if I’m lying, I have to flip one of my cards over. If both cards are flipped over, you’re out of the game. What happens if I was telling the truth? Whoever challenged me has to flip one of their cards over, drawing closer to an early exit. It’s so simple, and yet so full of delicious tension that it has become a staple at our game table.
Banana & Co. are now bringing Coup to iOS via Kickstarter. It’s already met its funding goal with 22 days left to go, but there is a stretch goal that’s going to need to pull in another $95K over the next three weeks for it to appear on Android devices.
Take a look at the Kickstarter video after the break to get a glimpse of what you can expect when Coup arrives on iOS in May of this year.
I usually wait until the new models are out and then pick up last year’s model for a steal.
The original Musket Smoke for iPad was mainly a multiplayer affair. There was an AI present, sure, but its main positive attribute was how good it looked as a corpse on the battlefield. Considering that Musket Smoke was always considered to be multiplayer focused, the lack of single player goodness can be forgiven. Hell, nobody complains that the AI in Hearthstone is terrible, do they?
Developer Woodie Dovich is heading back to the drawing board for Musket Smoke 2, which is currently on Kickstarter. This time, single player will be the focus with a full single player campaign built around the English Civil War. That’s not to say that multiplayer will take a hit in MS2. It should still be the same campaign-oriented multiplayer that worked so well in the original, it just won’t be the only reason to get MS2 when it releases.
Musket Smoke 2 will not be a free download like Musket Smoke currently is. Instead, there will be an up front cost that will contain both the single and multiplayer campaigns. The Kickstarter campaign is offering backers exclusive maps and more, but to get all the exclusive maps you’ll have to shell out $100 CAD. There are smaller entry points as well, but some of these numbers jumped out at me considering that we’re talking about an app. Head on over to the Kickstarter and check out all the tiers and rewards for yourself.
For those of you wanting to check out Musket Smoke, it’s a free download and was just updated to include Universal support.
Kickstarter video for Musket Smoke 2 after the break.
We live in a cynical world. And we work in a business of tough, often magical, competitors.
So, here’s the thing: nobody actually likes heroes. I don’t mean the real sort who extinguish fires and provide stable infrastructure for a community–I’m talking about sword-slinging, spell-blasting a-holes that occupy much of fantasy gaming. “Hey, dude, thanks and all for killing that ghoul in the crypt, but… did you really need to crack open each and every coffin to check for spare change? And, like, you’re just sort of going around asking every person you meet if they have a quest. Is this a moral obligation thing for you or- oh he’s left for the next dungeon.”
Epic Manager, from developers ManaVoid Entertainment, looks to be the next in an increasingly long line of management sims which take a wider look at the high-fantasy adventuring lifestyle. Unlike obvious contemporary Adventurer Manager, Epic Manager casts you as more of a sports agent looking for prime talent, rather than a bureaucrat contracting out to some heroes in order to focus on balancing your hamlet’s budget. Scouts find warriors, thieves, and mages you can bring onto your team, and who can then in turn raid dungeons and add to the agency’s coffers. The developers promise a fairly dynamic world, and combat affected by the composition and temperament of your line-up (though if the battles end up not quite as engaging as your managerial tasks, well, that’s the point).
The Epic Manager Kickstarter goes live on October 27th. Take heed, this one is still early on, and iOS and Android versions are stretch goals, which means they may as well be written in invisible ink on a ghost’s skin.
I’ve reviewed a lot of interactive fiction here at Pocket Tactics. We’re talking tons. Maybe more than I should have? Maybe not enough? At the end of the day, however, I’ve never played interactive fiction like Hadean Lands before. That’s not totally true. I remember playing games much like Hadean Lands between cutting notches in my floppy disks, but I haven’t played games like this on an iOS device.
Hadean Lands tells the story of a lone survivor of a crashed starship who also happens to be an alchemist. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate from where I’m sitting. Instead of the choose-your-own-adventure style of IF you may be used to, Hadean Lands goes the route of games like Zork and other Infocom classics of yesteryear. You are given an environment usually littered with tools and items you can interact with and then you tell the game what you want to do. We used to call these “text adventures” and solving puzzles while “talking” to your PC was as close to solo D&D as a pimply 13 year-old could have hoped for.
The man behind Hadean Lands is Andrew Plotkin who’s no stranger to this type of thing. He’s written several other award-winning interactive text adventures such as Shade and The Dreamhold, as well as being a major force in keeping interactive fiction relevant today. Oh, and he’s also the guy responsible for creating an entire genre of game with Werewolf.
Hadean Lands successfully Kickstarted nearly 4 years ago, but was just submitted to the App Store and should be arriving on October 30.
Cosmic Encounter is a board game from 1977 that has been republished and recreated many times in the past 35 years. It’s truly one of the most influential board games ever made, introducing mechanisms like individual player powers, free-form negotiation and the concept of expansions. Lots and lots of expansions. Of all the games I wouldn’t think would transfer well to a digital version, Cosmic Encounter is near the top due to the fact that the entire game involves talking, bluffing, and the making and breaking of deals. It just wouldn’t work without the face-to-face element.
Apparently the designers agree, but they’ve come up with a clever way to still get Cosmic onto an iPad. It’s called Cosmic Encounter Connector and consists of apps that will allow you to use real-time voice chat with the other players as well as all the bits you’ll find inside the current Fantasy Flight Games version of Cosmic Encounter. From what I can tell, it appears to be more of a sandbox that will allow you to play Cosmic Encounter with all the pieces you’d normally play with. It’s like VASSAL for iPad, only with voice chat and focusing on one title.
While the app isn’t backed by Fantasy Flight at all, it appears that they will allow all the art and bits from their version to be used in the app and they’re even talking about using the Connector system to port other Fantasy Flight titles to the system.
Cosmic Encounter Connector is currently on Kickstarter. They’re looking for $128K and are only at about $2.5K now, but they still have 29 days to fund. The initial goal of $128K includes iPad support, but there are stretch goals for other platforms as well as including different expansions and player-created content.
If you’re a Cosmic Encounter fan, you need to check the Kickstarter out. If you’ve never played before, check it out and realize what this could mean for board gaming in the future.
The slowdown in gaming Kickstarters that we could all sense in the air has been empiricized by some data collected by games industry consultants ICO Partners. The big crowdfunding gold rush of 2012/13 that spawned Banner Saga and El Alamein is no more: the overall take for video game campaigns this year is on track to be a little less than half of what it was the year before.
We’re still seeing successes of course, but it’s niche stuff like Yardmaster rather than big commercial projects, but I’m cool with that. If you’re reading this, you’re one of the 0.001% of video game consumers that spends time reading about games — I think that makes us niche. But clearly, Kickstarter projects for games will look different next year: less frequent, smaller dollar amounts.
After the jump, we catch up with the Trese Brothers’ Star Traders 2 campaign and look in on some new ones.
PT reader Mark Sable wrote in to point us in the general direction of Hard West, a currently-Kickstarting tactical game set in what the developers call “the Weird West”. I think they mean Portland.
Hard West reaches right into my brain and fervently prods the desire module: turn-based XCOM-style combat, exploration in the strategy layer, a world where George Washington Carver might play hold ‘em with Cthulhu. Here’s the rub: there’s no plans on their Kickstarter page for a mobile version, just PC. But that’s where Mark comes back in — he’s talked to Polish devs CreativeForge, and they’ve told him that Hard West for tablets is entirely possible. Hmmmm.
Watch the pitch video for Hard West and three other intriguing crowdfunding campaigns after the jump.