Hark the herald: Tin Man bringing Warhammer 40K gamebook to life next week

Cogitator is apparently the Warhammer word for “1986 Apple IIe”

In a recent study* it was determined that one third of all apps now released on the App Store are somehow connected to the Warhammer universe. Starting next week, Tin Man Games is joining the fray when they release Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion which, of course, has a colon in the title because Warhammer. My favorite Tin Man books are the ones that live outside of the standard “hey, it looks just like a paper gamebook” fare, such as To Be or Not To Be and this one looks like it heads down that path, turning the standard gamebook into an Imperial Cogitator (which is Warhammer-speak for “computer”, I think).

Herald of Oblivion puts you in the shoes of a veteran Space Marine (I’m still waiting for the Warhammer 40K game that puts you in the shoes of an apprentice chef or plumber) who finds himself alone on a space hulk full of nasties and has to fight, fight, fight his way out. This is the first volume of a trilogy written by Jonathan Green and was published in dead tree format before making its way to digital. The second volume, Pits of Commorragh, will be coming to digital in early 2016.

That’s not the only news coming out of Tin Man. They’ve been working on updating their gamebook engine and are planning to develop a digital version of the first gamebook I ever played, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Okay, so maybe that didn’t grab your attention, but how about this: the game will use maps, miniatures, and an entirely new miniatures-based combat system. Holy inkle! It’s heading to Kickstarter in the next few weeks so they can raise some cash to add more art.

Herald of Oblivion will be released next Wednesday for iOS Universal, Android and Kindle devices. No trailer for this one, but we do have a few more screenshots from Legacy of Dorn.

*This study involved me looking at three apps on my iPad, one of them being Warhammer Quest. 

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Shyfting into high gear: XenoShyft continues its sprint to awesome

Notice how the shield is Violet? Incredibles reference, possibly?

Notice how the shield is Violet? Incredibles reference, maybe?

One of the more interesting rooms in the bowels of Mt. Hexmap is the Room of Infinite Integers, where Owen sits with abacus in hand and manually counts the views garnered by each lovingly crafted post here on Pocket Tactics. (It used to be the janitor’s closet, but he was let go when Owen discovered that I always carry my own mop. Don’t ask.) Earlier today, Owen sent me the report for the XenoShyft review from last month and I’d like to personally thank all twelve of you for reading the entire review. Oh, there were many more people who visited the page–somewhere in the range of 2.7 billion, although Owen admits that his abacus only counts to 99 and after that he guesstimates and could be off by as much as 2.7 billion–but they ran to see how many Pocket Tactics’ StarsTM XenoShyft received, wiped away their tears, and continued on with their day. The twelve of you (and you know who you are, mom) that read the review know that, while only receiving three StarsTM, not a bad total, I actually loved the crap out of XenoShyft, but certain design decisions kept it from achieving greatness. To their credit, Cool Mini or Not is keeping at it and making XenoShyft better all the time, today updating the game to version 1.3 which brings in a whole new division, the Psychogenics Lab.

Psychogenics are designed to tap into the unused potential of the human mind which, for me, means remembering to wear socks. In game terms, however, we’re talking about psionics and blasting people with your mind, Scanners style. You can also generate forcefields and create shockwaves, all with a lovely purple glow. The mini-expansion includes a new division to choose when setting up the game, as well as 6 new psychogenic items to play with. The expansion is available as a $1 in-app purchase inside the cleverly named Xenostore.

That’s not all in the 1.3 update, however. They’ve added a card library, so you can check out every card in the game at your leisure and added a low-quality setting, allowing the game to be played crash free on older devices. Add to that some UI tweaks and bug fixes and XenoShyft is turning into the game I always knew it could be.

Check out the XenoShyft trailer after the break, and then check it out for iOS Universal or Android for $5.

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Review: Magic Flute by Mozart

Tamino is Italian for "climbs really slow"

Tamino is Italian for “climbs really slow”

While much of my high school experience is clouded in a chemically and emotionally induced fog, there are a few school-related gems still accessible on my internal hard drive. I remember a philosophy presentation that consisted of me playing Pink Floyd’s Money on a boom box while incomprehensible gibberish from a transparency was projected over my head. It was deep, man. Another project comes to mind as well, mainly because of ROCK. It began with choosing an epic poem to dissect in order to spit out an interpretation whose only purpose, I’m sure, was as a source of comedy in the English department’s lounge. There was only one poem that I wanted to study, and that was Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, not because I have a sea fetish, but because it had been covered by the greatest rock band that ever rocked, Iron Maiden. As usual, I blew off the assignment until the day it was due and, having never read the actual poem, wrote my interpretation based entirely on the Maiden track. Lucky for me, the song was close enough to the real deal that I pulled a B and no one was the wiser, including myself.

That lengthy and wandering introduction brings us to the puzzle game Magic Flute. If, by some stretch of reality, you need to write a paper about Mozart’s opera of the same name, I wouldn’t use this app as your only source of info. That is, unless the opera is about sliding floor tiles and a general feeling of ennui. If so, you’re looking at an A+.

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Super friends: Online multiplayer comes to Sentinels next week

The last words the Baron heard were Neener Neener Noo, and he was happy to embrace the cold grip of death.

The last words the Baron heard were “Neener Neener Noo”, and he was happy to embrace the cold grip of death.

Apart from not wanting the neighbor kids on your lawn, getting old also brings with it the inevitable shortening of time. A year used to be an interminable length of time, but now zips by so quickly that I’m usually just taking down the Christmas lights at Mt. Hexmap when Owen tells me it’s time to string them right back up again. I was reminded of how time flies yesterday when the guys from Handelabra announced that Sentinels of the Multiverse is already turning one. To celebrate SotM’s ascendance into toddlerhood, Handelabra is throwing a party from Oct. 16 through the 18th and everyone–yes, even you–are invited.

Having children, I’ve been to my share of kid birthday parties and I can confirm the uncanny resemblance to Dante’s fourth circle of Hell. This party looks to be a bit different in that we’re the ones getting the present, and it’s a doozy. Handelabra is releasing the long-awaited online multiplayer functionality in Sentinels on October 16. This will bring synchronous online play between iOS, Android, and PC/Mac. I can hear you shaking your head in reference to synchronous vs. asynchronous play, but stick with me. They’re looking to implement asynchronous at some point with the ability to switch seamlessly between asynchronous and synchronous play, but it will take reworking some aspects of the game and engine and other stuff far too technical for my wee brain to understand. I just nodded as they told me, as if I knew what was going on. I think they bought it. Also, synchronous games of Sentinels fly by, so that most games are finished within 30 minutes. Much, much less time is required if you really suck at the game as much as I do.

Apart from the cross-platform play, the update will also introduce text chat at any point during the game between all players as well as both private and public games. Voice chat and more is planned down the line.

Online play is only the coolest thing happening at the SotM birthday bash, but it’s not the only thing. Sentinels will also be on sale for all platforms during the soiree and $1 from every new download will go directly to Child’s Play. They will also be accepting direct donations for Child’s Play on their website if you have already purchased the game. If you’re not familiar with Child’s Play, it’s a charity that brings gaming to children in hospitals and shelters around the world. Not too shabby.

If you’re on the fence and aren’t sure if Sentinels is for you, Handelabra will be streaming continuously starting at 9am EDT on the 16th on their Twitch channel. Check in and watch how Sentinels is supposed to be played. Then head to the App Store or Google Play where you can pick up Sentinels for iPad and Android tablets.

After the break, check out the multiplayer release trailer and then watch for the update to hit on the morning of Oct. 16.

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The breakfast drink of astronauts: Tong invades Android, iOS on the way

This is how Tong picks up the ladies.

Tong only pawn in game of life.

Bruno Cathala is a brilliant and prolific board game designer who already has games like Dice Town and Mr. Jack Pocket on the App Store (we won’t mention Cyclades). When contemplating what his next digital design might be, the sheer number of fantastic choices makes your ludological mouth water. Board games like Five Tribes, Shadows Over Camelot, or Mr. Jack instantly come to mind. Instead we’re getting a newly designed game that hasn’t seen the inside of a cardboard box, Tong.

Tong is a 2-player game that also features solo play not against AI, but against a leaderboard. The board consists of a 5×5 grid of bugs and your chameleon which can gobble up bugs of one type. After you eat, the chameleon passes to your opponent who does the same. It all sounds incredibly simple, and it might be. To be honest, all my information is coming from Bruno’s site which is written in his native French and my French is a little rostig, if you know what I mean, so I think I might be missing a bit of what the hell is going on. Google Translate, you’re not helping.

Tong is available now for Android devices and is just awaiting approval from Apple before it appears on iOS devices as well. Expect that in the next few days or so. Either way, it will be free to download.

No video for Tong, so after the break a commercial for Tang because they’re almost the same word.

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The tell-tale art: Trailer for first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode released

Number 2, step forward.

Number 2, step forward.

While adventure games from Telltale are some of the best pieces of interactive fiction you’ll ever find, they’re also blue enough to make Al Swearengen blush. As much as I’d love to share them with my kids, I’d prefer to not get divorced, so Wolf Among Us remains my little secret. That should change next week when Telltale releases the first episode of its next adventure series, Minecraft: Story Mode. I don’t think I could stop my kids from playing this one if I tried.

Minecraft: Story Mode will put you in the shoes of Jesse who can be either male or female, voiced by Patton Oswalt or Catherine Taber, respectively. You and your friends revere a group of heroes known as the Order of the Stone who, in ages past, slew the Ender Dragon and, when the sky starts falling, needs to find them in order to set things right. I’m not sure if any of that makes sense to the Minecraft-fluent out there, but I am familiar with the Ender Dragon as that creature my five year-old beats up in Creative mode, which means the dragon can’t fight back. I’m hoping this is more emulation of his old man, who still plays Civilization on Chieftain difficulty level so he can really stick it to those damn French, rather than enjoyment of picking on the helpless. Then again, he is five, and it should come as no surprise that five year-old boys are inherently evil.

The first episode will be released for iOS/Android next Wednesday, October 15 and the trailer for the episode was released last week and slipped under my radar. Lucky for us, it’s still out there so you can check it out after the break.

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Nowhere to goko but up: Dominion Online submitted to Apple

Thankfully, this guy has ceased to be.

Thankfully, this guy has ceased to be.

The entire story of Dominion on tablets is far too long and twisted to recant in its entirety here, so let me sum it up with one word: derp. Thus, it’s a good thing that the saga seems to be coming to an end. Yesterday the CEO of Making Fun announced that Dominion has been submitted to the App Store and, while they still have a little bit of tweaking and optimization to pull off, an October release isn’t completely out of the question.

Dominion is the granddaddy of all deck building games, storming onto the scene in 2008 and creating a brand new mechanism that has seeped into every corner of the hobby game world. Players will create a deck from a set of 10 different action cards with the ultimate goal being accumulate the most victory points which are earned via land cards. The problem is that land cards, while giving you points, are otherwise useless and will clog up your hand as you play. Finding the balance of when to add new action cards or new land cards to your hand is at the heart of the game.

Dominion has been in open beta since June over at PlayDominion and the tablet version will be linked to your account at PlayDominion, if you have one. Therefore, any purchased expansions and all your stats will transfer between the PC/Mac version and the tablet version.

Dominion Online will be released simultaneously for iPad, Android, and Kindle devices.

After the break, check out my favorite reviewer, the greatly missed UvulaBob, give his thoughts on Dominion.

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The camel you rode in on: Award-winning board game, Camel Up, appears on the App Store

Those camels aren't doing what you think they're doing.

Those camels aren’t doing what you think they’re doing.

Part of the fun of writing for Pocket Tactics are the press releases that show up in your inbox each day. Most are irrelevant or just terrible and I like to imagine that we’re saving you, our loyal readers, from having to suffer through them. Every now and then, however, a surprise comes through letting us know about games whose existence we weren’t even aware of. Those days are a lot of fun. Today was not one of those days. Instead, today I had to steal this story from the extremely handsome and talented gent who writes over at 164 because it appears that no press release is forthcoming.

The story I’m stealing concerns last year’s Spiel des Jahres winner, Camel Up. The SdJ award is kind of like winning Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s likely that any game that nabs the award is a pretty good one. Camel Up is no exception. It’s a family/gateway game about racing camels but, instead of you controlling a camel and trying to win, you’re placed in the shoes of a spectator/insane gambler who is betting on the outcome and trying to influence the race to end in your favor. It’s light and silly and, as some have pointed out, a really good game for talking trash.

Camel Up has just been released for iOS Universal and while I’m sure the game will translate fine from a gameplay standpoint, without the trash talking I’m not sure how much fun it’s going to be.

You can grab Camel Up for $5 right now and, after the break, watch Joel Eddy of Drive-Thru Review fame give you the rundown.

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