Driving the (re)bus: New puzzler Rebus due next week

Easy. "G" to the power of heart.

Easy. “G” to the power of heart. What do I win?

Rebus puzzles are one of those weird things that I remember doing all the time when I was a kid, but don’t remember seeing at all as I got older. Heck, I don’t even see them in the puzzle books that my kids get anymore. I’m not sure why this is. Are they old fashioned? Not fun? Do I not buy my kids enough puzzle books? I honestly don’t know the answer, but I might be able to figure it out next week when Jutiful releases Rebus for iOS and Android.

If you’re not familiar with a rebus, it’s basically a puzzle where pictures represent words or parts of words. The puzzles can be incredibly clever, but can also lean toward being groan-worthy, which is perhaps one reason that they aren’t as prevalent these days. Rebus is a puzzle game that will feature over 100 of these types of puzzles and it will be free to download. I’m guessing more puzzles will be available as IAP down the road, but 100 puzzles for nothing seems like a pretty fair deal.

Rebus will be available for both iOS and Android devices next week. After the break I’ve included more puzzles and a trailer. Post your answers in the comments and you could win absolutely nothing but the admiration of your fellow readers. Of the 7 puzzles I included in this post, I can only solidly figure out 2 of them, and one of those was only because I saw the answer. I’m guessing you guys can do a whole lot better.

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Glück Off: Board game Glück Auf comes to mobile, and you’ll wish it hadn’t

Pictured: A board game

Pictured: A board game

While most board game ports have been at least passable, there have been a few true stinkers. Personally, my biggest disappointment was always Cyclades, which arrived only allowing 2 players with no AI. It was released back in 2011, however, so you can kind of give Matagot a break with that one. Developers were still feeling out the tablet market and if digital board games were really going to be a thing.

Well, Cyclades, you can stand proud, for today I bring you Glück Auf!

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Third time’s the charm: Sorcery 3 nearing release

Miss me?

Miss me?

It’s not often that checking my inbox can make me feel like a kid at Christmas, but today was one of those days. Residing in my inbox this morning was word from interactive fiction gurus at inkle Studios that the long-awaited third chapter of the Sorcery! saga is near. Very near.

Let’s reminisce a bit. The first Sorcery! adventure put you on the path to recapture the fabled Crown of Command and trekking across the Shamutanti Hills. Part 2 was even better as you had to navigate the corrupt alleyways of the Cityport of Traps.  Book 3 will put you back on an overland journey, this time across the wastelands of Kakhabad. Along the way you have to beware of seven deadly serpents that have been sent as spies and are tracking you through the desert.

From the press release, it sounds like inkle is incorporating new mechanisms learned from their experience with 80 Days such as open world maps which will make this Sorcery! completely non-linear. It will also have a day/night cycle and the ability to travel back in time to test other choices that you left behind.

No exact release date yet, but they have narrowed things down to April. No trailer, but we do have a bevy of screenshots after the break.

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Out Tonight: To Be or Not To Be, Civil War: 1863 Gold Edition, Boss Monster and more

Yes, it's about to be released and we still haven't seen any screenshots.

Yes, it’s about to be released and we still haven’t seen any screenshots. [Image by Major Havok]

We’ve already received one board game app release this week, tonight we may see another. We’ve been waiting on Boss Monster for several weeks now, ever since Brotherwise Games mentioned that it had been submitted to Apple. Weeks later, and still nothing on the App Store. If it’s any consolation, the guys at Brotherwise don’t know why it’s not out yet, either. Earlier this week they posted that they fully expect that approval to come by next Thursday. So, is that tonight, or a week from tonight? Not sure, but we’ll still keep an eye out for Boss Monster to hit the App Store at midnight.

More games–that we’re sure are coming out tonight–after the break.

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Revealed — Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion bursts from the chests of Rodeo Games this summer for iOS

Are you feeling lucky, xeno-punk?

Are you feeling lucky, xeno-punk?

If you need a secret kept, you can absolutely trust Rodeo Games with it. Over a year ago we learned that the next game from the makers of Warhammer Quest would be another Games Workshop property, but aside from that we knew nothing at all. I prodded. I pleaded. Rodeo would divulge nothing. Pocket Tactics spies skulked off into the night to uncover what they could.

“It’s a game about 40K Inquisitors,” reported one. Other reports corroborated this. “It’s about Inquisitors, but it’s based on Cooking Mama,” said another. Eventually, I began to suspect that our spies had been turned. “It’s not a game — it’s an app that turns Siri into an Ork.”

Finally last week, after months of fruitless hypotheses and unworkable theories, Rodeo’s Ben Murch reached out to reveal what the Guildfordians had been working on. “Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is set in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe, and focuses on the Deathwatch,” Murch tells us. “Our game is set in the Astolat Sector which is under threat of being consumed by Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. The Deathwatch are tasked with undertaking high risk missions to turn the tide of war and defeat the invaders.”

No Inquisitors. No Cooking Mama. But lots and lots of Space Marines and their most famous foes. “It’s a turn-based strategy game,” says Murch, “with the emphasis on strategy.” Now we’re talking.

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High times: Talisman Digital Edition expands again with The Highland

Screw random character selection. I always get one of the original boring characters. Warrior, really?

Screw random character selection. I always get one of the original boring characters. Warrior, really?

Talisman Digital Edition is one of the best board game ports currently available on tablets. I’ll wait here while you mock me for saying so. Go ahead.

Done? Ok, I know many of you find Talisman to be nothing more than Snakes & Ladders in a chainmail bikini, and you’re not too far off. Yes, its a roll-and-move game. Yes, every single turn relies on copious amounts of randomness and offers few, if any, strategic choices. I can’t explain why I enjoy it so damn much, I just do. In fact, I think I love it more because of all the randomness. Oh, and the actual port itself is as polished as anything on the App Store.

Maybe that’s why new expansions for Talisman excite me so much. More stuff. Now, I have even less of a clue what will happen to my character each turn. Today, the second “big” expansion for Talisman was released for iPad, The Highland. Like the Dungeon expansion before it, the Highland brings with it a whole new board that wraps around one of the main board’s corners. It also brings over 100 new cards, 6 new characters, new endings, and more. There are also 2 other characters that you can get for free, the Pirate and Ninja, as well as one new character you can spend $2 to add to your collection, the Shapeshifter.

On top of all the additions, Nomad Games has also made some improvements to the game such as full cross-platform multiplayer, so everyone who owns Talisman can play everyone else.

You can pick up Talisman for iOS Universal and Android for $7.

Trailer for the Highland and Shapeshifter expansions after the break.

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Dicewood: Dice Town comes to iOS

At least I didn't roll aces & eights.

At least I didn’t roll aces & eights.

Dice Town is a rather brilliant board game released way back in 2009. It involves simultaneous dice rolling–poker dice, not your standard dice with pips–and turning those rolls into victory points. It sounds very bland, but it actually has quite a bit of depth.

Each turn players will simultaneously roll poker dice with the ability to “lock” one die each shake for free. If you want to save more (or not save any) it will cost you money. Once someone locks all 5 of their dice, all other players get one flop with their remaining dice and have to keep whatever they roll.

Once the hands are dealt, the players walk through Dice Town, collecting rewards along the way depending on what’s on their dice. First stop, the Gold Mine. The player with the most nines gets to take as many gold nuggets–aka Victory Points–as they have nines. The player with the most tens gets to rob the Stagecoach which holds all the money the players spent while rolling their dice last turn. Jacks visit the General Store, Queens head to the saloon, etc. with each spot having it’s own special reward. At the end of the road is the Town Hall which awards land deeds–aka Victory Points–to whoever has the best overall poker hand. Repeat until the Gold Mine is empty or there are no more deeds to hand out.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s just been released for iOS Universal. Sadly, the developer is Matagot. Matagot is a fantastic board game publisher, but they haven’t done so well in the digital realm. Their last release was Cyclades back in 2012 and it’s pretty much become the poster child for how not to port a board game to iOS. No AI, limiting a 5-player game to only 2 players, not updating the app in 3 years, etc.

It looks like they’ve learned a bit of a lesson, and have included several AIs with Dice Town. This sounds great until you realize that it was at the expense of multiplayer. No multiplayer at all, not even pass-and-play. If you can do without multiplayer, the app is actually quite polished and well done, if a bit on the basic side. There’s not much to do here other than play the game and unlock more AI opponents.

As a single-player time waster, you could do a lot worse. The app is for iOS Universal and costs $4.

After the break, Tom Vasel gives you the rundown on the cardboard version of Dice Town.

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Shenan-do it : Slitherine updates progress with Shenandoah titles

Not your father's Shenandoah war game.

Not your father’s Shenandoah war game.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard from Shenandoah Studios, probably because they were acquired by Slitherine last year. That said, Shenandoah was working on a new war game centered on Gettysburg when that all went down and, since the acquisition, we haven’t heard much of anything about where the Shenandoah titles stand with Slitherine at the helm.

This morning the silence broke and we now know that Slitherine is busy converting all the prior Crisis in Command games from Shenandoah to the Unity engine which will make them available on both Android and PC alongside their current iPad iterations. Battle of the Bulge is the app currently being worked on, and they are targeting a May release.

As for Gettysburg: The Tide Turns, they are close to beta and should be putting out a call for beta testers in the near future. Eric Lee Smith is still supervising the game and, compared to the other Crisis in Command games, it’s a completely different animal. That is, the look and feel of the game will be completely different than what Shenandoah did with Battle of the Bulge, Drive on Moscow, and El Alamein. Also good news, they are targeting a 2015 release for Gettysburg as well.

Check out the original Gettysburg Kickstarter video from way back when after the break.

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