Winter came: Carcassonne gets arctic with new expansion

Not the gumdrop buttons!

Not my gumdrop buttons!

We mentioned the upcoming Winter Expansion for the venerable Carcassonne a couple weeks ago, and today the update has made it to the App Store.

The Coding Monkeys have added all new art assets for the iPhone 6 and 6+, as well as including 2 new expansions that are available via IAP. The first is the Winter Expansion which turns the French countryside into a winter wonderland, and also adds the Gingerbread Man expansion. Apparently, the gingerbread man can leave extra points in cities or something. It’s not very clear and even BGG is unusually quiet on the topic. The winter expansion can be purchased for $2.

The second expansion is the double-tile expansion, which does exactly what you think it does. It doubles every tile in the game, making for some huge and epic games of Carcassonne. The double-tile expansion can be nabbed for $1.

On top of the expansions, the new update also includes the obligatory bug fixes. Carcassonne is currently available for iOS Universal and will run you $10. Trailer after the break.

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Review: The Witcher Adventure Game

Dandelion visits the Tretogor blue token market.

Dandelion visits the Tretogor blue token market.

The Witcher Adventure Game is a strange mix of really bad and the really average. None of its positives will blow you away, but its negatives? Woof.

The Witcher Adventure Game is based on a board game that was released simultaneously with the digital version and, as a board game, it’s okay. It’s from designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, who’s done some brilliant designs like Imperial Settlers and Robinson Crusoe and is known for making strongly thematic, story-driven games. That’s not the case here, but the game itself isn’t terrible. It’s just a tad dull.

The app that brings the board game to us in digital format, however, is a problem. Actually, it’s littered with problems ranging from bugs, poor AI, and some inexplicable choices regarding game saves.
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Tell your friends, Tel Aviv: Wars & Battles October War exclusive first look

(Proxy) wars & battles.

(Proxy) wars & battles.

Longtime readers will know that under-explored wargame themes are the surest way to float my particular boat, and Kermorio have just sent me some screenshots that have my boat buoyancy set to “hovercraft”.

When iPad operational wargame Wars & Battles materialised on the App Store last month, it came with a stack of Normandy-based WWII scenarios that I found to be exceedingly good. French devs Kermorio have promised that the Wars & Battles app will be more than just one wargame, it’ll be a never-ending dispenser of wargames featuring everything  from ancient Greek phalanx hoplites to No-Doz snorting, Maxim-reading F-16 fighter jocks.

In my review of the game I was wholly positive about everything but this promise, which seems entirely too ambitious to me. But I would love nothing more than to be proved wrong on that front, and Kermorio will take the first stab at that with October War, a new batch of DLC scenarios for Wars & Battles that’s coming soon.

Set during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 (and commonly known as the Yom Kippur War), this scenario is probably a good first experiment with which to flex Kermorio’s WWII combat model: warfare in 1973 is obviously distinct from warfare in 1944, but it’s trivially different compared to some of the eras Kermorio plans to support. I’ll be very curious to see how Kermorio balances some of the obvious changes: line-of-sight increases, over-the-horizon weapons, and a much more evenly-matched air war. October War is due out “in a couple of months”, and the Android release of the game is set for February of 2015.

In the meantime, Kermorio have sent us a deluge of screenshots to pore over. After the jump ten (10!) images from the forthcoming expansion, which Kermorio took pains to remind me is still very much a work in progress, so reserve judgement on the accuracy of the BMP camouflage schemes. Read my review from November, too.

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Multiplayer Game of the Year 2014 Runner-up: Galaxy Trucker

Reveal the next adventure.

Reveal the next adventure.

There’s always excitement when a new digital board game port is announced, particularly when it’s pulled from the top 100 games over at BGG. So there was much cooing and polishing of iPads when Czech Games Edition announced that much-loved board game Galaxy Trucker would be their first port for tablets, but with was one black hole-sized caveat: how would simulataneous, real-time multiplayer work?

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Beta quadrant: Space Empires 4X is on a shakedown cruise for iPad

We know nothing about them, their language, their history or what they look like. But we can assume this. They stand for everything we don't stand for. Also they told me you guys look like dorks.

We know nothing about them, their language, their history or what they look like. But we can assume this. They stand for everything we don’t stand for. Also they told me you guys look like dorks. [Image by David Buchmann]

Our own Kelsey handed me a note the other day with part of GMT’s monthly newsletter clipped out. The missive from the board game publishing giants included a paragraph that will be of interest to a fair few of you.

Our digital team developing Space Empires for iPad is getting close to the point where they’ll need an initial batch of testers.

We first caught wind of Space Empires for iPad in August of 2013, when it was revealed alongside a slew of other titles in the works including nocturnal aerial combat game Nightfighter and naval donnybrook card game Pacific Typhoon. Alongside those, GMT have engaged board game conversion nonpareils Playdek to make the virtual version of their flagship title Twilight Struggle, which cannot get into my hands fast enough. GMT have got it all going on, basically.

Space Empires 4X (no relation to the classic–abandoned?–PC series of the same name) is exactly what it says on the tin — a meaty sci-fi empire-building game for one to four players. This is still an under-exploited genre on mobile: the best stuff in the category is very good (Starbase Orion, Eclipse) but there’s no dominating 800-pound cybergorilla. Let’s see what GMT can do.

Review: Pair Solitaire

Cards, yo.

Simple, understated, classy–the standard 52-card deck is basically how I aim to dress.

Pair Solitaire is a fresh replacement for the Klondike most of us learned as children and now only play when counting flowers on the wall and watching Captain Kangaroo grows stale. The concept is remarkably simple: line up all 52 cards, and then you can remove a card which matches a card not adjacent, but two away from it, either in suit or rank. It requires careful planning to remove as many cards as possible.

The card designs are attractive and the interface handles portrait and landscape equally well, and, while I prefer most games on the iPad, PS works nicely at the smaller phone size. Even better, though unlocking the full version will run you a buck, this only unlocks different card faces and a daily challenge, and removes ads I hadn’t even noticed in the gameplay-complete free version.

Now that I have satisfied Thumper’s dad, that’s everything good I can say about the game. It will find an audience among those who would otherwise be playing Klondike, but this is Pocket Tactics–if you’re coming here at all, you can do better.

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Wargame of the Year 2014 Runner-up: Desert Fox

Be my Valentine

Be my Valentine

It’s not overly surprising that Desert Fox didn’t generate the excitement that Battle of the Bulge did two years ago. Not only does it take place in a smaller, less exalted theatre of World War II, its slick presentation is something we’ve now come to expect from Shenandoah Studio’s wargames. It’s a shame, because Desert Fox is a game every bit as cunning as its namesake.

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