Developer Keith Lee got in touch with us the other day about his Kickstarter for Duelyst, a beautifully realised multiplayer squad tactical game that I fell in love with from the very first gif. I can’t overstate how pretty the game is — it looks like Heavy Metal for NES produced by Don Bluth.
What gave me pause about his pitch is the multiplayer-only tactical part of that. That particular elephant’s graveyard is full of ivory: Outwitters, Finest Hour, RAD Soldiers. What does Lee think he can do to success where so many other game’s haven’t?
“If you’re making a game for mobile, I think async must be the primary use case,” Lee told me. “Synchronous is too tough to maintain attention on your mobile device since you might get interrupted. It’s very hard to have a deep [turn-based strategy game] that can be played in a very short time without losing lots of tactical options.”
Duelyst’s killer app then, if you subscribe to Lee’s line of thinking, is the asynchronous gameplay, combined with a one-of-a-kind aesthetic and a lofty skill ceiling. “The emphasis is on unit positioning, understanding your squad’s capabilities, anticipating your opponent, and maintaining board control,” the Kickstarter pitch says. “At its core, it’s a tactical tabletop board game without all the manual math calculations.”
How are we going to pay for it? The old-fashioned way. “We want to be very clear that our game is buy once, up-front. We will not be free-to-play nor do we intend to have monthly fees.”
Duelyst’s pitch video and more Kickstarters worth looking at after the jump.
From our comrades-in-arms over at 164 we hear tell of a new board game just landed on iOS & Android: The Power Game, which is an abstract game the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen. You take turns with your opponent placing gears on a board, with the goal being to make a mechanism that turns the other player’s “master gear” before he can turn yours. Sounds… intimate.
Neumann tells me that this thing was all the rage for a few years in the late 70s and you can see why — it must have been one hell of a coffee table novelty. This new mobile edition looks pretty OK but not having this game developed by Fireproof (the makers of The Room) seems like the biggest missed opportunity of the decade.
The trailer is after the jump. You’ll find that it’s snowing in this trailer for reasons I cannot fathom. If you know why it’s snowing, drop a note in the comments and I’ll send you a prize. The Power Game is out for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Not Chumby, though. The game features single-player, same-device multiplayer, and leaderboards.
Take a minute to think about the traffic nightmare you’re creating on these islands.
Prolific digital board game specialists USM have sent across screenshots of their next offering: Kahuna is based on the Gunter Cornett tabletop game of the same name and it’ll be on the App Store next week. USM are the volk who previously brought Catan and the underrated War of the Roses to iOS.
Kahuna is a two-player area control game on a tropical archipelago where you and your opponent take turns laying down bridges or removing the other players’, with the goal of having your own network of bridges dominate the islands. The original board game appeared on the coveted Spiel des Jahres recommended list back in 1999.
Kahuna will be on a launch price of two dollars next week. I’m not 100% if it’s shipping with single-player AI; I’ve asked USM and I’ll let you know what I hear. [UPDATE: "There are 12 AI opponents with different personalities and tactics." Well then.]
I know I keep using this same image, but would you believe that Papa Sangre doesn’t screenshot very well?
I’m almost (I swear) done with that Papa Sangre 2 review I’ve been working on. I should have known better than to schedule a lot of evening work on the week that XCOM: Enemy Within came out for PC. I’ve been cursing at Chryssalids and muttering at Mutons most nights this week. But there will be plenty of shiny new things to lure me back to the iPadthis coming week.
As for this weekend, there’s some good sales on. In case the five-dollar launch price was the last thing keeping you on the fence about the aforementioned Papa Sangre 2, it’s dropped temporarily down to just a buck. I’ll spoil my own review a bit here and tell you that the Sean Bean-starring audio-only adventure is a pretty good ride indeed. It’s an ideal airplane game: pop in your headphones, put on your eye mask and give yourself over to it completely. If you’ve got any holiday travel coming up you, then I recommend it to you.
Well, I didn’t quite catch all of last night’s releases in the Out Tonight post. It was a very small oversight. Regardless, I assure you that this is not my fault (and has nothing to do with my efforts last night to invent the absinthe margarita*), but the fault of an entirely different bit of Pocket Tactics management, all of whom have now been sacked.
Anyway, there’s more games to talk to about here: Decromancer, Aliens versus Humans: Missions, new decks for Magic 2014, Pathogen, LEGO Lord of the Rings, Tiny Death Star, and well that’s it, I think. Like I said, a very small oversight.
Here’s an abstract strategy game that has caught my eye: Pathogen, a game of “strategically plac[ing] and upgrad[ing] viruses on a game map in order to control more territory than your opponent(s)”. Pathogen’s marketing materials go on to compare the game to Go and Chess, which is a little like writing a limerick and shelving it next to the Illiad but hey — I like the ambition. This is the first iOS game from developers Birnam Wood.
You really have to see it in motion to grok it, and I’ve got the trailer for you after the jump. The game is out next week on iOS, and Kelsey’s going to review this one for us.
Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.
There’s a new update to one of our favourite games from this year, the territory control iOS board game Totems: there’s now multiplayer chat in the game. No longer will you have to infer how much your opponent hates you after you pull that completely sick reversal to end the match, as your opponent can now tell you directly.
To celebrate this, Totems developers Timecode has utterly inundated us with promo codes for the game. Having learned long ago that I can’t (or at least, shouldn’t) eat these codes, I’ve decided to give them to you lot.
As usual, my benevolence comes with a price. This time, my toll is science-fiction novels. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately and it would be good to unplug my brain with some pulp space opera, so recommend me a good sci-fi read in the comments. You have until Monday morning at 9am Eastern, where upon I will choose ten (!) winners — one which I deem to be the funniest or most insightful contribution, and nine others selected at random by the Pocket Tactics Magic 8-Ball.
The new Fjords map — designed by Slartibartfast, no doubt.
Totems, the iOS territory control board game to which Clancy awarded this year’s first 5 out of 5 review, got a big update last night. There’s a new in-game challenge system that awards achievements for certain kinds of gameplay victories. Developers Timecode also added in four new maps, which are available as in-app purchases for a dollar each, or (in the style of Plague Inc.’s expansions) can be unlocked for free by completing the new challenges.
To mark the update, Timecode have dropped the price on Totems down to a buck, but that price is only good today.