It’s come to my attention that some of you are performing a dark cabalistic ritual to summon the mysteriously delayed mobile edition of Blood Bowl. STOP. You are performing the wrong dark cabalistic ritual. I know you meant well, but you appear to have summoned this Kim Kardashian game into existence instead. Also the Jonas Brothers have been crashing on my couch for the last three days. You’re not allowed to watch E! while invoking the occult anymore.
Instead of beseeching the dark powers for aid, I sent around inquiries to see what the holdup is on high-fantasy football game Blood Bowl (announced for “early July” a few weeks ago) and on the iOS version of sci-fi deck-building card game Star Realms (which was meant to be here around July 4th).
Details of what I uncovered after the jump. But fair warning: none of it is particularly good news.
Champagne is being uncorked high atop Mount Hexmap in the Pocket Tactics Prognostication Center and Quick-Pick Lotto Research Institute. The Rise of Vigil expansion for Ascension is going to be out any minute now for iOS, just we predicted last week. This is the first new expansion to everyone’s favourite digital card game in over a year, and marks the renewal of vows between app developers Playdek and game designers Stone Blade, who agreed to put aside their differences and make beautiful Ascension together again.
I asked Stone Blade designer Brian Kibler to tell me what we should be expecting from the new expansion. “Rise of Vigil is my favorite set we’ve released since the original game,” Kibler told me. “The new Energize mechanic leads to big exciting turns, and Treasure cards really make players evaluate cards differently as the game goes on. This combination makes the set great for Ascension beginners and veterans alike.”
Well. We’ll see for ourselves very soon. The Rise of Vigil rules are available as a PDF if you want to get familiar with what’s new while you wait for the App Store update to turn over. From what I’ve read, this expansion mixes things up tremendously: the treasure cards incent you to make non-optimal buys from the center row, and the new energy shards boost your ability to draw cards from your deck, which might make bigger decks more viable and tight decks even punchier.
Android adherents need not be too envious: if all goes to plan, Playdek’s iOS app will be making its way to Google-powered devices sometime later this summer, then PC in the autumn.
After the jump, two more cards from the Rise of Vigil expansion. Never played Ascension? Neither had I a couple of years ago. Read something I wrote about the first expansion back in 2012 to see why it’s so popular.
Rise of Vigil adds a couple of new mechanics to Ascension: energy shards (essentially a new resource) and treasure cards which grant additional rewards for defeating center row enemies. If you want to bone up on the rules from the new expansion before it hits the app, Stone Blade have made the rules available as a PDF on their site.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled over here and let you know as soon as Rise of Vigil drops.
Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed too close to the system.
We’ve grown accustomed to a certain amount of forewarning about the release of iOS titles, which parade neatly onto our iPhones and iPads at precisely 11pm Eastern time on Wednesdays. But it seems as though some game developers think that we’ve grown complacent — too comfortable with our nice predictable conveyor belt of entertainment.
White Wizard, the makers of hot-like-the-sun sci-fi deck-building card game Star Realms, are keeping us on our toes for the iOS release of their debut title. The game has been on the Android market for over a week now, but there’s still no sign of the game on the App Store.
When a developer submits a game to Apple, they can elect to either A) hold the game to release on a particular date or B) just let it ride and launch the moment Apple approves it. White Wizard have unusually gone with the latter route, and as a result nobody knows when the game is due. It’s already been in submission longer than the current 7-day average wait, so who knows what’s up? Maybe Star Realms will be out tonight. Maybe it’ll be out next week. Maybe I’m a guest on the new Flying Lotus record. It is a mystery.
If you’re desperate for some Star Realms, you can stare longingly at the images in my hands-on preview from last month. For the rest of us, let’s peruse a few new releases — that we know for sure are coming.
Core Worlds was one of the many deckbuilders that sprang to life after Dominion invented the deckbuilding mechanism a few years ago. The difference between Core Worlds and a lot of other bandwagon jumpers is that Core Worlds is actually a really good game. It takes the basic deckbuilding experience and adds a rich theme of building fleets and conquering planets on your way to the central planets (some might even call them Core Worlds) to take your place as rightful ruler of the galaxy. Or something like that. It’s really just a lot of fun.
Earlier this week, Stronghold Games announced a new Kickstarter to bring Core Worlds to iOS and Android. The game will have a 3D interface and the early screenshots look pretty sweet. They’re looking for a paltry $20K, and already have about half of that. Unfortunately, if you want to get either of the expansions digitized (and I’ve heard the first expansion makes this game utterly fantastic) they’ll need to hit stretch goals of $75K and $100K before the timer runs out.
Go and check out the Kickstarter to see all the pretty pictures, or watch the Kickstarter trailer after the break.
If you thought this weekend was going to be all sunshine and barbecues and good old-fashioned American jingoism – well you were wrong, pal. We’re going to have new-fangled barbecues in space. Star Realms, the deck-building card game whose PC beta won me over so thoroughly a couple of weeks ago is now out on Android. In a reversal of the natural order of things, the iOS version will be arriving later; designer Rob Dougherty told me this morning that the “iOS [edition] will be submitted shortly”.
Star Realms is a very good game and a well-made app. It brings an adversarial twist to the Ascension formula, making the game about direct conflict between the two players rather than an indirect competition for scarce resources. I’ve only had a chance to play the PC version so far but if the touchscreen editions live up to their potential then this game should be a hit.
The Android app is free with some of the single-player campaign missions to try, and offers an in-app purchase to unlock all of the content and online multiplayer if you enjoy it. I’ll let you know when the iOS version arrives. Read my extensive preview from June for more details.
Ascension might be one of the most acclaimed card games in recent history, but co-creator Rob Dougherty clearly wasn’t ready to put his tools away when the game shipped. Three years after Ascension enraptured the tabletop world with its refined and accessible deck-building mechanics (and two years after Playdek’s iOS version set the standard for touchscreen card games), Dougherty successfully Kickstarted a new game: Star Realms. Though broadly similar to Ascension, Star Realms messed with the formula to crank up the game’s pace and make it a more direct mano-a-mano brawl.
Presuming that you can improve upon a new classic is Kanye-level arrogance — and Star Realms does. But the greatness of Ascension is a two-headed beast: one part is the game itself, and the other part is the peerless quality of Playdek’s app. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Playdek might just have a new peer.
This will be old news to those who backed this game’s successful Kickstarter last autumn, but this is all fresh for me. Star Realms is a deck-building card game co-designed by Rob Dougherty, one of the brains behind everybody’s favorite deck-building card game Ascension. If you’re rusty on your trendy tabletop gaming jargon, deck-building games have you competing with another player to assemble the most powerful deck from a common pool of cards — but each card you acquire necessarily dilutes the power of your deck. A well-executed deck-builder is a lot of fun and we’re starting to see the mechanic more and more.
I talked briefly to White Wizard Games’ digital lead Tan Thor Jen this morning and he told me that a digital version of Star Realms (planned for iOS, Android, and PC) is currently in a closed beta. There’s no outsourced studio here — Jen is leading development of the app himself, and he’s has got a knack for just this sort of thing, having built Magic: The Gathering apps like Decked Builder in the past.
There’s a lot of good vibrations going around about Star Realms, and it’s not just an Ascension clone, either.