Posts Tagged: Deck-building

Puzzle Strike attacks Steam, the App Store is next victim

At least the screen isn't busy.

At least the screen isn’t busy.

Last year, Sirlin Games released a digital version of their Rock, Paper, Scisscors-like fighter, Yomi. It was an excellent port, and led people to start wondering when Sirlin’s other fighting game, Puzzle Strike, would be making its way to digital. That would be now. It was released yesterday for PC/Mac on Steam, and should be out for iOS in January.

Puzzle Strike is a deckbuilding game whose physical version differentiated itself by using poker chips instead of cards. You’d place your chips in a bag and draw from there instead of shuffling and flipping stacks of cardstock. Of course, a digital version doesn’t care about chips or cards, so we’ll just call it a deckbuilder and leave it at that.

Puzzle Strike is a fighting game in which each player will select a fighter and their chips. Each character has their own set of chips, making each character’s style completely different. The goal is to avoid having gems in front of you because, if you have at least 10, you’re knocked out. I know that it doesn’t make any sense, but roll with it.

Puzzle Strike is an enormously popular game having spawned both a second and third edition in only five years to ensure that tournament play is balanced. The digital version will allow you to play offline against bots, and also cross-platform online multiplayer. It also has a challenge mode in which you’ll have to beat different opponents with different game-changing rules. It will also have Daily Quests and the ability to create matches with your friends. Both the Steam version and the upcoming iOS version will have all 48 puzzle chips from both the third edition and the Shadows expansion. The base game will come with 10 characters, with other characters available via IAP.

Check out Puzzle Strike now on Steam (it’s currently on sale), and we’ll let you know when it makes an appearance on the App Store. Check out the trailer after the break.

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Pocket Tactics’ Games of the Month: November 2015

Call an exterminator

Call an exterminator

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of an upheaval here at Pocket Tactics. We’ve introduced three fantastic new writers this week, and we have even more new contributors chained up in the dungeons of Mt. Hexmap just waiting for Owen to unlock the portcullis that separates them from their laptops. That’s not all, though. We’re going to start bringing back some old favorites, and the first step was dusting off the old Games of the Month feature.

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, so let me explain. These aren’t necessarily the best games of the month, they might not have even been released in the month we’re covering. Instead, this is just a look into what our contributors have been enjoying on their touchscreens in the past thirty days or so. So, don’t be surprised if you don’t see the latest and greatest on this list. In fact, that’s kind of the point. Maybe you’ll see something that surprises you.

The minions’ most played games of November 2015 after the break.

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One and dawn: Siberian Dawn is new deck builder coming to Android

In Siberia, dawn...okay, I've got nothing.

In Siberia, dawn…okay, I’ve got nothing.

It takes a certain kind of moxie to create a deck-building card game by yourself. I mean, my kids have completely turned Pokemon into something that I don’t think the designers ever dreamed of, but that’s my kids being kids. Also, they’re not planning to release their game on the market for anyone else to see. Stephen Winterflood apparently has that moxie, because he’s been working on a new deck builder, Siberian Dawn, since 2012 and is planning on releasing it on PC and Android later this year.

Siberian Dawn is a single-player only deck builder, which lets Stephen put narrative and gameplay ahead of balancing cards to make them “fair” for multiple players. The game takes place in a dystopian future (are there any other kinds of futures?) in which Europe is controlled by an entity known as The Union. You’re an Overseer for The Union assigned to investigate strange activity in the eastern sector involving a cult simply called the Dawn. While the game has mechs and marines, it also introduces a mixture of the arcane and bizarre such as wizards and strange religions. The initial set of cards will cover this initial mission to discover what’s happening in the east, while future scenario packs will add more cards and continue to the story to wherever it might lead.

When I said that Stephen has been working on Siberian Dawn since 2012, I really mean just Stephen. He’s the designer, writer, programmer and artist for the game which is incredibly impressive if the first few screenshots are any indication. The game still has a few months of development before it’s ready for prime time, and then it will only be for PC and Android. Once again, us poor iOS users are left out in the cold. Check out a few more pieces of artwork after the break.

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Screenshots from Gambit, the first expansion for Star Realms, coming to iOS & Android later this week

Less than 12 parsecs?

Less than 12 parsecs?

The thing I get the most emails about is beard-grooming advice, followed closely by mewling requests to stop holding the world for ransom from my sinister lair high atop Mount Hexmap. But number 3 is definitely PT readers wondering what the heck is up with Star Realms.

The sci-fi flavoured deck-building card game got a good write-up from us last year and it did even better over at Board Game Geek, where it pulled down a fistful of Golden Geek Awards. It’s a nifty little card game that had some UI wonkiness in its iOS and Android incarnations, and it had a strong tang of “pre-expansion” gameplay — there were a lot of obvious open sockets waiting to be hooked up to more elaborate gameplay mechanics.

The Gambit expansion for the Star Realms base set came out on cardboard back in 2013, and it’ll hit desktops and mobile versions of Star Realms this Thursday, White Wizard Games told me this morning. Gambit cards are randomly dealt to the players at the beginning of the game and allow the player that holds them to bend certain rules, encouraging players to pursue different gameplay styles. It’s a neat idea and the expansion is generally well-reviewed on tabletop. Perhaps even better: there’s two new chapters included in the much-admired single-player campaign. Gambit will be available as a single in-app purchase for $4.

Besides the new cards, there’s been some welcome tweaks and additional functionality to the Star Realms app, and everybody will get these improvements when the game updates this week, whether or not you buy the new card set. There’s a new update feed which will help you stay on top of your asynchronous games (a big pain in the engines in 1.0), an option for faster card animations, online leaderboards, and new tips and hints to smooth out the learning curve for new players.

Lots more images from the expansion after the jump.

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App menagerie: The weirdest iOS and Android games of 2014

It's so peaceful here this time of night. Until the fish rain begins.

It’s so peaceful here this time of night. Until the fish rain begins.

Yes, yes — your list of gaming accomplishments in 2014 was very mighty indeed. You circumnavigated a fractious steampunk world in eighty days. You single-handedly recovered the Golden Fleece of Yendor from the clutches of demon wizards and goblin archers. You conquered the Earth, then saved it, then avenged it.

But did take the form of an omnipotent mountain floating in outer space? Did you become a hacker exposing false flag operations in a Russian puppet state? Or become a global superpower by selectively breeding an army of cats?

No? Then buckle up, compadre — let me show you the very weirdest stuff of the year.

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Ask the Askaras: Here’s Justin Gary’s favorite set to play Ascension: Realms Unraveled with

So many cards it's like Justin Bieber's in the hospital.

So many cards it’s like Justin Bieber’s in the hospital.

Now that Realms Unraveled is out for Ascension, there’s different seven core sets you can choose to play with, plus a mess of promo packs. I did the math, and there’s now three digital Ascension cards for every man, woman, and dog on the planet. If we actually printed all of these cards out, the Earth would collapse under its weight and become a black hole, which would be pretty cool for Interstellar cosplay, I guess.

Clearly, playing with every single set is only good for the occasional lark or if you want to drive an OCD friend to insanity, but which sets should you be playing with? I decided to take this question straight to the source: Ascension designer Justin Gary.

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Things fall apart: Ascension’s Realms Unraveled arrives on iOS & Android

The Canon Templar does not approve of your Lifebound-Mechana shipping.

The Canon Templar does not approve of your Lifebound-Mechana shipping.

In the wee small hours of the morning, Playdek dropped another expansion on us. Realms Unraveled is a highly respected box for Ascension, the durable deck-building card game that would almost certainly be elected the official pastime of Pocket Tactics if we ever put that to a vote. The expansion is available as a single $2.99 purchase within the Ascension app, and it’s on both iOS and on the recently-launched Android port.

With the release of Realms Unraveled, digital Ascension has now achieved parity with the tabletop version. Ever since Playdek and game designers Stone Blade put aside their differences earlier this year the duo have been cranking out card sets; after Rise of Vigil and Darkness Unleashed, RU is the third expansion to get digitised this year.

For those somehow still unfamiliar with Ascension, stop reading this and go play the tutorial already. There simply aren’t any hobby card games that are easier to get into, and certainly none whatsoever that are so well-supported by mobile apps.

For Void-weathered Ascension heads, this expansion introduces multi-faction heroes that play with the Unite and Transform mechanics from earlier boxes. I’m still wrapping my head around it but I’ve enjoyed my couple of online matches already. Ascension artist Eric Sabee is also at the very top of his game with this set. Make sure you read my interview with him from earlier this year if you want to understand how Ascension’s one-of-kind card art comes into being.

Welcome to the jungle : Concrete Jungle funds, coming to iOS?

We've got fun 'n' games

We’ve got fun ‘n’ games

We’ve not hidden our feelings about the lack of a decent city-builder on our tablets. Nearly every title out there is either a free-to-play mess, or just not deep enough to grab you and hold you the way the classics like SimCity or Caesar did. Therefore, we will take any and all chances of a decent city builder for mobile and run with them, even if their appearance on iOS or Android is, at this point, just a wish.

Cole Jeffries, who developed the puzzly Megacity for iOS and Android is twisting his city-building muscles again. This time he’s including a board game mechanic for good measure: deck-building. Concrete Jungle is the new title and it’s just been funded on Kickstarter with 23 days to go.

Concrete Jungle is still more puzzle than city manager, but the combo of deck-builer and city-builder looked too cool to ignore. So, the goal of the game is to clear city blocks so you can continue to build a bigger city. Of course, the bigger the city gets, the harder it gets to keep building. There are over 150 cards that you can use to build a deck that will allow you to build certain buildings, and as your cities get bigger, you can add bigger and better buildings to your deck. Best of all, the game features no IAP at all.

The big downside is that Concrete Jungle is currently only planned for PC and Mac, and those are the only platforms being funded by the Kickstarter. Cole does mention, however, that iOS and Android are possibilities down the road. Let’s hope he heads that route, as tablets can use any city-building love they can get.

Kickstarter trailer after the break.

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