Like a girlfriend contemplating a text message breakup, the generally self-assured Playdek choke when it comes time to drop the hammer. For the past year, Playdek have kept schtum about three games that were once in their future plans but now appear to have been cancelled: the unique genre-mixing card game Smash Up, introductory-level wargame Tank on Tank, and the more advanced tactical wargame Commands & Colors.
In my interview with him in December, Playdek CEO Joel Goodman could only be drawn out on the subject far enough to say that “[t]here’s been partners and games we’ve talked about before where the relationship might evolve.”
I decided to try and find out what the other half of those relationships had to say. Here’s what I discovered.
“I see your neighbours have got one of those new Dyson Air Multipliers.”
When I caught up with Playdek CEO Joel Goodman before the holidays, we briefly touched on Unsung Story, their tactical RPG collaboration with Final Fantasy Tactics creator Yasumi Matsuno due out in 2015. Goodman told me that the game was planned for a multi-platform release encompassing iOS, Android, and what sounded to me like next-generation consoles — but we really didn’t get much into the game itself.
In an interview with Brad Cummings posted over at 164 yesterday, Goodman revealed quite a bit more about Unsung Story, including the fact that the game would feature a 3D world — quite a departure from board and card games like Agricola and Ascension that have been Playdek’s bread and butter.
Unsung Story is going to be a very big deal, and Playdek are clearly putting more resources into it than any project we’ve seen from them yet; besides the huge investment into making that 3D world, there’s also going to be the prequel Unsung Story card game coming to iOS (and quite possibly Android) sometime this year. Head over to BGG to see the whole interview.
Playdek managed to get one more release out the door before Apple shuts down the approvals process: another promo card pack for fantasy card game Ascension. Promo Card Pack No. 3 is available in-app for a dollar and nets you five new cards to play with: the much-nicer-than-it-sounds Constricting Horror, the Moon Staff, Soul Collector, the construct-swapping Control Room, and the unbearably smug Miles, Golden Prodigy.
Anecdotally, I noticed a big uptake in available multiplayer games over the weekend. There’s hardly ever a wait to pick up a game in Ascension but for the last couple of days its been Grand Central Station in the multiplayer lobby.
Somebody see if we can get this wizard to summon Fleet Captains next.
Eyebrows elevated around the digital board gaming world earlier this month when Heroclix and Star Trek: Fleet Captains makers Wizkids announced that they were bringing “dice-building” tabletop game Quarriors to iPad. We hadn’t seen the hybrid deck-building and dice combat game in motion until now — Wizkids have sent along this first gameplay trailer of Quarriors, exclusive to Pocket Tactics today.
I don’t have a concrete release date for Quarriors yet, but the announcement from a few weeks back said “November” — so if that still holds, we should see the game this week. This will be Wizkids’ first digital board game, but Pandemic has already showed us this year that it’s possible to hit it out of the park on your first swing.
If I were ever to become a monk at an unusually permissive and high-tech monastery, and I was allowed one (and only one) iOS game to take with me into my cloister, it would definitely be Ascension. And that game has just gone free for a limited time.
“But Owen”, you object, “I didn’t play Magic The Gathering in high school and I have no idea what this game is about.” Look bub, I didn’t play Magic The Gathering in high school either (I was with the really cool kids playing Advanced Squad Leader) and you don’t need any prior experience with fantasy card games to get into Ascension. The learning curve is gentle and the multiplayer community is robust. Just get in there.
For those who already own Ascension, all of the expansion packs are currently on sale and Playdek (pursuant to their promise to keep supporting Ascension to the hilt until the clock runs out next year) have released another Promo Card Pack that’s available for a dollar.
Football Seasons is a chocolate-and-peanut butter combo if I’ve ever seen one: deck-building card game and soccer. Okay. You can sign me up for Football Ascension right now.
Neumann uncovered the game earlier this week at 164 and he posted a selection of screenshots over there, too. The game simulates a season of soccer with both domestic (English, Italian, German, Spanish, or French leagues) and European cup play, and you acquire cards that represent transfers, board takeovers, and other football esoterica.
It’s going to be free-to-play (hopefully not in an obnoxious way) and it’s apparently going to show up any day now. Italian developers MakeItApp said on their blog that the only obstacle to release was Apple’s developer portal collapse a couple of weeks ago.
There’s a trailer after the jump and (this is not a word I use often) it’s wacky.
*Yes, that is a terrible post title I’ve had a long week.
Well, we’ve seen countless digital trading card games based on classic entertainment properties from days gone by — but are we ready to start mining history for TCG fodder? The next contestant in the mobile free-to-play TCG arena will be World War II: Trading Card Game. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this one.
Despite the fact that this is card game, the devs are promising that WWII: TCG will offer “incredibly realistic” combat — just like the time Montgomery defeated Rommel in the great Gin Rummy battle of El Alamein. You can get a feel for how the game will be played on Spanish developer FrozenShard’s website.
The game is due out in Q4 for iOS, with Android and desktop editions to follow. Check out the trailer after the jump. Continue reading…
Some of the new constructs sound like they were named by the Mechana corporate communications department.
Remember the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation? The one where Tasha Yar and Q show up again for old times’ sake — not because they were strictly needed for the plot but just because they were remembered fondly by the fans?
In 2014, Ascension creators Stoneblade will launch their own Ascension Online service with exclusive access to future expansions, and Playdek’s existing iOS Ascension app will have to pack it in. Being the last major expansion pack that the Playdek app will receive before an agreement with Stoneblade shuts the app down at the end of next year, Immortal Heroes is developer Playdek’s farewell episode from the game.
It’s fitting that the gameplay wrinkle introduced by Immortal Heroes is basically a bit of fan service. Certain card plays in the game will produce “soul gems”, which are single-use cards from older Ascension blocks with a spooky Instagram filter applied to them. Hey, you got a soul gem! And your reward is a cameo appearance from your old pal Master Dhartha.
Immortal Heroes is an expansion made with existing Ascension fans in mind, not just because of the self-conscious nods to its own fantasy world, but because it adds depth and complexity to an increasingly complex game. Continue reading…