I’m sure I’m not completely alone when I lay out my distaste for politics. Or, I guess I should qualify that as distaste for politicians. Politics, and elections in general, can be full of strategy and nuance that isn’t apparent when you’re watching TV and some jackanapes is trying to convince you their opponent is an incompetent clown. It’s not surprising that there have been many games focusing on the election process from the epic German election board game, Die Macher, to lighter iOS fare like Campaign Manager.
Continuing in this vein is Election Manager 2016 from Lensflare, the same team behind Tactical Space Command. Unlike most campaign games that hit the market every 4 years, EM2016 doesn’t focus on a single, historical campaign. Instead EM2016 is a sandbox that will let you run any 2-4 candidate election for President of the US. You can run with Democrats and Republicans or mix it up and include only independent tickets.
EM2016 will allow control over many core aspects of the campaign: advertising, fundraising, polling and more. It will have a single player mode, or you can play the game multiplayer via pass-and-play.
EM2016 should be arriving by the first Tuesday of November for iOS Universal and Mac but, even if they miss that date, November is a lock.
Check out more screens of Election Manager 2016 after the break.
I’ve reviewed a lot of interactive fiction here at Pocket Tactics. We’re talking tons. Maybe more than I should have? Maybe not enough? At the end of the day, however, I’ve never played interactive fiction like Hadean Lands before. That’s not totally true. I remember playing games much like Hadean Lands between cutting notches in my floppy disks, but I haven’t played games like this on an iOS device.
Hadean Lands tells the story of a lone survivor of a crashed starship who also happens to be an alchemist. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate from where I’m sitting. Instead of the choose-your-own-adventure style of IF you may be used to, Hadean Lands goes the route of games like Zork and other Infocom classics of yesteryear. You are given an environment usually littered with tools and items you can interact with and then you tell the game what you want to do. We used to call these “text adventures” and solving puzzles while “talking” to your PC was as close to solo D&D as a pimply 13 year-old could have hoped for.
The man behind Hadean Lands is Andrew Plotkin who’s no stranger to this type of thing. He’s written several other award-winning interactive text adventures such as Shade and The Dreamhold, as well as being a major force in keeping interactive fiction relevant today. Oh, and he’s also the guy responsible for creating an entire genre of game with Werewolf.
Hadean Lands successfully Kickstarted nearly 4 years ago, but was just submitted to the App Store and should be arriving on October 30.
I don’t know who or what a Bovak is, but it’s getting its ass kicked
Yes, I still play Hearthstone. No, I don’t expect to start playing another CCG on my iPad anytime soon. That said, Outcast Odyssey from Bandai Namco was just released and it looks to offer something a little different than your average CCG. It looks like a role-playing game.
On the outside, it looks like your standard digital CCG: free to play with IAP to buy more cards, but when you watch the video it looks bonkers. You explore dungeons and other maps and conflict is handled with card play. Not like Naxxramas where you’re facing creatures with their own decks, this looks like you’re actually attacking the monsters with your cards. Or something. I don’t know what I’m looking at. My eyes!
It’s not just the gameplay that looks different, though. There’s a lengthy single-player campaign as well as competitive online multiplayer, but there is also the ability to form guilds and trade cards with your friends which is nice considering that there are over 600 cards in this initial set.
It was just over one year ago that Harebrained Schemes successfully reached and surpassed a $500,000 funding target for their ambitious, app-driven miniatures game Golem Arcana. While normally this wouldn’t be cause for any special alarm, Arcana stands out because A) it’s actually playable, now, with a box and everything, unlike far too many other ostensible KS successes, and B) the game is set for further scenario expansions which promise to deliver on the much-touted notion of a “living” Golem Arcana world.
Owen gave us a breakdown of how Arcana’s meant to work back when the Kickstarter went live. To recap: it’s an army-building game about big ol’ magic war machines (real figurines on a physical battle map) piloted by mages with special buffs (that exist only on the companion app), which aims to cut down on laborious in-game math-crunching and rules checks while still preserving what makes tabletop gaming special–pained expressions and an eventual attempt to flip the gaming table, basically.
In a recent blog post the team discuss rolling out new scenarios based on the outcomes of games played at GenCon. The goal, it seems, is to offer players choices during battles which can affect Arcana lore, not just the results of any one battle–though you’re right to be skeptical if hand-crafted scenarios based on a few specific matches isn’t quite as dynamic as the “Living World” pitch suggests. (Harebrained admits these scenarios are an “Alpha” for what one hopes is a greatly expanded system.) Still, even thinking about this sort of player-generated expansion–for a tabletop game–is tenable only because of the heavy-lifting that app is doing. For more on mixed-media board games, check out Neumann’s thoughts on the upcoming XCOM and Alchemists.
The Golem Arcana app is free on iOS and Android, naturally, with the base game running for $80 via the Harebrained Schemes store. Video after the break about 60/40 on “complicated story setup” vs. “how the game actually looks and plays”.
Houses and hotels totally not copied from Monopoly
If you follow board games at all, you’ll know that this week is Spiel’14 which is an annual convention that takes place in Essen, Germany. It’s the largest board game event in the world, and every year thousands of new games are released there. One of the publishers there, Aporta Games, just released a board game called Doodle City. How do I know this? Because they also released a digital version of the game and the app has no qualms about constantly reminding you of its cardboard cousin’s release. It’s a bit obnoxious, but doesn’t ruin what ends up being a pretty decent board game conversion.
Doddle City gives each player a grid that has symbols for hotels, shops, taxi stand and houses on it. Your job is connect these icons by drawing roads on the grid, but you’re limited to where you can draw based on dice rolls. As you connect icons, you will gain points based on what your roads connect. It’s actually quite a fun little puzzle game, but it’s also what we would call “multiplayer solitaire”. There’s no real interaction between players at all. None. Sure, everyone works off the same die roll, but that’s about it. As such, the game has no AI. You can play solo or multiplayer via pass-and-play or online asynchronous. Normally, I’d crush a non-cooperative game that didn’t have AI, but Doodle City doesn’t suffer from it. It works great as a solo puzzle game. Maybe even better than multiplayer, to be honest.
Doodle City is a fun little game and you can pick it up for free through October 20th. Trailer after the break.
Like all of Hunted Cow’s war games, this one will have multiple campaigns. One of them is a tutorial campaign, but the other five are full campaigns dealing with different aspects of the Peninsular War, and all of those can be played from either side of the conflict. There are also dozens of different units for you to control comprised of 12 different troop classes such as infantry, light infantry, hussars, lancers and dragoons.
The expected release date for Peninsular War Battles is next Thursday, the 23rd.
That’s not all Hunted Cow has cooking, though. There is a Gettysburg game that’s nearly done and the port of Decision Games’ war game, Rebels & Redcoats is being submitted next week as well.
Meet the Gypsy, Swashbuckler, Philosopher, Gladi….wait, we have an adventuring Philosopher now?
I know that, lately, I’ve been giving Talisman Digital Edition a lot of love. Since it was updated to be on iPhone last month, I’ve been playing it a ton and really enjoying it. If you were hoping that the Talisman love-fest would be ending soon, I have some bad news for you: I’m just getting started.
Nomad Games is submitting The Dungeon, the first big-box expansion for Talisman, next week. It should then hit for iOS and Android shortly thereafter. The Dungeon is considered a big-box expansion due to the fact that it adds a new board that wraps around the corner of the main board. Besides the new board, the expansion also includes over 100 new cards, 5 new characters, new spells and the super-powerful Treasure cards that lie deep in the dungeon. It does what every good Talisman expansion should, expands the amount of variety in every game.
Exclusive trailer and screenshots of The Dungeon after the break.
No one knows who they were or what they were doing…
When Owen asked us what our Game of the Month for September was, I was too busy to add my two cents. It’s a shame, too, because my pick of Talisman would have probably caused Owen permanent damage from all the eye rolling. It’s not that Owen thinks Talisman is a bad game, it’s just that it was released back in April, and talking up a 6 month old game isn’t really what Game of the Month is all about. That said, in September, Talisman received an update which made it a Universal app, and playing it on the phone has proven to be my favorite way to enjoy the chase for the Crown of Command.
If you’ve been wondering if Talisman is for you, Nomad just put it and all of its extensive IAP on sale. There’s no better time to pick it up for iOS, Android, or PC. The sale only lasts until Monday, however, so you don’t have much time to think about it.
In other Talisman news, Nomad is set to unleash the Dungeon expansion within the next 2 weeks. It will bring 5 new characters, over 100 new cards, and a whole new board to play on. We should have a more in-depth look at the Dungeon next week.