Cosmic Encounter is a board game from 1977 that has been republished and recreated many times in the past 35 years. It’s truly one of the most influential board games ever made, introducing mechanisms like individual player powers, free-form negotiation and the concept of expansions. Lots and lots of expansions. Of all the games I wouldn’t think would transfer well to a digital version, Cosmic Encounter is near the top due to the fact that the entire game involves talking, bluffing, and the making and breaking of deals. It just wouldn’t work without the face-to-face element.
Apparently the designers agree, but they’ve come up with a clever way to still get Cosmic onto an iPad. It’s called Cosmic Encounter Connector and consists of apps that will allow you to use real-time voice chat with the other players as well as all the bits you’ll find inside the current Fantasy Flight Games version of Cosmic Encounter. From what I can tell, it appears to be more of a sandbox that will allow you to play Cosmic Encounter with all the pieces you’d normally play with. It’s like VASSAL for iPad, only with voice chat and focusing on one title.
While the app isn’t backed by Fantasy Flight at all, it appears that they will allow all the art and bits from their version to be used in the app and they’re even talking about using the Connector system to port other Fantasy Flight titles to the system.
Cosmic Encounter Connector is currently on Kickstarter. They’re looking for $128K and are only at about $2.5K now, but they still have 29 days to fund. The initial goal of $128K includes iPad support, but there are stretch goals for other platforms as well as including different expansions and player-created content.
If you’re a Cosmic Encounter fan, you need to check the Kickstarter out. If you’ve never played before, check it out and realize what this could mean for board gaming in the future.
Pretty! But not remotely what Battle Worlds will look like on your tablet.
Back in May, Battle Worlds: Kronos devs King Art told me that the iPad and Android tablet version of their turn-based sci-fi wargame were due out just two weeks hence. Now I’m no fancy mathematician, but the chronomages at the Pocket Tactics Time Calculation and Pizza Re-heating Research College high atop Mount Hexmap inform me that BWK is now about 11 weeks late.
We can only speculate about the reasons for the big gap, but if you watch the video after the break you may find a clue. In an update from last week, King Art showed off builds of the mobile versions of Battle Worlds for the first time, revealing that the tablet editions will have entirely new graphics that have been downgraded from the PC iteration. Alas, it’s clearly not as nice to look at but King Art point out that the gameplay is entirely identical and that cross-platform multiplayer is a go.
There’s no new release date for the tablet editions, but King Art are soliciting beta testers. After the break, the first video of the iPad and Android versions of Battle Worlds: Kronos, and the Ouya version, too! I bet that seemed like a sensible use of resources in early 2013.
“Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Freaky Space Worm Valance.”
Being a certified Old Man™ with the reflexes of a sedated elephant seal, I can hardly imagine a game I’d like to play less than a bullet hell shoot-em-up. And yet, Mighty Tactical Shooter has me considering blowing the dust off the old gaming Kickstarter klaxon. Before you start the impeachment proceedings, hear me out. Mighty Tactical Shooter is a shooter that you can play and drink a beer at the same time.
Mighty Tactical Shooter is the brainchild of Brighton-based former Second Life dev Johnny Marshall, and it’s built around an idea I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before. The game is a 2D side-scrolling shooter like the ones that have roamed the Earth since the age of the dinosaur, but the evolutionary twist here is that the game is entirely turn-based.
Turns in Mighty Tactical Shooter are simultaneous with the enemies’, so when they fire a missile at you, you can use a gravity weapon to alter its path, or target it with a missile of your own. Basically, you get to see a shmup the way Wayne Gretzky sees a hockey rink. There’s also three different AI subsystems on your ship (“AI buddies” — sounds legit) which you can route power to at your discretion, boosting your ability to dish out, absorb, or repair damage, which would give you a lot of flexibility in how you approach different tactical environments.
There’s eight hours left to fund Mighty Tactical Shooter on Kickstarter, but its success is now a forgone conclusion as it hit its £10,000 goal earlier today. Marshall told me yesterday that the game already runs like a dream on his Android tablet, and he’s planning an iPad edition as well.
We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by robots with guns. [Image by Chad Ellis]
Battle for Hill 218 is one of those games that, sadly, gets overlooked on a lot of “best of” iOS lists. It’s a shame, really, as it’s a great little 2-player game and it’s digital implementation is spot-on. Recently, the publisher, Your Move Games, started a Kickstarter to reprint Battle for Hill 218 as well as its sci-fi sequel, Battle for Sector 219. While cardboard versions of games are amazing, what struck me was that $10K stretch goal that would bring Sector 219 to iOS.
The iOS version would most likely be done by the same developer as Hill 218, Large Visible Machine. This means we should be excited, people. Not only did they do a great job with Hill 218’s UI, but they created an AI so evil that they were forced to add a weaker AI in an later update due to the complaints.
Check out the Kickstarter for more info, or go download Battle for Hill 218 from the App Store. You won’t be disappointed. Kickstarter trailer after the break.
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.
At times it’s seemed like getting a digital version of the cold war classic Twilight Struggle was taking longer than the cold war itself. Over 3 years ago GMT Games announced that a PC version of Twilight Struggle was in development, and three years later they killed the project. At the time they nuked the project, GMT founder Gene Billingsley hinted at a partner to bring it to iPad and now we know exactly what he had up his sleeve the whole time: Playdek is developing Twilight Struggle for pretty much every platform you can think of, including iOS and Android. This is Owen’s favorite board game so you can expect to see plenty of coverage around here. [squeeeeeeeee --ed.]
Well, when I say they’re developing it, I mean only if GMT reaches their Kickstarter funding goal of $50K. Considering that Twilight Struggle is widely regarded as the greatest boardgame ever made, I think we should place bets on how quickly they reach that $50K number. One day? Two? Maybe two hours?
A digital version of the game isn’t all they’re offering, either. The designers of Twilight Struggle, Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews have used their Wonder Twin powers to concoct a mini expansion for both the digital and cardboard versions, but only for Kickstarter backers. The expansion called Twilight Struggle: What if? will give players alternate starting setups based on hypothetical events from an alternate history. What if the Western allies had reached Berlin first? What if Chiang’s forces held in southern China?
The pitch has been up for less than an hour and it’s half-funded already. I don’t think you need Nancy Reagan’s astrologer to see where this is going.
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.