Posts Tagged: Multiplayer

Robo-stop: Android Netrunner online tools going offline — is the mobile version imminent?

Break the ice.

Break the ice.

PT reader Grzegorz writes:

FFG has been lately issuing cease and desist letters to a number of Android: Netrunner sites. Maybe an online version is being made by FFG after all?

Hmmm. Online tools for setting up and playing games of Android Netrunner like NetrunnerDB have been allowed to exist in an intellectual property grey zone for years now, but as Grzegorz tells us, they’ve been getting letters from board game publisher Fantasy Flight’s legal department requesting that they de-rez.

We’d heard some buzz that FFG was working on a mobile version of the hugely popular cyberpunk head-to-head card game back in January when I inventoried the prospects for digital editions of Board Game Geek‘s top 10 games, and Fantasy Flight have sent out clear signals that they’re getting back into iOS gaming this year with announcements of the Witcher Adventure Board Game and BattleLore.

That’s not exactly an airtight case for it, but I’ve got a tingly feeling that mobile Netrunner can’t be far off. Maybe this is just down to Fantasy Flight’s legal droids having some extra time on their hands, but the last time we saw a clear-out of unofficial online ports of games, it was in advance of Goko’s launch of the ill-fated HTML 5 Dominion back in 2012.

I’ll ping a note over to FFG, but their PR department is quieter than a Scientology silent birth, so don’t bet on me hearing back.

Watch Fantasy Flight’s video introduction for the Netrunner board game after the jump.

UPDATE: Pocket Tactics amigo Austin Walker offers a more conservative take on these developments. Poop.

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Looks like we’ve got us a convoy: Galaxy Trucker coming to iPad this month — and it’s awesome

It's not uncharted. You lost the chart.

It’s not uncharted. You lost the chart.

Dave was right, everybody. I shan’t ever doubt him again.

Neumann has been raving to me about Galaxy Trucker for almost as long as I’ve known him. When he speaks of the forthcoming Galaxy Trucker iPad game, his voice gets all whispery, like a little kid trying to talk about Santa without the Saint of Surveillance overhearing.

Dave’s enthusiasm is moderately infectious, but I’ll admit that (maybe because I haven’t played the board game) I wasn’t totally sold. Until last night. That’s when Dave and I got our press preview builds of Galaxy Trucker, and wow — this game is tip-top.

Galaxy Trucker for has been in the works in-house at board game publisher Czech Games Edition since at least early 2013, and the protracted development cycle mixed with a studio that had never shipped an iOS game before wasn’t exactly a potent grog of confidence. But you can pour that right out. Galaxy Trucker is a great iOS app for a really exciting game and it’s going to go over huge around here.

In Galaxy Trucker, you and your opponents are placed before a random pile of spaceship parts out of which you must assemble a functioning star freighter — in real time. You’re all pulling parts out of the same pile, and there’s a bonus for finishing first. Once the ships are complete, you head out into space dealing with random events that can blast parts off your ship or provide you with a bonus when (if) you reach your destination. It’s a beautiful balance of strategic planning and absolute chaos, and I instantly fell in love with it. For his part, Neumann has wrapped himself and his iPad in a waxy cocoon and from which no sounds have emanated all day — pretty sure he likes it, too.

It’s not just the quality of the game, as that will be no surprise to fans of the board game. The Galaxy Trucker app is great. There’s a significant single-player campaign with a lot of content. There’s a robust online multiplayer suite that sports async and synchronous matches with lots of toggles like chess timer limits and tile selection. The whole thing is steeped in a wonderfully charming sense of humour. This is one hell of a good game.

CGE told me today that the game has been submitted to Apple for approval and release is soon — before the end of September, they expect. I’ll be sure to let you know when it drops. And when Neumann comes out of that cocoon.

More screenshots after the jump.

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The new Bohemians: A hands-on preview of Pike & Shot

There's Popery in them there woods.

There’s Popery in them there woods.

When Slitherine first introduced me to Pike & Shot at the beginning of the summer, I didn’t think much of it. This iPad-bound wargame models 16th- and 17th-century battles on a very big scale — but it started life as a mod of Battle Academy, a WWII game that zooms things in to a company-level scale. How well could a game engine designed to simulate 20th-century armoured manoeuvre warfare possibly replicate giant clashes between musketeers and cuirassiers?

Pretty damn well, as it turns out.

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Moscow calling: Slitherine has 5 Battle Academy 2 beta slots for PT readers

How we do things back East.

How we do things back East.

Venerable wargaming imprint Slitherine are getting ready to ship Battle Academy 2 for PC this Friday, but the iPad version is  just entering closed beta. Closed. It’s only available to a shadowy cabal of Slitherine’s mandarins — and to you. Well… some of you.

Slitherine reached out and offered to give 5 closed slots to Pocket Tactics readers, giving you early access to the sequel to one of the very best wargames on iOS. To win, just drop a line here in the comments of this post and tell us what your favourite tank from World War II is. We’ll give away those those beta slots at 9pm London time tonight, picking 4 at random and I’ll pick one answer that I liked the most.

If you don’t already have a Pocket Tactics Forum account, read this on how to register one. It’s a slightly more daunting process than signing up for most forums, but it’s that high barrier to entry that makes PT‘s forum community the most electrifying discussion group in sports entertainment today.

Battle Academy 2 takes the company-level turn-based tactical gameplay of the original Battle Academy and ships across Europe to the Eastern front. There’s new features like smoke effects, trenches and other fortifications, and a reworked air cover system. There’s four campaigns (two Soviet, two Axis) and 130 different units. There’s no set-in-stone iOS release date yet but you can fire it up on your PC this weekend.

Watch the trailer below, and good luck getting the PT Magic 8-Ball to choose you.

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A tale of four exes: Antihero, a Dickensian pickpocket strategy game

Yoink.

Yoink.

Though I’d be the last person to bemoan the current Renaissance of 4X games, you might have noticed that there’s only ever two flavours of them: subjugate various aliens to build an empire in space and subjugate various ethnicities to build an empire in Civilization. Sure, the latter one occasionally subs in orcs and elves. But you get where I’m going.

Antihero is taking 4X mechanics and wrapping them with a theme I’ve never seen before. In a grimy Victorian city, you’re the master thief at the head of a band of street urchins, planning burglaries, blackmailing your betters, and performing other dirty deeds as catalogued by AC/DC.

It’s a great idea, and it’s being executed by experienced developers. The game is the brainchild of Tim Conkling, a veteran of Puzzle Pirates studio Three Rings Design, where he created the Edward Gorey-inspired puzzle RTS Corpse Craft for iOS. He met artist Jiyoun Lee-Lodge during a stint at Gamelab, and now they’ve reunited to work on Antihero. “I spent about 6 months prototyping Antihero on my own before hiring Jiyoun to be the lead artist,” Conkling told me. “Antihero is a pretty typical indie production, I think — we collaborate over Slack and Skype (I’m in San Francisco and she’s in NYC), and the game is entirely self-funded.”

Antihero won’t require the stamina demanded by Civ — Conkling is intending for it to play fast, with a whole game taking around an hour, either in single-player or in planned cross-platform multiplayer between PC, Mac, iOS and Android. Antihero is due out early next year, with mobile versions to follow the initial desktop release. You can vote for the game on Steam Greenlight, and follow its development on Facebook and Twitter.

I think I know what I’m picking when we refresh the Most-Anticipated list in January. Watch the Antihero trailer below.

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Yardmaster for iOS pulls into the station

What a haul.

What a haul.

Yardmaster, the rail-themed card game that was introduced this summer with 2014′s most perplexing trailer, has hit the App Store worldwide. The app description is a few freight cars short of informative, but it’s a Universal app for 2 to 5 players – but is there single-player? Is there online multiplayer? Do you get a stripey engineer’s cap to wear? All mysteries.

Yardmaster looks like an Uno-esque hand-management game where you match sets of cargo cards with train cards that you can exchange and trade Catan-style. I love the flat silhouetted design, but I haven’t played the game myself. It was successfully Kickstarted back in the spring. I’ve dropped a note to Arizona-based Crash Games to see if they’ll give us some more details. This one’s totally unrelated to the older Codito puzzler of the same name, by the by.

After the jump, a gameplay video of the physical card game. Yardmaster is $4.

Hat-tip to Brett Nolan.

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Carving out the light: Eric Sabee, the artist of Ascension’s weird, wonderful world

"I think my favorite card so far is the Hectic Scribe. I think I see myself when I look at him."

“I think my favorite card so far is the Hectic Scribe. I think I see myself when I look at him.”

On a couch in a cramped Boston apartment — one of those glorified cubicles for recent grads where you can just about reach the kitchen sink from your bed — Eric Sabee and Justin Gary are playing Tekken 4. (Justin prefers Panda, for the record.) It’s 2002. Sabee, who works in a picture framing shop, and Gary, a law student, live down the hall from one another and spend a lot of free time pushing thumbsticks in front of Sabee’s Playstation.

Gary made a living playing Magic: The Gathering, a whimsical-sounding trade that amazed Sabee. Gary had played in the professional Magic circuit for years, capping his career with a victory in the 2002 Pro Tour. Gary won’t last much longer in law school. In a little while, he’s going to drop out, move to California, and start his own game company with other folks from the Magic scene.

Sabee graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in illustration, and like young artists since time immemorial, was struggling to catch a break. It would be a long time in coming. On the walls of that Boston apartment are oil paintings that Sabee has been making over the past few months.

“I was frustrated with trying to break into illustration and getting nowhere,” Sabee told me a couple of weeks ago. “Someone convinced me to start painting scenes of Boston. People liked them a lot. I wanted to emulate Van Gogh so there was a lot of big expressive marks, bright colors.”

One of the people that liked those paintings a lot was Justin Gary. “The first piece Justin ever bought from me was a scene of a restaurant on Brighton Avenue that was familiar to us both,” says Sabee. “He gave me his old big-screen TV for it.”

Gary took a few more paintings with him when he left for California. And a few years later, when he started designing the game that would become Ascension, he knew which artist he wanted working on it.

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Make it terrain: Rubicon tells us of Ultimate War Game’s map editor

Make your own Mount Hexmap.

Make your own Mount Hexmap.

Paul Johnson revealed Ultimate War Game to us about a month ago, the final installment in Rubicon’s long-running series of lighter turn-based tactical titles. What he had to show back in July was mostly just the scale of the game, which will be the biggest of any of Rubicon’s offerings to date.

He got in touch last week to reveal a little more about what’s coming — namely random map generation. The previous Great Little War Games were all played out on pre-built terrain, but Ultimate War Game will offer infinitely varied maps and the ability to do the Amerigo Vespucci thing and craft your own.

“When we ship the game we’ll probably give access to the map editor which allows you to tailor a landscape in fine detail,” Johnson tells me. “We’ll be using the very same tool to make the mission maps when we start on the campaign stuff, so everything needed will be there.

“We’ll also add something that uses a phrase you can type in as a seed to make a totally random map, like they do it in Worms and other games. That way players can share good ones amongst themselves and not have to spend all day dragging sliders about just for a quick ruck.”

After the jump, a (very) short video showing off UWG’s base-building, another new feature that’s in the works. Ultimate War Game will be out for iOS & Android later this year.

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