Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Everything games eventually gets a Cthulhu version, right? Well, Cthulhu Realms is Tasty Minstrel Games’ Lovecraftian entry in to the deck building genre and it’s diabolically fun.

Cthulhu Realms is one of the easier-playing variety of deck-building games—like Ascension, DC Comics, or Star Realms—with only five cards available at a time and no restrictions on the order cards are purchased and played. Actually, Cthulhu Realms is an almost exact copy of Star Realms (licensed from White Wizard Games) but with cultists instead of space ships, locations instead of stations, sanity instead of authority, and conjuring power instead of trade. In terms of game-play, the only new features are that card types can also grant a kind-of ally bonus and that certain locations, while they’re out, represent a nexus, meaning they also protect other locations as well as the player’s sanity.

Cthulhu RealmsEasy-going game play is one of the things I like about Cthulhu Realms but another is how it goes light on the the sanity-stealing theme with art that’s more cartoonish than frightening. There is, for example, The King in Yellow card illustrated like a Dr. Seuss book and the image of a Mi-Go returning, briefcase in-hand, from a hard day at the office.

If there’s one thing about the game that I found a little off-putting, it’s the complete reliance on icons to indicate what each card does. Eliminating the instructional text found in most card games does help feature the wonderful art but I found it takes a fair amount of practice playing before interpreting those icons becomes automatic.

Tasty Minstrel’s Cthulhu Realms card game plays with 2-4 in about 30 minutes. MSRP is $20.

There’s also a new mobile app version of Cthulhu Realms recently released for Android. For an idea of how that plays, take a look at fellow contributor Robert’s review on his blog, A Pawn’s Perspective, or watch as he live streams it tonight at 8:30 Eastern.

A complimentary copy of Cthulhu Realms was provided for review by Tasty Minstrel Games. Purple Pawn contributor Thomas Deeny is credited with graphic design for the game.


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Boards to Bytes

Castles of Mad King Ludwig from Bezier Games has hit the app stores. There are pass-and-play and play-against-AI modes. Also a campaign mode with levels based on real castles.

Fantasy Flight Games has released Road to Legend, a companion app for Descent: Journeys in the Dark. The app acts as the overlord, giving everyone a chance to play on the same side. Road to Legend also includes a new campaign, Kindred Fire, and automatically adjusts content to the expansions owned by the players.

Descent Road to Legend

Long-term agreements with the National Football League and National Football Players Association has Topps publishing digital football trading cards through its Huddle app.

Antidote Lab Assistant provides a note-taking platform to help players with Bellwether Games’ deduction title, Antidote.

ScorePal is a board game scoring app for Android that features score sheet templates customized to individual games. At least 100 are included but more can be created by the user.

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Glass Road appThere’s a Call of Cthulhu computer RPG coming in 2017.

Expected sometime this month is a VR version of Reiner Knizia’s Lost Cities card game. When networked head-to-head play is offered (it may not be at launch), the idea is to have head movements tracked so one can see which card an opponent is staring at.

Ubisoft studio, Red Storm Entertainment, is making a VR version of Werewolf where the system will cause a player’s in-game character to move and make hand-gestures based on the position of their head and the tone and volume of their voice.

The Uwe Rosenberg title, Glass Road, is now available on Android and iOS, featuring online play and graphics from the board game version.

Another Uwe Rosenberg title, Patchwork, recently launched on iOS, Android, and Windows PC/Phone.

An unofficial but designer-approved Eminent Domain: Microcosm Scoring app is available on Android.

Sagnithi Systems is seeking support on Steam Greenlight for a computer version of Snakes & Ladders that’s a first-person shooter!

Another board game Greenlight project is for a single-player version of Stratego.

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Digital Ticket to Ride India MapDigital versions of Ticket to Ride have undergone a major upgrade. Most importantly, all now support cross-platform multiplayer mode, so even us Android players can pick up live games with you iPad people. Also supported now are vertically-oriented maps. The first, of India, provides bonus points for looped routes. Digital Ticket to Ride is available on Android, iOS, and Steam.

Dominion, the original deck-building card game, has finally hit mobile. Both iOS and Android versions are free-to-play with the base set of cards. Expansion card sets are available as in-app purchases ($90 for everything). Beware though, even single-player mode requires a live internet connection.

Cogwind’s Revenge is an iPad app version of True Dungeon, complete with puzzles, combat, and even token-collecting.

Linkee, the trivia-ish party game of identifying commonalities, now has an Apple TV version. Instead of hitting a buzzer, the first to figure out a link is supposed to grab the remote and shake it over their head.

Defiant Development is in the process of releasing four separate new scenarios (three are out so far, one more will be before the end of the year) for the Steam version of its deck-building, action RPG, Hand of Fate.

Dragon+ via webDragon+, Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons mobile-app-magazine, is now also available via the web, so it can be read via desktop browser.

A Macau Challenge Pack has been added to digital Splendor. The twist with this one is that it requires players to capture specific cards.

Magic: The Gathering Puzzle Quest is now a thing and available for both Android and iOS (free-to-play but with in-app purchases). In the game, it’s match-3 puzzle play that produces mana.

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Le Havre The Inland Port mobile

Le Havre: The Inland Port has hit both iOS and Android ($5 on either platform) with online, cross-platform, multiplayer support at launch.

Steam: Rails to Riches, which I previously reported was available for Android, is now also available for iOS.

New DLC, The Jungles of Lustria campaign, is available for Warhammer: Arcane Magic ($4 on iOS). The campaign adds new wizards, spells, monsters, and challenges, as well as bug-fixes and GameCenter achievements.

The industrial revolution, in the form of the board game Brass, has reached both iOS and Android lands ($7 for either). It can even be played live cross-border (that is, both versions support networked multiplayer games).

Button Mash Games is developing Gamwright’s Forbidden Desert for iPads but has not yet specified a release date.

Kosmos’ puzzle game Ubongo, however, does have a release date. Conversions to Android and iOS (from developer United Soft Media) should both launch November 25th.

Inspired by video games, Krosmaster Arena returns to its electronic roots with a PC and Mac version through Steam. The basic tactical combat game is free but expansion packs with seven Krosmaster characters each run $15-20.

Krosmaster Arena Steam Screenshot

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Coup iOS screenshotHeroes of Normandie, the World War II, squad-based board game, is now available for PCs via Steam.

Martin Wallace’s Steam: Rails to Riches has hit the Google Play store for Android. It has pass-and-play mode and AI opponents with three levels of difficulty but online multiplayer is “coming soon”.

Indie Boards & Cards’ Coup can be had for iOS. It’s only multiplayer, which makes sense given that it’s a bluffing game. Also, it comes with some beautiful alternate card art.

Camel Up, Spiel des Jahres winner about camel racing, is available for both iOS and Android. Neither version yet includes a tutorial, so for now it’s best for those already familiar with the game.

Bases and battleships from the Star Realms Crisis expansion are now available as an upgrade to the electronic game on all platforms.

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Bishop trader ChallengeSplendor is now available for PCs via Steam. And Days of Wonder has upgraded the game (iOS and Android) with a fourth challenge pack, Saint Petersburg, based on Russia in the 13th-17th centuries.

Orchard Toys has ported some of their games for preschoolers to iOS.

Reiner Knizia’s Lost Cities card game is getting a virtual reality edition (Samsung Gear VR and VRFocus).

Dr. Knizia is also the designer of Dice Monsters, being brought to iOS by Timecode.

Hammerfall Publishing has launched Warhammer 40,000: Regicide on Steam. The game combines 40K, Chess, and gore.

  • Comments Off on Boards to Bytes—A Roundup of Recent Board Game App Developments

Playdek Playdek, the developer of several popular mobile tabletop games, is testing a new online organized play system that will work cross-platform and cross-game. The system, which I’m sure will eventually have a snazzy name, is planned for release within the next few months as an update within existing game apps.

While the new system will allow the profiles, avatars, chats, messages, and friend lists typical of online play spaces, its real focus will be on organizing tournaments—of various lengths—for Playdek’s competitive games such as Summoner Wars and Ascension. At the beginning, the organization of new tournaments will be automated. Eventually, though, users will be able to initiate tournaments in single-elimination, double-elimination, and other formats.

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