sushi-go-iphone-screenGamewright’s Sushi Go “pick and pass card game” has been adapted to iOS. It works on both iPhone and iPad and can be played locally against AI or online via Game Center.

Online multiplayer has finally come to one of my favorite games, Splendor (Android, iOS, Steam).

Tiny Epic Defenders has broadened its horizons and is now playable on Tabletop Simulator via Steam.

The deck-building word game, Paperback, has launched on iOS.

Big Potato’s new app (Android, iOS) provides timers, extra questions, sound effects, and other enhancements for several of the company’s games.

Academy Games’ 1775: Rebellion, a game of the American Revolutionary War, has been released on Steam.

Nocturnal Media has plans for a single-player computer RPG based on the 7th Sea tabletop game and is raising funds for the project on Kickstarter.

Lew Pulsipher’s Doomstar has been in-development 20 years as a tabletop game but made it out first via Steam.

Pathfinder Adventures, the digital version of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, now works on smartphones (Android, iOS).

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Crowdfunding Highlights

crowdfunding-highlights-iconBitbox is a game storage system for taking the components for your game — boards, rulebooks, and all those little pieces — and storing them, cutting down on the space required for all those game boxes. A unit fits within an IKEA Kallax cube space, and the video shows fourteen different games (Stone Age, Concept, Reverse Charades, Splendor, Power Grid, Telestrations, Machi Koro, Survive, The Lord of the Rings TCG base set, Ticket to Ride, RoboRally, Codenames, 7 Wonders, and Kingdom Builder were shown) stored in that single Bitbox. $50 gets you a Bitbox and a carry-to-game-night box. If we knew about this thing before it launched, you could have had that for $30.

The Prince Valiant RPG just came on Kickstarter last week. This game, set in the time of King Arthur and designed by Greg Stafford, is a storytelling game designed to be accessible to younger players. If you’ve wanted to tell stories about noble knights, you can get a physical copy of the game book filled with gorgeous full-color artwork from Hal Foster’s comic strip for just $30.

220px-TheWarriors_1979_Movie_PosterWell, after our last look at Crowdfunding Highlights, I think we’ve covered all the modular-board scenario-based standalone miniature battle games up on Kickstarter and — are you kidding me? There’s The Warriors: Turf War, based on the 1979 movie where a gang is set up for murder and all the gangs in New York City are hunting them down. Included in the base game are several miniatures, including the comical Baseball Furies (just called “Furies” here). Let’s do the rundown from last time: “early bird stretch goals not completely sold out (hurry!), more than three dozen miniatures (46!), second-ever KS from the company, $105 normal price tag. Come out to play.

Jackson Robinson does cards. You’ve got less than 19 hours to get some awesome currency-inspired playing cards. The cards are based on American and Chinese currency. (I’ve got one of his Wasteland decks and they’re really fantastic.) $14 gets you one of these decks, $28 gets you two. Stop reading and go now! There’s just *gasp* 18 hours left now! Go! Go! Go!


not cahHonestly, I can’t wait for the US Presidential election to be over. There are soooo many Kickstarters that are trying to capitalize on Trump or Hillary that we just know aren’t going to fund or, god forbid they actually do fund, won’t be fulfilled any time before the election. Case in point: What the Drumpf, which is Apples to Apples with questions and Trump-like quotes “and the debate leader picks the funniest, most racist or most insane answer”. They want 3500 GBP for this thing.

Last week: People Vs. Politics, the “CAH with uncomfortable political discussion” game — how did it do? Unsuccessful, with just under half of the $4800 goal made.

Boards to Bytes

Baseball Highlights 2045Strat-O-Matic is adding a new option to the digital versions of its card game baseball simulator, one that will update player stats on a daily basis.

A different sort of baseball card game, Baseball Highlights 2045 by Eagle-Gryphon Games, is now available for iOS devices.

Duels, a new feature of digital Splendor, is a competitive version of Challenges, which are supposed to be more puzzle-like and up until now were single-player. Duels are played against the AI. Still no online multiplayer.

Exploding Kittens’ new iOS version is not just a simple port. Nope cards are gone, others are in their place, and there’s a probability meter that shows how likely the next card is to be TNT.

Pathfinder Adventures, the digital version of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, is due in March.

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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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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.

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Splendor IconThe Splendor mobile app launches today on Android and iOS devices. Put out by Days of Wonder, the game offers two types of play. One is a faithful adaptation of the tabletop game and can be played against the computer or in pass-and-play mode. The other, called “Challenges”, is more of a solitaire puzzle experience.

Both have me hooked!

What’s the game like?

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.For those not familiar with this recent cardboard hit, Splendor supposedly has players developing their Renaissance merchant houses to earn prestige and recognition from the nobles. Really though, the theme is pretty thin. The gameplay however, while quite simple, presents some very interesting strategic challenges.

On each turn, a player can either take gemstone chips (available in limited quantities in five colors) or spend previously collected chips to purchase a development card from those on display. Every card provides a permanent bonus in one color, making it easier to purchase additional cards in subsequent turns. Some cards also provide victory points.

The cards are laid out four-to-a-row in three rows. As you go from the bottom row to the middle to the top, the cards get more expensive but are also more likely to provide more victory points.

A group of noble tokens work essentially like achievements. The first person to collect the number and color of cards indicated on each token gets certain bonus points.

Game-end is triggered when someone hits 15 victory points, and of course the player with the most points is the winner.

Splendor Android Game in Progress

How does the app play?

The mobile app works exactly the same way. The screen resembles a normal tabletop setup, with art derived from the physical version. And the usual digital options are provided: choice of avatars, volume control for background music, etc.

The only thing that Splendor doesn’t currently do is live online play. Instead, there’s pass-and-play and a choice of five computer opponents. These aren’t rated by difficulty level but rather by style of play: balanced, specialized, opportunistic, random behavior, and secret behavior. I haven’t tried them all yet but those I did I found to be worthy adversaries.

Days of Wonder promises to add an online multiplayer mode in a future update. In the meantime, players have the option to post scores to an online leaderboard.

Splendor Android Challenges Menu

What are Challenges?

Challenges are solitaire puzzle-like scenarios. With challenges, the basic method of play remains unchanged, though the specific parameters—for example, the number of chips collected per turn or the point value of various cards—may be different. In some cases, the goal is to hit a set number of victory points within a certain number of turns. In others it’s winning a specific card or collecting a particular combination of bonuses.

There are three sets of six challenges included with the base game, each associated with a center of trade from the 15th or 16th century.

Again, I haven’t played through all of them but those I did were, well, challenging. For most too, the cards that come out are still random. Thus even a completed challenge may be interesting to play again.

Where can I get it?

For its $6.99 price, digital Splendor is a good deal. The quality of the tabletop-to-mobile adaptation is first-rate.

If there’s one thing to quibble with it would be with the way the Challenge parameters are explained and displayed. For example, it took me a few minutes to figure out that in describing a Challenge, “value of Prestige Points” means the number of points needed to win. But once that was resolved, it certainly didn’t present any ongoing barrier to play. Nor did I find any such issues with the basic gameplay tutorial.

The underlying game too is much more than one of those mindless time-wasters. Yet it’s not so complex that it requires some high-level dedication to learn or play reasonably well. For me at least, that’s the sweet spot. I suspect I’ll be playing this one a lot.

Click here to purchase Splendor for iOS devices via iTunes.

Click here to purchase Splendor for Android devices via the Google Play store.

A complimentary copy of digital Splendor was provided by Days of Wonder for review.

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The very popular game of Splendor, which is distributed by Asmodee, will see release in digital form this summer (Android, iOS, Steam) by another Asmodee subsidiary, Days of Wonder. The companies promise a faithful adaptation of the tabletop game, which is nominally about Renaissance merchant houses. Really though, I can see the simple but fairly abstract mechanics of this game working well as a nice distraction on a cell phone or tablet. In case you haven’t played, it works basically like this: each turn a player may either collect income, in the form of gemstones of various colors, or purchase a card, which provides either victory points, recurring income, or both.

Stratego Single PlayerYoudagames and Royal Jumbo recently launched Stratego Single Player (iOS and Android) with options for the classic 40 vs. 40 battle, a shorter 16 vs. 16 battle, and even a campaign mode. The skill of the computer opponent can be adjusted and there are new unit ranks available. App price is $1.99.

Battling the latest killer virus is your job as director of the New York City field office of the Department of Plague Control in Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp (PC, Mac, iOS). The decisions you must make include where to focus research, whom to hire, and what equipment to purchase. Infection is a solitaire game based on the same title from Victory Point Games. The apps are priced $10 desktop and $5 mobile. Fourteen different virus challenges are included.

Up to five players can play live with Apples to Apples now on iOS. The game also connects to social media, so players can share their silly card combinations and challenge friends via Facebook. The basic game is free but of course there are in-app purchases.

Not a game in and of itself, Tabletopia rather is a platform, still in development, for digital publishing of board games. The system is supposed to be accessible from PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, and emphasizes replicating the function and appearance of the tabletop as closely as possible. Interested designers and publishers can sign up for beta access now.

Terra Mystica Tabletopia

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The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design
The winners of the 2015 Origins Awards, as given out by The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design at the Origins Game Fair, are:

Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideOne of the busiest booths at NY Toy Fair’s first floor boardgame section was Asmodée’s. Several bright yellow tables were full of games–some demos, others simply set up to showcase the game. While there were dozens of games available for buyers to examine, there were a large number of items debuting.

Two games in embossed metal tins the size of the Timeline series where demoed first: Continental Express and The Builders: Middle Ages.

Continental Express is a game about completing train deliveries. Three cards are shown, each showing the three different train cars that are needed to complete a delivery. Underneath the three delivery cards is a matrix of train cards and workers. Draft a card into your hand from the left and all cards that row shift over. You’re seeing what train cars are coming up and may be maneuvering good cards to a position where your opponent can grab them easier. Add in a secret victory condition for each player, and there’s your fast-playing set collection train game in a tin. Continental Express is due in mid-March and retails for $18.

The Builders: Middle Ages is a card game about creating buildings in the Middle Ages. Pretty simple description, no? Square cards featuring buildings, like The Mill or The Aqueduct, are up for grabs, as are the labor force. Each building requires a certain amount of work effort in four different categories while each builder provides a few levels in each. Combine workers to complete and score buildings, redistribute your workers to various projects, and become the grand architect. The Builders is available now for $18.

Moving to larger boxes, Splendor is a game of bidding on gem stone cards to create works of jewelry for wealthy clients. This game retails for $40 and will be available before summer.

The classic game Hotel Tycoon will be making a move to North American markets “soon”. Travel around the board, invest in buildings, and try to be the last tycoon standing.

Concept is an interesting party game, where players try to guess a key word based on icons that represent different elements of the item. You know what? It’s better to go with an example for this one. Jean draws a card and selects a word on it, then starts placing markers on a board covered with icons. Feminine, art. We start calling out “Mona Lisa”, “The Statue of Liberty”, but Jean places a concept marker on face. Markers in the color used on art go on red, orange, yellow… all the color spaces. Female, art, face, multiple colors… lipstick? “Makeup!” This loud, abstract party game retails for $40 and should be available on February 28th.

Lewis & Clark: The Expedition, available near the end of March, is a game of exploration geared towards the hobby gamer. Players take on the roles of an expedition force, finding passage across western North America to the Pacific. Lewis & Clark is a resource management racing game retailing for $45. 

Formula D will have a new race circuit board, New Jersey on one side, Sochi on the other. This will be available in March. While no price was mentioned at Toy Fair, past expansions retail for $30.



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