White Wolf’s World of Darkness returns to digital with Vampire: Prelude (iOS, Android) and Mage: Refuge (iOS, Android) interactive fiction apps.

Support for Clank! has been added to the Renegade Game Studios Companion App (iOS, Android), providing “mini-quests” and a solo game mode.

GMT Games is working with HexWar Games on digital versions of Commands & Colors: Ancients and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. Ancients will launch first in this summer, followed by Napoleonics in the fall or winter. At launch, the games will support PC and Mac. A couple of months later, there’ll be support for iPad. Android support will come eventually, probably.

The previous implementation of Dominion online is no longer. It has been replaced by one from Shuffle iT. Accounts, though, were transferred, supposedly with usernames and passwords intact.

Victory Point Games’ Hunt: The Unknown Quarry recently launched on Steam. It’s a “deductive combat game” for 3-6. One plays a monster trying to escape. The others are hunters. A whole group can play with just one purchased license.

Online accounts for Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, and Asmodee have been merged. If you had an account, you should have received an email.

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Crowdfunding Highlights

Simple but highly appropriate for its straightforward educational purpose, Chemical Spill is a card game meant for high school students. Players draft a hand of element cards then assemble them in to molecules, along the way learning about covalent bonds, Lewis dot structures, and electron sub-shell configurations.

Nemos WarBased on Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Victory Point Games’ Nemo’s War is a solitaire adventure board game where the player, as Captain Nemo, pilots the Nautilus about the oceans’ depths. Exploration, scientific discovery, war, and anti-imperialism are the priorities from which the player may choose, and against which actions such as refitting the submarine, inciting local uprisings, and attacking surface ships are judged for victory points.

Empires: Galactic Rebellion from Eagle-Gryphon Games treats players to an epic-scale game set in conflict among the stars. A follow-up to Glen Drover’s Age of Empires, Galactic Rebellion incorporates development on economic, political, military, and technological fronts, as well as worker placement, in to gameplay. As a new feature, those workers are differentiated between rebels, scientists, troopers, smugglers, and diplomats, each of which is represented by a different miniature figure.

Calling it a “skill-building game”, Lone Shark’s The Ninth World is an adventure card game based on the Numenera RPG. Each player’s hand of cards represents their current set of skills. As better skills are developed, new cards replace old ones. Players then use the cards in bidding against each other to explore, collect relics, complete quests, and further improve their skills.

In CitiesUP, building is just the first step. Every structure, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, must be supplied with water and electricity. In return for that support, players are able to collect taxes for victory points. Field cards represent special events, including some natural disasters. And building out the city is market with vertical wooden cubes, so you get the image of a growing downtown as game progresses.

Cities Up

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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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Spy Guys

Spy GuysVictory Point’s new Spy Guys is a pretty basic card game in which each player must assemble a specific set of three mission objectives and one contact. To accomplish this, though, requires some deduction, bluffing, and memory skills, as each turn a player exchanges cards to maintain a constant hand of four through the manipulation of cards laid out in a grid on the table (some face-up for all to see, but others face-down, their meaning hidden).

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Imperial Stars II

Imperial Stars IIImperial Stars II ($27 boxed from Victory Point Games) is a two-player war game of clashing space empires. The game has exploration, resource management, and a 1 hour play-time, but also hexes, square unit counters, and combat results tables. A player’s goal is to conquer the opponent’s home world, or finish the last turn with the most planets and colonies.

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Hapsburg Eclipse

HapsEc_Cover_v0-1Hapsburg Eclipse from Victory Point Games is a light solitaire war game about the difficult position facing the Austro-Hungarian monarchy during the First World War. The game is driven by 50 historically-based event cards and challenges the player to progress on five combat fronts (Italian, Blakan, Romanian, Carpathian, and Polish) while maintaining loyalty among the disparate nationalities of the empire.

Hapsburg Eclipse can also be combined with an earlier release, Ottoman Sunset, as either a larger solitaire game or a two-player coop.

As with other titles from Victory Point Games, Hapsburg Eclipse is available either bagged (for $17) or boxed with a mounted mapboard (for $26).

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Cuba_SlipCover_v1Three new releases from Victory Point Games span an interesting set of conflicts.

Cuba: The Splendid Little War takes a strategic look at the Cuban War of Independence (which in its final days became the Spanish-American War). The game includes a province level map and action cards based on historical events. Both Spanish and Cuban sides must balance resource management with efforts to achieve strategic objectives.

Focusing on the first 3½ days of the World War II Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest, 6th Panzer Army is a hex-and-counter war game at the operational level.

Sign of the Pagan by Richard Berg is a tactical-level recreation of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, where in 451 Roman forces with Visigoth allies brought to a halt Attila the Hun’s advance in to Western Europe. Sign of the Pagan uses Contingent Activation Markers to balance the activity of different forces in the game based on historical assessments.

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Candle Quest

Candle QuestCandle Quest, designed by Purple Pawn’s founder, Yehuda Berlinger, and published by Victory Point Games, is a Hanukkah-themed light strategy game that’s also meant to appeal to families, Jewish or not. The goal in Candle Quest is simply to collect eight colors of candles to fill the Hanukkah Menorah (a traditional candelabrum).

On each of their turns, players draw a candle card and then choose to buy it at face value for their Menorah, sell it right back to the bank for a guaranteed income, or auction it to the highest bidder. The twist in Candle Quest’s auction is that each player is only able to bid once. If the player who drew the card wins the auction, he may end up with the candle at a reduced price. If someone else wins the candle, he at least gets the money.

Other features of the game include wildcard dancing candles, unlit candle cards (which threaten to remove previously collected candles from a player’s Menorah), and the ability to loot needed candles from another player’s discards (at a much higher price).

Though originally designed as a Hanukkah game, Candle Quest was previously published as It’s Alive, with a Frankenstein’s monster theme. Returning to its roots, the game now features refined rules and kid-friendly art with smiling candle characters.

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