Time for something more fun! Pandemic for the iOS is out!
I talked briefly about the Pandemic board game while talking about it’s Younger cousin Yggdrasil. I’ll repost Tom’s review of the game.
Pandemic is an excellent game, where the players work together against 4 viruses that are spreading across the globe. The players must find cures before the viruses get out of control.
I can’t speak enough of this game. I’ve played the boardgame to death and I still come back for more. Let’s give the good and bad points of this game.
- From top to bottom the interface is well done. I could pick up the game without looking at the instructions. New players are not going to be able to do that, but if you have played the boardgame before you should have no issue.
- Two New Roles have been added:
- Contingency Planner – May take a Event Card that has been played out of the discard pile and set it aside for later use. Does not count against the hand limit and may only have one of these set aside at a time. My thought: Seems a bit over powered.
- Quarantine Specialist – Prevents outbreaks and placement of disease cubes in the person current location and neighboring towns. My thought: Jury is still out for me on this, but an interesting twist.
- Pass and Play Only, no games over the Internet. Really everyone needs to look at the board and work together at the same time. Ansyc play with an open mic would really be nice (the iOS version of Tichu has this feature.)
- The game doesn’t even work with iOS Game Center at all for Achievements, etc. That’s just odd.
- The expansion On the Brink is not included. That would rock as an add on.
Overall, the game is excellent and is worth the $7. Considering the game doesn’t use the internet in any way, I’m guessing that it’s not finished and folks got it out there for the holidays. I would think Online Play will happen in some way in the future and that will only add to the game.
So Eclipse is a game that I don’t own. Tom’s review of it is here:
However, the game has been converted to IPad. Current cost $7. I’ll review that game here. Just to give you the look and feel of the game, check out the intro… Very nicely done:
This is a ‘4x Game’. Which stands for: explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. The most common of these games, or the one that I’ve spent my time playing, is the classic game Civilization (Civ). Which, BTW, also has an IPad version of the game for the same cost.
Anyway to start, Eclipse has a nice tutorial, but you are going to need a copy of the rulebook. There is just not enough detail in the tutorial and I couldn’t easily find what I needed answered anywhere else. So downloading the boardgame rules helped a lot.
After that you will get the hang of it after a few quick games. It’s similar to ‘Civ’, but very different. Like Civ, you will need to start out exploring and expanding, the number of planets in this case, as you need to build up resources. This will allow you to build and customize (via science) your spaceships. Customizing your ships is by far the coolest part of the game. After that, it’s likely time to pick some fights against the other players which can be costly, so pick your fights well.
The game is a set number of rounds (9) and each round ends when all players agree (pass on their turn). You have that amount of time to get as many Victory Point as possible. You will get them via exploring, discovering science and the combat you were in during the game. Player with the most VPs win.
While combat is a big part of this game, this game has more of a Eurogame feel. Lots of resources to manage and combat on top of it.
If you watch Tom’s video, you will see this is a huge game. I could spend a lot of time talking rules. I think by watching these videos you can get a quick feel if this game is for you. If you like Civilization, you will like this game. There is however a lot more resource management than Civ and less focus on science tracks.
The IPad version is VERY well done from a programming point of view. Once you work thru the rules, and for a game of this size that’s just the nature of the beast, everything is laid out well and game play is quite enjoyable. The IA in the game holds its own so far as I’m learning better tactics before I get off ‘easy mode’.
I’ll leave you with one more video that shows more of the screens. If you would like a heavy 4x game, get this. It is slick app.
One minor strike against it, it really needs to use Game Center to setup online games. I’m still playing around with that feature, but it seems to be email based somehow (at least you need to supply one). I’ll fiddle around with that shortly using my wife’s IPad and mine, see how it works out and post a comment to this post below.
Edit: OK, it can use Game Center to setup Public\Private games but there is also an email option which is why it asks you for an email and password. Odd, but I guess the extra option is nice.
The game is basically Ascension with a few twists:
- Instead of having one big deck there are two which you need to build before the game: One of the Villians (the ‘red’ cards in Ascension) and one with the Heros (‘white’ cards in Ascension).
- You are both playing against each other and the game. The Villians can win, in which case everyone loses. If the Heros win, then everyone gets a team win and the player with the highest victory point total gets the Individual win.
- The game can vary quite a bit. The Heros, Villians, Master Villian and his evil plot changes each game. This gives each game a much different feel. So it is less like Ascension this way and more like Dominion.
- The thing I like the least is the setup time. You need to build two decks of cards which takes a little time. More than I would usually want to for a game that’s likely to be 30-60 mins. I assume this will go quicker as I play this game a bit more.
Clearly the person who created this game looked at Marvel Heroes and took some of the better ideas (like the whole Master Villan bit).
Also the cards are made by Uppper Deck (who make trading cards) and they are of a good quality. The art is really nice.
So do I like it? I give it a very solid 8.5 out of 10. For me, that puts this game ahead of Ascension (which I play a lot on my IPad), but behind Dominion.
So I picked up Eurorails on the cheap. It’s a well-liked game so my wife (with her permission) is going to get it for Xmas. We have another version of this game, Russian Rails, and we mainly got this because finding the cities we are looking for will be faster in this game then it would in Russian Rails. All those strange Russian names all look alike.
If you never played these Crayon Rail Games, they are fun enough. You are picking up goods and shipping them to different towns. You need to build rails between the two locations and when you pay for this you draw the rail line on the board with a crayon (it wipes off of course).
You play until someone gets a certain amount of money. It’s a long game (4+ hours is not uncommon), but fun somehow. Generally you play the game with little cash because all the money you make is poured into building rails until you get enough rails built that the money you get is mostly profit from that point on. There is very little player interaction as well. It’s just a race to see who can get the money the fastest.
I should post more next week. We have the holidays under control now.
First, sorry for the long time between posts. My work schedule has changed and I’m trying to figure out when I can do things in my life. I had to stay up until the middle of the night to post this. Partly because this looks cool and partly it will force me to figure out when to do this besides the middle of the night.
Check out this game:
Super Heros and Ascension? Yea, I’ll get this.
Hopefully it will do better than Marvel Heros.
Lots of cool ideas in this game, but the rules never really quite worked out. I want to give this game another spin however.
Anyway, I don’t pre-order many boardgames, but this might be the expection. I’m really pumped for this and hope it plays half as nice as Tom says (because he is usually overly positive).
Still, looks good. Art is good. I’m there.
Well the website: Goko tried to launch the Dominion web site, but web site couldn’t handle the load, so the site was shut down for more testing. You can read more about it here and here at BoardGameGeek.
I have some problems with this whole mess…
1) As far as the web site failing to handle the traffic, well I have some understanding that stuff happens but it looks like to me they didn’t stress test the system well enough to make sure they could handle the traffic. It makes you look bad, but let’s move on.
2) There have been a number of reports of security problems with the web site on these links. Easy errors, like passing passwords in clear text. At this point until I hear something about it from Goko I’m not considering the site secure. It would be nice if it met something like PCI Standards before I give it some money.
3) Speaking of money, people are saying that they want $12 to buy new Dominion card sets. Really? Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer is on sale for $.99 right now and each extra card set is also $.99. It’s not as good as Dominion, but fills the gap very nicely at a fraction of the price. People are not used to pay that kind of money and I don’t see this pricing getting them too far.
4) On top of that, due to the tech they are using (HTML5), they are not going to offer off-line gaming. Well, not my cup of tea, but I understand. HTML5 will make their programing easier because it can cross platforms, but the users aren’t going to care about that.
So, in summary of my thoughts, Tablets and Smartphones have changed the world of gaming. People expect cheap games and they expect to play them anytime they want, on or off line. If you want to beat this model, you have to at least, IMO, offer them some advantage that other games don’t have.
So set aside that the web site is not working or secure right now, that can be fixed (hopefully these guys know how, but that’s a different issue). Assuming this site does work someday, will it make money?
I’m sure I’ll play for free, but I’m not buying cards at $12 a pack and playing only when I have internet is going to limit my time. To be honest, I think that Dominion isn’t THAT good a card game to overcome these limits. I think they are going to need to make some adjustments to get people to buy into this.
Well, Dominion for all platforms should be out… today, but that doesn’t seem to happening. There are a lot of rumors flying about the app including no AI.
This launch failed before lift-off today. When they get the app up, I’ll review it. Let’s hope someone at Goko.com know what they are doing, but they failed first impressions…
The old Dom game has been pulled from the App Store.