Yes, the four horsemen of the boardgaming blogging apocalypse are still here (Rick, Russ, Joe, me). We are all living and breathing, just incredibly busy in our own ways, and more familial, academic, and professional responsibilities unfortunately means less time for gaming. But rest assured, dear readers, we will limp along here at Margin of Victory.
Juggling a new job, I haven’t had as much time to game as I’d like since September, but I have had some time to check out a few iOS implementations of some great board games on my iPad and iPod Touch. The first one I looked at was Neuroshima Hex back in April. It’s still a game I return to again and again because the AI is quite good, it’s easy to play against other people, and the electronic implementation enforces all the rules, some of which are a little vague in the original cardboard version. It’s also quite cheap ($2.99) and comes with the original four teams, while the five expansion teams are available as in-app purchases at $0.99 apiece or $3.99 for the group. It’s best on iPad, and I wouldn’t suggest checking it out on iPhone.
I’ve also purchased Ingenious, which I also prefer to play on the iPad. At $1.99, you’d think it’s a steal, but I have found that I much prefer the board game to the iOS app. The chief reason for this is that I find it difficulty to manipulate the pieces. Rotating them on the iPad is a pain, and there aren’t great tooltips for how to clear off your board and pick up all new pieces, which should be intuitive considering how critical it is to gameplay. After a few months of fiddling with the app, I’ve got the hang of it, but playing such a simple game should not be that difficult.
Last week I picked up the iOS implementation of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. This is the only board game app I own without having owned or played the actual board game first. It was free last week on Free App a Day, but now retails for $4.99. This may seem like a very high price point, especially considering the expansions are in-app purchases at $2.99 apiece, but I think it is well worth it. First, the game is a deck-drafting/Magic the Gathering mashup, which is awesome. Second, the soundtrack is excellent. Last (and most importantly) you can play 2, 3, or 4 player matches online using the app’s online game function. Most games play in 10 minutes or less, and the iPod implementation is just as much fun as the iPad one, featuring a zoom function that makes it easy to read card text even on a small screen.
I know we don’t normally do reviews on the blog, but there might be some iTunes gift cards in your stocking this Christmas, and if a foot of snow makes it impossible to get to your friendly local gaming store, checking out these apps might be worth your time.