Tag Archives: board games

Roll With It – Halfsies Dice VIDEO review!

Hello! John over at Gate Keeper Games sent over a bunch of his splendid Halfsies Dice for me to look at and play around with. Rather than write a thousand words about dice, I figured I’d do a video instead. So here it is. Watch it, then go check out the Kickstarter which is right here.

No money changed hands for this fine video, but if John thinks he’s getting these back, he’ll have to pry them from my wrinkly old-man hands.

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Episode 77 – Accessing The Agents!

Two new interviews on your favourite Little Metal Dog Show this time around! First of all I get to speak to Richard and Emily Gibbs from 64oz. Games, the team behind a new Kickstarter project that aims to make the games we love accessible to blind and partially sighted players through the use of Braille. It’s an excellent project and I definitely recommend checking it out – we’ll also be working with them in the future to make our own releases from Sprocket Games accessible too! I also get to speak to the man behind The Agents which blew up last year into something of a phenomenon. Saar Shai joins me to discuss the game, the campaign, and his plans for the future…

Links? We got your links right here, buddy.

Download the show from iTunes or get it direct – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/dpr4x3/LMD_Episode77.mp3

Visit the Sprocket Games Of Mice And Lemmings page (seriously, it’s a really good game!) – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/108292040/of-mice-and-lemmings-from-scott-almes-and-sprocket

Visit 64oz Games’ Kickstarter, making games Blind Accessible! – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/64ouncegames/board-games-now-blind-accessible?ref=live

Saar Shai’s The Agents site – http://www.playtheagents.com/

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Digital Delights: Lost Cities and Summoner Wars iOS

It feels like almost every game out there is getting translated into an iOS version these days. Many are perfectly fine versions of their tabletop brethren, some are bloody awful, and a shining few are actually pretty great. For a portable version to truly work, it’s got to have a couple of elements in there as a base to build off.

First of all, a player’s turn has to be quick and self contained – performing an action that requires input from another player before you’re able to continue your turn is just annoying, hence the fact they slightly tweaked the gameplay in Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. Second, you MUST have asynchronous play; any game that requires all players to be online at the same time is just a massive pain in the backside when you want to organise a game. You may as well just sit round the table, which is totally against what iOS gaming is about. We’re after quick bursts, not an hour or more of staring at a small screen.

I’ve written in the past about some of the better releases out there and now I’d like to add a couple more to the list of essentials: Lost Cities and Summoner Wars.

Based on the Reiner Knizia classic, Lost Cities is a game that’s made for portable play. Strictly for two players, it’s a simple card game that has one minor downside when playing in the real world – scoring. There are five colours (made up of twelve cards numbered 2 to 10 and three multipliers) that represent expeditions to the fabled Lost Cities of the title. Each turn sees a player laying a card down from their hand of eight, adding it to one of their expeditions or discarding it which could allow your opponent to grab it. Beginning a new colour immediately puts you at a disadvantage, setting you back at least -20 points (and perhaps even more if you’ve chosen to play multipliers first).

Any cards you play have to increase in number, all of which add to your score, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what you opponent is putting out on their side of the board. With only a small amount of cards available per colour it’s difficult to even reach a positive number a lot of the time and it’s often a case of focusing on maximising one expedition while cutting your losses on all the others. It’s one of those games where it doesn’t matter if you’re doing badly; as long as you’re just performing better than the other person, it’s grand.

This is going surprisingly well! My middle expedition is countering the other, more inept ones.

The iOS version has been created by The Coding Monkeys, the guys who are also responsible for the remarkably good Carcassonne (which I’m still playing every day). Rather than grab the rights to as many licences as possible and put out shoddy products (hello Goko!), they focus on creating easy to use adaptations that play well and look good. The AI characters offer a decent challenge (as well as a great tutorial) and turns take mere moments; it’s also very easy to switch between your games once you’ve finished what you need to do. The fact that it keeps track of your scoring after every single card has been played means that I’d much sooner play this version than the regular one.

Playdek is another company who have made quite the reputation in the field of iOS board game conversions. Developers of the previously mentioned digital crack that is Ascension, they’ve now also partnered with Plaid Hat Games to bring Summoner Wars to your iPhone and my oh my… they’ve done very well. First up, it’s a free download which is great; you get access to the full game engine and a deck to play with for nothing. If you want to access the other races you can augment your game through in-app purchases, and this also allows you to indulge in building your own decks if you’re that way inclined.

Games either take place against the rock-hard AI or real life opposition and turns are made up of a series of different actions. Cards representing your warriors are summoned to the board (assuming you have the required magic to do so). This is followed by you triggering events and building walls. Next it’s on to movement, then combat and finally sacrificing cards to your magic pile. As you can probably tell, Summoner Wars is way more involved than Lost Cities, but it never feels overwhelming. Having a bit of experience with the real game will probably give you a bit of a heads-up, but even a novice will get to grips with how the game works quickly. Actually winning a battle is a different matter, however…

This one is going less well. But I am pretty bad at it, so that’s to be expected.

Both games offer very different experiences but are great examples of how to decently translate something to an iOS device. I look forward to seeing what both Coding Monkeys and Playdek come up with in future – especially what Playdek are going to do with Agricola – and heartily recommend Lost Cities and Summoner Wars for anyone who fancies some quality gaming on the go. If you fancy a match up, add me on GameCenter: my username is idlemichael. Go easy on me though, yeah?

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Episode 44 – Keep Up!

Back once again, it’s another Little Metal Dog Show! Episode 44 is ready to roll via iTunes or direct download.

This time there are three guests (well, four actually, but two are together) for you to listen to, all of whom have something splendid to talk about. First up, Robert Groller from Grumpy Owl Gamery discusses his project that will hopefully help gamers transport their gear around in style: The Keep. Angie Hickman then comes along to show off her new story telling game that’s suitable for both kids and adults, Story Realms. Finally, Athena Cagle and Jasn Painter pop up to chat about their new game Drunk Quest – a drinking game which has (for once) a focus on the game!

As always, cheers for listening – if you want to get in touch, drop us an email on michael@littlemetaldog.com. And now… this episode’s links!

Direct link for the episode – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/b96b8v/LMD_Episode44.mp3

Grumpy Owl Gamery official site – http://grumpyowlgamery.com/

The Keep on Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1286842883/the-keep-any-game-anytime-anywhere

Story Realms on BGG – http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/127324/story-realms

Drunk Quest on BGG – http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/125493/drunk-quest

Kickstarter Page for Drunk Quest – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/555281510/drunk-quest?ref=card

Game Salute – http://gamesalute.com

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Episode 39 – An Episode You Can’t Refuse

Time for another episode, and this one’s another Triple Threat!

First up, I get to speak with Gary Weis, the Chief Technical Officer at iOS developer Playdek. They’re really making a push to get quality games onto your iPhone and iPad and are already responsible for the excellent conversions of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and Food Fight. With upcoming versions of Nightfall and Agricola on the way, we talk about how you transfer something from a tabletop to the palm of your hand and still make it fun. After that, Jump Gate designer Matt Worden joins me to discuss how he managed to handcraft a game that ended up becoming Games Magazine’s GOTY in 2011, as well as his plans for the future.

Finally, the devious duo of Steve “Voice of Ameritrash” Avery and Tom “Dice Tower” Vasel come along to discuss their forthcoming game Capo. Players who enjoy taking their opponents down a few steps will love this one as there’s plenty of opportunity to screw them over… but I’ll let the guys tell you all about it.

Et voila! This episode’s links:

Direct download link: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/8j2bxv/LMD_Episode39.mp3

Our lovely sponsor for this show, Continue Magazine: http://www.continuemag.com/

Ace of Spies BGG entry (don’t forget, Kickstarter launches on April 20th!): http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/114316/ace-of-spies

Ace of Spies on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ace_of_Spies

Playdek’s site: http://www.playdekgames.com/

Matt Worden Games: http://mwgames.com/

The Dice Tower: http://dicetower.com/

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