Board Games On Technology

Some thoughts on board games for iPhones, iPad’s, and Android phones

A friend recently came into work and mentioned that following our conversations he and his partner had bought Tigris and Euphrates for their iPad. They had had a great time playing it. Not surprisingly this piqued my interest and as I don’t have one of these beautiful devices I asked him if he would be kind enough to write a little bit about his thoughts on the game / using the iPad to play a board game.

“These days, many of the big-name board games are available for iPads. They tend to be visually identical to the traditional versions of the game, but they do offer some advantages:

Tigris and Euphrates - An image from the iPad version of the game

Match Report 21st May 2012

Saboteur 2 - The dwarves return!
Another weekend and this time we had the pleasure of seeing my Godparents and Goddaughter down in sunny Somerset. Not surprisingly we played a few games over the two days and what was so brilliant was to see my 80 year old Godparents leaning how to play Settlers of Catan with their 10 year old granddaughter. Whilst Gwen won it was very, very close with both ends of the age spectrum nearly beating her. This was followed by a couple of games of Army of Frogs.

Monday night and MORE games! We were pleased to welcome a new member of the team, Karen a defector from the pub group and the return of Ruth for one of her occasional visits not to mention all the regulars.
Seeland & 7 Wonders in the background

Review – Dungeon Petz

2 - 4 Players, Aged 13+ with a 90 minute playing time 

Dungeon Petz - The box artwork
A review copy of Dungeon Petz, designed by Vlaada Chvatil of Dungeon Lords, Pictomania (reviewed here) and Galaxy Trucker fame, was kindly provided by Czech Games Edition (CGE)

This is a game that was, in large part, created because Vlaada had enjoyed working with David Cochard on Dungeon Lords so much that he wanted to find another opportunity for them to work together. The game, dedicated to Vlaada’s wife, is one which Paul Grogan (one of my Essen travelling companions) was heavily involved with. Put these factors together with the amusing theme, stunning artwork and quality components and this is a game that begs to be got out of the box and played.

I think the following set the tone for the humour of the game and a feel for the considerations to be weighed up:
Dungeon Petz - One of the players screens
“The dungeon lay in shambles, the dungeon lord was vanquished, and the spare pick-axe supply was running low. It was a tough day to be an imp. As the imps trudged back to town, thinking about where they could find another job, one of them said, “You know what this town needs? A pet shop.” A pet shop for dungeon lords? What a great idea! Original! Yeah, and no one else is doing it! No competition! We’ll be rich! We’re natural entrepreneurs! Yeah, natural manures! And now you have opened the first pet shop in town. Right next door to the other first pet shop in town. Across the street from two more. Your impish heart swells with optimism, for you know that your sound business acumen, your attention to detail, and your long-handled manure shovel will give your pet shop a reputation that stands head, shoulders, and pointy ears above the rest. You can’t keep a good imp down!“
Dungeon Petz - The part of a players Burrow board showing the imp family home
As a Social Gamer I love games in many forms but have few regular opponents prepared to play a game of this complexity. Dungeon Petz builds on the theme introduced in CGE’s earlier game Dungeon Lords (which is described in the rules as “designed for hard core gamers”) so it is no surprise that the intellectual gymnastics necessary to balance all the choices and decisions in Dungeon Petz is of a similar level – so at best your brain feels as if it has had a strenuous workout, at worst it feels frazzled!

What follows is an overview of the review copy (kindly provided by CGE) of this game broken down into 5 sections: The Game ComponentsSetting Up The GameHow To Play The GameWhat Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

Interview with Albrecht Werstein CEO of Zoch Verlag

Albrecht Werstein
We have had untold hours of fun playing the many Zoch games in our collection (Bausack, Hick Hack in-gackelwack, Furchs and Fertig and Safranito to name just a few) and I felt it would be interesting to interview their CEO, Albrecht Werstein and find out a little more about the company and its history.

Games In A Pub – 13th May 2012

Tackling the challenges of power and thoughts on falling numbers

Power Grid = The box artwork
As the group gathered Martin began to explain Power Grid, a game he had brought along and which I had read much about and was keen to try (as indeed I am Power Grid: First Sparks, the lighter variant). The game, as with many euro games, offers a relatively simple set of rules that then presents many different choices and ways of reaching the winning conditions. In this game the players find themselves as the bosses of power companies trying to build their business around the provision of power to as many cities in Germany as possible (the reverse of the board shows America).

Players bid for power stations (coal, oil, wind, garbage or nuclear), buy the rights to supply cities and try to cope with the fluctuating fuel markets as they seek to source the fuels for their power stations. In providing the power to the cities they then generate the income that allows them to invest in yet more fuel, power stations and cities.
Power Grid - The players
Neither the board nor the theme grab me, HOWEVER

Review – ExistenZ: On The Ruins of Chaos

2 to 4 players, Aged 12+ with a 20 to 90 minute playing time
ExistenZ:On The Ruins of Chaos - The box artwork

Back in summer 2011 at the UK Games Expo I met a great team of Dutch guys led by Patrick Ruedisueli from Quantum Magic BV. Patrick is the chief designer in the team behind the Tradeable Card Game x610z, and its board game variant ExistenZ: On The Ruins of Chaos. This later game has only recently been released and is the subject of this review. ExistenZ is a game is set in a post apocalyptic world were all the genes have become mingled with some very strange outcomes! This is a game where magic exists and weird and just plain strange creatures travel the land or float through the air powered in some mysterious way by crystals.

Having talked at some length to Patrick I know this is a game that was inspired by hours playing Magic The Gathering, and a desire to find something new that blended some of the best parts of CCG’s and board games. The result is a superbly illustrated and put together package that speaks of the untold hours that has been lavished on every aspect of this game. A game that they had hoped to release at Essen last year but held back from, unlike a number of others, because it wasn’t quiet finished.

What follows is an overview of the review copy (kindly provided by Patrick) of this game broken down into 5 sections: The Game Components, Setting Up The Game, How To Play The Game, What Did We Think? and finally Who Do We Think Will Like It?. So if you don't want to read the whole review scan down to the heading that interests you.

Match Report 7th May 2012

A small gathering means less competition for the munchies!

Being away for the weekend with family, it will be no great surprise that we played a few games (3 six player games of 7 Wonders, 2 games of Tower of Babel as well as some fun games with the kids Pack and Stack, Dragon Land and Au Backe! (also known as By Golly)), before returning home in time for our Monday night gathering.

Once everybody (!) had gathered and with drinks sorted we started the evening where we left off our last gathering with Take It Easy! a game requested by Crispin and needless to say not one of the many I had brought upstairs from their storage area elsewhere in the house, so off I had to trudge to recover it.
Take it Easy! - My poor effort

Games in a Pub – 29th April 2012

Family commitments, a sabotaged deck (?!) and valiant efforts to save the world

With a family celebration on Sunday afternoon evening I showed my face briefly at the pub and, whilst waiting for the full team to gather, we played a quick game of Fuchs & Fertig (won by Oliver) and Straw (won by Robin).

Pandemic - The box artwork
Once Simon had joined us I continued our efforts to introduce Robin to collaborative games, in response to a request he had voiced several Sundays earlier. Having played Panic Station at our previous meeting, this week I took along Pandemic (designed by Matt Leacock, published by ZMAN Games and a classic in this genre). Explaining the game and ensuring the guys were poised to save the world I slipped out of the pub and back to the family bash.

Oliver [O] kindly agreed to record the team’s efforts to save humanity and his record of events are embellished at times by Simon [S] who also sent me some notes of the evening: