Friday, 21 September 2012

boardgaming in iOS screenshots and photos

Aug 2012. I have been playing a lot of Summoner Wars on the iOS against Han and Allen. iOS boardgaming has become something I do everyday now, playing one or two turns when I have short breaks or during wait time. Other games that we play on the iOS are Ascension and Le Havre. In Summoner Wars, previously I focused on learning to use the Pheonix Elves. Later I switched to the Jungle Elves. The Jungle Elves are fun to play. They have great mobility. Lionesses move for free, their moves not being counted towards the limit of three every round. The Lion Rider can move up to seven spaces in a straight line. They have strong attack values, but usually have low life points, i.e. easy to kill. I play them in an aggressive way, always on the offense and going for the quick kill. I tell myself I'm the Brazilian football (soccer) team. In this screenshot my lioness (far left) is about to kill off the summoner of the Tundra Orcs.

2 Sep 2012. I also tried out the Tundra Orcs myself, but didn't play that much with them. They have lots of walls, and they have some special event cards which are mini walls (3 hit points). There's one such wall in this screenshot. They have a common unit that can make multiple attacks. After each attack, you roll a die to determine whether the unit moves and attacks again. I tend to play the Tundra Orcs defensively, using my walls to slow down the enemy. The summoner has a special ability which can cause all enemy units next to my walls take wounds. One theme in the Tundra Orcs' abilities is the unpredictability. Many of them need a die roll to determine whether they will take effect.

4 Sep 2012. Another game where I was the Tundra Orcs. Han played the Goblins. Look at all those special ability icons on the Goblins! It was a combination of Han's event cards and Goblin champion special ability.

7 Sep 2012. A game I played as the Jungle Elves vs Han playing the Tundra Orcs. Right off the bat he played three (!) freeze cards on my summoner. A frozen unit cannot move, attack or use its special ability. It costs two magic to remove a freeze card. I didn't unfreeze my summoner throughout the game. I needed the magic for summoning units to defend him and to kill enemy units in order to gain magic. I managed to use event cards to get my summoner to swap places with other units, getting him out of danger (and putting the pawn in danger instead). But eventually I couldn't hold back the Tundra Orcs and I lost the game.

Zooming in to the frozen summoner. He was more frozen than Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.

15 Sep 2012. Now I'm trying yet another faction - the Vanguards. Their units are sturdy, most have two hit points as opposed to the usual one. Some units also have heal abilities. Attack values tend to be low though. So this faction seems to be mostly about outlasting your opponent. I tend to play it defensively, in a sure-and-steady approach.

Sep 2012. Ascension continues to be fun. Now I regret a little for not buying the expansions when they were on discount. It is not that I have discovered any hidden depth in the game. It's just that it's a quick auto-pilot game with a very slick implementation on the iOS. Playing it on the iOS is like taking occasional light snacks. Nothing heavy but it is an enjoyable diversion. The game end screen (above) lets you examine the composition of your deck and those of your opponents too.

The more I play Le Havre the more I like it. Unfortunately playing on the iOS in a PBEM (Play-By-EMail) -like manner takes a long time. You do very little on your turn so it can feel like the game moves too slowly.

9 Sep 2012. I continue to try to reach for a higher solo score at Town Center. I tried to work out on paper how much I could score assuming I could select the order the cubes were drawn from the bag. However even by doing that, I could at best get to a size 12 apartment (connected green cubes) with a max height of 3, which is 81pts. Even if I add points from leftover money, a size 12 apartment doesn't seem to be sufficient to hit 100pts. Later, when I played the physical game, I found a new technique to increase apartment size. I realise it is a 3D game so when trying to plan it on (2D) paper one could easily miss some possibilities. This particular city above scored 72pts.

15 Sep 2012. This was the best I could do so far in solo Town Center, 77pts. Look at the biggest connected set of green cubes. It is the key indication of how well a city is built. A cube is connected to cubes to its left, right, front, back, top and bottom. The rules indicate it is possible to go beyond 100pts. 77pts is just a Level 5 achievement out of 10 levels.

13 Sep 2012. I bought Tikal on the iOS because it was on discount. I have the physical game, but I have not played it for quite a long time. It took me a while to play the iOS version, because I had many other games to be occupied with. The iOS version is not as pretty as the physical version, but the interface and implementation are done well enough. I found that I was a little rusty with the game when I noticed the AI's taking advantage of my mistakes and opportunities I missed. I focused on treasures, and I lost out on temples. I was not efficient at all in competing at the temples. Thankfully the treasures helped me a lot. I eventually came second place, and not too far from the first placed AI. That's a minor miracle considering my poor showing.


JasonB said...

I've just really gotten into roleplaying games as my son gets old enough to play more advanced boardgames.

I've started with Risk, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne which I love a lot.

Any more you can recommend would be welcome and appreciated.

I like the iOS as you just pick up and go without having to set up or designate time to play.

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

Hi Jason, the other very popular game similar in complexity is The Settlers of Catan. Check that out. But I may need more information to be able to give a better recommendation, e.g. how many players do you usually have, age range, type of game (Risk is directly confrontational and Carcassonne is competitive in a very different way). Another one I can think of is Pandemic, a cooperative game.