Boardgame Apps – Asynchronous Play Revisited

I’m a big fan of boardgame apps, either on mobile or on Steam. I love being able to play Ascension with buddies from all over the country and the world.

For the most part, to do that requires asynchronous online multiplayer because it is almost impossible to coordinate schedules with friends when time zones are involved. This is especially true with longer, more complicated games. (For those of you who don’t know, “asynchronous multiplayer” basically means that you log into the game, take your turn, and then leave again. Your opponent(s) can take their turn at their convenience, though most of the time there are timers involved to make sure they don’t disappear).

While my stance hasn’t changed on that requirement in a good boardgame app, it has become a bit more nuanced.

Morels - Night mushroom

I recently reviewed the great new card game app Morels by Mossbark Games and complimented them on including async multiplayer in the game.

After that, Dave over at the illustrious Stately Play site posted his review. (ha! First!)

In it, he said the following:

“I find that the game is far less rewarding when playing asynchronously than in real time. The short turns combined with long waits deadens a bit of the joy, but if you can manage to both log on together (with a friend at, I don’t know, your kid’s holiday concert) and play in real time, I guarantee you won’t only play once.”

A minor discussion ensued on the discussion board, and it made me think.

Should I adjust my thinking on asynchronous play?

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App Review – Morels

I don’t like mushrooms.

Just imagining the texture and tasting them makes my skin crawl a little bit. I used to pick them off of my Supreme pizza, though now if I happen to get a piece of Supreme, I’ll grin and bear it because usually the other toppings cover up the taste.

Who would have thought that I might like a game about mushrooms, though?

Morels (2012 – Two Lanterns Games) was just released by Mossbark Games for iOS and Android devices, and it is a very polished app.

Morels - Main

Morels is a 2-player card game about mushrooms. Collecting them, cooking them, turning them in for foraging sticks, and avoiding the Destroying Angels that might come up.

Yummy! (Editor – Now try saying that without the grimace)

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Mystic Vale Grows onto Steam – Early Access

We heard back in June that Nomad Games would be doing a number of Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) titles.

These titles included Cat Lady (recently released this month during my blog hiatus), Space Base (an awesome game), and the card-crafting game Mystic Vale.

Imagine my surprise when I heard from the illustrious Stately Play site (really, the luster just shines!) that Mystic Vale has hit Steam in Early Access.

That was welcome news to a lot of fans (including me, who had played it once and really wanted to try it again). 

Of course, “early access” means that while it’s certainly playable and everything, there could definitely be bugs. You may essentially be beta testing it (though it’s probably past that stage, there will still be issues with it I’m sure).

It all makes sense…eventually

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Ascension – Valley of the Ancients drops on Digital

Hi, my name is Dave.

And I’m an Ascension addict.

Ascension - Profile
I’m sure I haven’t even played as many games as some of my friends have.

I had a sponsor who was helping me with it, but when I showed him my online profile and the number of games I’ve played, he ran away screaming.

I’m not sure how to take that.

Anyway, I was about to head to bed last night, when somebody mentioned that the latest digital expansion for Ascension, published by Playdek and Asmodee Digital (Editor – Them again?) had dropped unexpectedly.

I quickly downloaded it and devoured a couple of games.

What does this new expansion bring?

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App Review – Terraforming Mars – Steam

Digital boardgamers have waited with bated breath since it was announced that Terraforming Mars was coming to Steam and (eventually) to mobile devices, brought to you by Asmodee Digital and Lucky Hammers.

As anticipation ramped up and a release date was set, people were starting to hold their breath (the hospitalization rate was staggering, so I’ve been told).

Dave, the wonderful (and very well-groomed, from what I’ve heard) proprietor over at the Stately Play web site, even posted a glowing review of it the day before it launched.

Now that I’ve been able to dig into it some myself, does it hold up to all of this praise and anticipation? (Editor – Don’t look at Reddit or the Steam public reviews)

I’d say yes, but with some caveats.

TFM - Map
Mars is very…red.

Let’s see how it works, first.

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App Review – Istanbul

Rubies make the world go around. Isn’t that what Marilyn Monroe always said? (Editor – Dating yourself *and* being wrong all in one sentence. That’s quite the accomplishment!)

If you’re a merchant in Istanbul in some vague time period of the past, rubies are your ultimate goal and the reason you’re doing all of that trading to begin with.

At least that’s the case if you’re playing Istanbul, the new boardgame app from Acram Digital, adapting the boardgame designed by Rüdiger Dorn.

istanbul_available_now500x500

Acram Digital is known for their stellar boardgame app editions of Steam and 8-Minute Empire and Istanbul blows those out of the park (it probably helps that I like this game better than the other two to begin with).

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App Review – MeteorFall

One of the most highly-acclaimed (except for the artwork, which unfortunately drives some people away) rogue-like deck-building apps is Dream Quest.

For many users, Dream Quest is the epitome of what a deck-building rogue-like game is, and every future game in the genre will be compared to it.

Which brings us to Slothwerks Games latest entry into the genre, Meteorfall.

In Meteorfall, you’ll play one of four characters, each of a different class, who are embarking on a quest to defeat the Uberlich before he can bring down a giant meteor on the land.

Meteorfall Characters
Bruno looks good in pink

To do this, you’ll start with a small deck of cards that you will be playing against the monsters that you will meet in three different territories.

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