The Calming Effect of Onirim

It’s been almost a year since Dad passed away (December 22) and one thing I remember vividly about the blurry four days between finding out about it and December 27 when I had to do a bunch of stuff to get ready for the quick trip to Iowa is how much the card game app Onirim from Asmodee Digital just really calmed me down.

Over the last year, I’ve actually found myself retreating to the game whenever I’m feeling especially anxious or down, depressed or just unhappy.

I’m not sure exactly why that is.

Onirim 1

For those of you who don’t know, Onirim is a card game where you are trying to escape a nightmarish dreamscape by unlocking a series of doors of four different colours. (See my review for the detailed how to play)

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Why I Won’t be Buying Mobile Terraforming Mars

(Edit 12/10/19: Asmodee has released a patch on all platforms. 

TM Updates

Still no word on the other issues, especially the weird order of choosing cards, but this is definitely a start!

(Edit 12/6/19: Apparently Asmodee has responded to some negative iTunes reviews by saying they are working to make the asynchronous experience better. If they do, I will certainly report that here and maybe even buy the thing.)

Original post below


When Asmodee Digital announced that they would be producing an app for one of my favourite games, Terraforming Mars, I was ecstatic.

When it came out on Steam, I was reasonably happy but the game had some issues.

When the iOS beta opened up, I eagerly joined it. By this time, some of the issues had been addressed (the initial 15-day timer for online multiplayer games was horrible, but now they had added a 30 and 45-day timer which made asynchronous play a breeze).

I was pretty happy, though acknowledging that there were still issues that needed to be addressed.

Unfortunately, during the beta, developer Lucky Hammers closed their doors and Asmodee had to take over the app. I’m not sure if that’s the reason for the lack of improvements, but nothing major has really changed in the two updates (I think) that happened after Lucky Hammers was gone.

The app released on Wednesday, December 4, and it apparently still has all of these issues.

Terraforming Mars Mobile
It’s good to know what colour you are, but everybody else?

Terraforming Mars mobile is available for $11.99 CDN (I’m not sure what the US price is, but maybe $7.99 or $8.99?) on iOS and Android.

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App Expansion Review – Talisman: The Clockwork Kingdom

I’ve done a couple of reviews now for Talisman: Origins and one of its expansions, but there’s also a new digital-only expansion out for the base Talisman game as well.

As we all know, Talisman is the roll and move game where you are journeying around the Talisman board trying to eventually get to the Crown of Command to do…whatever the current game’s goal is. With so many expansions out, and with all of them adding more possibilities, who knows what you’re going to be doing this time?

Now, Nomad Games and Asmodee Digital have released a new digital-only expansion for the game called The Clockwork Kingdom.

Talisman - Inventions
I know I want a necklace that’s called “toxic”!

In this expansion, technology has come to Talisman and players are trying to restore the kingdom to its former glory by constructing machines and other automata, using them to  further their own goals.

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Terraforming Mars is in mobile beta – and it’s decent!

(Edit – 12/5/19) – The mobile app has finally been released! Take a look at my post to see why I’m not going to be buying it.

Original post still below.


Something I’m way behind on is telling you that the Terraforming Mars app (that came out to mixed reviews on Steam but I mostly liked) has been in beta on mobile devices for a little while now.

The game is published and developed by Lucky Hammers and Asmodee Digital.

This isn’t a news post, unfortunately, because I think both Android and iOS is full, but I’d like to report back a little bit.

First, I want to say that while it is one of my favourite games, I’m not so well-versed in it that I can say that it definitively gets all the rules right (there have been some threads about these types of issues since the Steam app came out).

However, from what I can see, a number of things seem to be working better than they were on Steam (and maybe the Steam app now has these improvements as well).

First, they’ve added the draft variant! This also appeared on Steam and it is much-needed. I was so happy to play a few games against the AI with the draft variant.

Secondly, online multiplayer seems to be working pretty good, much better than the Steam app (though again, maybe the Steam app updated this as well because frankly I gave up after one game in frustration).

You actually can invite friends to a game without waiting around in the room.  (Like most Asmodee apps, if you just want to play online with people you don’t know, you have to keep the room open until everybody joins).

This was much needed!

TM - Mobile

If I was posting this a week or so ago, I would have been able to say that you even get notifications when it’s your turn!

Sadly, that seems to have crapped out, though. I haven’t received a notification in quite a while. Hopefully that can be fixed!

It still has a maximum of 15 days to finish a game, which works ok if you check fairly regularly. However, I can’t see that working with the draft variant. Each “turn” would be choosing a card. With 10-12 generations, you’re looking at another 30-36 logins!

They really need to add more time.

In addition to this, it really needs to tell you who’s who in your game. It’s not bad in a 2-player game (obviously the person who isn’t you is the other player), but in a 3 or 4-player game, it would be nice to know if Jim is Thorgate or if Bob is.

TM - Mobile 2
I love how the language of the game name is in the creator’s native language.

Finally, even when we did receive turn notifications, you had no idea which game the turn was from! Now, with no notifications, I have to check all three just to make sure I’m not missing something.

This, along with the notifications, really needs to change as well.

Overall, though, I’m liking the mobile version of the game. I like playing it on the go, and I hope that many of the issues that we’ve brought up are addressed before it goes into general release.

I haven’t had it crash yet, which is also a plus.

It looks really good on my phone and iPad.

Here’s hoping!

Are you in the beta? Maybe hit me up for a game!

News to Catch Up On

Sorry for the lack of posting last week. I was away and just not really in the mood to force any posts up.

Judging my stats, I’d better rectify that now!

Before going further, I can promise that there will be a new review up this week, as well as the much-anticipated (you know you are anticipating it) New to Me – April post!

Anyway, a bunch of small stuff happened last week that I’d like to catch you up on.

So let’s get started!

1) Zombicide arrives on the App Store – kind of

Fans of the cooperative tabletop miniatures zombie game where a bunch of survivors with unique abilities face off against the seemingly endless zombie hordes were quite ecstatic to hear that this one was coming to mobile via Asmodee Digital (of course it’s Asmodee).

Zombicide

It looks great, but it’s not exactly a mobile version of the game itself.

Instead, it’s a solo affair that’s more like a story-based RPG where you can increase the five unlockable characters’ abilities with food that you find during the story missions.

There are 40 “episodes” in the ongoing story and you can replay missions in order to gain more food to level up or if you want to get a “perfect” score on every mission (if a character is hit by a zombie at all, then no perfect score for you!).

I’m not familiar with the tabletop game at all, but apparently there have been a few changes to the mechanics as well.

There are some characters available as IAP, though I wouldn’t know because I can’t seem to get logged into the store.

However, at $4.99, it’s a pretty decent game as long as you’re not a tabletop die-hard who only wants a carbon copy of the board game. As a game set in the Zombicide universe? I’m not unhappy I bought it.

So what else happened?

Continue reading “News to Catch Up On”

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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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?

Continue reading “Ascension – Valley of the Ancients drops on Digital”