Boardgame sale for android devices


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If you play boardgames and own Android powered devices you may be well aware that there are not as many implementations of actual boardgames for Android as there is for IOS powered devices. There is a list on BoardGameGeek of all the ones that exist, but that’s not the point of this post. For the holiday season there are a whole bunch of games and application that are on promotional sale and this includes some implementations of boardgames, so if you’ve fancied trying out a digital edition of a game on your Android phone, phablet, or tablet then maybe its time to take a try.

There is Reiner Knizia Tigris&Euphrates – down to $0.99 from $2.84, and  Ticket to Ride – down to $1.99 from $6.99 which I’ve seen so far and purchased. I’ve just got a new tablet, Tegra Note 7, the new tablet from NVidia (well NVidia was working with several partners to produce the tablet after it lost being the chip choice for new Google Nexus (2013)), that was on a 2-day sale at £99.99 from £179.99 (so about $163 to any American readers), though its now on sale for £129, which is more a reasonable “normal” price than the original RRP. So I shall have a play and let you know how I get on.


Six Degrees of Tom Lehmann


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If you play a variety of boardgames then there is likely to be one style of game you prefer over others – whether this be “economic”, “worker placement”, “card drafting”, etc. Similarly there is likely to be games designers you prefer over others, usually by the fact that you have played one of their previous creations. It goes along the line “Oh they did _________ that I love to play, so I’ll probably like this new one by them”. It doesn’t always follow true and you will get a game designer trying something completely different that might just not be “your cup of tea” but more often than not you’ll like the new game if you like their previous ones.

There are several Games Designers who’s games I enjoy playing and would pull an unknown game from a pile if I saw their name on it, but for now I’m briefly discussing Tom Lehmann. Tom wasn’t one of those designers (oh that sounds bad after “bigging it up”, so I’d best elaborate). The game, or family of games,  that Tom is mainly known for is Race for the Galaxy and its expansions – his other games are not as well known. I’m a RftG fan, but hadn’t played any of his other games until 2010 when I pulled Phoenicia out of a pile of mostly unplayed games at a club to give a try and liked it. It was only after the first play (where we actually got the rules wrong!) that I twigged the designer was the same as that for RftG. I was then keen to give it another go, to get the rules correct, and ended up getting my own copy so I didn’t have to rely on the club’s.

Another of Tom’s games is To Court the King, which was published in 2006 the year before both RftG and Phoenicia. I discovered this in 2009, though not as you may have thought from playing it, but because I was into re-theming games. One day browsing on BoardGameGeek I discovered a forum thread saying the theme was “pretty pasted on” and wondering if anyone had considered a retheme. There were a few suggestions but after reading the games theme background where “the players are petitioners at the royal court, trying to gain the King’s favor” it occurred to me that The Godfather might be a choice for a retheme. I’m not saying that my theme suited the game any better, just thought it was a good alternative. I got screenshots from the computer game (and got permission from the publisher for non-commercial use – I was just doing it for fun) did the graphics for a full deck of cards, including new iconography to make them relatively language independent. I made my own copy (via Artscow) put it away before moving on to something else. Did I play it? No, not at that time – lots of reviews said it was Yahtzee with added cards, and whilst I like dice rolling games wasn’t sure, there was much of a game. I have played it since and its a good short game that plays differently depending on the number of players. It has recently been implemented on Yucata board gaming site and become very popular there, so I’ll post about that later.

Finally, to come full circle, I bought another game a few months ago, Starship Merchants, because (a) it was on offer (half price) on Amazon, (b) it sounded like a game I’d like, and last but not least (c) because Tom was a designer for it. So whilst I wasn’t initially aware of many of Tom’s games it does seem that he does design games I like, so in future it will be one of the names that may sway me towards trying an unknown game.

Open the door, turn to page 39

Do you remember the old adventure books where you just needed a pencil and paper? Just found out that they can now be found as mobile apps! I had several of the Ian Livingstone books, back as a teen that lead me onto role playing (though I’ve not played in many years). I’ve just downloaded “Blood of the Zombies” adventure and thoroughly enjoying it.

Jaipur – the latest game in Beta on Yucata


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I do seem to be spending a lot of time on Yucata, but then they do keep implementing more games. The latest game to enter Beta stage is Jaipur a 2-player hand management card game about becoming the Maharaja’s personal trader. It seems a fairly light game and I’m playing a few games so should be able to give a review in a week or so.

Jaipur on Yucata

Jaipur on Yucata

Although it sounds like a “matter of fact” statement, announcing a game has reached Beta stage is quite an achievement. Firstly lets remember that Yucata is a free games playing site – free to join, free to play and free from adverts! Secondly the games developers are doing it in their spare time, unpaid, so they have the dedication. The process, I believe is something along the lines of this: Games are identified as suitable for asynchronous play-by-web and make a good addition to the games on offer. The publishers are then approached to seek a license, and if granted the game is given to a developer, who is someone who’s offered their services to Yucata for free. Some time later (I think the developer goes off and eventually comes back with something they are happy to progress to beta) it is implemented onto the site, marked at “in beta” and announced on the site to members and all. Most games I’ve tried in Beta are usually bug-free, though the occasional one pops up, what seems to happen is the implementation is tweaked after user suggestions to improve game play. Just the same as having a document proof-read by someone before final submission. After the game has been played a while and people seem to be happy with it, the beta flag is removed.




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Targi is a game by Andreas Steiger released in 2012 by Kosmos as part of their 2-player series. It’s released in German, but Z-Man will be releasing an English edition in 2013, which is important as there is extensive text on some of the cards. I’ve been playing the online implementation of the game, so the card texts are in English (can also be in German if you prefer) so making it easier for me to play.

Extensive text on cards – Targi

A quick overview of the physical version based purely on photographs – in the box you get a pack of cards, 11 wooden figures and a bunch of resource chits, which might make you think its a card game. It is a board game just that it comes without a board, instead you have a modular board formed from the cards. I wonder if it was a cost saving exercise, or done by design? The board is formed by 16 cards laid out to form the edge leaving a 3 by 3 space in between to lay cards which may be claimed and replaced each round. Does the board tend to get disrupted as players take cards – you can’t tell by playing the online version, but it does make you wonder as I have gaming friends who find picking cards up challenging! I shall post with a review once I’ve played several games.

Call to Glory


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Call to Glory is a card game by Michael Schacht and published by White Goblin Games. I discovered this game when it was implemented in the online gaming site The basic game consists of 9 types of cards (I’m not sure you’d say suit of cards as the cards of each type are identical). They each depict a Japanese characters and have a number on that corresponds to its value (it is also the number of that type of cards). The theme isn’t really important as the game is quite abstract, indeed I found out this is a re-themed version of an earlier game by the same designer called “Crazy Chickens” with some minor changes to allow up to four players (crazy chicken was just for 2 players) and an add-on optional play involving ninja figures. The re-theme will probably make it more appealing to the casual buyer as the original did make it look like a game just for kids.

call to glory – hand of cards

The aim of the game is to collect sets of the same type (which sounds a familiar mechanic found in other games) gaining you points depicted on the cards and the winner is the person who has the most points. The game is set up with each player getting a starting hand and the rest of the cards split into two draw decks, with space in between for two discard piles. On your turn you take two cards drawing from the two draw decks and the top card on the discard piles, but you must take cards from different piles, quite important as I’ll get to. You then have two options either discard a card from your hand or lay down a set. By repeatedly doing the former each time on your turn you increase your hand size and so be able to lay down sets. What’s a set – a group of at lease 2 of the same type (or 3 for some of the card types if more than 2 are playing – one of the changes from crazy chicken than was just 2-player). Sounds simple? Well, there can only be one set of each type on the table so if there is already a set of that type down, whether it be yours or another players, then you must exceed the number of cards with the new set. So if there is a set of 4 Samurai on the table, you must lay down at least 5. The owner of the set that is being replaced then places them onto one discard pile (this is where the choosing cards from different piles is relevant as it means a player cannot pick up two from a recently discarded set in one turn). If you are the owner of the set being replaced you still discard them, not add to them. Replacing your own set might sound like a daft thing to do, but it does happen. The game round continues until a scoring is triggered, which is either there is a set of all nine types out there, one player has six sets currently, or a draw deck runs out. Scoring ends the round (you get the value of each of your sets, the number of cards in each set is irrelevant) and you set up a new round (taking all cards together and setting up same as the start). After four rounds the player with the highest accumulative score wins.

Call to Glory is a fairly abstract game, and although you may think the set replacing action could be aggressive, it doesn’t play like that. You need to watch what other players are taking from discard piles and being aware of how close you are to the end of the round. The basic game does feel a bit too long (four rounds of exactly the same thing) and playing a single round makes a nice filler game. The game does come with 12 Imperial Task cards and 4 Ninja miniatures which are used for variations on the basic game, though I will comment on these in a future post when I’ve played them.

Playing board games online at


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The appeal of board games for most of us is to be able to sit around a table, get out a game and play. This is how I play a lot of my games – 2 player with my partner, with a group of friends in a house, or at a games club. Indeed the seems to be a lot more games clubs out now than 10 or 20 years ago, so even if your family and friends don’t share your passion for board games there are plenty of places to find new friends that do (not suggesting you need to jettison your existing friends 😆 ). However there may be times when you want to play a game but unable to set up a face-to-face meeting, to scratch that itch we have online board game sites.

There are several websites that offer the ability to play a variety of boardgames, some concentrate on real-time play (where you all play the game in a single session), asynchronous PBEM (you are notified by email when its your turn), or a combination of these. For this post I’m going to look at which I discovered only a month ago.

Yucata’s User Interface

Yucata is a German based website offering, so far, eighty different game titles with more in the pipeline. There are well known games such as Carcassonne H&G, Roll Through the Ages, and Stone Age, as well as lesser known games. There are some that are now Out Of Print that are eagerly snapped up at a premium price when  copies are put up for sale, so online may be the only place to play them. The site is intuitive to use and easy to navigate and most of the titles use authentic graphics adding to the appeal. You can set up invitational games, where you specify a list of friends to invite, or public ones that have an open invite to anyone – they have a page listing the open invite so you can join in on a game set up by others. A nice feature of the invitational option is you can invite more people than the game can play, so for instance if you have a list of twenty friends, you could invite them all to a 4 player game and the first three that accept will join you in the game. The games tend to be played over several days as you will find most people will be in dozens of games and taking turns as they arise. This is not to say people don’t play in a single session and you will see open invitational games with the note “live game” or something similar.

Stone Age on Yucata

I’m finding the site quite addictive. For the most part the ability to dip in and out is great as I can grab ten minutes every so often and play some turns on a bunch of games – a great way to break up whatever tasks you are doing in real life, and in the evening I’ll leave it on in the background diving in when the message pops up saying its my turn on some games. I’m taking part in some tournaments of with players in a BoardGameGeek guild including one for Stone Age that’s seven games simultaneously as half of the first stage (so trying to remember what strategy you are using for each is interesting). I am also learning new games, its a great teaching tool, so that I can then teach others when playing physical versions face-to-face.

Zooloretto Dice



A few years ago there seemed to be a flurry of dice based “express” versions of boardgames, mainly unofficial fan based, on BoardgameGeek and since then there seems to have been a few official ones (maybe the publishers/designers were watching 🙂 ). I have just got hold of Zooloretto Dice, or Zooloretto Würfelspiel to give its proper name, for its only out in German so far.

Zooloretto was a tile laying game developed from Coloretto a card based game and did have quite a few improvements in game play. I believe Zooloretto was a bigger success especially as it seems to have spawned several expansions. So what do you get with Zoo-Dice and is it simply a dice implementation of the game?

The game comes in a small box, so easy to pack in a bag when going anywhere, and contains ten D6 dice, a small board and a pad of score sheets:

  • The dice are all identical with five animal types and a gold coin, you are using the dice instead of tiles
  • The board is double sided and depicts the carts where you place the dice (which side you use depends on how many are playing)
  • The pad of score sheets depicts the zoo and each player gets one.

I shall give a quick overview of playing the game and compare it to Zooloretto (or Zool for shorthand). On a turn a player may roll two dice and add them to the carts, or take the dice from one cart into their enclosure. This is similar to what you do in Zool though there are subtle differences. For a start as you are rolling dice the probability of what you get remains the same, where as when drawing tiles with Zool you can count how many of each type has been out. Another difference is in the carts, where as with Zool once a cart has been claimed it is out for that round, in Zoo-Dice the now empty cart is available to be refilled, which adds options especially in the 4 player game.

When you add dice to your enclosures you mark them off on your sheet, you can only hold a set number of each type and any excess go in your barn to score negative points. So you can’t swap animal enclosures like in Zool, nor buy from other players barns. You score a point for each animal in your enclosures and -2 for each type in your barn. In addition there are bonus points for each animal type to the player who filled it first (other players who then fill don’t get the bonus), which can mean watching what animals other players are collecting to see who can fill them first. The coins are just collected, you get a point for the first 3, another for next 2, and a 3rd for the 6th – collecting coins after this are wasted. Unlike Zool the coins are not used to buy things, however at the game end you can decide whether each set of coins you have score or are used to remove one type of animal from your barn (so +1 or remove a -2). The game ends the round where one player either fills all their animal enclosures or only has one type unfilled.

So how does it compare? It is a shorter game, but I think it is quite a good development. The re-use of carts does mean it is possible to avoid taking an unwanted animal if you manage to tempt an opponent to take a cart before all the dice are out and only awarding the full enclosure to the player who first fills that type does mean its less of a multiplayer solo as you are watching what others are filling. In Zool it isn’t always clear who is winning until the end is counted, but its easier to see in Zoo-Dice.

3D Printer for the boardgame designer

I know several game designers and most develop prototypes using generic components (blank cards with labels, counters, playing pieces from other games, etc) initially and then move onto better components as the game becomes more developed. Some designers will have deals with publishers, others will self publish. In the latter case you often get games with generic components but printed cards/board.

As technology moves on, things become cheaper, and now it seems there is a 3D printer for home use. It is probably in the price range that colour laser printers used to be a few years ago, but like games designers then who opted to buy one, we may well see these 3D printers being similarly bought. The self-publisher can now have a game with nicer pieces – or offer two versions of their game standard with generic components and deluxe with designed pieces. They could well also be used in creating prototypes after initial play test has been done and the game is likely to be published but needs final play testing to tweak rules. Fun times are ahead.

Inkognito – To be republished

Inkognito was a deduction game originally released in 1988, where each player aims to find which other player (its a 4 player game, though there was a 3 player option) is their fellow secret agent and complete a mission. Each player had a secret identity, attribute and mission, and through investigating the player pawns you found out who was who and aimed to as a pair, complete the mission – you both had to agree on the solution, or lose!

I won’t review it here (see a review on BGG) but it was a nice game with a big plastic head that had 10 coloured balls in used as a randomiser. Well I now find out its to be republished by Ares Games. It’s to be an improved version, so I wonder how they will improve it? Will it be just the big head guy being replaced by a digital device?