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9
Go to the Ticket to Ride page

Ticket to Ride

32 out of 39 gamers thought this was helpful

Introduction
Ticket To Ride is the iPad implementation of the popular Ticket To Ride board game.
Both the board game and the app are from Days Of Wonder (and the app seems to be built in-house)
It is important to point out that this is an iPad specific version and it will not run on an iPhone/iPod Touch; there is a separate iPhone version if that is your hardware of choice.
Ticket To Ride can currently be bought for $6.99 and I do not think there has been any discount so do not hold your breath. Within the app you can also acquire different expansions like the small Ticket To Ride USA 1910 ($0.99) or full new maps like Ticket To Ride Europe ($4.99), Switzerland ($3.99) and Legendary Asia (3.99);… And maybe more to come,

Gameplay
Parts in italic are identical to the review of the iPhone version.
Almost most reader will know the rules of Ticket To Ride, but I will still go through them.
The game plays on a map (in this case of the USA) with cities and railroad routes of different length connecting them.
The goal of the game is to score more points than your opponents (2-5 players total with this app). There are several ways to score points but all are based on claiming routes with your allocated 45 train tokens.
A route between two cities will be of a specific color (among 8) or grey, and will have a specific length. To claim a route you will need as many train cards of the specific colors as the length of the route. For grey routes you can use any color trains, but all must be of the same color. There are also wildcard trains (locomotives) that can be used as any color. Each time you claim a route between two cities, depending on the length of the route, you get victory points (2 for length 2, 15 for length 6 for example). When you claim a route, you discard the required amount of train cards and place the required amount of train tokens on the map to show that the route has been claimed.
At the beginning of the game each player will also have to choose a minimum of 2 out of 3 destination cards. Each of those represents two cities and a number of points: if at the end of the game the two cities can be linked by the routes claimed by the player, he will score the points, if not they will be deducted form his total points.
The last way to score points is at the end of the game, the player with the longest continuous path will gain an additional 10 VP.
During the game, for each turn, each player will be able to chose 1 out of 3 actions: claim roads on the map with his available trains cards, acquire train cards or get new destination cards (same rules as starting destination cards apply).
Train cards (colored and wildcards) are randomized in a draw pile and the top 5 are revealed. When acquiring train cards, the player can either chose two colored train cards, two cards from the top of the draw pile, one colored card and one from the top of the draw pile, or one locomotive. Using the draw pile give you the chance to get locomotives while still drawing a total of two cards.
The last turn of the game starts when one player has only 2 or less train tokens left.

The expansions add some variants to the USA map like new destination ticket, different end of game scoring (most destinations completed instead of longest path),… or new maps with additional rules like ferries that require the use of locomotives, tunnel that have an uncertain length,…

Implementation
Similarly to the iPhone version, the app gives you many options to play a game of Ticket To Ride.
You can play 2-5 players games. You can do so alone against multiple AI, pass and play mixing AI and human players, asynchronous online using Game Center and local wifi games.
There are 4 different AI but I am not sure if they represent different levels of difficulty or different play styles. Playing against a mix of them I have won and lost games probably a similar number of times and the winning AI was not always the same.
There is a handy tutorial to go through the rules of the game, and if more is needed (but I doubt it) you can also access the rules.

In addition to what is available in the iPhone App, you can also play online with your Days Of Wonder account. In addition to a bigger pool of opponents (as this allows for cross platform games against PC gamers), it also allows you to play ranked games.
Thanks to the addition of the Days Of Wonder online play, it is always quite easy to find a game to play, probably easier than on iPhone using Game Center only (although, as said in my iPhone review, I have not had any trouble finding opponents the few times I tried).
The implementation of the game on the iPad is superb. The graphics and menu are beautifully matching the theme of the game and the user interface is intuitive: it is even easier to see what is going on on the board and even easier to play your turn than on iPhone.
As stated in the introduction, this is an iPad only game and there is a separate iPhone version as well as an iPhone version of Ticket To Ride Europe.

Verdict
A short version of the verdict would be: a better app of a great game.
The longer version:
The game Ticket To Ride is an easy to learn, difficult to master kind of game. It is easy to teach to non-gamers and although an experienced player will most likely beat a beginner, every player will still have fun. For experienced players the game can also be really strategic and interactive when they try to guess what others want to do and block them. I would put this game in the same category as Carcassonne: for beginners to advanced gamers, with more strategy and interaction as experience increases. I would however say the Ticket To Ride is little lighter.
Now for the app, this is a perfect implementation; the graphics are great, the interface is easy to use and you can play in many different ways.
The only issue I have with the app is that it is not Universal, you need a separate app if you want to play on iPhone as well (the iPhone version is however cheaper)

To summarize the main differences between the iPhone and iPad implementations (except the screen size): on iPad all expansions can be bought and played within the app, while on iPhone the new map(s) require a separate app; on iPad you can connect with your Days Of Wonder account allowing ranked games and more potential opponents.

I highly recommend this app to anyone; but especially for fan of the franchise. Having the possibility to link to your Days Of Wonder account and to get the expansion within the core app really makes a difference for advanced gamers. For newbies, although the iPad version is superior to the iPhone one, the added features might not be necessary and the iPhone version, being quite cheaper, can be a good introduction to the Ticket To Ride universe.

8
Go to the Ticket to Ride Pocket page
65 out of 72 gamers thought this was helpful

Introduction
Ticket To Ride Pocket is the iPhone implementation of the popular Ticket To Ride board game.
Both the board game and the app are from Days Of Wonder (and the app seems to be built in-house)
It is important to point out that this is an iPhone/iPod Touch specific version and is not optimized for iPad; there is a separate iPad version if that is your hardware of choice.
Ticket To Ride Pocket can currently be bought for $1.99 but has been seen before for $0.99 and even free. Within the app you can also acquire the Ticket To Ride USA 1910 expansion for $0.99.

Gameplay
Almost most reader will know the rules of Ticket To Ride, but I will still go through them.
The game plays on a map (in this case of the USA) with cities and railroad routes of different length connecting them.
The goal of the game is to score more points than your opponents (2-5 players total with this app). There are several ways to score points but all are based on claiming routes with your allocated 45 train tokens.
A route between two cities will be of a specific color (among 8) or grey, and will have a specific length. To claim a route you will need as many train cards of the specific colors as the length of the route. For grey routes you can use any color train cards, but all must be of the same color. There are also wildcard trains (locomotives) that can be used as any color. Each time you claim a route between two cities, depending on the length of the route, you get victory points (2 for length 2, 15 for length 6 for example). When you claim a route, you discard the required amount of train cards and place the required amount of train tokens on the map to show that the route has been claimed.
At the beginning of the game each player will also have to choose a minimum of 2 out of 3 destination cards. Each of those represent two cities and a number of points: if at the end of the game the two cities can be linked by the routes claimed by the player, he will score the points, if not they will be deducted form his total points.
The last way to score points is at the end of the game, the player with the longest continuous path will gain an additional 10 VP.
During the game, for each turn, each player will be able to chose 1 out of 3 actions: claim roads on the map with his available trains cards, acquire train cards or get new destination cards (same rules as starting destination cards apply).
Trains cards (colored and wildcards) are randomized in a draw pile and the top 5 are revealed. When acquiring train cards, the player can either chose two colored train cards, two cards from the top of the draw pile, one colored card and one from the top of the draw pile, or one locomotive. Using the draw pile gives you the chance to get locomotives while still drawing a total of two cards.
The last turn of the game starts when one player has only 2 or less train tokens left.

Implementation
The app gives you many options to play a game of Ticket To Ride.
You can play 2-5 players games. You can do so alone against multiple AI, pass and play mixing AI and human players, asynchronous online using Game Center and local wifi games.
There are 4 different AI but I am not sure if they represent different levels of difficulty or different play styles. Playing against a mix of them I have won and lost games probably a similar number of times and the winning AI was not always the same.
Online using Game Center you can play against a mix of friends and random opponents. I have not played enough random opponents to give a statistically relevant comment on game activity, but the few times I played against 1 or 2 random opponents, there was not much wait for the game to start.
The implementation of the game on the small screen is as good as it could be. The graphics and menu are beautifully matching the theme of the game and the user interface is intuitive: it is easy to see what is going on on the board and even easier to play your turn.
As stated in the introduction, this is an iPhone/iPod Touch only game and there is a separete iPad version as well as an iPhone version of Ticket To Ride Europe.
There is a handy tutorial to go through the rules of the game, and if more is needed (but I doubt it) you can also access the rules.
(I will detail a little more the differences between the iPad and iPhone version in the review of the iPad version to come in few days)

Verdict
A short version of the verdict would be: a great app of a great game.
The longer version:
The game Ticket To Ride is an easy to learn, difficult to master kind of game. It is easy to teach to non-gamers and although an experienced player will most likely beat a beginner, every player will still have fun. For experienced players the game can also be really strategic and interactive when they try to guess what others want to do and block them. I would put this game in the same category as Carcassonne: for beginners to advanced gamers, with more strategy and interaction as experience increases. I would however say the Ticket To Ride is little lighter.
Now for the app, this is a nearly perfect implementation; the graphics are great, the interface is easy to use and you can play in many different ways.
The issues I have with it are the lack of Universal Support (you will need to buy the game twice if you want to play on both iPhone and iPad) and the fact that there are no expansion maps (you need a separate app to play Ticket To Ride Europe). This last point is not a big issue but I find it more convenient to have all my Ticket To Ride needs in one app.

I highly recommend this app to anyone; newbies who want to discover Ticket To Ride (especially at the low price of this iPhone version) or gamers already fan of the game. However, if you are a gamer fan of the game and have an iPad, if you have to choose one, I would recommend the iPad version (see upcoming review of the iPad Version for more details).

9
Go to the Carcassonne (iOS) page

Carcassonne (iOS)

108 out of 116 gamers thought this was helpful

Introduction
This is the digital iOS implementation of the popular tiles laying game Carcassonne.
The tabletop version of the game is from Rio Grande Game while the app has been developed by TheCodingMonkeys.
The app is Universal (same purchase will work on both iPhone and iPad) and can currently be downloaded for $9.99. Through the app you can also purchase a couple of expansions: River ($0.99) and Inns And Cathedrals ($1.99).

Gameplay
It seems a little pointless to explain the rules or gameplay of Carcassonne as all of you here must know about it. But for the few people that were hiding under a rock for the past 12 years, here is a quick explanation of the game.
The game consists of 72 tiles with different combinations of Roads, City walls, Fields and Cloisters on them (24 different tile designs). The players will then draw a tile and place it on the board so that its sides match the adjacent tiles.
The classic game of Carcassonne faces off 2 to 5 players. In this set-up each turn each player will draw one tile and place it on the board. Each player will also start the game with 7 followers (Meeples) who are key to actually score points. Placing tiles on the board does not score any point, but each time a player places a tile, should he have any Meeple left, he can place one on that tile on either the Road, the City, the Cloister or the Field. Then, if the Road completes (there is a crossing or a City at each end), the City completes (the City is surrounded by walls with no gap) or the Cloister completes (the Cloister tile is surrounded by 8 tiles), the player with more Meeples on it will score points and all Meeples on the given Road/City/Cloister will go back to their players. Meeples on Fields cannot be recovered during play and will score only at the end of the game depending on the number of completed Cities it borders. Note that you cannot place a Meeple on a Road, City or Field already occupied, but two Roads, Cities or Fields occupied by different players might join on subsequent turns in the game in which case, when scoring occurs, the player with the most followers on it will score. On game end, unfinished Roads, Cities and Cloisters will also score points. And talking about the game ending, this happens when the last tile in the draw pile is placed on the board.
In the digital version of Carcossonne, there is also a solitaire game. The basic tile laying rules are identical to the classic multiplayer version, but the goal is to build Roads and Cities of sizes 2 to at least 6 in consecutive increasing sizes within an area as small as possible. The game ends when this is completed or when the 72 tiles are exhausted. You score points for completed Cities and Roads of increasing sizes but points are deducted for each tile placed and when you increase the size of the square your tiles fit in. Note that in this solo version the tiles are not randomized but ordered depending on presets scenarios.
The expansions give you few more tile types to play with (Inns, Rivers and Cathedrals) which change the way you place tiles (River tiles are placed at the beginning to the game) and the scoring mechanics (Roads with Inns and Cities with Cathedrals are worth more points when completed, but none if incomplete at the end). The Inns and Cathedral expansion also gives each player a double follower which is played like all normal followers but is worth double when deciding who scores points.

Implementation
The app gives you many options to play a game of Carcassonne.
As describe above, there is the solitaire game that you can play to compete on the leaderboards (via Game Center).
Then, for the classic multiplayer Carcassonne, you can play 2-5 players games. You can do so alone against multiple AI, pass and play mixing AI and human players or asynchronous online using Game Center. Online you can choose to invite friends or go for a random game. The few times I tried random games I found willing opponents quite quickly.There are 5 levels of AI that would probably be of adequate challenge for most players.
To learn the game for both solitaire and multiplayer set-ups there is an interactive tutorial that can be supplemented by an easy to read rulebook.
The design of the app is clean and simple yet pleasing and goes well with the theme (building a medieval countryside town) and design of the original game. All the assets can easily be seen on the screen and with zooming capabilities the game is easily playable on both iPhone and iPad.

Verdict
The digital version of Carcassonne is the first “modern” board game I played when it came out on Xbox and showed me that there is more to board games then Monopoly, Yahtzee and Scrabbles; so it has a special place in my heart.
Yet, trying to be objective, the digital version of Carcassonne on iOS is a great game.
Carcassonne the game is an easy to learn (especially that in its digital form, scoring is automated) hard to master kind of game. The classic multiplayer game is a good mix of luck, strategy and player interaction. Some games can be brutal as each player tries to block the others, but you can easily adapt your play when playing with kids or your significant other. The solitaire game can be interesting but I have to say than if you want to play alone, I have more fun playing against the AI than the solo games.
The iOS conversion of the game is an example of how a board game can be implemented on a portable device. The app is clean (especially on Retina devices), pretty and simple to use, yet it offers a lot of options to always be able to play a game alone or with others.

I recommend this game to anyone with an iOS device.

4
Go to the Food Fight page

Food Fight

21 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

Introduction
Food Fight on iOS is the iOS implementation of the card game of the same name. The paper version of the game is from Cryptozoic Entertainment while the app is developed by Playdek who is prolific at converting board games to iOS (Ascension, Nightfall, Summoner Wars, Can’t Stop,..)
The game is Universal (same app works on both iPhone and iPad) and is currently priced at $3.99.

Gameplay
In Food Fight 2 to 4 players battle to be the first one get 10 victory points (VP) at which point the game finishes and that player with 10 or more VP is declared the winner.
The players will engage in as many battles (rounds) as required for one to reach 10 VP. The battles take place on battlefields (meals; breakfast, lunch or dinner) and depending on the number of players, for each battle 2 or 3 meals will be drawn. Each meal is worth a different number of VP and the winner of the meal gets those VP.
For each battle each player will have 9 cards. Depending on the settings those can be random or drafted (player chooses 1 card out of 9 and passes the 8 remaining cards to the next player, gets 8 cards from the previous player and chooses one and passes the 7 remaining cards to the next player and so on until each player has 9 cards).
Those cards will (or should) be a mix of Troops and Instants. Each player then chooses 5 Troops to fight for him and keeps the remaining cards in his hand. Each player will then select which meal to fight at. If two or more players selected the same meal, they will fight to gain the VP of that meal. If a player is alone to select a meal, he will fight against the dog; basically a special shuffled deck of cards that will be drawn to fight you.
For a fight, the 5 Troops selected will be randomized and the top card for each player will be shown. Each Troop has a Yumminess value and the player with the most Yumminess will win a Mint Point (MP). Before deciding the winner of this turn (serving) the players can also decide to play Instants that can add more Yumminess to your card. Note that Troops can also have actions/effects that can influence their Yumminess or the Yumminess of cards played after it in the fight. Once the MP has been attributed, the players reveal the second Troop of their deck, compare their Yumminess and play Instants and so on until all the Troops (5) of each player have been played. At that point the player with the most MP is declared the winner of the meal and will get all its VP.
Troops have factions (breakfast, lunch or dinner) which have two impacts: cards of the same faction usually play better together as their actions can often impact only cards from the same faction; ties are broken in favor of the cards of the same faction as the meal being fought at. Note that any card from any faction can however be played at any meal.
Fighting the dog is similar to fighting a player but the cards the dog plays are different, he does not play Instants and he looses all ties.
There is lot of randomness in this game as the cards you play with are random or semi random (drafted) and the one you select for a fight are then randomized. The decisions to make are thus limited to drafting, selecting the cards that will be played (but not their order) and when to play Instants.

Implementation
The game lets you play 2-4 players games. You can play alone against multiple AI (3 difficulty levels), pass and play mixing AI and human players or asynchronous online using Game Center. There is not much activity online and it might be difficult to find a game to play, especially without too much wait.
To learn the game there is an interactive tutorial that you can supplement by accessing the rulebook. A positive point again for Playdek is that unlike some other iOS implementation of board games, the rules have been adapted to the digital game and are not a scan of the board game version.
The design of the app is inspired by the fun theme and cards of the game with drawn backgrounds and fun animations. The main complain about the implementation is that the graphics are not Retina enabled, so even on a newer iPad you will need to zoom in the cards to read them.

Verdict
As an app, it is a beautiful conversion of the board game with a nice design, fun interface, easy ways to learn the game and different options to play alone or with other players. The main complain about the app itself is the lack of Retina support which for me is kind of a deal breaker. Then there is also the lack of online activity which can reduce the replayability.
As a game, well, I do not care for it at all. There is too much luck involved and you cannot develop any real strategy or tactic. The tree version of the game might be fun as there is interaction with other players, but as a video game, it is not engaging enough.
I feel like this is a missed opportunity as the theme and the art are fun and maybe a house rule for the tabletop version allowing you to order your troops instead of randomize them could make it better.

I really cannot recommend this app except maybe for people who are fan of the original game and want a fix on the road.

9
Go to the Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer page
47 out of 54 gamers thought this was helpful

Introduction
What is the Ascension iOS app? It is an iOS implementation of the fantasy deck building game of the same name. The tree version is from Gary Games while the app is developed by Playdek who is prolific at converting board game to iOS (Nightfall, Summoner Wars, Can’t Stop,..)
The game is Universal (same app works on both iPhone and iPad) and is currently priced at $4.99.
Through the app you can also acquire the two first expansions, Return Of The Fallen ($2.99) and Storm Of Souls ($3.99), as well as a promo pack containing few additional cards ($0.99)

Gameplay
As all well respected deck building games, all players start with identical decks they use to acquire more powerful cards.
There are two currencies in the game, Runes and Power. Runes allow you to acquire Heroes and Constructs while Power help you fight Monsters. Each turn the player can acquire or defeat as many cards as possible given his Runes and Powers. Runes and Powers are obtained from Heroes you play and Construct you have in play (Constructs are cards that once played stay in play and give you some effect/action each turn). Powers are used to defeat Monsters, who in turn give you Honor points. Heroes and Constructs go on your discard pile once acquired but Monsters are banished (excluded) from play. Note that most cards give you additional benefits like drawing more cards, banishing card from play, extra Honor points,….
The goal of the game is to finish with more Honor points than your opponents; and the game finishes when the initial pool of Honor points available (depending on the number of players) is exhausted.
In addition to the Honor points you get during play, at the end of the game you also get Honor points for cards in your deck as all card except the starting deck have a Honor value.
Now one important point to explain is that unlike Dominion, Thunderstone, Nightfall, …,the cards you can acquire or defeat each turn are not always the same during a game. There are always two Heroes (one giving you two Powers, the other two Runes) and one Monster (giving you one Honor) that can be acquired or defeated. But all other Heroes, Monsters and Constructs are shuffled into a draw pile and at the beginning of the game the six top card are revealed and put in the center row; those, in addition to the three cards discussed above (2 Heroes, 1 Monster), will be the cards the first player can choose to acquire or defeat. Then, each time a card is taken from the center row, a new card from the draw pile is revealed to replace it. In addition to drawing your hand, this introduces an additional random factor.
The interaction with other players is low to medium. Some cards you play make them discard cards in their hand or Constructs in play, others allow you to banish cards from the center row (if you can’t get a good card, better to banish it than someone else taking it) and a card allow you to steal few honor points from opponents.
The game is fairly quick in its digital digital form, probably around 15 minutes against the AI and 10 minutes per player on multiplayer.
The expansions add some new interesting rules like some effects that take place when the cards are revealed in the center raw, some Monsters that can be kept in play and then used once for a special effect,…

Implementation
The game lets you play 2-4 player games. You can play alone against multiple AI, pass and play mixing AI and human players or asynchronous online using Game Center.
The AI offers 2 difficulty levels. Comparing my performance online (around 40% wins) to my performance against the AI (probably like 70% wins) I would say that for the better players, the AI might be too week. For me it is however fine as it gives some challenge while not being frustrating.
To play online you can choose games with different number of players, using different sets of card (base set, base set plus expansions or expansion alone,…) and a timer. The timer lets you set how long each player will have to complete all of their turns, going from 10 minutes to 1 month. Note that it is easier to find 2 players games with 10 or 30 minutes timers. You can also invite people for private games.
To learn the game there is an interactive tutorial that you can supplement by accessing the rulebook. A positive point is that unlike some other iOS implementation of board games, the rules have been adapted to the digital game and are not a scan of the board game version.
The design of the app is inspired by the theme and cards of the game with drawn backgrounds and interesting music (each expansion gives access to a new background and a new music). The board is busy but the different areas are easy to differentiate and see. On the iPhone you will need to tap on cards to be able to read their actions or effects, but on the iPad, especially with a Retina display, all can be seen and read from the main view except the effects of constructs in play.

Verdict
Ascension delivers a quick deck building game experience perfect for portable play. Although the randomness of the center row (cards you can acquire or defeat) might put off some players, I do not think it reduces the importance of skills. In my experience good players will be much better at adapting to the changing cards and will usually beat less skilled players.
The artwork on the cards has his detractors, but I am not one of them: this is for me the most interesting art I have seen on cards.
The iOS implementation is also a winner with different options to play, a good tutorial, a clear board, nice graphics and animation and good music.
There are however three improvements I would like to see: a stronger AI (although for me the challenge is fine as is); a chat for online play; a way to show the location or timezone of people as I have been caught playing with people obviously in opposite time zones leading to half day waits between each turns.
(It actually appears that a stronger AI is (or at least was) in the pipeline and the app does look like it was set-up for 3 levels, the third one not being selectable)

I recommend the game to anyone with an iOS and it is a must buy for anyone interested in deck building owning a Retina display enabled iPad.

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