|Multiplayer:||Yes, via local, GameCenter, and Internet|
|AI:||Yes, 3 levels|
|Purchase for iPhone:||None available. Buy an iPad now!|
|Purchase for iPad:||
Stalag 17 Game
GD Star RatingStalag 17,
As the American Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we find ourselves listing the things we have to be thankful for. One of them is not being a prisoner in an infamous WWII POW camp. Unless, that is, you’re playing Stalag 17. Ready for the prison break?
S17 is, at heart, a set collection game. You take on the roll of a prisoner in a German camp, charged with busting yourself and 3 of your countrymen out, which for some unclear reason must be done before any of the other players manage the same feat.
Each round of play consists of a Plan, which is a series of icons representing the various items you need to escape – Tools, Food, Maps, Documents, and Uniforms. You’ll also need to amass a certain number Runaway points, which increases with each successful escape attempt.
Each turn you can either play a card, which will draw you a new one from the deck; draw two cards if you have nothing useful; or discard cards to reduce the Surveillance Points you’ll gain if someone else escapes, triggering a Roll Call of all remaining prisoners.
Cards are discarded singly or in batches – either 3 or more of the same icon, or 5 with different icons. There is also a Barracks card that can serve as a wild card in play, and an Information card, which will give you a huge amount of Surveillance points if you’re caught with it but makes discarding cards easier. The only information you have about your opponents is how many cards they’ve played and how many they have in hand, with which you can make educated guesses about how close they are to escape.
Once you have the necessary pieces in play, you can trigger an escape. If you’ve miscounted something, your attempt will fail, and you’ll continue your turn but with two more Surveillance Points to contend with. If you pull it off, all players receive Surveillance Points based on cards in their hand, but the other players reduce this number based on how many un-escaped prisoners they have left. First to help all 3 of their countrymen into the clear wins.
Though the game is relatively simple, the presentation is top notch. The graphics convey all necessary information without relying on printed language, making the game accessible to just about anyone. There’s also a period-appropriate instrumental music track that you’ll disable almost immediately, but it’s a nice touch.
The game’s fully interactive tutorial covers a 4-round game. Only 2 of the rounds are required to play; you can exit out at that point, but if you continue on, the tutorial goes over quite a bit of strategy once the basics are down. The full manual is also accessible from anywhere in the app, and some of the comments on BoardGameGeek suggest that it’s better than the manual that comes with the physical game!
Multiplayer is possible via pass n play, GameCenter, or some other unspecified Internet service – we can’t say much about either, as we were unable to ever find an opponent. Local play also exists against 3 levels of AI. Well, 2 levels of AI really – the first level is so easy we never lost to it, and should be considered training wheels more than an actual opponent.
At $2.99 or less, this app would be an absolute no-brainer. At $7 the market appeal is more limited. The app is perfectly polished and very well implemented, but the game is simple filler, however well it’s presented. The AI isn’t bad but isn’t especially innovative, and online opponents are few and far between. If you’re a fan of the subject matter it’s hard to do better, but we’re not sure how wide a demographic that niche represents.