Extra Extra: Updates and E3 Sneak Peaks

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While the digital gnomes that keep this site running are crafting some new reviews, here’s a look at what’s new or upcoming in the world of iPad board and strategy games.

E3 Or Not E3?

While everyone is losing their collective mind over the Final Fantasy 7 remake trailer, a couple of things of note to the members of our rarified community have dribbled out of the E3 pre-release press.

 

Hearthstone, clearly, was the game to beat when it came to mobile in 2014. This means other franchises are gearing up to throw their hands in the digital ring. There was a very pretty trailer released for Elder Scrolls: Legends, which showed lots of dynamic fantasy artwork and said exactly nothing about gameplay. Equally vague was the announcement for Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, about which little is known except that it’s a free to play card game set in the Star Wars universe – and hopefully is much, much better than Star Wars Force Collection.

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The competition, of course, is Magic the Gathering, which has suffered with an iterative series of progressively more frustrating iPad games. Magic’s response to the challenge is Magic Origins, a free-to-play iteration of the game promising the introduction of Planeswalker cards, and “virtually endless AI opponents,” which sounds like they’re probably eschewing the quest system of previous years altogether. There are two things setting this announcement apart. First, the trailer actually shows a teeny bit of gameplay; second, there’s an actual release date – “July,” and while that’s sort of vague, it’s a lot more solid than the “coming soon” the other two sport.

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Hearthstone, for it’s part, was MIA from the big games bash. The big news on this front was released a week or so ago. Taking a page from the League of Legends playbook, where gameplay is free but visual customizations cost cash, you now have the option of forking over $10 of your hard-earned dollars for Magni Bronzebeard. Magni is a new warrior avatar who has different graphics and sounds, and who otherwise doesn’t change the gameplay in any conceivable fashion. Expect more avatars for each class, each at this remarkable price point.

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While everyone was getting their cards on, Bethseda announced Fallout Shelter, its mobile game set in the Fallout universe. Though universal, this app requires a fair amount of precision maneuvering of very small game elements – think FTL and Tiny Towers had a baby – and is only available on the iPad. If this game has legs we’ll post a review of it. Come to think of it, probably even if it doesn’t, cuz those can sometimes be more fun…

Two Updates That Are Here Now

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Our biggest complaint about Card Crawl was the lack of fresh content; once you’d unlocked all the special cards there was nothing more to do. This is a good problem to have, we suppose – if the worst thing you can say about a game is “I want more” they’re doing something right – and it seems the developers were listening. A recent update added content galore, including “daily dungeons” that give everyone the same layout to beat, quests to unlock additional characters, and new special cards to add to your arsenal. Worth a look if you’re a dungeon crawl fan.

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At the other end of the scale is Talisman, easily the most overproduced beer and pretzels game in history. Sticking with the theme of ridiculous overproduction, the game has introduced yet another expansion. Called Sacred Pool, the game gives you more heroes, more adventure cards, new alternate ending cards, and new warlock’s quest cards. If you ever thought Talisman would be fun if there was only a bit more randomness, this update has you covered.

That’s it as we head into the lazy, hazy days of summer. We’ll have more suggestions on how to stay inside and beat the heat with your iPad, so stay tuned!



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