Discussion in 'PC/Console Game Discussion' started by BobJustBob, Jan 6, 2012.
He calls it the most important iOS game ever... and it's not for sale here.
Has it actually been officially released to the App Store? Not showing up for me.
I just got an email that says that it should be in the store now. They are working on sending out copies to backers, but since the App Store forces them to do that manually, one at a time, it may take a while. US backers get theirs first, because we are awesome. Danes get it maybe not at all, because they are probably too busy wearing black and pretending to be crazy and moping about their dead fathers.
It's been three years and I stopped moping.
... or alternately: What the hell are you talking about?
I'd be all over Battle Of The Bulge if I wasn't waiting for my key from Kickstarting it. I really wish Apple would support preorders and don't understand why they seemingly don't give a care.
Ah, I did think you were a bit too classy for a joke about my dead father. I know Hamlet is supposed to be Danish... but I really don't think about that unless reminded. I do however mostly wear black.
but you're right, it's out and I bought the game. Don't have time to play it, though.
I'm pretty classless, but not that classless! Hamlet is, like, the most famous Dane ever! Aside from the one that is a dog breed.
Yeah, it's kind of insane. They have to buy copies at full price when they gift them, too, and then wait for Apple to reimburse them. It makes it basically impossible to give iOS games to backers at discount prices.
Edit: CODE ACQUIRED.
Hey dudes - the base Ascension game is currently free (US link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ascension-chronicle-godslayer/id441838733?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo=4). You should probably get it.
Got my code for Bulge and just went through the tutorial. This thing is gorgeous and has a great historical background section (though the Equipment section seems buggy). Time to dive in...
Ugh, time to upgrade to iOS5 so I can get it...
Yeah, I played the tutorial, and it looks very promising. Love the UI and the general production values. It's the sort of game that feels right at home on the iPad.
So I played the intro three-day scenario as both sides in Bulge. As the Germans you have three days to get a unit to the Meuse, and if it can trace a supply line to the eastern edge of the map at the end of the third day you win. Alternatively, you can take Bastogne for a draw. As the Allies, you must prevent these things.
The Germans have their work cut out for them. You can only activate a unit once per day, so each unit has just three moves to get through the defenses and to the opposite side of the map. Worse, since this uses a map with large areas instead of hexes any unit that does manage to punch through exposes its supply line to the massive Allied reinforcements that appear. Worse than that, the core conceit of the game is a capricious random time system where each of your turns (i.e. activations) consumes a random chunk of the day, ranging for no time at all (which is weird) to three hours (holy Scheiß!). Roll wrong on that table as the Germans and you won't have time to get any of your equipment into position. I lost miserably when playing that side. I guess you need to pray and also try to capture Allies reinforcement points to delay those bastards (even though some of them drop in ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MEUSE, so good luck stopping them).
Playing as the Allies was a breeze. Most of your infantry is tied up so you can't move them, so all that's left is pulling an armored unit back to Bastogne and waiting for the cavalry, which comes directly. Stay away from fights and bunch units so German armor spearheads can't destroy all of them and get a breakthrough move. Then near the end spread out behind them and choke off their supply and they're done. The Geman AI massed forces around Bastogne but never concentrated them for a decisive attack (and never attacked it at all). Then on the last day it did the most boneheaded thing I've ever seen and passed on its second activation. If both players pass the day ends immediately, so I did that and immediately won. There was no way he could have gotten a unit to the Meuse for a victory, but he sure as hell could have tried for Bastogne. Nuts...
I'm reserving judgment but based on all this I'm not liking what I'm seeing so far. The random time element is just arbitrary screwage/advantage that makes things seem unfair no matter how it plays out. The AI is also not promising. We shall soon find out.
See, I view the random time element as being key to the tension in the game: you know you won't be able to move all of your forces, so every move counts. There's also a lower and upper bound, so you're never royally screwed; you'll always be able to engage in some activity, you just might run out of daylight, so there is a delicious tradeoff between "Soften up this unit that's in the way of your armor" vs "Roll the dice and try to breakthrough for speed without doing that". After several playthroughs as the Germans, what I found was that taking Bastogne was quite doable if you move fast, but reaching the Meuse is extremely difficult. Which seems to me about how one would want things to be.
I have had trouble figuring out the "bonus armor move" mechanic. A few times now I thought I "should" have gotten the bonus move but didn't. It makes me wonder if I'm missing a UI element somewhere...?
Have you reached the Meuse yet? With supply intact? (Not claiming it's impossible, I'm just curious.)
Axis armor doesn't get a breakthrough move on certain days (the first, I think, because of the traffic snarls. They also have reduced movement the first day).
I'm still not getting the squee-inducing love this game seems to be producing. Everything is abstracted to an absurd degree where it never feels like I'm doing much of anything, and the strategies so far seem pretty straightforward (and limited mainly by the random clock). Yes, it looks nice and the interface is great, but if that stuff isn't serving a compelling game I honestly don't care. I've had far more fun and interesting decision-making from Phantom Leader and Battle Academy.
EDIT: I also want to point out that in the intro scenario as the Germans a lot of your forces are window dressing. Many are too far back to contribute to the offensive and/or must remain static to tie up enemy units. So even with the clock mechanism you're likely going to be able to move everything you want to move. Whether you can get that stuff where it needs to be on time is largely up to the clock table treating you kindly. You simply have to have enough time to get units up to maintain supply for your spearheads or you're screwed through no fault of your own.
I keep hoping there's more to this system than I'm seeing right now, but my iPad ran out of juice so I won't be able to try the big scenario until tomorrow.
[quote="Baker, post: 375776, member: 717"
I'm still not getting the squee-inducing love this game seems to be producing. Everything is abstracted to an absurd degree where it never feels like I'm doing much of anything, and the strategies so far seem pretty straightforward (and limited mainly by the random clock). Yes, it looks nice and the interface is great, but if that stuff isn't serving a compelling game I honestly don't care. I've had far more fun and interesting decision-making from Phantom Leader and Battle Academy.[/quote]
Chris Farrell of BGG seemed to have similar thoughts to yours, Baker. I'd be interested in what Troy thought of it.
Well, I have about three full games in, and am giving Stone Age a big thumbs up. The UI is great, the art and music are great, and the AI is quite canny on settings higher than "Herder." It does a good job at looking for immediate opportunities, but also at pursuing a long-term strategies and playing blocking moves. I just lost to a Warrior-level opponent (in a three-player game) that beat my "technology and farming" strategy with a "tools and specialists" approach, final score 182 to 175. The other guy was a Herder-level AI, and was down in the 130s.
The game has asynch as well, but I'm not sure that I'd ever want to use it. The round-robin worker placement mechanic would likely make asynch games nightmarish; you'd have to hand off the game ten or fifteen times just to get through a single turn. But no worries, because the solo play is really solid.
I agree with everything you've written.
The game looks gorgeous and uses the iPad to the fullest, it just doesn't seem like a terribly engaging game. Everything is abstracted down so you only have three kinds of units in th game and only one of those behaves slightly different than the others (tanks). The rest is just abstracted down to bonuses and drawbacks.
There's more strategic decisions to be made in the full battle, and some rounds add small effects that change gameplay somewhat, but I am finding it kinda dull. But at $10 I'm not feeling cheated either.
I just finished a full game of Bulge, playing as the Americans. Maybe it's too soon to tell, but there seems to be no way to lose this as the Americans against the AI. It's simply too easy to hunker down on the defensive and then strangle the supply of any Germans that manage to break through. You get a ton of strong reinforcements where and when you need them, and if you can make it until the 22nd without a fiasco the gods just rain good fortune down on you.
It doesn't help that the AI can't seem to resist putting its SS armor way out front. That unit alone is worth seven VP, and I just waited until it was out of supply and couldn't fight back before kicking the snot out of it. You'd think they would have programmed it as a deterrent/hammer blow to be unleashed at a critical moment instead of pissing it away as a scout unit.
I'll need to play it more to see if it's really this unbalanced, but I don't know if I even want to. There's just not a whole lot of game here, and the big chunky areas on a tight map (coupled with relatively low unit density) don't seem to allow for a variety of strategies. So far it seems rote to the point of feeling a bit scripted, like it's more of a history lesson than a game. I've had a bit of fun punching through with armor and using the breakthrough move to get myself into a great position for the next round, but doing stuff like this as the Americans feels like beating up on a little kid instead of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
I checked his blog and scanned BGG but missed his comments. Do you have a link handy? I'm always curious about Farrell's take on things.
Sorry, I know he just made a recent post in his blog, but it's probably too early for him to post formally about BotB. He and I are FB friends and I get updates from him that way.
I'm sure this goes without saying given the tone of my review the other day but I'm really enjoying Battle of the Bulge.
Maybe you guys are way smarter than me, but I've been taken for a ride by the Axis AI more than once - especially Sepp Dietrich on the longer Battle of the Bulge campaign. I've also found that - especially with the longer scenario - it never plays out the same way twice for me. I've also got a ton of multiplayer games on the go that are really fun so far.
Admittedly, it doesn't have the depth of, say, Decisive Campaigns - but I wasn't expecting that.
All HalfBrick Studios games are free for one day only. This is the first time Fruit Ninja has ever been free, so get in that shit if you somehow don't have that classic. Also apparently a duel stick shooter called Age of Zombies starring Barry from Jetpack Joyride, so that's awesome!
I don't have an iPad but I downloaded the free version of Fruit Ninja for it, anyway.
Does this mean I have a problem? I think it may.
Ticket to Ride for iPad is the cheapest it's ever been at $1.99.
And the first episode of Walking Dead for iOS is now free.
I am not downloading the free Walking Dead episode. I have my limits.
(I'll probably grab it later.)
I've spent a lot more time with Battle of the Bulge, and after deciding there was just no way to lose against the AI no matter what side you play Von Rundstedt schooled me two campaign games in a row (he's one of the German AI styles that builds up before attacking instead of going crazy). In both games he wiped out three of my units during his initial sneak attack, then punched through just north of Bastogne before sweeping north to get across the Meuse. Unlike other times I've tried this scenario he also did a great job of guarding his supply line so the spearhead couldn't be choked off. I simply didn't have time to get the reinforcements I needed to deal with his units or his supply line.
One other thing both games had in common was that the dice gods pissed all over me. I constantly lost at least twice as many pips in combat as he did. There was one particularly galling turn in my last game where two Panzer units completely wiped out my full strength 82nd and 101st Airborne units, and my boys were defending!
The AI still makes a lot of stupid moves and often splits up its forces instead of concentrating them for a big haymaker. It often attacks strong defenders with a single weak unit, sacrificing it for no apparent reason. It's like Hitler shows up to interfere or something. That said, I'm warming up to the game and no longer have concerns about the random time element, which I now consider to be a neat mechanism that adds a bit of randomness without destroying game balance. It's also great to look at the map and have those "a-ha" moments where you realize you can swing a unit into a particularly advantageous position, as well as "oh shit" moments where you realize your last brilliant move has created a weak spot in your line right next to some unactivated enemies. Plus, on rarer occasions, those, "no, no--whatever you do, don't go there" moments where you see a spot that would give the AI an advantage and then watch him slip some powerful units into it.
So far I've gotten my $10 worth out of it, and I've barely scratched multiplayer yet. I'm glad I gave it more of a chance, and knew that Butterfield wouldn't let me down as badly as I thought he did when I first started playing.
D-Day Dice magically materialized in the App Store for $4. I don't like the cardboard version because it's a pain to set up, so maybe this will work better. Or maybe it will be just as boring and capricious.
So the WWII themed Elder Sign no one asked for?
For me, the game is just WW2 yahtzee, which is boring. No app automation will help.
I took one for the team this time: DO NOT BUY D-DAY DICE. I've never seen an uglier app. Low res assets (some of them squished in odd ways), coupled with an obtuse interface that offers no cheat sheet during rolls. But hey, you can open the menu and hit the Rules button that kicks you out of the game and into Safari where it can download a 6.4MB PDF from a server that is connected to the Internet via a piece of string. And then you can go back in and suffer through the worst dice rolling engine ever assembled, and watch in awe as myriad bugs drag this piece of crap farther down the sewer pipe.
I didn't think my respect for Valley Games could go lower, but they always find a way. The only upside to this waste of money is that it will be fun to savage in a review.
In presumably better news, the free SolForge preview is out:
And a surprise release of Collapsible D: The Last Minutes Of The Titanic (a.k.a. the Worst-Named Board Game Of 2012). I'm not buying this one till I see some reviews, but the shots look purty:
Penny Arcade: Gamers vs Evil hits the stores tonight. Surprising to see Playdek doing two in a row. Hopefully PA is more Ascension and less Can't Stop as far as quality goes.
SolForge looks pretty slick.
It does. But from memory of the Kickstarter this will be a Collectible card game. So I don't want to get too excited until I know how new cards are earned. The words "Booster Packs" send me running.
Hmm. I did not realize that. I swore off collectible card games a number of years ago, so if it is indeed that sort of game, then I'll probably pass. If it's more like a living card game, where you can buy specific collections or specific cards,, then I may still be interested.
Yeah, SolForge is a collaboration with the Magic: The Gathering designer, Richard Garfield... and that makes me wary of how they intend to make money.
Ditto. I wish I had game playing friends because I would be all over some Fantasy Flight LCGs. I can get behind that method of sucking money from my wallet, whereas I am done with the Boxes o' Boosters method.
Get the LotR one. It's a great solo game.
Separate names with a comma.