Category Archives: Reviews

“Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer” Review, Tutorial and Strategy Tips

Ascension

Ascension is, for my money, the best deck building game on the market. I know the Dominion crowd won’t appreciate that statement, but Ascension is a better two player experience than Dominion. I like the Ascension system simply because of limitation of the “Supply” and the (virtually) unlimited amount of basic purchases and Monsters to defeat. There’s also some variety as it applies to strategy. I love that Ascension is available for mobile devices, as well. What card gamer doesn’t like the chance to strategize behind their opponents’ backs? This article is a little tl;dr for some, so if you’re just looking for the app link and not interested in the rest, here ya’ go.

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Podiodrama Review: “Crush Depth” by Jeff Lane

Official cover art for Jeff Lane’s podiodrama, “Crush Depth” [Click to Enlarginate]

Second Trailer for Jeff Lane’s “Crush Depth”

*WARNING* This review may include spoilers from the first two chapters/episodes of “Crush Depth”.

Preface: When I embedded the audio, my blog has it playing a little choppy, for some reason. I point that out because I don’t want you to think its a problem with the audio file itself, just with my blog for streaming. Sorry about that, but I can’t seem to do anything about it. :/ #TechWorldProblems

Jeff Lane is a sci-fi writer who has published two e-books in the past that he has released with companion podiobooks. He is, originally from Maine, but now lives in Connecticut Vermont (My Bad) with his wife and children. He is a regular contributor to StarShipSofa, a sci-fi literary podcast. I’ve been a fan (and friend) of Jeff’s since his first release, “This Paper World”, which I will briefly mention again at the end of this post. He has just released his newest short story, “Crush Depth”, and decided to make it a podiodrama, which is a word I made up on my way home from work the other night. #ImAGoodWordMakerUpper Jeff was kind enough to send me the full story (rather than waiting for a new episode to post every week) so I could write this review!

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iOS App of Note: NASA HD

[Click to Aggrandize] Screen Shot from NASA App HD for iPad

It’s no surprise that I happen to be a turbo dork for space science. I’ve done reviews on other space apps in the past and written articles about Jupiter, Pluto and Kepler-47’s exoplanets. (All of which are linked to at the bottom of this article, in case you’re interested.) That being said, I am constantly on the look out for amazing spacey-wacey type things. Needless to say that, when I found this NASA App for my iPad, the Dorkometer went in the red.

I love learning about space! I like to stay up-to-date on the Curiosity Rover and find out everything that I can about our solar system, especially Jupiter and Pluto. I am the most fascinated with those two worlds! This app is amazing for keeping up on our solar system! #BobakIsMyHomie

The picture to the left shows you the start screen for the app. The main feature is, of course, the Sun and planets (plus our moon, the ISS and one dwarf planet). You can tap on any of these bodies to learn much more about them. It really doesn’t hold back either! It gives you a wealth of knowledge about the body!  This is great for kids that are interested in space, students that are just starting to learn about our solar system or curious adults that (like me) didn’t pay enough attention in the appropriate class when they were younger because they were too busy undressing an attractive person a few rows up with their brain. #DamnableHormones!

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Card Game Review: Ruse

[youtube http://youtu.be/sgGr-3EEED0]

Click Here to Watch the Video on Mobile Devices

The above video is a short intro about the backstory of the game.

Backstory: I attended a gamecon in September in which most of my gaming group also attended. I was in a Magic: the Gathering for a couple of hours, and my gaming group spent some time running around the con checking out new games, as one should do at a game con. They met this couple that were demoing a game that they were creating themselves and played a card game called “Ruse” with them. Later, I got out of the Magic tourney (it wasn’t going well; so I dropped) and was talking to my group who were RAVING about this steampunk whodunnit that they had played, Ruse,  and insisted that I play it. Well, we started playing a different game, more distractions happened and I ended up not playing Ruse. One of my group friended the developers on Facebook and they happened to be from the same small town as us! What are the chances! My group went over to the developers’ house for a game night and I finally played Ruse.

Currently: Ruse was developed by Levi Mote and Sarah Sharp of Bonsai Games (Infinite Power, Kaiju City) and the premise, if you didn’t watch the above video, is that each player is a character in the steampunk city of St. Sabastian. Amid all the steam, pulleys and gears, there has been a murder and the characters are all suspects!

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iOS App of Note: Lost Cities

[Image]: Screen Cap from Lost Cities for iPhone (Click to Enlarge)

 “Lost Cities” is a strategic card game that has existed in the table top format for a while now, but was brought to iOS devices by the Coding Monkeys. Watch the short video above if you want details on how the game is played.

“Lost Cities” is an iPhone app, but you can get it for iPad and just use the 2X option to expand the app to nearly full screen. This does cause the game to pixellate a bit, but since this isn’t a game that’s driven by graphics, it’s hardly noticeable. This game is easy to figure out, simply by reading the tutorial at the beginning and grasping the scoring concept. I am a person that doesn’t do well just by reading the rules, so I prefer to skim them and then jump in. Sure, this model does give you a shitty win/loss percentage at the beginning, but that’s how I learn to play best. Then again, I am used to playing this in a table top setting where win/loss percentages are only tracked by people with Asperger’s.

There is an online play option, but I do not generally play online and, therefore, can’t really speak to the experience. There are a LOT of complaints about the online system in the iTunes Reviews for the game, but those complaints are not really focusing on the app, but on the lack of ability of other online players or just plain whining about how an opponent will take five minutes to make a play. I suppose the developers could build some sort of timer mechanic into the system that requires a person to play in a certain amount of time or they lose their turn, but  it is my opinion that online play should mimic IRL play as closely as possible, in which there is no temporal limits set in the rules, as far as I can recall.

I really like this app! The main reason is due to the ease of play. Play cards to build the biggest score. That being the case, I’ve also found that I can very easily get lost in time while playing “Lost Cities,” something that I don’t get when playing the IRL version of the game. Since it is a card based game, you always end up having to do that pesky shuffling. It’s a great way to pass the time of a boring car ride or, in my case, a slow day at work. You can pick up your iPhone/iPad and start playing and 3 hours will flash by.

It is this gamer’s opinion that this app is a great deal at $3.99 and well worth the money spent.

Download “Lost Cities” for iPhone or iPad

iOS App of the Week: Flipboard

Mobile users (either tablet or phone) are constantly on the look out for new apps to satisfy their needs. As a blogger, my needs include staying informed so I can give the best possible information about a given topic, so I searched long and hard for a news reader that would live up to my (admittedly, very high) expectations. I finally landed on Flipboard.

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