As you no doubt already know if you’re read this blog much, but I’ll restate anyway, I’m a bit of a tablet nut. Especially a “wargames should be done for the tablet” nut. I’ve posted about it enough, and for a large part, this idea has come to pass, with the releases from Shenandoah Studios, John Tiller game ports, and several onesie and twosie companies releasing indie projects in the wargaming realm. Sadly the one player that should be invested in this technology but really isn’t is GMT GAMES. There are many, many game designs published by GMT that would make excellent tablet games. anything card driven and with area movement might be a good candidate (some more than others). The Command and Colors block games are a natural. The American Revolutionary War battles series. Field of Fire, even. The big kahuna, however, was always going to be the highest scoring (On BGG) game published by GMT ever, Twilight Struggle. Until recently, GMT remained committed to a PC only Game conversion of Twilight Struggle. This project was recently cancelled and an announcement that GMT was seeking out tablet programmers to convert it to an IoS version was released. GMT remains committed to tablet conversions of board games, as they have been saying since 2011 and earlier. The one and only release from GMT for the IPad, the Dominant Species app, I purchased with some enthusiasm… which dried up immediately after going through the tutorial and trying to play just one game. Granted, I have NO experience with the board game of Dominant Species, but it is rated somewhat highly on Boardgamegeek, there had to be some “there”, there, right? Plus, I have a lot of experience with games and Ipad ports of board games, and have been around the block a little, so what’s not to like? In a word, plenty. I thought the Dominant Species app was wretched. The tutorial did not engage me, graphics are dull, and game flow is confusing. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there was no sense of narrative in the game app for me. That’s just me, though, there are people out there who seem to like the app just fine and if you like Dominant Species (the board game) you will probably like the app.
Dominant Species App Menu
I swear; I’m not going to give up on this thing. I spent my five bucks and I want a game out of it. So I’ll keep giving it a try. Sometimes a game has to win me over; I know that Puerto Rico for the Ipad did after a few tries; I still have high hopes for Agricola and Caylus for the Ipad as well. The sad fact is I don’t often grock why some games are so danged popular and rated so highly on BGG. I think it’s a problem of opportunity. The games just mentioned, Agricola, Caylus and Puerto Rico, looked pretty dull as a subject for a game when I see them set up to play, yet they have their strong adherents. I respect that. People don’t have to like what I like, either. I just need a while to cozy up to the concept of planting crops and building buildings as being “fun”.. it took the games of Stone Age, San Juan, and to a lesser extent Kingdom Builder to get me to come round about the subject.
Dominant Species Tutorial in action…
GMT, though, they are a natural for me, being kind of wargame-y, kind of historical, kind of a lover of so-called “Ameritrash” as I am. They publish one of the top games on BGG for a couple years, Twilight Struggle (a great game). They have spoken openly about porting specific titles (many of whom are terrific, some of whom are just okay) to a digital format. Their decision to port Twilight Struggle to a PC game puzzled me, as I don’t see the PC being the platform of choice for boardgame conversions any more. Still, I would have bought it.. I don’t buy everything GMT puts out, but they can’t say I haven’t been a loyal customer over the years.
The recent statement cancelling Twilight Struggle for the PC was illuminating. They appear to not be satisfied with progress or the current version of the PC game. Their statement (read here) indicates that there will be, eventually, a tablet version of Twilight Struggle. I have to give them a cautious holllahh! for this decision. If they have been trying to produce something for two years and it still isn’t up to their standards, it’s time to fish or cut bait. Frankly the tablet idea is a better one. The tablet market (and note, I’m not saying “Just Ipads”, I’m saying tablet.. inclusive of Androids) really is taking off for board game ports. I’m not going to say anything hokey about ‘the future of board gaming” here, as it isn’t.. not really. But it is growing, that much is clear. So, good decision, GMT!! You would have had my coin either way you went with this, but I’m hoping to see a renewed investment in tablet style games from you now.
With all that fustion being delivered in grand old style, where is my Command and Colors on the Ipad?