GourmetGaming, Battle Line and Asynchronous Play across platforms

Battleline, copyright GourmetGaming 2010
Battleline, image copyright GourmetGaming 2010

At the end of my December 2010 review of the Battle Line IOS app, I mentioned in my typical offhand way:

In summary, kudos to Gourmet Gaming for making this thing. It seems to function well, though some folks are complaining about crashes and odd game results. I’d give this one a solid B. Good effort, it replicates the interface nicely. However, the lack of internet play or ladder results knocks you down a grade level

I’m happy to say that the GourmetGaming people seem to have addressed this deficiency. I was alerted to this by a request on my Ipad 2 via the IoS Gaming Center to play Battle Line with with my friend Todd Goff. GourmetGaming, if you don’t recall, are the authors of the Battle Line game app, a very decent port of the Reiner Knizia game of Schotten Totten that was re-themed for GMT boardgame publishers as Battle Line. There’s no need to get into the card play mechanics of the game in this post; I’ve already covered it in earlier material. Suffice to say you are playing yet another Knizia game of cards, colors, sets and sequences, with a pleasant military history theme (in the case of Battle Line– Schotten Totten is about Scotsmen capturing rocks). The app from GourmetGaming was and is fun to play solo, but I found it somewhat easy to beat, and only really playable at the advanced level– so my Battle Line play has tapered off. Todd Goff, however, is NOT easy to beat, being a good player with a good mind for strategy, so I was somewhat intrigued by this development.

GourmetGaming has been working on a form of server based asynchronous play across platforms for a while now. They have set up a game server that integrates their games (as of this writing, Battle Line and Lines of Gold by Knizia, on deck they have something called Reels and Deals from Agman games and two more Knizia games, Ra (a game I’m trying to love as much as everyone else does, but find it kind of tedious) and Lost Cities (a fantastic two player math-based game). From what I’m reading on the GG site, they will be charging a fee for the server service, to be spent as gaming credits.

From the website: “All of the titles on the Gourmet Gaming platform are available to play for a one time cost. Games that are in Beta are available to play for free, and new users may play any games for an introductory period of one week after they first join. Credits cost $1 (USD) for 100 GourmetGaming Credits or GG’s, known also by this symbol : GourmetGaming Credits Buying a game on GourmetGaming provides the owner with a digital copy of that game, which that user may then play as many times as they wish on GourmetGaming for as long as we are able to host the game. GourmetGaming Credits will also be used for entry to tournaments and special events. To get more GG’s, launch the game software by clicking Play Now, and browse to a game you do not own, and click “Get more GG’s”.”

I’m not sure how this plays out for people who already own Battle Line, such as myself (and Todd Goff), but I’ll amend this post after I find out.  The price is pretty negligible in my opinion.

Setting up a game is pretty simple.

Screen 1
Setting up a game: inviting Todd to play
Screen 2: Hitting PLAY
Screen 2: Hitting PLAY NOW

(this will launch the game on your IOS device)

Screen 3: Status 1
Screen 3: Status 1
Screen 4: Status 2 (detailed look)
Screen 4: Status 2 (detailed look)

I’ve already started two asynchronous BATTLE LINE games with JWHITE and BOARDGAMER07 (Todd). With the remote play options enabled, the player places the card, touches the screen, and the turn appears to be ready to synch with the remote player, Play by Email style. I have high hopes for this method, and I home that the IOS Game center adapts it as a standard, along with the ability to log plays of games registered at BoardGameGeek via the Game Center interface. Outstanding effort, Gourmet Gaming, your grade got raised to an A through all that extra credit work you’ve been doing after school. I look forward to trying out the true cross-platform element of GourmetGaming’s promises. Imagine being able to play the same game on either a PC, an IOS platform or an Android platform.

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