For the Win, an App by Tasty Minstrel Games. Reviewed

Price: $0.99 as of this writing
Version: 1.1
Size: 36.0 MB
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games, LLC

Up front disclaimers: I’ve never played the board game FOR THE WIN and had no experience with it, nor do I have any prior relationship with Tasty Minstrel Games (that’s for Brad).

FOR THE WIN is a game of tile placement were the tiles have powers to affect game play. There are five tile types– Monkeys, Zombies, Pirates, Aliens, and Ninjas. Victory is gained by connecting five (or more) tiles, including at least one of each type together, sides OR corners. The game has a unique twist in that the special powers of the tiles affect the tile location on the board, which can lead to surprises and turnarounds.

Alien – tractor beam pulls any tile adjacent to it.
Monkey – flips all tiles over that are adjacent to it.
Ninja – can move from current place to any spot on the grid
Pirate – moves pieces to any unoccupied space on the grid
Zombie – infects any adjacent tile. The infected tile is removed from the grid and replaced with a Zombie tile that has not yet been added to the grid.

I like the game design a lot.. it’s simple to play and learn but has many interesting quirks. The grid movement and piece properties gives it an abstract flavor like Chess, building the line formation reminds me a little of Reversi.

The app recently released by Tasty Minstrel Games is very well done. The interface is bright and cheerful looking and the buttons large and easy to figure out.

Title Screen.  Just to give you an idea of the bright and easy to see color scheme.  The graphic artist used bright red and yellow palates, which I heartily approve of.

FTW also has a very good tutorial that explains the game clearly and a rulebook in addition to that.  I have seen the tutorial criticized on BGG and I disagree with that user’s conclusions.  I would have preferred to have had the game take me through a sample play but I had zero problem following how to play with the information provided– the game isn’t that hard to pick up, really.  There is also contextual help, which is an unusual feature in ANY IOS game.

Tile placement is handled pretty easily via the interface. The game will indicate a legal or illegal move which helps when you are learning how to place the tiles.

I have played several games so far (all against the AI, sadly, there is no network play option). The game interface perfectly executes the game design on an IOS device. I was pretty happy with the effort made on user interface design. It showed that the folks at Tasty Minstrel Games understand the nuances of IOS interface very well.

The AI opponents I played were not bad at all.   I’m not another Clausewitz, but I’m also not a dope, and they routinely kick my butt. As the game can only be played hotseat or versus AIs, you will appreciate the AI Strong setting, it can put up a fight.   For variety, change out the game personality settings.

The AI doesn’t use the special powers as often as a Human player might, but it can still mess up the strategy of the FTW game.

As a player, I was delighted with this game at .99 cents a pop. It’s a real steal of a price and that’s a lot of game for a pittance. I felt the lack of network play keenly, however. It’s as if something crucial has been left undone, and it’s a shame. I think network play really should be considered a minimal requirement from now on, no matter how hard it is to program.

Summary: I’m going to give this one a 4 out of 5. It’s a tightly designed implementation that perfectly realizes the design and intent of the parent game. My big disappointment was with the lack of network play, but let’s hope Tasty Minstrel’s programmers add that in in a later patch. Recommended.