board games

The famous German board game, The Settlers of Catan, has landed on Windows 8 for your strategy solving pleasure.  The game itself revolves around settlers building colony communities on the mythical island of Catan. The goal of the game itself is to reach ten victory points – scored by players for each settlement they own along with other various achievements.

The Windows 8 version of the game, which became available a few days ago, is stated to deliver the “legendary” game experience along with new “detailed graphics [to] take you to an utterly realistic Catan”. The game even allows users to choose between a 3D gaming experience and a classic 2D board game layout.

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Toilet People is a board game available for both Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices. The game has 3D graphics and supports up to four players in pass/play fashion. If you're short on human players, computer opponents will help fill the gap.

Toilet People isn't a bad game for your Windows Phone with a simple objective, make it from the starting point to the finish first. However, there are enough twists and challenges in between those two points to make the game interesting.

Toilet People has nice graphics, game play interesting, and while the Windows Phone game may not appeal to everyone, there is a trial version available to give the game a try before committing to the purchase.

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Scoundrels is a turn based board game for your Windows Phone with a slight role playing game feel to it. You compete against other players to discover treasure before they do.

Along the way you have monsters to deal with and traps to avoid as well as your opponent. Scoundrels is more of a tactical/strategy game than an action game so don't expect a lot of fast paced game play. Scoundrels isn't without appeal but may be more of an acquired taste when it comes to Windows Phone games.

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This week we take an in-depth look at Monopoly Millionaire from Nokia and Electronic Arts. Millionaire enjoys the distinction of being the first Nokia-published Xbox game to require Windows Phone 8 (Mass Effect: Inflitrator is the second). It also requires 1 GB of RAM for some reason, which stinks for a less than hardware intensive game. But people with the hardware that can run Millionaire will find a pretty impressive take on the ancient game of Monopoly.

Playing it honors our ancestors or something!

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Babaroga’s Zombies!!! was an early Xbox Windows Phone exclusive that  still commands a loyal following from board game fans. I fondly remember buying it about a month before joining the Windows Phone Central staff, and subsequently advocating for an update to make one of the Achievements more easily attainable.

Jump ahead to the present, the Xbox Windows 8 and RT version of Zombies!!! has finally gone live. We previously covered some of the new version’s features and improvements, and now PC and tablet gamers can experience the enhanced game for themselves. To get everyone in a zombie killing mood, we present this interview with Andreja Djokovic, the CEO and founder of Babaroga.

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While some of us face the possibility that there might not be a new Xbox Windows Phone game release this week, Nokia owners should have no such complaints. Not only did Nokia and PopCap/EA just publish the vastly improved sequel Bejeweled Live+, two more Nokia Xbox exclusives just popped up! From the license lovers at Electronic Arts comes the board game adaptation Yahtzee, while PopCap has blessed Windows Phone at last with their fast-paced puzzler Zuma’s Revenge.

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We’re hard at work on our Skulls of the Shogun review, but it’s a long game and also features an extensive multiplayer component. As such, we’ll hold our judgment of that title until next week. In the meantime, let’s look at one of those formerly Nokia exclusive Xbox games that half of us loved to love while the other half loved to grumble about:  Risk.

The Nokia-Electronic Arts partnership has produced games in a variety of genres so far. The mostly highly represented game type is actually board games, with The Game of Life, Connect 4, Trivial Pursuit, and Risk among its numbers. Risk recently gained Windows Phone 8 compatibility, making it a prime target for review. It’s also one of the stronger board game adaptations to appear on Microsoft’s mobile platform.

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Mills Free is a neat puzzle game for your Windows Phone that is simple to pick up, but a challenge to master. The game of Mills, also known as Nine Men's Morris, is one of the oldest strategy board games around. The game even landed a spot in the popular Xbox 360 title Assassin's Creed III as a mini-game.

As far as the Windows Phone version is concerned, Mills Free offers you three levels of difficulty and if you only have time to play for a few minutes, your game in progress will be saved for when you have time to pick things up again.

Mills Free is a challenging puzzle game for your Windows Phone and a nice addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.

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Just over a year ago, Nokia and Electronic Arts announced an agreement to publish over 20 EA games exclusively for Nokia Lumia Windows Phones. Shortly thereafter, they revealed the full list of planned titles. The list contained some compelling brands like Dead Space, Madden, and FIFA. It also included more casual and less exciting titles such as The Game of Life and Connect 4.

We didn’t know whether they would all be Xbox-branded titles or not, but as it turns out, each game released so far has indeed been Xbox Live-enabled. I’d have loved to review The Game of Life and Connect 4 together, but the latter unfortunately doesn’t work on Windows Phone 8 right now and I won’t have a WP7 Lumia phone. So let’s look at LIFE (as I’ll shorten it) on its own merits.

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Alright, so a bad or ill-conceived game is still not good, no matter the price. But as last week’s sale on UNO proves, a lower price certainly makes the pill less bitter to swallow. Owners of Nokia Lumia phones just gained another low cost Xbox game to choose from, because the Nokia exclusive Connect 4 has dropped from $2.99 to the more palatable 99 cent price point.

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Carcassonne: Xbox Windows Phone Review

People living outside of France can probably be forgiven for a lack of familiarity with the real-life town of Carcassonne and its historical significance. According to my best friend Wikipedia, the town was fortified by walls and was strategic significant from about 100 BC to 1659. Fast-forward to the year 2000 and a German board game designer named Klaus-Jürgen Wrede created a game about building medieval cities and kingdoms by the same name. The single console adaptation of Carcassonne to date has been the XBLA version, which came along in 2007 from Sierra Online. German developer Exozet Games created their own version for Android and Blackberry in 2011, which they’ve now adapted to Windows Phone.

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Adding to the release of FourSquare, Nokia and EA Games has released the Xbox Windows Phone game Risk and Connect 4 to the Lumia line of Windows Phones. Both can easily be considered classic board games and the Windows Phone version represents the originals very well.

The game of Risk is one of global domination where you battle your opponents from country to country. The Windows Phone version allows for you to battle with up to five opponents or computer adversaries. Risk has Xbox Live achievements and leaderboards.

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Way back in February, Microsoft announced a handful of Xbox Windows Phone games. Only two of those games have yet to be released: Pinball FX2 and Carcassonne. The Windows Phone version of Pinball FX2 still needs more development time, but the good news is Carcassonne has gone gold at last. It even has an official release date: Wednesday, October 24.

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Battleship: Xbox Windows Phone Review

When Windows Phone launched way back in 2010, Electronic Arts released a competent version of board-game classic Monopoly as an Xbox Live title. Board games are naturally better when played with friends though, and that port of Monopoly sadly lacks online multiplayer and costs a lofty $4.99 for some reason. Nearly two years later, EA is back with another licensed board game: Battleship. With online multiplayer, two new game modes, and a lower price, Battleship certainly seems poised to one-up its predecessor. Sadly, a number of issues threaten to torpedo the game’s fun factor.

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When Windows Phone Central first wrote about Electronic Arts’ Battleship coming to Windows Phone, we were concerned that it might be a timed exclusive for Nokia phones. Thankfully that has proven not to be the case, as Battleship launches Wednesday, June 6 for all Mango-supported devices. Phew!

Battleship has little to do with the corny movie of the same name. Instead, it’s an adaptation of the popular board game from Milton Bradley. In the Classic game type, two sides take turns blindly firing at each other, trying to find and destroy the other’s ships. Salvo mode works much like classic, but moves faster than traditional games because you’re allowed to fire as many shots per turn as you have remaining ships.

The videogame-exclusive Superweapon mode adds a variety of new weapons to the gameplay. These weapons unlock based on ships sunk across all game modes, tying the whole package together. We’re pleased to bring you the first official screenshots of Superweapon mode... As you can see, it also jazzes battles up with 3D graphics. Don't worry, Classic still looks like the game you remember.

Battleship comes to port this Wednesday. Microsoft was unable to confirm the price in advance, but we’ll let you know as soon as it pops up.

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Windows Phone Game Review: Touch War

Remember the board game Risk? If so, you've got a pretty good idea of what the Windows Phone game Touch War is all about. Touch War is a strategy game where you try to march your Orange Army across the globe in an attempt to achieve global domination.

Touch War has three game levels and if you like the game of Risk, you'll like this Windows Phone game.

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Flee - Review

Atabow is offering the Windows Phone game Flee over at the Marketplace. Flee reminds me a lot of the old board game Sorry and you can test your skills against the computer or an online community.

Simple, yet effective, graphics combined with an enjoyable gaming concept makes Flee a game worth trying. To find out more on this Windows Phone game, make the jump past the break.

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Praetor - App Spotlight

In the spirit of classic role playing board games, Random Software Games is offering the Windows Phone 7 game Praetor.  Praetor is a RPG board game that relies more on strategy than flashy graphics (not that flashy graphics are a bad thing).

The storyline goes that you, a member of the Roman Army, are shipwrecked on an island far from the heart of the Roman Empire. You command what remains of your troops to explore the island and conquer what you can. 

Characters and equipment in this turn based game are represented by a colored disc (with appropriate symbol).  Praetor allows for character name customization (default name is Scipio) as well as character paths (warrior, sorcerer, etc). You also have a choice of what color/style game piece you'll be using. The game is well narrated and has a rather appealing, nostalgic look to it. All that is missing is a a pair of die.

When you first start playing Praetor, a tutorial will guide you through the first few moves. As you progress through the game you will earn more strength and skills that will help you conquer the land. Game play is decently paced and full of challenges. You get to battle wild boars, war hounds, and other vicious creatures.

If you like strategy, role-playing board games Praetor is worth looking into. There is a free trail version available and the full version runs $.99. Both can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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