By CHEE YIH YANG
IT no longer surprises us all on how different our daily life pans out now. Tweeting/Facebook-ing, tablet computers, smartphones and virtual communities are essentially what more and more people are talking about, and experiencing, too.
United States-based Internet marketing research company comScore Inc had estimated in November 2011 that 30% of Internet traffic in the US came from tablet computers (http://bit.ly/xm5xMp) – a statistic which is remarkable, since this is supposed to be higher than actual numbers of tablet computers being owned in the country (no total figure on this is available, however).
That’s just one statistic of course, as it’s easy to drive home the point that plenty of people are on social media and latching on to smartphones and tablet PCs pretty quickly too.
Commander Life Counter Tracker
On a purely anecdotal basis, I’m noticing, too. I might still rely on my classic notebook while I’m out playing and running my own weekly Blood Bowl Team Manager card game league, but every other player in my group, and the local game shop, seem to be whipping out a tablet PC, or at the very least, doing something on their smartphone.
This month, I’ll be running through a smattering of cool apps, tools and implements for “traditional” gamers. Also, try to be less judgmental when someone whips out his phone/tablet when they’re dueling you in Magic: The Gathering or indulging in some Catan – he’s probably just keeping score!
I could not do an article on trading card games (TCGs) and boardgame-related apps and software without mentioning the world’s most popular TCG, Magic: the Gathering.
Being the grandaddy of card gaming has its privileges, with the chief one being that tons of apps and software have been created in recent years.
It’s funny that the first official iPhone, iPad and Android app from the game’s manufacturer Wizards Of The Coast was only officially announced in January (http://bit.ly/xdjeRH). Doesn’t matter, though, because the Magic: The Gathering Toolbox is now here (http://bit.ly/xuTIhq)!
Basically a life counter, a deck builder, a card database and a store locator, the Toolbox is a must-have for all Magic fans. Best part is, it’s free! IMHO the ability to track duels and Commander format multiplayer games, and having a handy card database (over 10,000 cards and counting) are reasons alone to install this app.
You can even socialise your deck via Facebook and e-mail, though the former feature could have been a lot smoother in my limited experience with this app.
If you’re looking for a cleaner-looking alternative, do check out the non-licensed, third-party Magic app iMtG (http://bit.ly/kQ8FkS). Besides the staple life counter, card lists and deck sorter, it’s also got card pricing and Facebook-sharing linked as well, which seemed to work better compared to the Toolbox for me.
The only downer is the fact that it does not “look” official, so we’re stuck with generic looking symbols and stylings with this one.
WoW TCG fans will love this
Long-time readers would have noticed my recent switch back to the World Of Warcraft TCG, and yes, there’s a horde of cool apps for this game!
The favourite for WoW TCG fans everywhere is the WoW TCG Heroes app (http://bit.ly/zI6Dou), which is the coolest way to play your hero. Never worry about misplacing that precious Hero card now, and the need to bring a dice, for you can do both from your iPhone (and only iPhone, for now).
Alternatively, there’s also Overkill: WoW TCG (http://bit.ly/xjda6A), which is not only neat-looking, but chock-ful of useful things, such as deck building, card image browing, deck filtering, and on-the-fly card updates.
Personally, I can see why Heroes seem to be the more popular one, as the Hero card aspect is seriously simple yet brilliant at the same time. Overkill has its merits too, and does look a lot more impressive on an iPad, so yeah, I’d actually get both just for the heck of it.
The very notion of boardgames becoming “virtual” and playable solely on your smartphone or tablet computer might run counter to my “purist” instincts (that is, I still feel that real-life, physical boardgames and its ilk are it), but I guess, in times when gamemates are scarce and when quickies are needed, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Here are two recommended websites that don’t just write about, but list and even review classic games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and a favourite of mine, Risk – appadvice.com (http://appadvice.com/applists/show/board-games), and Common Sense Media (http://www.commonsensemedia.org/mobile-app-lists/best-board-game-apps).
If Euro boardgames are more of your thing, check out Apps Mile’s reviews (www.appsmile.com/tag/board-game/), and of course, Boardgamegeek.com’s massive trove of iOS game reviews, previews and news, at its very own web link (www.boardgamegeek.com/blog/164/ios-board-games). The latter is pretty much the final word, especially if you’re looking to play app versions of Catan, Titan and heck, even gamebooks (okay – you’re REALLY old if you remember what these are).
* Chee Yih Yang is waiting for a tablet computer app for Blood Bowl: Team Manager Card Game. Someday, mayhaps! E-mail the esoteric gaming nut at email@example.com if you have comments, questions, hot gaming news and tips, and trading lists and deck ideas, for both Magic and World of Warcraft. Check out his blog at http://blog.rage.com.my/category/cards-and-boards, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/arcturus_mengsk.