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Tech Savvy: It's all fun and games

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Oldies but goodies, transformed

By JESSI PIERCE

Admittedly I am a kid at heart. I received Candy Land for Christmas this past year and am always up for a rousing game of Chutes and Ladders with my nephews. It’s games like those that bring back a nostalgic feel of a simpler time and I must say that classic board games are among my favorite.

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But surely as the world and times change, we’ve seen board games transformed from their regular sized versions, to mini versions perfect for the long road trip to the cabin or grandma and grandpa’s house and up until recently even made into computer and video games. Of course smartphones have taken over in most facets of our social life and this wouldn’t be a Tech Savvy column without mentioning some of my very favorite “old-fashioned” games turned into apps. I will make note that all of these games I mention below are available on iPhone, iPad and Android systems.

• Monopoly: I’ll admit, Monopoly wasn’t always my utmost favorite. At a young age when patience isn’t really a characteristic for many, it’s a board game that requires a lot of time to actually finish. The app version — available for .99 cents on both the iPhone, iPad and Android — makes the game much quicker. All of the same elements that made Monopoly great are there, including the same iconic game pieces (I’m partial to the thimble) and properties to own. One element that is different is that when a player decides to not purchase a property or doesn’t have the funds to do so, that property then goes up for auction, with the highest bidder winning. There are pros and cons to that, pro being someone can get the coveted Park Place for a lower price if their opponents don’t have the cash to deal out, but it also loses some of the original game in its place.

Another thing to make mention of is that on my iPhone, the graphics for the game are superb. Very vibrant colors and a great view of the game, I highly recommend it to all looking to monopolize on a great deal.

• Yahtzee: Who doesn’t love to play this classic dice game. Just hoping that you get the chance to yell YAHTZEE! or are able to get that large straight, it’s just all around fun. The app version has the classic mode but also introduces some very unique challenges in what is called “Yahtzee Adventure.” The adventure beings with the player competing against various characters each with their own twist on the typical Yahtzee. One character uses multicolored dice to bring a new type of large straight, while another has the ability to mirror the dice you roll. All in all there are four different characters a player must pass to complete the adventure. It’s definitely a different way to play and a great way to mix it up from the classic version, but if you want to stick to what you know, the original version is available with the app, too. Cost: .99 cents.

• Trivial Pursuit: There’s nothing better to pass the time than with a quick game of trivia. This is the ultimate classic game app because they kept it completely traditional. The pieces, board and levels are the same as offered with the board version and can keep players entertained for hours — or minutes depending on how quickly all the pie pieces are collected. The options for single player do differ a bit from the original (because who played this game alone to begin with), giving different levels in what is called the “pursuit” version. The same rules still apply in achieving and answering all the trivia questions to advance on. I am currently stumped on level 4, but all in all still have a great time playing. Cost: .99 cents.

• UNO: It’s family tradition to play UNO during the holidays, getting a bit heated at times at family competition goes, but it really is a game made for everyone. I downloaded the free version, which is great for a quick solo game or with one other player. The paid version includes many other features, similar to Yahtzee, with different ways to play. Cost: Free or .99 cents paid version.

• Boggle: I had to include this game, because it is among one of my most favorite word games there are out there. The app elements that loud crashing sound of the letter-cubes inside of the container, which is great and still allows for flipping the board to see all the words you possibly can. It also unlocks achievement trophies for most words found, longest letter and is great playing single player, too. It’s most recent update added different versions of the game, adding more thrill than just simply being timed by finding specific words in an allotted time in a spin on the race against the clock. Cost: .99 cents.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or jessi.pierce@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jessi_pierce (@jessi_pierce).

New time, New games

By PHIL SEIBEL

Now that the “dog days of summer” are here, sometimes you need something to pass the time. Jessi’s covering some of the great oldies but goldies revamped and I thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of the newer games, other than Angry Birds.

Don’t get me wrong, Angry Birds was great. It was a lot of fun and it provided me with hours of pointless, bird-flinging fun but eventually even crushing pigs with flying avian missiles becomes old hat.

So what’s left?

I’ve always had a tough time finding time to devote to extended gaming. I just don’t have enough time, and my goldfish-esque memory does a wonderful job of helping me forget what I was trying to complete from the last time I played. This means that simple, fun, creative games that I can pick up and play for five to fifteen minutes at a time and not have to worry about remembering a starting point are ideal.

Some of my favorites I’ve found have been games that I enjoyed playing online on my PC. Most notably, I am addicted to Bejeweled Blitz (iPad, Free). It’s 60 seconds of frantic scrambling to get the highest score on your board. It is modeled after the popular Facebook app game, and to use it on the iPad’s touch screen is a lot of fun. The best part is that I can play a game or two and then put it away (yeah right) for later.

• Crush the Castle: I’m also a big fan of Crush the Castle (Android, iOS, $.99), it’s a mission based game where you use a trebuchet to hurl different types of stones at different styles of castles trying to knock them down. It is also based on an online game and has all of the same features you’re used to. A great time-passer, however it does result in crushing CGI royalty, so parents may want to give it a test drive before letting really young children play.

• Bloons: The Bloons series (Android, iOS, pricing varies) is also one of my go to games. It takes a little more time, so I don’t play it as often, but if you haven’t seen any of the Bloons series from NinjaKiwi.com, you should check it out. Bloons — the latest is TD5 — takes the Tower Defense genre to balloon popping heights! Your mission: place your bloon popping towers strategically so that no bloon makes it past. It also has spinoffs that include a flying monkey version (which is also awesome) and more casual style versions without the action.

• Turf Geography Club: Finally, my latest fave, is one that is relatively new to the scene and is only on iOS for iPhone and iPad so far. Turf Geography Club and is based on the idea of Foursquare and “checking in” to different locations. Unlike Foursquare, Turf allows takeovers, rather than mayorships, so that means that you have a better chance at getting properties. Think of it like Monopoly meets Foursquare meets Wheel of Fortune. I think what I really like most about it is the team that developed it had a lot of fun making it — Google their videos and see some of the fun they have! They also designed the game with a throwback feel, and I get all the 8-bit awesomeness I remember from when I was younger. (Ok, so I still play those games too!) Their game mascot is also a Park Ranger Bear with a hand puppet, now you tell me ... how many of those have you seen? Do yourself a favor and check Turf out.

One for the business side, but still a game, check out Rypple, a program designed to encourage your employees with bits of flair and goal setting. The program can be managed on either the web, or on Android and iOS devices. The idea is that Managers can set up goals, both individual and group, and encourage their teams to success using the built in measuring tools. Rypple also provides Managers with a way to provide feedback and set up meetings with their employees to keep everyone on track. It is backed by SalesForce, so there is some weight behind the program and is fairly easy to use right out of the gate. It has different pricing tiers so you can select what option is best for your company, and they have information and suggestions to help you maximize the program’s effectiveness.

PHIL SEIBEL, Digital Manager, may be reached at 855-5862 or phil.seibel@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pseibel(@pseibel).

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