Version Reviewed: 1.2.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Age of Booty: Tactics is a turn-based strategy game in which players build pirate fleets and battle on the open seas to collect as much treasure as possible. While its multiplayer-only structure can get in its own way sometimes, the game itself offers well-built free-to-play strategy with a charming aesthetic.
For those not in the know, Age of Booty: Tactics is not the first installment in the Age of Booty franchise. The original Age of Booty is a console and PC game in which players managed a single ship that was controlled in real-time strategic battles. In this installation all of the original game's charm and spirit is retained, while the gameplay has been translated into a multi-ship, card-based, turn-based game.
Each player starts with a certain set of ships, cards, and a limited number of action points to be spent per turn. Moving or attacking will cost one action point each, while certain cards are worth more action points to use. The ultimate goal of the game is to manage each turn so that players collect 12 treasure points before their opponent. Sometimes this means employing a careful territory control strategy through the use of curse cards, while at other times an all-out assault on the enemy fleet is more prudent. Thanks to Age of Booty: Tactics' customization options tweaking decks to fit each players' play-style is not only doable, but fun and satisfying.
As a free-to-play game, Age of Booty: Tactics (thankfully) doesn't have ads and doesn't constantly prod players to spend money. That being said, players can spend real money in the game's store to purchase additional ships, curses, and captains, which unlocks them significantly faster than grinding out matches as a free player. Regardless of how players choose to play Age of Booty: Tactics, the matchmaking and game balance seem to do a great job of making each match feel fair, regardless of how many unlocks each player has.
If Age of Booty: Tactics had one fatal flaw, it would be its multi-player only structure. Players can only play the game in pass-n-play or online modes with their friends or in ranked matches. This is a drawback mainly because Age of Booty: Tactics doesn't have good tools for dealing with players that are unresponsive for long periods of time. Because of this, players can easily run into a situation where they have a full games list but no one to play because they're waiting on a bunch of slow-pokes.
Overall though, Age of Booty: Tactics is a pretty fantastic game. Its pirate theme is appealing and its strategy mechanics are rock solid, even when free players are facing those that have spent money for ship with a chainsaw on it.