App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Many people are familiar with domination-based games in some form or another. Some might involve occupying territories with ever-expanding armies while others allow for more subtle tactics such as cultural assimilation, but it’s a concept most have come across. Although as widespread as the general idea may be, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen it combined with something along the lines of Mahjong. It’s certainly a little odd, but it’s also interesting.
Michael Schacht’s Web of Power Card Game: The Duel is one such bizarre hybrid. A number of tiles representing various countries are spread across the game board for the payer and their AI opponent to gather. Tiles can only be grabbed from the outlying edges, however, so in order to reach any desired pieces in the middle a path must be cleared first. After acquiring a tile (or two if they’re for the same country and posses two country symbols between them), claim tokens can also be placed to “call dibs” on a specific tile or simply attempt to control an opponent’s movement. Throughout this constant back-and-forth it’s also possible to collect special tokens that will improve the worth of gathered pieces belonging to specific countries.
There’s something almost captivating about a game in Web of Power. While it might not be much to look at there’s an awful lot of planning that goes into each and every turn. Assuming players take it seriously, that is. This is not a game for folks who dislike planning and strategizing, but anyone who loves to spend several minutes setting up their next move (and possibly even laying traps through subtle manipulation) will doubtlessly enjoy themselves.
I could complain about the complete lack of any form of multiplayer in Web of Power, as I have with many Skotos Tech games, but this game can be so tough I’m almost glad I don’t have to contend with another person. A bigger issue, however, is that it’s much more of a complex board game than many iOS users are probably used to. The manual alone is several dense pages of text, much of which won’t make sense without actual context and there’s no tutorial on offer. It can be learned, and when it is it can be rewarding, but it can also be massively intimidating in the beginning.
Web of Power is definitely an interesting and thought-provoking game, but it’s also not too terribly accessible. Those who are willing and able to invest the time to learn will be sure to enjoy themselves but everyone else looking to dabble in a bit of strategy should probably start with something a bit less complicated. Or at least a bit more newbie friendly.