One of the reasons I keep coming back to WOW is the larger franchise it’s part of.  When I was a freshman in college, computers were virtually a new world to me.  The “Big New Game” at that time (among my new friends, at least) happened to be Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.  Yes, it was Blizzard 15 years ago who first showed me just how much I could “get into” video games.  MMORPGs are fun, but there will always be a big, warm place in my gaming heart for strategy games.  Whether RTS like Warcraft I-III or TBS like Heroes of Might and Magic I-VI, I like my war strategy games.

Which brings me to this post’s topic: mobile games.  Let me be blunt: I hate ALL mobile games that call themselves MMOs.  I hate the MMO strategy games where you start to build a town and suddenly you’re waiting days and weeks for anything to happen.  I also hate arcadey mobile games like candy crush or the latest movie “run”.  What other kinds of mobile games do I hate?  I’m glad you asked!  I hate the card battle games and most of the rpgs Android/Itunes have to offer.

“But… but, you just hated on 99% of all games for mobile phones!”  Yes, I sure did.  However, there are a few games I’ve tried that I’ve actually managed to keep on my phone and play.  A lot.  And as my earlier reminiscing might have hinted, most of them are war/strategy games.  So here it is, my must-play mobile game list.  Full versions of these are not free, unfortunately, but they all should be around $5 or less.

1) The Battle for Wesnoth

This game is a port from a freeware pc game.  Downloadable campaigns will quickly fill up your phone’s storage, but what the game comes with is plenty for a phone IMO.  The retro graphics should hardly be a turn-off to anyone willing to give such projects as Minecraft or Trove a try.  What I love most about this game is that each unit of yours has its own name, and they are usually upgradeable as they get experience from kills.  It is quite a nice hybrid of RPG and strategy.  If you enjoy it I highly recommend having a (free) copy on your PC as well, by the way, to experiment with all the user-made content.

2) Glory of Generals/Pacific War

Easy Tech has been pumping out games I enjoy for a while now, but these two are significant upgrades over earlier offerings, especially the artwork.  These World War II games focus on the European and Pacific theaters, respectively.  It gets tough to earn enough medals to purchase troop upgrades after a while, but such is the brave new world we live in.  I enjoy it enough to not mind the grind much anyway.  Campaign Great Victories give quite a nice number of medals (50), but only if you accomplish it on your first try.  The way to beat this is to restart the scenario before it ends if you’re not going to meet the turn limit for a Great Victory.   

3) Ravenmark

There are two entries in this series, but thus far only one is available on both Android and Itunes.  That would be Ravenmark: Mercenaries, mostly a multiplayer game featuring brigades that make up each player’s army.  Each player has two brigades to choose from, with various mixes of troop types.  The other game is Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion, which is a series of single-player campaigns, but as of now only available on Itunes.  The developers are working on an Android version, but I won’t speculate when that might be released.  The strategy elements of the Ravenmark games are really deep and a treat to learn and experiment with, but what really sets these games head and shoulders above most others is the lore.  You can literally spend hours reading through the codex in the game, which covers everything from game mechanics to the history of the game’s world and even the lives of the brigade commanders.

4) Elder Sign: Omens

This is really just a game of automated dice tossing.  No, seriously.  But it’s amazing how interactive they can make it.  This is based on a board game of the same name and deals in horror themes based mostly on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.  The board game’s more famous sister game is Arkham Horror, but this little game is a lot more fun than I ever would have guessed before I tried it.  With dice rolls you end up gathering clues, tools and of course the titular Elder Signs that will seal an ancient evil away before it consumes the world!  BOM BOM BOMMM!!!  Your team of investigators can be killed, but they can also be taken out by going insane from all the horror they witness.  Wins don’t come easy in this game; generally more than half the time you will lose, often badly.  That matches the doomsday feel of the game’s lore, however, and makes victory SO satisfying.  The biggest drawback is how its multiple expansions can really add up the cash dumped into it.

I don’t see a lot of gamer blogs mention mobile games, at least not the ones I follow, so I thought I’d do something a little different at least once.