Slay by Sean O’Connor Eurogames.
If you know the term, you’re a die-hard boardgame geek. Gipsy King is based on the original game of the same name published in 2007. Slay is in the Euro-style but is an original creation of Sean O’Connor. He has also written Conquest for the iPhone – what I consider to be the best Risk clone on the device.
Neither have particularly great graphics, though Slay’s are leaps and bounds above Gipsy King’s (whose images feel more like placeholders waiting for the graphic design department to replace). But with Eurogames, it’s all about gameplay. Slay’s sounds are simple but cutesy – especially the “Oy!” other players yell at you when you try to make an illegal move. Gipsy King has no sound at all.
Gipsy King takes a while to get a handle on. The instructions are not very clear. The scoring makes no sense at first. And then there is a bug so that the player – and only the player – can blatantly break the “doubles” rule and place as many as they want. Also, it doesn’t help that the “Double” and “Pass” buttons are extremely unresponsive and hard to hit.
Slay, on the other hand, is excellent. The simple graphics fit the apparently easy gameplay. However, the game takes lots of strategy and forethought to win any levels other than the “Very Easy” ones at the beginning. It does have a couple of drawbacks: I’d like to be able to scroll around and see my opponents moves; an option to see how well defended your hexes are would be nice; and a better display for your kingdoms’ current economics would be good.
Neither supports multi-player of any sort, either. This is a REAL disappointment as that has always been one of the greatest strengths of Eurogames: the social aspect. Their other great strength is deceptive simplicity. Both of these games have that in spades. While easy to learn the basics, you will be wracking your brains to come up with stronger tactics as the AIs start playing better. Slay is definitely worth the original $2 price tag but is even more appealing now that it is temporarily free. Grab it and Conquest and encourage the developer to make improvements.
Gipsy King is marginal. If I knew the developer were actively working on improving it, I might say it is worth the dollar simply because Euro-style games are so hard to come by. But as it stands, I cannot really recommend it.