For The Win by Tasty Minstrel Games icon

For The Win ($0.99) by Tasty Minstrel Games is a complex strategy app with no frills but lots of mind-bending gaming. Outwit your opponents and make the connection to win in this virtual card game.

For The Win by Tasty Minstrel Games screenshot

Players compete to win in a game that forces you to think ahead and plan for the worst. The goal is to lay down five cards next to each other that represent the five different characters in the game. If a monkey, ninja, zombie, alien, and pirate are at least touching corners, you win the game.

There are plenty of caveats to make this goal difficult. For example, you can’t just lay one of your cards next to another. That would be too easy. Instead, you must place a card on the board at least one square away, often more, and then move it into position with your limited number of actions.

Each player starts the game with 10 cards, one will already be on the board, and each character has a match. So, there are only two aliens, two monkeys, etc, for each person.

To add to the complexity, each card has a special power. The monkey card turns all adjacent cards inactive. The ninja card can move itself anywhere on the board. The pirate card can move another card anywhere on the board, and so on. Because of these powers, it turns the basic card game upside down. Just when you think you’ve made all of the right moves and are about to win, your opponent will use his power to block your attempt.

Each player can use five actions in a round, but can only use one or two per turn. This part gets a little confusing. I’ll try to explain. Each round, players have five actions. You must perform at least one action per turn, but you can perform up to two actions in one turn. The round ends when one player has used all five actions. If you’ve been hording your actions while your opponent has been using the max each turn, you’ll have an extra action that he doesn’t get to defend against at the end of the round.

The rules to this strategy game are complicated. There is a fairly comprehensive tutorial that bored the pants off of me halfway through. I exited the tutorial in order to get right to the fun and subsequently lost five games. You’ll definitely want to check out the tutorial, but it might be a good idea to play the game a few times first, just so you can add the visuals to the text. The tutorial is confusing and a little overwhelming at first.

Players can compete with up to three more real-life players through pass-and-play gaming, or against up to three computer-generated opponents. Each computer opponent can be adjusted for difficulty, so if you find yourself winning with ease, you can increase the level to something a bit harder.

For The Win by Tasty Minstrel Games screenshot

Unfortunately, this game does not support online connectivity through Game Center or anything else. The only way you can play against a human is through pass-and-play. Hopefully, the developers will add that feature in an update.

This game is awesome. It is heavily strategy-based without being too complicated. It is a simple card game with complex rules that make it challenging and exciting. My only complaint is that the tutorial is awkward. Instead of the current version, I’d like to see a single page of text that can easily be referenced from a menu. If you like strategy board games, this is definitely worth the dollar download. Just don’t fall asleep while reading the tutorial.