Genre:  Casino & Poker

Suits and Swords Review: Don't get caught counting cards in this one

Jan 28, 2014

As someone who makes most of his income working in the casino industry, but also enjoys playing and writing about RPGs, I sometimes feel games like Suits and Swords are messing with my head. Splicing together blackjack and a fantasy RPG could be really intriguing. Or it could be a disaster, as splicing in general sometimes is. This game manages to be neither, ending up a middle-of-the-road experience in both content and execution.

Unlike some other casino-RPG hybrids, having the inhabitants of the Suits and Swords world play blackjack to fight their battles makes some sense. That’s because the whole place is themed like a deck of playing cards, with four distinctly different lands – Heart Union, Diamond Empire, Club Kingdom and Spade Nation – in which to adventure.

Suits and Swords

As Captain Black Jack (get it?), you return to find all four nations have come under the sway of the evil Joker. No, not the famous one, but their inspiration is clearly the same. To get to him and set things right, you’ve got to defeat a number of enemies and brainwashed friends by defeating them in head-to-head blackjack play.

Most people know at least the basics of blackjack, so I won’t go into the rules here. Suffice it to say that in each round of play, if you get closer to 21 without going over than your opponent, your character attacks. The reverse is also true, and if both sides bust or have equal totals, it’s a push and no damage is done either way. Better totals do more damage, so a 21 takes away more hit points from an enemy than a 19.

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In social casino games, customer service matters

Jan 24, 2014

When you think of customer service in casino games, your mind probably goes to friendly dealers, understanding security, and a buffet table that never runs low. But when you’re playing casino games in the comfort of your browser on Facebook, none of these trappings should affect your experience.

So why does customer service matter? Because it makes money, that’s why.

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A new report from the analytics firm Traffic Generation has revealed that a whopping 39% of social slots players who’ve contacted customer service are also monetizing users. In fact, this seemingly niche section of players accounts for 37% of a game’s total revenue. 

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32% of social slots players visit real casinos weekly

Jan 14, 2014

Here’s an interesting number for you casino owners out there: 32%. That’s the number of social slots gamers in the United States who are visiting brick and mortar casinos on a weekly basis, or so says a new report from the analytics firm Traffic Generation.

To gather this data, they surveyed 2118 social slots players in the US and asked one simple question: On average, how often do you visit a bricks-and-mortar casino? You can find the full state-by-state breakdown at trafficgenerationltd.com (it turns out that social gamblers in Utah are real fuddy-duddies), but when taken as a whole, 32% of respondents said they visit a real casino at least once a week.

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Bingo Rush 2 Review: A couple daubs short of a "Bingo!"

Jan 13, 2014

The Earth is home to many people who are capable of wonderful, mysterious things. There are people who can fall into a meditation so deep, that they don't require food or water for days at a time. There are people who can walk amongst wolves and lions without fear.

And then there are people who are capable of playing eight Bingo cards without suffering a mental and physical breakdown. It is for these half-fey that Bingo Rush 2 exists. Everyone else – that is, anyone who plays Bingo for ten minutes at a time and is content with managing one or two cards simultaneously – will find a basic free-to-play Bingo experience.

Bingo Rush 2

There isn't a lot about Bingo Rush 2 that's different from Buffalo's original Bingo Rush. The core premise is Bingo, a game that everyone in the Western world has played at least once (until they discovered it's more fun to use the dauber on the walls, ceiling, or cat).

To oblige anyone who's been living in a cave on Mars: A letter and a number are simultaneously called out by an announcer (e.g., "B 10”). If the number and letter exist on your card, you mark it. If you get five letter-number match-ups going horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, you get to shriek "BINGO!" and wave your fanny at the chain-smoking grandmother playing next to you.

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MONOPOLY Bingo Review: Not quite Boardwalk, but better than Baltic Avenue

Nov 19, 2013

My day job is in a casino, so I’ve seen on slot machines how the Monopoly brand gets people excited. EA is hoping to tap into that feeling in a different way as it unleashes Monopoly Bingo,a freemiumgame for mobile devices. The mash-up between iconic board game and number-marking pastime is exactly what it sounds like, yet somehow still falls short of what it could be.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you already know how to play bingo. Monopoly Bingo certainly figures that’s the case, throwing you right into the action in the first of many different rooms, each of which is themed after one of the Monopoly properties. The visual trademarks are all present and accounted for, from Mr. Monopoly to the sad inmate who is in jail and not “just visiting.”

MONOPOLY Bingo

The overall goal is to level up and unlock more rooms/properties. In each round, you’re competing live against other players attempting to do the same thing, and there are only so many total bingos that can be scored before the round ends. Every number you mark earns you experience points, and bingos pay off with coins and extra rewards, particularly if you hit them early.

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Governor of Poker: Texas Tycoon Review: Lots of cowboy hats, a dash of poker, and little else

Aug 26, 2013

I want to get something on the record right away: I did not vote for anyone to become Governor of Poker, and I wasn’t even aware such a thing existed. My editor says it might be an appointed position. Anyway, the series of poker games by that same name has made its way to Facebook in the form of Governor of Poker: Texas Tycoon, and… well, it’s a poker game. Yep, it’s definitely a poker game.

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Hit It Rich! Casino Slots Review: No real money, but still real fun

Sep 9, 2013

Like Janet Van Dyne or Ray Palmer, Zynga has been shrinking furiously as of late. But amid office closings and layoffs, the company did snag Spooky Cool Labs during the summer. Even as Zynga has backed away from pursuing real money gaming, its new acquisition has been working on Hit It Rich! Casino Slots for Facebook. So naturally, the result is an online slots experience good enough that people would probably play it for real money. Ironic, no?

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Slot Revolution Preview: Slots and RPGs have never made such a fitting pair.

Jun 24, 2013

Ah, slots and RPGs. They seem like a bit of an odd couple a la Kanye and Kim, but they keep ending up together. Their latest offspring isn’t named North, but rather Slot Revolution: Hero’s Journey. Set to hit iOS, Android and Kindle later this summer from Konami, this free-to-play mobile adventure marries simple gameplay with intriguingly deep RPG features that should help it appeal to a wide cross-section of mobile gamers.

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Poker Night 2 Review: Five card studs.

Apr 29, 2013

Just because Telltale Games won eleventy million awards (seriously, I counted) for The Walking Dead doesn’t mean their developers went all grim and gritty all the time. To prove it, they returned to their humorous roots with Poker Night 2, a game they describe as “the unnecessary sequel” to Poker Night at the Inventory. Play poker against some true characters, unlock some goodies and get ready to laugh.

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Poker Royale Review: As poker as poker gets.

Apr 10, 2013

Thanks to the first James Bond novel and the Hamburger Royale (not actually the Royale with Cheese, sorry Vincent), the word “Royale” has a nice pop culture tradition going for it. Developer Three of a Kind is trying to add to it with Poker Royale, a free iOS poker app designed to get you playing poker, preferably with friends, with as little hassle as possible. It does that admirably, but not a whole lot else.

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