Cargo Runners readies its shipment for delivery to the App Store on June 30th

Here at Gamezebo, we’ve been pretty quick to call the iPad the greatest thing to happen to board games since dice. Just take a look at our reviews of games like Ticket to Ride and Hey, That’s My Fish! to see what I mean. And of all the upcoming iPad board games on the horizon, there’s one that’s remained particularly high on our radar since its announcement last winter: Cargo Runners. Now, after a lengthy silence, developer Trouble Brothers are ready to take the App Store by storm.

Debuting for the iPad next Thursday, June 30th, Cargo Runners is a multiplayer-only experience that pits gamers against one another in a race to collect and deliver cargo. The first player to earn a set amount from their deliveries wins the game. And while that set amount will run in the millions, the amount you’ll need to pay is significantly lower – Cargo Runners will be available at launch for $7.99.

Cargo Runners

Originally expected to hit the App Store back in January, Trouble Brothers’ Jeff McCord told us that the delay was essential so that the team could address one of the most important lessons learned from the release of Wizard Hex – a good board game needs online multiplayer from day one.

Speaking of online multiplayer, we recently had a chance to go hands on with Jeff in a Game Center-powered match, and we were more than impressed with the responsiveness. Gameplay moved just as quickly as it would sitting across the table from another player. What’s more, the experience gave us a chance to get some early hands-on time with the game itself, which succeeds in developing an easy to learn, light euro style experience.

Players will navigate ships from port to port, collecting cargo along the way. The game features six different home ports, each of which offers different contracts for different combinations of cargo. Disasters and political strife can impede players with things like typhoons that block routes and embargos that shut down production on select continents. Likewise, opposing players can play cards to sabotage your progress by moving contracts around on the board, stealing you cargo, moving your ship, and more.

Cargo Runners

Cargo Runners

Unlike most board games on the App Store, Cargo Runners is an original release rather than a digital re-creation of an existing product. It’s a unique route to go, but it seems to be paying off. Trouble Brothers’ first release, Wizard Hex, followed the same formula and met with substantial critical acclaim.What’s more, Jeff tells us that a publisher has signed on to develop a print version of the game, targeted for early next year.

With only a week to go before the game hits the App Store, you’d best believe that the Gamezebo team is furiously collecting every last shipment we can to deliver our million dollar contract review. Be sure to check back with us when the game launches for our full impressions!

Cargo Runners gets set to blend international shipping with board game fun

Board games and the iPad seem to go hand in hand. Yet for all the Scrabble‘s and Small Worlds‘ to speak of, there haven’t been too many original board games exclusive to the App Store. Trouble Brothers is looking to change that. Hot on the heels of their original iOS board game Wizard Hex, the team is prepping their second tabletop-style experience for release.

Cargo Runners is a game of international commerce in which players will visit different ports around the world to deliver thousands of tons of goods to major ports of call. The developers have summed up the experience as “Monopoly meets Risk,” yet when you look at the details it seems as though Cargo Runners may be unique enough to supersede such simple comparisons.

Cargo Runners

In a recent interview with Gamezebo, Trouble Brothers’ Managing Partner Jeff McCord described the gameplay in detail;

“Imagine taking a cargo ship from your Home Port and traveling around the world, competing to be the first to deliver $10,000,000 dollars of contracts to win the game! Each player (2 to 4 players) travels to individual Cargo Ports picking up Fruit, Apparel, Coffee, Lumber, Energy, and Aerospace and racing to be the first to deliver randomly-generated contracts at the six Home Ports around the world. Challenges like Hurricanes (blocking routes), Embargoed continents, and other players stealing your cargo (when they get a chance to) add to the sense of urgency and competition.”

What’s more, McCord has confirmed that Cargo Runners started life as an actual tabletop board game that was shelved before release due to changes in the economy. “We knew everyone loved our design, including the prominent retailer who signed up to distribute the initial release, but the dollars just didn’t line up in the tough world of print board games.”

Cargo Runners

This wasn’t McCord’s first foray into the world of print board games, either. He has previously spent time as a game designer and graphic artist at Front Porch Classics, which is also a company Cargo Runners‘ artist Jim Dixon has previously worked with. “We realize that the graphics alone are really appealing,” says McCord. “Who doesn’t want to play a richly-detailed but simple retro-looking game that is played on a world map?!”

In an interesting twist, it looks like Cargo Runners may also be available as a print board game after all, sometime well after it’s iOS debut. A distributor has just inked a deal to manufacture and distribute a print version of the game with an anticipated release date of Holiday 2011 or Spring 2012.

Initially Cargo Runners will be an iPad exclusive, however Jeff McCord has confirmed that they intend to provide a universal update to bring Cargo Runners to the iPhone as soon as possible after the initial release, “depending on our resources and time.”

There’s no release date set quite yet, so be sure to stay tuned to Gamezebo to get all your Cargo Runners news as it happens!