Reporting John Ostapkovich
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By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia is home to a start-up firm creating games for the iPad and iPhone. But, this is about as far from “Angry Birds” as you can get.
Eric Lee Smith and Nicholas Karp have deep roots in board war games, but they are now leaders of Shenandoah Studio, producing the first of what they hope is many wargames for iOS. This is not like “Call of Duty” or some other first person shooter but a translation, with improvements, of a table game on the “Battle of the Bulge.”
“When you touch a playing piece, you immediately get to see the various possibilities,” says Smith. “For example, I’ve just touched a German tank unit here and it can’t move forward, because it’s been blocked. You don’t have to know the rules. It just shows you exactly what it can do.”
Listen to John Ostapkovich’s interview with Eric Lee Smith and Nicholas Karp in this CBS Philly podcast:
Karp says you can get extra information from what look like unit counters on an iPad screen map.
“In effect, we’re treating players to something that you wouldn’t have in a board game where you’d sort of be guestimating how effective it is. We’re actually going to show you This is the distribution of possible results.”
The game will have a solitaire mode, says Smith, but because it’s turn-based, (I move, you move) with an Internet connection, “We believe many players will have 10, 15 games going on at a time against different people all over the world.”
Smith says Philadelphia is a great place for a game company, with financial and legal support and good access to talent from game design programs at Drexel and Penn. The Bulge game, due out this fall, will sell for $10, a lot more than “Angry Birds”, but a lot less than current boxed wargames. It can be played against the iPad or against human opponents around the world.