Fealty for iOS is an adaptation of the abstract board game of the same name where your goal is to control territory through the use of medieval units of varying strengths and abilities.
Fealty was first a physical boardgame, and as such, benefits greatly from rule set that has been severely stress tested by the boardgaming community. iOS boardgamers are very fortunate that so many tried and true classic games are making their way onto our platform, and Fealty, although not perfect, is no exception. When gameplay begins, 3 cards from your hand of 9 are revealed to you, and you may select one for play (which is immediately replaced from your stack). There are two different card sets; Missives and Suns. Missives are the more straightforward of the two, and is the card set that I recommend starting with. The cards are labeled after medieval units with differing strengths and abilities. The lower the number, the smaller the area of influence the unit has over the map. However, lower numbers always "move" first while the higher numbered cards get what's left. This makes for some interesting strategy, especially with the special abilities that each card possesses, such as creating obstacles, or claiming roads, etc. Games are quite short (6 or 8 turns) and usually turn out to be a game of give and take, with massive amounts of territory changing hands each turn.
Fealty features a very capable AI, which makes this the ideal pick-up-and-play boardgame while you're on the train or waiting for your laundry. It also has a multiplayer component, which includes local pass and play and online multiplayer via Game Center. Unfortunately, I was never able to find anybody online to play, and there doesn't seem to be any way to invite a friend. Asynchronous multiplayer would go a long way to fix this, but is not supported at the time of this writing.
Fealty is not a graphically rich game, although, to be fair, neither is the physical boardgame, which is very well-regarded. The cards, while sporting the names of medieval units, do not actually contain any graphical representation of these units, nor are any of the pieces animated; except very minimally. Being the proud owner of almost every boardgame adaptation available for iOS, I can forgive this because the play is the thing, and Fealty has some very strong gameplay. However, if you are looking for some eye candy, look elsewhere.
Fealty has minimal sound effects, but a pleasing minstrel soundtrack if that's your thing. I found it a bit repetitive but was pleased to find that it allows you to play your own music if you prefer. I recommend Jethro Tull.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
No IAPs of any kind.
Fealty is an easy to learn boardgame with plenty of depth. The complete lack of online players means that you're likely to be enjoying this game solo. Fortunately, the strong AI means there is plenty to enjoy as long as you aren't looking to be hypnotized by flashy graphics or a pounding soundtrack.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - Minimal, but true to the physical boardgame. Interface could use some work, however, especially on the iPad. Sound: - 2 - Not much in the way of sound or music, but the ability to play your own tunes saves it. Controls: - 4 - The mechanics of gameplay are very clear, and the controls are solid. Gameplay: - 3.5 - A very fun boardgame that could really soar if they nailed the multiplayer component correctly.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Play with the Missive deck rather than the Sun deck until you get the hang of it. The cards themselves will show you the patterns of influence that they will claim. Try playing a game against yourself with no AI until you understand some of the basic strategies (obviously, after you play through the tutorial).