In my last article I made mention of playing a substantial amount of Warcraft 3 following a bad break up. I had much more time then to play matches (which for me typically lasted between 20-40 minutes per game). Now, with life so on the go, it would be nice to be able to pause and unpause my matches at will so I could take turns when I have time. Obviously since Warcraft 3 is a Real Time Strategy game, this would likely infuriate whatever opponent I was playing and probably lead to either them leaving, or me being kicked from the match. Not very efficient if I wanted to actually win matches.
Lucky for me though that Outwitters Exists.
This IOS only turn based strategy is great for when you’re on the go and need to be able to pick up and play when you can. It has a fun cartoon style to it, which is deceptive as the strategic nature of the game means theres lots of room for complexity. The purpose of the game is to march your army across the board and destroy the enemy base. Each player has a set amount of Wit, which are essentially action points that they can spend to move, attack and spawn more units. Special tiles on the board confer more Wit per turn so long as you hold them. Each team also has several different unit types, which can move and attack differently. For example, soldiers can move 3 spaces, and melee attack for 2 points of damage, while snipers may only move one space, have a range of 3, and can attack for 3 points of damage. The difference between the units, their abilities, and their health makes it important to think ahead at what your enemy might be planning. At its rawest form the game is about exchange. Exchanging your wit for units that will deal the most damage to the enemy, while trying to sacrifice as few of your own units as possible to achieve your goal.
One of my favourite aspects of Outwitters is its multiplayer ranking system. You can choose to either climb to the top of the ladder solo, or pair up with a friend for 2v2 play. The ladder system is much like those found in Starcraft and League of Legends. As you win games you earn points which in turn boost your ranking within your division. Win enough games in a row and you will move up to the next tier of play, however if you lose too many in a row you might be demoted back down. This system makes for an excellent competitive environment as it encourages you to strive for higher tiers and the ability to play arranged team games with friends is fun, as you can plan turns together better than with a random player. Also, the asynchronous play means that you can have up to 35 games on the go (5 if you haven’t purchased anything, 20 if you purchase anything, and you can buy the 35 game limit upgrade for 1.99). Personally I only have 20 games as I find that is enough for me.
Asynchronous play comes with its own set of drawbacks however, as you are depending on other players to play their turn before you can continue. One Man Left addressed this however by putting a 5 day limit on inactivity before a forfeit is registered for the offending team. While this is great, waiting 5 days before you can start a new game can be frustrating, especially if you are competitively climbing the ladder. Other teams may surpass you and your rank can drop.
The community supporting this game is great. There are great guides out there for new players to pick up hints and tip and by and large a very sportsmanlike culture. Players seem eager to help others learn how to compete. At the end of most games I play, whether it’s win or lose, I usually get a “GG” or “good game” from my opponent, which is a nice change from “F*** You” which can be prevalent in other competitive games.
Replays are another highlight for me. Not only can you view your own replays to learn more about how you play, but you can find other players replays which can teach you new tactics to use against your opponents. The community blog also highlights a weekly match between players playing in the higher tiers that are usually a great resource and an interesting watch.
The games store is modest, you can purchase the game limit upgrade described above, as well as any of the playable races for 1.99 each or 4.99 for the other 3 and any others that may be released in the future (which is extremely unlikely given the company has announced it is suspending its development for the game) as well as different base avatars and map packs for .99 and 1.99 respectively. Personally I purchased the 4.99 add on for all of the teams because I wanted to be able to play around with all four teams to find my favourite (for which I’ve settled on the feedback).
Despite its financial trouble, the game is excellently balanced as is, and will provide excellent value for your money. If you’re into strategic competitive play, the game is worth every penny you put into it, and if you’re just looking to kill a few minutes here and there, the free version of the game satisfies as well.
Have a look for yourself, or better yet give the free version a try. Let me know what you think.