Early this year we first caught wind of the hybrid poker RPG Sword & Poker [$1.99 / Free] and instantly fell in love with the game to the point of awarding it 5 stars in our January best iPhone games listing.
The basic premise of the game is explained in our review:
At the core is a card-based strategy/adventure game where battles take place by making poker hands on a 5×5 grid. When each game starts, nine cards are dealt in to the center of the grid and you take turns with the AI opponent placing pairs of the four cards you're dealt on the perimeter of the game board to form hands down, across, or diagonally. Jokers are wild, and as you play more hands a gauge in the bottom left slowly fills which allows you to swap a card for a joker as well.
There is a surprising amount of strategy in placing cards, as you need to look at what you've been dealt to try to determine the best order to play them as your opponent could also have plans for the same squares you hope to utilize on your next turn. Furthermore, as the game board fills up, you can potentially form multiple hands. A well-planned hand placed on the diagonal could also form many other hands going down or across.
The "Sword" portion of Sword & Poker comes from the roleplaying game layered on top of these poker battles, which could practically stand alone as its own game. Instead of just playing poker battles of increasing difficulty, the games are structured as floors in a dungeon and the challenge differs based on the type of monster you're fighting.
We don't really know anything yet about Sword & Poker 2 other than that it is coming soon, and the other sparse details on the Sword & Poker 2 web site. Obviously there are going to be new dungeons, and even new weapons and magic to players to wield. The story is a continuation of the original game, and from the sounds of it, Sword & Poker 2 is going to provide even more Sword & Poker gameplay.
Personally, I can't wait for the sequel. Sword & Poker really surprised me with how much fun I had with the game and I look forward to making my way through even more dungeons in Sword & Poker 2. If this is the first you've heard of Sword & Poker, please, if nothing else, try the lite version.