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Free iPhone/iPod Touch App Review: iChapaev Lite

Every week, the OWC Blog staff picks a free iPhone/iPod Touch application to check out and review. This week’s selection was iChapaev Lite by MaxNick.


The legend of Chapayev lives on in the iCapaev app. Chapayev is the most popular board game in The Soviet Union. Dynamic and exciting, it’s like a dashing cavalry attack and gambling game.

Rules of the game are diabolically simple. Shoot enemy checkers from the board while ensuring that as many of yours stay on as possible. If yours is the last man standing, you win. You’ll need a keen eye and strong hand to be the victor in this app but more than that, you need clever strategy.

Each iChapaev player gets 8 checkers to start, which are placed on opposite ends of the game board. Go ahead and use your finger to pull back your checker, then let go to shoot toward your opponent’s game piece. Little arrows indicate the direction and stroke power of your shot. The player with at least one checker left on the board wins the battle.

The war is not over with the first battle, though. A second battle starts with the first game’s loser playing with one less checker. Does that ensure that you’ll win this round? No. If your opponent has found an excellent strategy, you may find it challenging to overthrow him in the second game. All is fair in love and war and that includes iChapaev. You never know who is going to win.

If you want to give yourself a game playing advantage, fine tune your skills and hone your moves by playing against the app initially. After you’ve developed your game playing skills, invite a partner to join you in a war game. If you’ve practiced and perfected your game, you’re bound to win more than you lose.

Just to keep things interesting, there are three levels of complexity:

* Easy level — the arrow showing the direction and the force of strike has depicted

* Medium level — just the arrow showing the direction of strike has depicted

* High level — the arrow hasn’t been depicted at all

So, who will you be, The White Army with at least one checker left on the board, or the poor hero Chapayev? There’s only one way to find out. Better grab the iChapaev app now so you can start practicing.

OWC Chris’s Review

Just when I thought I couldn’t hate an app more than I hated Opera Mini for iPhone, I played iChapaev.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually played this game in real life, as well as other versions on the iPhone OS. As far as the apps I’ve tried, this version is closest to the rules of Chapayev, as I have understood them. Unfortunately, that’s about the only good thing I have to say about this app.

First, let’s tackle the horrid gameplay. The game, as I have ever played it, involves flicking checkers at each other. If you thought that in iChapaev, you would move your pieces by doing something logical like, say, flicking the checker pieces at the opposing side, you would be sadly mistaken. Instead, you have to do a “pull back” like a rubber band and aim using an arrow. Not only is this totally counterintuitive, it becomes ludicrously so when the piece you want to move is on the edge of the screen.

Then, there’s the payment reminder. About 2 minutes or so into the game, you get a nice, huge “Buy the Full Version” box, which then ends your game. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?

So, effectively, the only way I get to see if this game is playable through a full game is to purchase the full version?

Sorry, MaxNick, but the inability to play even one complete game in demo mode coupled with your inability to produce an intuitive, playable interface means that it’ll be a warm day in a Siberian gulag before I fork over my cash to you.

Final Verdict: Avoid this game at all costs. Though other versions out there are less “true” to the traditional rules, they at least let you finish a game.

OWC Michael’s Review

Well, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of nor played the classic russian boardgame of Chapeav before receiving this review assignment. So, when I started up the game, I really didn’t know what to expect.

It took me a few tries to figure out that you pull backwards on the checker and a slingshot effect is used to sail your pieces into your opponent. Instinctively, I was trying to flick them across the board with a swipe gesture, which only led to my pieces falling off the edge of the board nearest me in succession.

Once I figured this out, and got off my first good shot, a screen came down over my gameplay asking that I purchase the full version to continue. Wait, I don’t even know how the game is played and my trial is over?

I restarted the app and was met with the same screen. How frustrating. I’m not fully sure if I know what I’m doing, let alone formed any sort of opinion on how the game is executed and I’m being strong-armed into forking over my hard-earned $2.99 to see if I even want to find out how to play the game.

C’mon MaxNick – I have no problem paying for apps that I know I’m going to use, but 4 moves is hardly a trial. Give one full game to us “try before you buy” enthusiasts in order to see how the game is played, then drop your iron curtain.

My Suggestion: Don’t bother with this trial. If you’d like to see how the game is played, check out Chapayev Lite by SZh

OWC Grant’s Review

When you Tweet us to check out your games…you better bring your “A” game. MaxNick must have seen our SpaceMonkey review and Tweeted us to check out iCurling. While I kinda dig curling, OWC Chris isn’t into the physical sport (yes, we argued about how to classify curling) so he chose this Chapeav game from them. And as he reminded me, these review are for free apps, so that disqualified iCurling.

This Russian checkers game looked very cool…some good strategy and physics involved…then thud…my game gets interrupted by the buy now message. Not even at the end of the game like other apps…right dang smack dab in the middle.

Thinking I’m missing something…including patience…Morgan and Logan happily took over and I heard the requisite arguing. Then things got eerily silent.

They too experienced the commercial interruption to their fun. Never before have I seen them lose interest that fast with anything on our Touch.

My Rating: The biggest Nay yet and the inspiration for a new touch screen cyber term….flick tease. All promise and no delivery.

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M. Chris Stevens
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