Palm Pilot

Handheld gaming from Candy Crush to Catan.

Dave Neumann has approximately 400 board games in the basement of his Whitefish Bay home. But as editor of, he’s had a nose-to-the-screen seat for the explosion of mobile gaming.

What device do you use?
My [iPhone 6S], and I have an iPad Air. There aren’t any games I know that are iPhone only, but there are games that are iPad only.

Is there any genre that mobile gaming has not yet conquered?
Real-time strategy games, like Starcraft and Warcraft. You can’t grab troops. It’s too hard to do without a mouse and keyboard.

Turn-based strategy is different?
That actually has boomed in mobile gaming because of asynchronous turns. You take your turn and hit send, and it goes off to the next player. And an hour or two later, you get a notification. You don’t have to sit there and stare at your phone.

Who are the giants?
The giants are the Clash of Clans, the Angry Birds. Those are the games everyone knows about, and they make a ton of money, just silly, sick amounts of money. There’s a huge chunk of mobile gaming where that’s the only reason it exists. The games are terrible, the worst. They’re basically Skinner boxes. Here’s a pellet. Now play the game a little more and pay us money.

There’s been some interesting independent development.
The big game last year was Card Crawl, and it was built by this husband and wife in Berlin, this little tiny game. And it’s awesome.

If you were shipwrecked, what three games would you bring?
Galaxy Trucker, a port of a board game. X-Com, which Firaxis ported over to iPad. And FTL [Faster Than Light]. It’s crazy hard. I’ve never actually won.

‘Palm Pilot’ appears in the March 2016 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the March issue on newsstands beginning Feb. 29.

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Matt has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 2006, when he was a lowly intern. Since then, he’s held the posts of assistant news editor and, most recently, senior editor. He’s lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana but mostly in Wisconsin. He wants to do more fishing but has a hard time finding worms. For the magazine, Matt has written about city government, schools, religion, coffee roasters and Congress.