Update: I’m no longer able to take any more people into the beta program at this time. Thanks for your interest!

I’ve never been much for twitch-based computer games, instead preferring ones that require a little more thought and strategy. In fact, I tend to prefer real world card and board games to the computer kind. One of my favorites is the hearts card game, which requires dodging hearts (penalty cards) while trying to force other players to take them.

The only problem is I don’t always have pocket space to carry around a deck of cards, nor do I really want to. And don’t get me started on finding three people who know how to play hearts, and finding the pocket space for them too. Apparently these people have standards, and sometimes restraining orders.

Anyway, Black Maria is how I like to play hearts. It uses the rules I prefer (although they’re configurable through expansion packs) and fits nicely in my pocket. Even better, it comes with three witty opponents who — as far as I know — don’t know any lawyers. The difficulty, rules, and even opponents and backgrounds can be changed through expansion packs.

If any of this sounds remotely interesting to you, I encourage you to try out the Black Maria beta, and leave me some feedback about what you think about Black Maria. Despite the price tags listed in the app, the expansion packs are actually free for the beta, so be sure to give them a whirl too.