iOS Board Games

Among the best things in life is playing printed games in person with family and close friends. When those are not convenient we like iOS Board Games. News, reviews, previews, and opinions about board gaming on iPhones, iPads, iPods and even Android devices. (iPhone board games, iPad board games, iPod board games, Android board games)

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First Look: Baseball Highlights 2045

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Baseball Highlights 2045
Availability: iOS (iPad Only), Android (Tablets Only)
Price: $5.99
App Store Links: iTunes, Google Play


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Tue Feb 2, 2016 5:00 pm
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First Look: Brass

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Brass
Availability: iOS
Price: $6.99
App Store Links: iTunes, Google Play


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Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:00 pm
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First Look: Le Havre: The Inland Port

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Le Havre: The Inland Port
Availability: iOS
Price: $4.99
App Store Links: iTunes, Google Play


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Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:26 am
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First Look: Camel Up

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Camel Up
Availability: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play


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Thu Oct 8, 2015 5:34 pm
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First Look: Sheriff of Nottingham Companion App

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Sheriff of Nottingham Companion App
Availability: iOS Universal, Android
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play


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Thu Oct 1, 2015 5:00 pm
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Review Roundup: Apples to Apples, You Must Build a Boat

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Apples to Apples
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store

While cloned endlessly on mobile, Apples to Apples was released officially last week. While we saw it digitally before on Xbox 360, this appears to be a whole new attempt for mobile.

Apples to Apples is a simple card game of funny comparisons. You have descriptive word and you match it with one of the cards in your hand, generally with a funny result. The key of this game is making people laugh and reading your opponents. These are two major elements missing from this digital version. You can communicate, but only by text, and the game moves so quickly that you don’t often have a lot of opportunities to do this. In terms of reading your opponents, games only last one round of each player being the judge, so it is hard to really learn what your opponents like. All in all, these are weaknesses you will find in almost any digital card game.

So while we can debate the validity of Apples to Apples on a tablet, I can tell you that the core gameplay is sound. The interface to play and select cards is very straightforward and equal to what you would expect. The only system is easy to use and there always seem to many active games (at least in this launch period). Games are on pretty tight timers so you will always be clipping along. If this core gameplay were taken in isolation, I would highly recommend this game if you could wrap your head around playing without table talk.

Sadly, Apples to Apples is packaged in a confusing free to play framework. There are two currencies: gold and silver. Gold is used to play games and can be purchased or earned by leveling up. Silver is earned by playing and is used to buy card packs and vanity items. Because cards must be purchased, you’ll find that you will see the same red cards over and over. It is also annoying to have your amount play artificially limited by your gold. Honestly, it feels like the way F2P was done back in 2012: ham-fisted and clumsy.

Apples to Apples is one I think you can avoid. While the core is great, the rest of this apple is rotten (I am so sorry).



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      43 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk





You Must Build A Boat
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: $2.99
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

10000000 was a surprise hit when it was released. It took puzzle gameplay and sprinkled it with same indie dungeon crawling charm. The long awaited sequel You Must Build a Boat is now available. Does it live up to its predecessor?

It is tough to follow an act like 10000000, which was a slow burn cult hit. You Must Build a Boat follows the same match three gameplay while expanding it in almost every way possible. There are new monsters, new dungeons, new blocks to break, and more. YMBAB feels like a fleshed out version of its predecessor. It takes what you love and ads new locations, more characters, and smoother gameplay.

The titular boat is also a fantastic addition. As you go through your adventure it will become full of life. It is a place you want to come back to. It adds buckets of charm and a fair touch of humor. It is an odd concept, but fits right in with the quirky nature of the game.

It is hard to say a lot about this. If you have played 10000000 this is no brainer. If you’ve have yet to, You Must Build a Boat is the definitive experience. I highly recommend picking this up today.



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Tue Jun 9, 2015 12:01 am
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Review Roundup: Knights of Pen and Paper 2, EarthCore: Shattered Elements

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Knights of Pen and Paper 2
Availability: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $4.99
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

As you may recall, the first Knights of Pen and Paper grabbed me with its style but failed to deliver in the long term. It was with cautious optimism that I approached this sequel. Have they managed to overcome the weaknesses of the initial release?

In Knights of Pen and Paper 2 you take on the role of both a DM and a group of players in a tabletop RPG. The game features a series of quests that you can follow as well as endless numbers of battles you set up. You can have up to 5 heroes each with their own combination of class, race, and persona. My strongest character right now is a Cheerleader Human Warrior for example. The game almost entirely deals in the American stereotypes from the 80s and 90s. Like any RPG, you can travel from location to location, visit shops, explore dungeons, etc. While you can move anywhere you like at anytime, you will be generally focused along the games set story route.

You will generally use your DM freedom for grinding. The game has a pretty steep curve so you will find yourself murdering wave after wave of easy mobs to level up. This was a weakness of the game before and is definitely carried over. Battles (even on low levels) can feel very back and forth and so even grinding must be watched closely. There is not real option to just “mash A” so to speak.

In moderation the combat is pretty enjoyable. Each character class has a wide variety of skills and can be used in combination for great results. They really added some tactical choice and award players who think a few moves ahead. Of course, boss type characters are still a slog, but I am really enjoying the combat this time around.

The game is quite long you will find a lot to do. The story is nothing to write home about and the humor is a little off this time. That being said, I do find myself coming back from time to time to continue my adventure. It must just be the pace of game that fits of neurosis right now.

Knights of Pen and Paper 2 is a bit of a disappointment. A lot of the issues it had before still exist and the experience feels a little shallower overall this tie around. That being said, if you liked the first one, you will find a nice second helping here. The art is still charming and it is a charming homage to tabletop RPGs.



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      45 answers
Poll created by thequietpunk





EarthCore: Shattered Elements
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store

The app store is full of “card games” that are little more than slot machines disguised with gameplay elements. I have to admit, when I first heard about EarthCore, this was my assumption. I am happy to report that I was wrong. Earthier: Shattered Elements is a fully fleshed out digital card game that does several new things while appealing to existing sensibilities.

In EarthCore, your goal is to lower your opponents health to zero. This is done through a series of rounds in which you will each play a card to each of the three lanes on the board. After all cards are played, the cards battle winning based on their element. Earth beats Water which beats Fire which beats Earth. This simple Rock, Paper, Scissors mechanic is compounded with a few wrinkles. For example there is actually a fourth element called Dust that always loses, but can be evoked at certain times. many cards have abilities that either activate automatically or must by used by the player. These abilities really change the course of battle and are key to success. You are also looking ahead for the write combo to lead your opponent into a trap. Since each card you lay down is visible immediately, you have to figure out how to respond to their eventual counter.

Each card in the game has a risk value. This value is the amount of damage you will take if that card loses the battle. So while you can play strong cards, you also need ensure you will win or they will back fire on you. This is by the most unique element of the game and turns it into a really enjoyable push your luck affair.

This is a collectible card game, so a lot of your success will come from deck building. You will unlock cards by playing and can also buy packs through in game currency. Admittedly, the pricing structure is not extremely clear. You’ve got two currencies, one you pay for and one you earn, and they can be used in different ways. Decks are limited to 25 cards and you typically want to have a mix of all three elements. Cards come in different rarities and there is a limit of three copies of a card in a deck.

The game features a lengthy campaign that features some challenging battles and will net you a bunch of free cards. There is also a pretty robust online system with ranked play and different leagues. I am still in the lowly bronze league, but so far feel like things are pretty evenly matched.While it will take more time for it to mature, online play is enjoyable right now.

The game is certainly free to play but I have enjoyed my time so far with no spend. There is a lot of content upfront for you to get a good feeling for the game before dropping a dime. Because of the way the online leagues are split, you should be able to find someone at your spend level to play against, and stronger cards will not always win.

I’ve enjoyed EarthCore much more than I predicted I would. While it is hard to dethrone Hearthstone, this game is a nice alternative with a different play style and focus. I highly recommend it.



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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Mon May 25, 2015 1:46 pm
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Review Roundup: Sentinels of the Multiverse Rook City and Hearthstone for Phones

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Sentinels of the Multiverse: Rook City
Availability: iPad, Android
Price: $5.99 (for expansion)
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

As promised, Handelabra has been hard at work on bringing more content to Sentinels of the Multiverse the video game. The first full expansion is Rook City which ads two new heroes, four new villains, and two new locations. If you have been looking to add new variety to your digital Sentinels games, this is going to be a nice influx.

The new content is really fun to explore and master. The new heroes are pretty awesome. There is Expatriate who uses guns and ammo to really decimate her foes, as well as the Fixer who uses a combination of mechanic's tools and martial arts. Both of these heroes seem fairly easy to play and really focus on themselves rather than supporting others. The villains on the other hand are very challenging. My favorite of the bunch is the Matriarch. She summons birds to help her and through several mechanics, she will often flood the board with birds. You and your team will have to focus on crowd control. This boss is indicative of the whole set: there are some fantastic new challenges here and a lot to explore.

If you have been enjoying Sentinels of the Multiverse the Video Game, this is really a no brainer. This is not going to make the game any easier if you found it too challenging, but it will provide hours and hours of more play.




Hearthstone iPhone
Availability: iPhone, Android
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

Last week saw the release of Hearthstone on smartphones and, strangely, a dip in my productivity. They’ve been teasing this for a while now and it finally materialized close to the same time the game appeared on iPad last year. This is full Hearthstone experience you can have on a tablet or PC, just miniaturized. Did it make the transition well?

What really held up the release of Hearthstone on smaller devices, according to the dev team, was UI design. They knew the traditional UI and went through several iterations. What’s come out is certainly workable. The main focus here is the core gameplay. The layout is basically the same, with a few key changes. First of all, your hand is tucked to the side and must be tapped in order to access it. Once your hand is up, you can tap and drag cards as you usually would. Other changes include a simplified board with fewer clickables, a mana crystal number (only), and changed deck placement. The controls are basically the same, though it has taken some time to get used to the hand change. It is by far the biggest interruption to the flow you will be used to. Elsewhere in the app, menus have been simplified, but all the same functionality is there.

Admittedly, even with minimal changes, iPhone is not the ideal way to play this game. If you have another option, it is probably best to go with that, however, if you only have a smartphone, Hearthstone is a fine experience on the platform and certainly worth playing. The best part about playing Hearthstone on a phone is that, even though it may not be the ideal way, it is still a way to play! It now opens this game up to many situations that would have been cumbersome before, like busses, subways, doctor’s offices and more. For this reason, I find this version to be a great success.
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Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:00 pm
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Review Roundup: Capitalism Quest, Auro, Sopio, and Trouble with Robots

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I am ashamed. I have been playing many great things, but PAX and Toy Fair have made it hard to find solid review writing time. As a glorious cop out, I present a series of quick hit reviews.




Capitalism Quest
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: Free
App Store Links: App Store

This game is a mystery. It is a free to play (no IAP) timer based game that has me totally hooked. Capitalism Quest is all about building resource producing buildings, collecting those resources, and building more buildings. Each time you exploit a natural resource your charity level goes down, but can go back up by planting forests. All this is done on a shared world with other players. You can build houses that you can eventually sell (and other players can buy) as well as establish markets to sell excess resources.

The gameplay is fairly simple but great for dropping in every couple of days. While timer based, there is no need to constantly be checking in. The developer has said he intended most people to check in about once a week. The real hook here for me is the persistent, shared world. In my few weeks of playing, I have seen new players come into the game and suddenly start building up around me. The players even teamed up to build a road that runs down the vertical and horizontal middles of the current map. Imagine Sim City lite in a shared world.

Capitalism Quest is an interesting social experiment. Much like Peter Moleyneux’s Curiosity app, this game keeps you coming back to see what they community is doing. I highly recommend it.



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Auro
Availability: iOS Universal, Android
Price: $2.99
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

Keith Burgun is back again with another weird, bizarre, brilliant game. In Auro you are trying to bump all enemy monsters off the board with the titular character Auro. You have a series of spells and abilities to help you in this task, but it will also require a healthy amount of brain power. Auro is a deep, challenging puzzle game.

The game features a pretty lengthy tutorial which walks you through all the monster types you will encounter and the spells needed to defeat the. Some monsters are “heavy” and cannot be bumped without using a spell, others can only be bumped once they are frozen. You will want to do a good portion of the tutorial as the main game will expect you to have the majority of the knowledge contained within.

The main gameplay is a series of “dungeon runs” where you are trying to make it to the end of the dungeon and bump monsters off the board. Bumping monsters earns points towards a target score for that run. As you complete goals, you will level up which will unlock more challenging boards. The game is not afraid to throw almost anything at you. If you are a puzzle lover, you are going to find perfect gameplay here.

Auro features a beautiful animation style with sprites reminiscent of the SNES era. That being said, the monsters can be just plain weird, but that is part of the fun. Auro is a challenging game but a rewarding one. It makes you think and lets you celebrate your victories. This is a strategy puzzle game that should not be missed.



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Sopio
Availability: iOS Universal
Price: $1.99
App Store Links: App Store

Imagine, if you will, that Fluxx and Munchkin were designed from the ground up to fit perfectly on mobile devices. Both have a lot going on the table that really hinders mobile play (while the Fluxx app is a noble effort). Sopio is a game in the same genre (you lose because I played a card, haha) as the above, but is an digital original. Because of this the gameplay fits perfectly on mobile. This is by far its greatest strength.

In Sopio, your goal is to reach 1000 points. This is done by playing cards on yourself or others. Any card in your hand can be played on any player. You play one card each turn and draw one additional card each turn. Some cards give you points while others take them away. Additionally there are several cards that provide special actions like reversing the flow play or forcing a player to discard cards. Games go until either one player reaches 1000 points or a the deck runs out and ever card has been played. Generally it is the latter. It becomes this push your luck game of holding on to certain so your last play puts you in the lead.

Sopio is the best fit of this type of game on iOS. The flow is easy to follow and gameplay is quick. However, overall the game just didn’t grab me. This gameplay is fun in the right setting but solo against AI on mobile is not really it. It is a well done app, but a lackluster game.



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Trouble With Robots
Availability: iOS Universal, Android
Price: Free with IAP
App Store Links: App Store, Google Play

Don’t we all love a good defense game from time to time? Trouble With Robots takes the defense formula and mixes it with deck building. You are a fantasy army trying to stop an onslaught of robotic invaders. Accompanying your battles is a silly story with moments of humor.

Before each battle you select a deck of five to seven cards. These are then dealt to you in random order during the battle. Each card will either producer a certain type of unit such as peasants, elves, dwarves, and more, or a card may represent a spell. Unlock many defense games, the goal is to build up a larger and larger army throughout the battle. You even received rewards for not losing a unit during a wave. Healing is key and one of the main strategic choices in the game.

The game features half a dozen missions to try and then additional chapters via IAP. While not reinventing the genre, the deck and hand management does add a welcome twist to the defense gameplay. Definitely give this one a try.



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Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:49 pm
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BattleLore: Command - App Review

Brad Cummings
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iOS Universal/Android
Reviewed On: iPad Air
Current Price: 9.99
Version: 1.0
App Size: 443 MB
Developer/Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Multiplayer: Yes, local.
AI: Yes.
Itunes link: BattleLore: Command

With the release of BattleLore: Command, the Command and Colors wargame system has (officially) come to mobile devices. This system is a light wargaming system developed by Richard Borg and used in games such as Command and Colors, Memoir 44, and, of course, BattleLore. This is one of my favorite turn-based strategy systems around and I overjoyed to see it on my iPad. Let’s see if BattleLore: Command lives up to my high expectations.

For those not familiar with the system, there are some basic things that set it apart. First off, the game is played on a hex board divided into three sections. Using different orders, you command units in one or multiple of these board sections. Units are represented by a group of figures on the board. The number of figures is the HP of that unit and losing HP does not affect combat strength. Combat is all dice based with hit, miss, retreat, and lore results. There are other additions such a terrain, but all of it is very clear and measured in terms of dice rolled.



BattleLore adds a few fantasy wrinkles to this basic system. Each unit has a special ability, for example Archers can attack twice if they don’t move on a given turn. Units in the game consist of infantry, archers, cavalry, golems, and flying units. There is also a spell system which always players to play spell cards that can change the course of battle. These are played using lore which is generated by dice rolls. Units in the game consist of infantry, archers, cavalry, golems, and flying units. All of this adds a bit of complexity and flavor to the existing base system.

Like many wargames, BattleLore: Command is played over a series of scenarios. The game features a campaign with a series of scenarios to play through, with branching paths and unique situations. It does a great job of walking you through both the basic gameplay and the specific units. The scenarios range from protecting herds of sheep to taking marked victory hexes, or even just surviving a given number of rounds.There is a tutorial built in and I was up and running in no time. After the tutorial, things do gets little crazy. The difficulty ramp is almost non-existent and you are quickly thrown into situations you will likely lose. It looks like they’ve tried to keep every scenario balanced (as they are replayable in the multiplayer Skirmish mode) at the risk of providing players the confidence earned by success. The being said, I have been able to progress but it does feel that luck can often ruin an entire scenario.



As mentioned above, there is a Skirmish mode for play against AI and other humans locally or via LAN (no online play as of yet). In this mode you can replay campaign missions as well as a series of scenarios ranging from a basic fight to the death to trying capture the other player’s base while defending your own. In these scenarios you have access to all the units for your faction (there are currently two) and buy units based on a point system. This really gives you a lot of freedom and the ability to define your own strategy.

The AI in the game does not have a difficulty setting, but has provided a challenge for me. The nature of the game system allows the AI to really play with the same constraints that you have (and, most importantly, the same luck). It looks like the AI has been tuned to each scenario, trying to stop you when necessary and being aggressive in other situations. As you know, I am at best a novice game player, so your experience with the AI may differ.



This game is downright gorgeous. It is surprising to me how well they’ve created these units in a 3D space. Each has unique animations, and you can really zoom in to get a better view. Information and UI design is very well done here. Symbols on the board will alert you when you enter cover (buildings and forests) or when your move puts an enemy unit in range. The game also does a great job of ushering you through the turn phases and alerting you when a card is playable. Everything is fairly intuitive: want to know more about a unit? Just tap and hold. Want to switch between units you are commanding? Just tap their image in the turn order window. After a few amazing wargames this year with deep gameplay but disappointing AI, BattleLore: Command is refreshing.

The real major disappointment here is the lack of online play and the limit of just two armies at the moment. BattleLore is characterized by two things: great head to head combat and variety of units. The latter appears to already be in the works as there is already a shop screen listing the word “Expansions.” At Gen Con the FFG team also mentioned that online play would be coming later on, so I guess we can take this time to hone our skills against the AI (which is no pushover).



There have been many amazing games released this year and BattleLore: Command is one of them. It brings this beloved wargame system to tablets with flying colors. This beautiful games offers hours and hours of gameplay. You can try both armies and many scenarios which provides a ton of possibilities. This is a game that truly cannot be missed.

One of the best of the year.

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Poll created by thequietpunk
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Mon Dec 8, 2014 2:00 pm
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