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)
Here is another look at Switch games that may be of interest to board gamers.
The game this time around are: 10.Hand of Fate 2 9. Banner Saga Trilogy 8. Frost 7. Light Fingers 6. Dead Cells 5. Sushi Strikers 4. Into the Breach 3. Octopath Traveler 2. Picross S2 1. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
In 2016 it occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Apps Every Board Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS or Android device this Christmas or just want some digital recommendations, this is the place to start.
To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Milena Gubernic and Matt Thrower two big board games fans and lovers and digital board games.
Today we start with #10 and #9 from our lists. Note: Mina’s list is not ranked, so I am just choosing two to share each day.
Galaxy Trucker is a BOMB game and this is a BOMB app! Literally! This game is a hoot to play in physical form, but the app makes it even better! It is filled with hilarious animations and stories and campaigns and all manner of crazy spaceship-exploding wonder! This app is a true work of art!
The original game is sprawling and random but it is a fantastic generator of fantastic tales. Shoehorning the lot into an app means you can jettison all the baggage and just sit back to enjoy the wild ride.
Xenoshyft is the little app that could, a game I should hate but keep finding reasons to go back and give it another go. Released in the summer of 2015 it was ugly and unintuitive with a UI that made iTunes look almost usable. Over the next two years it's transformed into a slick title with victory conditions that are nearly impossible (I cannot remember winning a game, ever) and yet draws you back with the feeling that, somehow, you'll pull it off the next time you fire up the app.
Age of Rivals is a drafting game created with digital in mind. It borrow elements from games like 7 Wonders but manages to transcend them. This is a digital original but is also one of the best digital board games I’ve ever played.
I bought the physical version of Jaipur when it was first released and loved it so much that I took it on a few trips to Japan to play with my partner on the plane. Yes, we fiddled with all the chits and cards on those tiny, flimsy airplane trays. Lucky for us, the app has eliminated the need to fiddle with anything to play this great card game for two on the go. In fact, the app is so beautiful and multi-functional that it is one of my top go-to games. With solo, pass-and-play, and online duel options, as well as a great campaign mode, the Jaipur app gives players much to explore and is suitable to resolving many boredom binds. With gorgeous, vibrant illustrations and bouncy background music, this app is a ray of sunshine in a cloudy situation. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a simple and quick playing, and yet somewhat thinky, app card game for two.
It took a decade but with the blast-off on to mobile, Race for the Galaxy finally found a justification for its wretched iconography. With the symbols helping you follow the game on a phone screen you can now build your own galactic empire in record speed and time.
When Handelabra released Sentinels of the Multiverse back in 2014 they did the unthinkable: they made Sentinels playable. I mean, you could play it on the table, but it was such a fiddly mess that 5 minutes in I'd rather be playing Container (which is saying a lot for me). Simply by handling all the conditions, multipliers, additions, etc., the app became a must have for fans of the genre. Handelabra did even better by making the UI intuitive and adding multiplayer, not to mention staying on top of all the expansions and making sure everything works together in a way that I'm still surprised by. Much like Xenoshyft, it's a game I never win, but mixing and matching from the seemingly endless amount of heroes and villains always makes each game feel different and the losses hurt a little less.
Tsuro is a game that took a while to grow on me. With introduction of the AR feature this year, it really went over the top for me. It is a unique take on what a digital board game adaptation can be and has become the perfect way to demo the concept for people. This light family game is a prefect fit for any collection.
The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us in the US. That means holiday shopping has reached a fever pitch!
It also means, it's time for digital board game sales. This year we're going to try something a bit different. Follow the link below for a Google Spreadsheet that we'll update as we hear about new sales:
As you all know, I'm a big fan of portable gaming. It's part of why I play digital board games. Unsurprisingly, I've been a fan of the Switch since day one.
With holiday shopping approaching, I wanted to share 10 games I've loved on the Switch that I think are a great fit for board gamers. So, if you are picking one up for your kids or were maybe curious yourself, this is a good place to start as board game fan.
With the release of iOS 10.3, it has become clear that apps that do not support 64-bit architecture will not work in iOS 11. That means many board games apps may go away if they are not updated. You can check which apps need updates on your iPhone or iPad.
We’ve already heard from Codito, Fantasy Flight Games, Ravensburger, and others that fixes are on the way, so this is definitely not a death sentence. The real casualties here will come from apps from one-off developers that may (understandably) not still be supported.
For the next few months, I’ll periodically update the below list. As we learn that an update will be coming, we will mark as such. Let me know if you have any updates or additions.
Games in Need of 64-bit Updates 6 Takes! 7 Wonders Companion Army of Frogs Bang! Can't Stop Caylus Civilization Revolution 2 Desert Fox Dice Soccer Drive on Moscow Epigo Fairy Tale FTL Ghost Stories GuardsGuards Inkognito Kahuna Kingdom Builder Las Vegas! (Still under evaluation) Leaping Lemmings Look and Find Books Lords of Waterdeep Monster Chase Neuroshima Hex Neuroshima Hex Puzzle Nightfall Qin Qvadriga Qwirkle Risk Robot Master Rosenkoenig Samurai Stone Age Tanto Cuore Through the Desert Timeline To Be or Not to Be Twin It! Yggdrasil Zooloretto
Games Still 32-bit but Update Coming BattleLore Command Codito Catalog Eclipse Elder Sign Hey, That’s My Fish! Scotland Yard
Note: This is not a witch hunt, just a public service announcement to make people aware of games that may be leaving soon if not updated. We’ve still got several months before the change, so the hope is most will move to the bottom list.
Early this week, it was reported that there was an touch only Nintendo Switch game planned for release in Japan. This drew my attention.
The Nintendo Switch is a portable tablet console that can be docked to the TV for bigger play. To this point it was understood that only games that worked in both ways would be featured on the device. The above announcement changes things.
If correct, this would mean the possibility to play digital board games on this device is there. Not only that, but the Switch is touting easier porting for Unity and UE4 games. That means the process could be less than terrible for devs.
This got me thinking, what do you digital board game developers think of the Nintendo Switch? Is it a viable future platform? I asked a handful and below are the responses I received:
Joseph Humfrey wrote:
Despite never having owned much Nintendo hardware myself, I’m extremely excited about the Switch. The flexible way it can be a console, a handheld and a tablet means lots of different genres and scales of games will work beautifully on it. Nintendo has shown a great breadth of both 3d console experiences as well as smaller 2d games, and it excites me that they’re really starting to cater well towards indie developers. As a company we’re definitely thinking about it very seriously as a platform for narrative games like 80 Days.
Justin Gary wrote:
We are always excited about new platforms that help bring the best of the board-game world to new audiences. Ascension was the first deckbuilding on mobile devices and the first to enter into the World of Virtual Reality. The switch represents another potential horizon to create more accessible social board game experiences. I won't commit to any platform until I have a chance to play it, but I am definitely keeping an eye on the Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo have consistently innovated with their hardware, and should be commended for always trying something fresh, rather than just upping the graphics power like most other consoles.
If the Switch has a touch-screen, and similar system architecture to an Android table, then it makes a lot of sense to bring existing titles designed for this input mechanism to a new platform.
However, it's a fair bet that most people buying a Switch already have a phone or tablet, so I wouldn't expect a massive pick-up, especially given the limited amount of hardware available at launch.
On top of this, 3rd party games usually struggle on Nintendo hardware as they have to compete with 1st party exclusives like Mario and Zelda but, if you can get in right at the start, like Voez, you might be able to establish a strong foothold on the platform.
What is really interesting, is that this could mark the beginning of Nintendo merging their home-console and hand-held platforms, which would be a canny idea as the 3DS has massively outperformed the Wii-U (a quick look on Wikipedia shows the 3DS at 35.3 Million units worldwide, compared to the Wii-U's 13.6 Million). Fusing the two markets could generate a strong uplift in hardware sales, which is great for both developers and consumers alike.
The fact that the Switch has a touch screen on the controller is of particular interest to us, as it's a great tool for creating a physical bond between the real-world player and the virtual-world experience - something we really focused on with Tsuro.
Voez's decision to not support the TV screen is an intriguing one. Having made a number of games on various Nintendo platforms, I know that they can sometimes enforce weird design restrictions around how their hardware can be used, particularly in the early days of a new console or peripheral. That having been said, the gameplay in Voez looks like players need to keep an eye on the touch screen, so I'm not sure what benefit using the TV would bring.
If Thunderbox were to do a Switch version of Tsuro we'd probably want to leverage the unique hardware to reinforce the immersion - sure you'd be able to play Tsuro on the go, just like the iOS and Android versions, but we'd probably put the board on the big screen, and have the players' tiles on the controller, so they could strategise in secret. Hmmm... maybe we should get on the phone to Nintendo!
Don Whiteford wrote:
We are considering Nintendo Switch as a potential new platform for our games, and are excited at the prospect of this new hardware, along with the opportunities it may bring.
TIN MAN GAMES
Neil Rennison wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Switch's potential for game developers and this news has piqued my interest even further! I think this opens up lots of opportunities for companies like us working in the digital tabletop RPG/board game space. Lots of food for thought.
NORTH STAR GAMES
Scott Rencher wrote:
This seems like a great potential platform for board games. Play by yourself on the touch screen, or utilize the TV to play with others in the room. Hopefully they make it affordable for others to join in. The closer a platform mimics the natural interactions of moving physical pieces, the better we can maintain the illusion that the game and the experience is real.
Martin Pittenauer wrote:
It's hard to tell without having touched the final hardware yet ofc. Saying that, it is an interesting hardware package and might be a great board game platform. Being a worrier, I see two issues:
1) I'm sceptical of Nintendo's efforts to support and empower independent developers. Some of that might be prejudice and of course I'm very happy to see Nintendo taking more proactive steps to facilitate indies on the Switch, but well, given it's track record with third party devs, it's an issue to keep an eye on.
2) I'm not sure how well no-tv-mode games will be received by the audience. It's one of the main selling points of the system and violating that implicit promise (made by marketing) will make people angry. Maybe rightly so at Nintendo, but also at developers not supporting the TV mode. Board games are in an especially awkward place here, because they profit a lot from touch controls, but also lend themselves perfectly to local multiplayer, which would be associated with TV mode on the platform rather than handing the Switch from person to person.
Ben Murch wrote:
It's an interesting piece of kit, and I find it curious that not all the games will support TV mode given that's one of the big system selling points. Feels like Nintendo are cannibalising their handheld market. Are they trying to phase out their DS line of products? The controllers themselves don't look that great for digital board games, and the handheld screen itself is smaller than a tablet.... which makes me think tablets or PCs are still the leading platform for digital board games. Would I be tempted to make something for Switch? Sure. However, that something would most likely be a port from an iOS game, and not something totally bespoke and new. Nintendo are positioning themselves in a very odd space in the market, and it will be interesting to see how the next year progresses for them.
It occurred to us that the gift guide is basically just a collection of some of the best games we feel every digital board gamer should own. So, we decided this year that we would instead make a Top 10 List of Apps Every Board Gamer should own. The concept is the same, only the format has changed. If you open up an iOS device this Christmas, or want
To help us in this endeavor, we’ve enlisted Brett Nolan and Suzanne Sheldon, who are, among many other things, avide digital board game enthusiasts.
The 4 of us have created a top 10 list and will share one rank each day with you. Let’s go!
Let's face it - a lot of app gaming is all about solo gaming. The Game is a stand out as a solitaire app experience. Not only does the core game provide a fun and challenging solo experience, The Game app included the Fire expansion at release as well. On top of that - the app-only "Lift Up" game provides a totally different way to experience the game. The Game app hits that sweet spot for app gaming - quick, simple, but endlessly challenging and entertaining.
Devices: iOS, Android Price: $2.99 Purchase Links:App Store
I was already a huge fan of Uwe Rosenberg's award-winning two- player tile laying game Patchwork when it was announced that an app version was in development. I love the puzzly, almost Tetris-like nature of this game as you are trying to buy oddly shaped quilt pieces and add them to your own such that you avoid leaving any gaps and hopefully get that 7x7 bonus tile first. DIGIDICED has done a phenomenal job with this app, and it is probably my most-played online multiplayer digital board game. I've participated in several Patchwork tournaments and leagues on BGG and there are always people to play against. It is so convenient to have instant access to this elegantly simple, yet strategic game, no table is required to spread out all of those quilt pieces, no need to add up all of the buttons and you can easily try a wealth of orientations and locations before laying down a quilt piece. DIGIDICED has released digital versions of a number of Uwe Rosenburg's two-player games and while all are well made, feature nice art and music, this is easily my favorite and I can't recommend Patchwork enough. This is another studio to keep an eye on in the coming years (they have Terra Mystica coming in 2017) , not only are they great at what they do, but DIGIDICED also offers its players some of the best post-release support and interest I've seen. A two player game that will appeal to a wide audience, you should have no problems finding someone to play this with you.
I had said that 2016 had produced two board game ports that have surpassed Galaxy Trucker for me, and Pathfinder Adventures is the second (after Twilight Struggle). I do, however, pause in calling Pathfinder Adventures a board game port. Yes, it’s a port of the first adventure path for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and a very good one. That said, it doesn’t feel like a board or card game when its in the digital realm. Instead, I feel like it's a full-flung RPG which is the reason I love it so much. Gone is the mind boggling fiddliness of the cardboard version, trying to keep track of every bonus or penalty or which dice to roll as more cards are added to a check. Gone is the sterile feel of having several decks of somewhat bland cards representing supposedly mysterious and exotic locales. The digital version takes all that away, making combat and other checks feel natural and easy and transporting you into a fantasy world via excellent graphics and cutscenes. Not only is it a fantastic card game port, but it’s the best RPG on the App Store as well. Here’s hoping that Obsidian can keep creating more and more content so that our campaigns never have to end.
Collectible card games shaped not only my gaming history but also my life. They influenced my group of friends which resulted in the career I have today. Hearthstone is so high on my list because it is the best digital CCG available. It takes great elements from many existing games while striking out on its own identity. Hearthstone has managed to keep me coming back to both competitive and casual play. The cadence has continued to engage me over and over, for years.
Carcassonne is the quintessential tile laying game, and - in many ways, it's the quintessential board game app. Released way back in 2012 (which is light years ago in the board game app world) Carcassonne has been well maintained and updated and it holds up as a classic app as well as a classic board game. Solid asynch online play, unique solo challenges, and available expansions ensures Carcassonne deserves a spot on anyone's device.
When Days of Wonder released the iOS version of Ticket to Ride way back in 2011, right out of the gate, they pretty much set the gold standard of digital board gaming. At the time they had already sold over 1.5 Million copies of the board game version and more than 23 million games of Ticket to Ride Online had been played on Macs and PCs. So it was pretty clear they knew how to make a digital board game. The touch interface that iPad offered added a whole new level of engagement that felt closer to playing the physical board game than ever. DoW supported both solo AI as well as online multiplayer and there was an interactive tutorial…all of the hallmarks of a well-designed digital board game. Over the years they continued to polish and refine the app with a huge graphics update when Retina displays were released by Apple. Numerous expansions were(and continue to be) added and they even tried an iPhone version. About a year ago (post Asmodee acquisition), the entire app was rewritten to make it a universal app and allow for asynchronous multiplayer (previously only available on the iPhone version). I wish Asmodee would port THIS multiplayer system to ALL of their games. Perfect for any age player and all skill levels, this is the ultimate gateway game which brings so many people into the hobby and its wealth of expansions give the game a ton of replayability. The consistently high level of polish this app has had since day one makes Ticket to Ride my top pick and it should have a permanent place on every digital board gamer's mobile device(s).
When FTL landed on the App Store in January of 2014, it was a revelation. Here was a well-known and well-loved PC title that not only had arrived on the App Store without any corners being cut, but the developers had redesigned it to work on a touchscreen ensuring that iPad players would get the same experience as those using a mouse and keyboard. They failed at that as the iPad controls ended up actually improving on what we’d grown used to on our laptops. This is what happens when developers care about their game and aren’t just looking to turn a quick buck on the App Store. I immediately became addicted to FTL and the USS HelloNeumann has had many, many adventures over the past several years, all of them ending in tragedy for Jean-Luc, Geordi, and Data. One of these times I’ll beat that mothership, but I have yet to pull it off. No game I’ve ever played has been so difficult and yet so engaging and fun that you want to play it regardless. This is a desert island game, the one game I could take and leave all others behind and still enjoy myself years down the road. A true masterpiece.
Carcassonne is an achievement. Not only was it one of the earliest digital board games, it set all the rules. The game has had what feels like an unending amount of support and still get game requests from friends from time to time. While it may feel like an older game, it still holds a special place in my heart. This is still the measure by which I judge all other digital board games.