Welcome to the new and improved gift guide!
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 Digital Board Games Every 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!
This two-player tactical battle game is endlessly entertaining with a plethora of available armies - each of which plays quite differently. But, it's arguable, that the app is even better than the board game because any of the fiddliness in actions, battle resolution, or scoring you have in the physical game is handled by the app. With almost all the armies available in the base game or as IAP, Neuroshima Hex is more than a fun game - it's a tactical learning tool that enables to you explore the armies at will. And playing Neuroshima Hex online against a buddy is extremely satisfying.
Devices: iOS, Android
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
The app version of Lost Cities was released back in 2012, but still holds up as one of my go-to quick, digital board game time fillers. This Reiner Knizia two-player card game is super easy to pick up and play, (ignoring the theme) players are essentially trying to build stacks of (always) incrementing like-colored cards to earn points. Players take turns drawing (from either the draw deck or discard pile) and then either playing or discarding a card until all of the cards in the draw deck have been taken. When a player decides to start a new colored stack, they get negative points until they can play enough points worth of cards onto the ascending pile to work their way back into the positive. There is a nice press your luck element to the game as well as some tough decisions as you have to decide when to skip a number you may not have and continue incrementing your stack(s) or otherwise figuring out what to discard. Any card you discard may be picked up by the other player and this can lead to some immediate regrets. Despite its age and lack of native iPad support, Lost Cities looks great on an iPad even in 2x mode and the app continues to hold up well; there are always online opponents available as well as multiple levels of AI. A reliable old friend, Lost Cities is a great game to have on your device for whenever you need a quick little escape.
Purchase Links: App Store,
When Don’t Starve arrived on mobile back in 2015, I was unaware that it was originally a very well-regarded PC title. Thus, I was a taken aback when I discovered that Klei had somehow conjured up not just an entire world, but worlds within worlds on my iPad. In my hands I was holding a game that looked like an animated film and was full of so many possibilities that it seemed endless. I was blown away. After 5 plays I was struggling to unravel the crafting mechanisms, after 10 plays I could survive for a few days, after 50 plays I could build a formidable base and yet still wander and discover something I hadn’t seen. While it doesn’t get the play it did in the months after its release, it still resides on my iPad and I will stroll around a new world, fighting off spiders and beefalo, every now and then. Simply one of the best experiences you can have on a touchscreen.
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Cooperative games really shine on digital platforms. Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert are two great examples. The graphics are well done and the digital platform makes for quick play. The pass and play functions of both make these essential for road trips, long lines, etc. This is a great one to pull out with the kids and has a permanent place on my iPad
Purchase Links: App Store