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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #6 and #5

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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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 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!




Number 6


Suzanne





Splendor's popularity as a board game made it a natural choice to port to an app. And even before they recently added online play, I would have recommend Splendor to just about anyone because Asmodee Digital went above and beyond on the solo play experience. They saw the puzzley potential of the game and built the Challenge Mode around that potential. Full of dozens of different set ups for solo play puzzles, Splendor's Challenge Mode is tough, entertaining, and it makes the Splendor app a must-have game.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Brett





Released back in 2012 during Playdek's prolific heyday, this digital adaptation of Sid Sackson's classic push your luck game is a go-to staple in my house. We like to play this while waiting to get a table at a restaurant or while just hanging out at home waiting on dinner. On their turn the player rolls four dice and splits them into two pairs, summing the pips of each pair of dice to get two numbers. These numbers correspond to columns on the octagonal board. The player may place or move one or two of their 3 available markers on the corresponding column. The goal is to climb to the end of three columns before your opponent(s). Once you place a marker in a column, it may only ascend that numerical column. You may keep rolling and moving as long as you roll a number that allows one or more of your pieces to move. You may stop at any time and lock your pieces into their current locations, however if you push your luck too much and roll numbers that cannot be utilized by your pieces, you bust out and lose any/all progress made that turn. The app supports single player against AI opponents or up to 4 player pass-and-play multiplayer. Unfortunately it doesn't have online multiplayer (and is unlikely to see it in the future). Easy enough for both kids and parents alike to enjoy, nerves of steel and a heavy dose of luck will get you far in this game. This inexpensive and dependable little game should be on everyone's iPhone.


Devices: iOS
Price: $0.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.




Dave




When Card Crawl hit the scene last year it seemed like any other mobile time waster which would be fun to play for a week or two and then fade away into oblivion. A year-and-a-half later, it’s still installed on both my iPhone and iPad and gets play on both. The mixture of solitaire card play and RPG elements in which you’re earning gold to buy new abilities is digital heroin. As time passed, Tinytouchtales wisely kept mixing things up by adding new cards and new modes of play all of which, miraculously, worked. Soon, Tinytouchtales will release their next card-based game—The Card Thief— but I think Card Crawl will continue to have a long life and permanent spot on my home screen.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $2.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play




Brad





This is the game that I keep coming back to. The roll and move nature might make it an odd choice for the tabletop, but digitally it is quick and fun. The silliness plays out great in this format. The team has also done a great job of bringing this title to life and bringing out a steady flow of content. This classic has found new life for me on digital.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $3.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Number 5




Suzanne





Lords of Waterdeep is a stand out game that shows you can port full board games to an app without compromising game play experience. The game plays smoothly and is beautiful to look at. Solo play is satisfying against the various AIs, but the game really shines when you play online asynchronously against friends. Tossing in the Undermountain or Scoundrels of Skullport expansions ensures extended replayability too. Playdek was at the top of their game when they created the Lords of Waterdeep app and the quality shines.


Devices: iOS
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.




Brett





2014 was certainly a great year for digital board games. One of that year's best digital board games, if not mobile games in general was Czech Games Edition’s stellar digital implementation of the humorous spaceship building / racing / adventure board game Galaxy Trucker. There is nothing quite like racing to build spaceships out of a pile of junk and then competing with the other players to collect and sell goods, while avoiding being boarded by enemy invaders and dodging meteors. The app features a detailed tutorial, extensive single-player campaign, as well as Pass & Play local multiplayer, online multiplayer (with loads of customizable game options) and cross-platform play. Even at launch the game already had an impressive amount of content, then last year "multiplayer missions" were added in a big free update as well as a separate iPhone release. Earlier this year CGE released their first full paid expansion called Alien Technologies, which adds a ton of new single-player challenges, multiplayer missions, ship components and loads more. Here we are two years later and CGE not only continues to support the app, but release exciting new content for the game. Quite a feat considering that CGE is also hard at work on at least a couple of new digital board game releases for next year (Codenames and Through The Ages) as well. Brimming with content this provides a big bang for the buck.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $4.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Dave




When Fantasy Flight released a digital version of Elder Sign way back in 2012, it instantly became a classic. Taking a somewhat themeless dice game and using digital magic to turn it into a convincing horror title was impressive, as was the fact that Fantasy Flight wasn’t afraid to tweak rules here and there to make the game fit its new medium. It’s something a lot of developers could learn from (and some have…spoilers!), and the changes made Elder Sign: Omens flow wonderfully on a touchscreen. As time moved on, FFG added more content in the form of new characters and themed adventures and each one was a fascinating roguelike trip with some tough enough that I’ve yet to complete them. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep trying. Not by a long shot.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $3.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.




Brad





This to me may be the definitive complex board game on digital platforms. It manages to tread the line between digital flourishes and focused gameplay. Playdek really are the masters at creating excellent digital experiences. The ability to play both online and against AI opened up a game that I struggled to get to the physical table. This is a masterpiece.


Devices: iOS
Price: $6.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.




Lists So Far:


Suzanne:
10. Neuroshima Hex
9. Pathfinder Adventures
8. Ticket to Ride
7. Pathwork
6.Splendor
5. Lords of Waterdeep


Brett:
10. Lost Cities
9. Lanterns: the Harvest Festival
8. Card Crawl
7. Hearthstone
6. Can’t Stop
5. Galaxy Trucker


Dave:
10. Don’t Starve
9. Agricola
8. Sorcery! Series
7. XCOM
6. Card Crawl
5. Elder Sign: Omens


Brad:
10. Forbidden Island/Desert
9. Hey That’s My Fish
8. Neuroshima Hex
7. Pathfinder Adventures
6. Talisman
5. Lords of Waterdeep
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