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(Gift Guide) Top 10 Apps Every Board Gamer Should Own - #2 and #1

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 2

Suzanne



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


Brett



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.

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


Dave



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.

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



Brad



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.


Devices: iOS, Android
Price: Free(ish)
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.



Number 1


Suzanne



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.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Brett



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).

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



Dave



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.

Devices: iOS
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store
Our Review.


Brad



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.

Devices: iOS, Android
Price: $9.99
Purchase Links: App Store, Google Play
Our Review.


Lists So Far:

Suzanne:
10. Neuroshima Hex
9. Pathfinder Adventures
8. Ticket to Ride
7. Patchwork
6.Splendor
5. Lords of Waterdeep
4. Qwixx
3. Star Realms
2. The Game
1. Carcassonne

Brett:
10. Lost Cities
9. Lanterns: the Harvest Festival
8. Card Crawl
7. Hearthstone
6. Can’t Stop
5. Galaxy Trucker
4. Splendor
3. Lords of Waterdeep
2. Patchwork
1. Ticket to Ride

Dave:
10. Don’t Starve
9. Agricola
8. Sorcery! Series
7. XCOM
6. Card Crawl
5. Elder Sign: Omens
4. Galaxy Trucker
3. Twilight Struggle
2. Pathfinder Adventures
1. FTL

Brad:
10. Forbidden Island/Desert
9. Hey That’s My Fish
8. Neuroshima Hex
7. Pathfinder Adventures
6. Talisman
5. Lords of Waterdeep
4. 80 Days
3. Galaxy Trucker
2. Hearthstone
1. Carcassonne
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