Elliott D
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Hi. What iPad would you recommend a person to buy who wants to use it primarily for playing board games and occasionally reading some pdf RPG rules books?

I currently am thinking about buying an iPad but I'm having a hard time finding recommendations online for what's the best iPad to use to play boardgames on. (On a side note, if I should buy buying an Android tablet, touch screen PC, etc instead of an iPad for the best digital board game experience, please let me know!)

Does one need a 2017 iPad Pro to get the best boardgame experience, or is that just overkill price and spec wise and in reality a more modest 2017 iPad or iPad air 2 would be more or less just as good? (Or perhaps a 1st generation iPad pro?)

I'd be interested to hear peoples thoughts about:
- Screen size: 12.9, 10.5, 9.7, 7.9
- Multiplayer : For pass and play games, do you feel there is a difference between 12.9 and 10.5/9.7 screens? Does 12.9 enhance the experience?
- Processor power: have you noticed performance problems on an iPad released in the past few years? i.e. iPad Air 2, or 2017 iPad
- Storage: Is 128 GB enough? or would you recommend 256GB or 512GB?
- Aniti-reflective screen coating: How valuable is this feature to you for board gaming? or can it be skipped?
- Do any of the iPad pro features enhance playing boardgames for you? i.e. Apple Pencil, auto color adjust, variable screen refresh rate, etc
- Anything else you think worth mentioning

I'm assuming any of the iPad's could be carried to someone else's house just as easily to play there instead of at your home.

EDIT: Added 'Multiplayer' category
 
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Robbert Vervuurt
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I sometimes play on my iPad Mini 2, and except from being slow, it's a perfect size to play games on! If you want to play multiplayer on one device, I'd just go for the iPad 2017: normal size, affordable price. Maybe not the BEST iPad around, but I really think going Pro is a waste of money for your use

So: iPad mini if you're playing solo/online/against AI. iPad 2017 if you're planning to play with multiple people.

iPad Pro if you have too much money.

Edit: If I'm not mistaken, the iPad Mini is more expensive than the iPad 2017. Yes, you get a lot of extra space, but that might not be worth the extra money I'd say 64gb should be enough.
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Jeffrey Nolin
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I love playing games on my iPad Pro even better than on my 2012 iPad. The bigger screen is really nice for everything I use my iPad for.
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Elliott D
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longagoigo wrote:
I love playing games on my iPad Pro even better than on my 2012 iPad. The bigger screen is really nice for everything I use my iPad for.

Hi. Thanks for replying. What size iPad pro are you referring to? I'm guessing the 12.9?
 
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Dave Dyer
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I would go for the biggest screen that meets your portability
requirements. Ipads are light, but not weightless. You'll get
cramps after a while with the bigger ones.
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I have an Ipad 4 (9.7 in) and it is perfectly fine for board games and some pdfs. A mini is too small. My Ipad only has 16 GB and no cell but I find I'm not playing that many games at any one time so the rest get shelved to the cloud. You just can't store pictures or media on it if you want room for game data files.

Something to keep in mind is Apple's upcoming switch to 64bit. When they do that, a lot of games will cease to work. Only the more popular games will get ported where companies are actually making new money.
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Some of this depends on which factors are most important to you. The largest screen is too big for me in most circumstances, but if it doesn't bother you, then you're going to get the best views there, especially for pdfs. Definitely don't recommend a mini for that reason. Afaik, there's no especial need to buy a pro over a regular. I game on my regular one all the time and it works great. What I do recommend is maxing storage. What's good enough today will be small in the future and your device will be more versatile for you that way. Good luck!
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Dave Dyer
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GlennG wrote:

Only the more popular games will get ported where companies are actually making new money.


Porting is pretty near trivial, but you DO have to go through the
app store again. What will happen is that all the games that are
effectively abandoned will also become unplayable except on obsolete
devices.
 
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ddyer wrote:
GlennG wrote:

Only the more popular games will get ported where companies are actually making new money.


Porting is pretty near trivial, but you DO have to go through the
app store again. What will happen is that all the games that are
effectively abandoned will also become unplayable except on obsolete
devices.


Dave, you don't have to press the return-key when you reach the end of the input field It makes for quite difficult reading! (even though the endlessly long sentences the BGG forum makes if you don't use the return-key, aren't the most readable either )

This topic actually made me look at a new iPad (my Mini 2 is getting real slow...), but I'm not really ready to shell out about $450 just yet!
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Elliott D
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Thanks for the replies everyone. :-)
I'm interested to follow up about your screen size comments.

4theta wrote:
Some of this depends on which factors are most important to you. The largest screen is too big for me in most circumstances, but if it doesn't bother you, then you're going to get the best views there, especially for pdfs. Definitely don't recommend a mini for that reason.


ddyer wrote:
I would go for the biggest screen that meets your portability
requirements. Ipads are light, but not weightless. You'll get
cramps after a while with the bigger ones.


GlennG wrote:

I have an Ipad 4 (9.7 in) and it is perfectly fine for board games and some pdfs.


Do you feel that multiplayer board games benefit from a 12.9 screen vs a 10.5/9.7 sized screen?

For example: two to four people are sitting around a table.
Hypothetical 12.9 good points
- The 12.9 screen would be closer in size to playing a physical version of the board game, so therefor it's 'better'.
- Or perhaps some text or icons are easier to read on a 12.9 screen from farther away so people don't have to be leaning over the ipad as much.

Hypothetical 12.9 bad points
- The game screen is just upscaled from a 9.7 screen to fit the 12.9 screen, the added screen size doesn't make much of a difference, everything is just slightly larger.

Thanks!
 
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Dave Dyer
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nesboi wrote:

Hypothetical 12.9 bad points
- The game screen is just upscaled from a 9.7 screen to fit the 12.9 screen, the added screen size doesn't make much of a difference, everything is just slightly larger.

Thanks!


At least equally important is the size of your finger relative to the screen. Games that were designed for mice can be unplayable on touch screens below a certain size because you can't hit the damn target area reliably. This is even worse because pop-up help and mouse-over highlighting of active areas are nonfunctional on touch screens.
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nesboi wrote:
Hypothetical 12.9 bad points
- The game screen is just upscaled from a 9.7 screen to fit the 12.9 screen, the added screen size doesn't make much of a difference, everything is just slightly larger.

Thanks!

Are there any games that actually optimize for the full 12.9" screens?
I was under the impression that all of Ipad screen resolutions are just a single one... for Ipad, and it gets scaled to the 7.0", 9.7", and 12.9" screens as appropriate. It's not like with some iPhone vs. iPad apps where the latter actually makes use of the extra space, as opposed to being an 2x upscaled image of what you'd see on the iPad.

Due to that, I'd agree with what everyone else has said... make screen size that fits your hand and travel needs how big you can go. Larger is nicer if you also do stuff like web browsing, videos, and certain productivity software, but smaller is easier to fit into bags and purses.

Also, take price into consideration. For example, if you can get an Ipad Mini 4 for much cheaper than an Ipad Air 2 for example, the savings can be worth it.
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ackmondual wrote:

I was under the impression that all of Ipad screen resolutions are just a single one... for Ipad, and it gets scaled to the 7.0", 9.7", and 12.9" screens as appropriate.


There are something like 14 different IOS resolutions. The sheer
number makes it unlikely that anything is optimized for every
resolution.

 
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I have an ipad 3 and it runs everything i want it to except Tokidao. But it's now 'not supported' and i know it's days are numbered.

I find the 9.7 size is fine, the only game I wish i had more real estate on is Lords of Waterdeep (though, Carc is a close second). I have a 64GB model, so i'm not hurting for space (yet), but id not go down from there. In short, i'd be thrilled with a new Pad or Ipad air...but i dont have the $450-550 to drop on it. I'd avoid buying a Ipad4 because within the next year or three Apple will discontinue it as well, and for the price of the IPad4 your half way to a nicer ipad.

As for the Pro, my sister in law has the 12" version and I just don't know how she can actually use it on a day to day basis...but she loves it. I can see the 'show room' appeal but it's just so massive that Id be afraid it would make playing the 'smaller' games like TTR harder. But since she doesn't run board games on her pro I'll never know. :)
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ddyer wrote:
ackmondual wrote:

I was under the impression that all of Ipad screen resolutions are just a single one... for Ipad, and it gets scaled to the 7.0", 9.7", and 12.9" screens as appropriate.


There are something like 14 different IOS resolutions. The sheer
number makes it unlikely that anything is optimized for every
resolution.

14? You got me curious now....

3.5" std def Ipod Touch 3
3.5" Retina IpT4

4" Retina IpT5, Iph4s/5, SE

4.7" Retina Iphone6/6s/7
5.5" Retina Iph6+/6s+/7+

7.9" std def Ipad Mini 1
7.9" Retina Ipad Mini 2-4

9.7" std def Ipad 1-2
9.7" Retina Ipad 3-4, Air, Air2, one of the IpP's

12.9" Retina Ipad Pro's


I've got 10, but your point wasn't lost on me. The crossed out ones are those that developers probably won't have to worry about, as those no longer support the latest versions of iOS, and furthermore, probably won't make the 64-bit cut.

That leaves us with 6 left. However, I've read articles saying that making an iphone app, but then adding optimized Ipad support isn't just some "mere add-on" like how some consumers keep thinking or insisting that it is. It's practically doing a whole separate app, so having just 2 distinct screen types to support (iPhone and iPad) is sufficient to have developers' hands full.
 
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Sorry, I can't resist:

Wouldn't a plain table be better to play games on? But if you really need a tablet to put your game on, choose the flattest one available...whistle
 
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Dave Dyer
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ackmondual wrote:

I've got 10, but your point wasn't lost on me.


Yea, 10 is the accurate number as of today, it just seems like
a lot; plus you need both portrait and landscape layouts in each
size.

The actual difficulty depends on the game and the layout tools you use,
but it can be pretty daunting.
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Emperors Grace
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I still run my games (and read RPG books) on a 16 GB iPad 2.

So far, it's done well with everything except Colt Express (CE jumps a little here and there).
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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ackmondual wrote:
ddyer wrote:
ackmondual wrote:

I was under the impression that all of Ipad screen resolutions are just a single one... for Ipad, and it gets scaled to the 7.0", 9.7", and 12.9" screens as appropriate.


There are something like 14 different IOS resolutions. The sheer
number makes it unlikely that anything is optimized for every
resolution.

14? You got me curious now....

3.5" std def Ipod Touch 3
3.5" Retina IpT4

4" Retina IpT5, Iph4s/5, SE

4.7" Retina Iphone6/6s/7
5.5" Retina Iph6+/6s+/7+

7.9" std def Ipad Mini 1
7.9" Retina Ipad Mini 2-4

9.7" std def Ipad 1-2
9.7" Retina Ipad 3-4, Air, Air2, one of the IpP's

12.9" Retina Ipad Pro's


I've got 10, but your point wasn't lost on me. The crossed out ones are those that developers probably won't have to worry about, as those no longer support the latest versions of iOS, and furthermore, probably won't make the 64-bit cut.

That leaves us with 6 left. However, I've read articles saying that making an iphone app, but then adding optimized Ipad support isn't just some "mere add-on" like how some consumers keep thinking or insisting that it is. It's practically doing a whole separate app, so having just 2 distinct screen types to support (iPhone and iPad) is sufficient to have developers' hands full.


The new 10.5" iPad Pro is a different resolution from the 9.7". (2224 x 1668 vs 2048 x 1440), though it will automatically upscale old iPad apps that aren't using flexible layout.
 
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Elliott D
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Well, I tried playing games on an iPad pro 10.5 and an iPad Pro 12.9.
Here's my takeaway: For my main use case of playing with others in the same room, the larger the screen the better.

iPad Pro 12.9 was much more comfortable to use for sitting around a table with other people playing a game. i.e. in the cooperative game, Forbidden Island, having the island larger made it much easier for everyone to see at the same time. Or with Agricola or Carcassonne, having a larger board let others more easily watch other players take turns or to just leave the board in the center of the table.

Even when I tried playing Lords of Waterdeep by myself, having the larger iPad meant I didn't have to zoom in on a card description while playing to read them. That was a nice convenience.

I understand others may prioritize iPad portability or weight, and that's fine. Or if a person does mainly single player gaming or network gaming then a smaller screen size is certainly do-able.

However I'm glad I chose to buy the 12.9 screen size iPad.
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I use my iPad 3 for bedtime reading, the iPad Pro for everything else. The first time I got clocked in the head by the iPad Pro when I nodded off while holding it vertically was enough for me

 
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ackmondual wrote:
nesboi wrote:
Hypothetical 12.9 bad points
- The game screen is just upscaled from a 9.7 screen to fit the 12.9 screen, the added screen size doesn't make much of a difference, everything is just slightly larger.

Thanks!

Are there any games that actually optimize for the full 12.9" screens? :what:
I was under the impression that all of Ipad screen resolutions are just a single one... for Ipad, and it gets scaled to the 7.0", 9.7", and 12.9" screens as appropriate. It's not like with some iPhone vs. iPad apps where the latter actually makes use of the extra space, as opposed to being an 2x upscaled image of what you'd see on the iPad.

Due to that, I'd agree with what everyone else has said... make screen size that fits your hand and travel needs how big you can go. Larger is nicer if you also do stuff like web browsing, videos, and certain productivity software, but smaller is easier to fit into bags and purses.

Also, take price into consideration. For example, if you can get an Ipad Mini 4 for much cheaper than an Ipad Air 2 for example, the savings can be worth it.



I'm an ios programmer. Yes, the programmers can totally optimize based on each screen. Mostly you'll do this dynamically and then snap elements of the gui to the edges of the screen and potentially even use higher res images as the device type increases in power/size. The phone or ipad screen can be like a window that you can pan around the board with, or zoom out to see everything. But with a bigger screen, naturally, zooming all the way out will just look better either way. But it really depends on who is programming it as to whether or not it's best supported.
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