Tom Grant
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Since electronic incarnations of boardgames started appearing on mobile devices, we've had some interesting discussions here on BGG and elsewhere about them. How well do they appeal to existing fans of the game? Are they a good entry point for people who have not played a particular boardgame before?

This poll is designed to help answer those questions. I've included a large, representative list of boardgame "ports" to see if there are any differences between how "experienced" (played the physical game) and "new" (never touched it before) players view these iOS versions. If you haven't played the iOS version, just don't select any of the options in that row.

Poll
If you have played an iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) version of a boardgame, what did you think of it?

* If you never played the physical version, you are a "new player."
* If you have played the physical version, you are an "experienced player."
  New player, like it New player, neither like nor dislike New player dislike it Experienced player, like it Experienced player, neither like nor dislike Experienced player, dislike it
Ascension: Chronicle Of The Godslayer
Bang!
Battleline
Carcassone
Catan
Caylus
Cyclades
Elder Sign
Forbidden Isle
Ghost Stories
High Society
Hive
Kingsburg
Loot And Scoot
Medici
Neuroshima Hex
Puerto Rico
Ra
Risk
Roll Through The Ages
Samurai
Small World
Through The Desert
Ticket To Ride
Tigris & Euphrates
Tikal
Titan
Wabash Cannonball
      105 answers
Poll created by Kingdaddy


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Gabe Alvaro
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Kingdaddy wrote:
How well do they appeal to existing fans of the game? Are they a good entry point for people who have not played a particular boardgame before?

Additionally, there are at least two more factors in understanding if the game is liked or disliked as a "port".

1. The appropriateness and adaptability of the game itself.
Some games, because of the nature of the mechanics, just port better, more easily, or more naturally and intuitively.

2. The quality and approach of the "port" by the developer.
A shoddy developer can take a great game that would be a natural fit for a touch screen device and do a really terrible job. (Not going to name titles, but I'm sure someone else will.)
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Steven
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I find iOS board games very hard to play unless I've played the original. Most iOS board games in some way obscure the implementation of the rules, so that things will happen on the screen that don't make any real sense. This is true even for outstanding implementations like Ascension, Neuroshima Hex, and Hive.

I think part of the problem is that you're trying to learn the rules of the game at the same time as you're learning the mechanics of the implementation. For pure computer games the two are generally closely related; for iOS board games, depending on the skill of the developer, they may not be. For example, I found it impossible to figure out how to play Wabash Cannonball on the iPhone, despite its very good interface, until I'd played Chicago Express on a table.
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Tom Grant
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You're right, Gabe. Other factors might matter, too. Does the game provide online play options? Does it have an AI? However, for sake of answering one question, I didn't throw those other dimensions into the survey. With a big enough list of games that vary across these dimensions (appropriateness, quality, etc.), we might see a pattern about appeal to new and experienced players.
 
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Lauren Stein
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I think a lot depends on what one is looking for.

I buy a lot of new-to-me games on my iPad because it's an inexpensive way to try new games. Some have gone over very well (Ascension & Kingsburg, despite the clunky design), while others have just been "eh" (Roll Through the Ages, It's Alive), and a lot haven't been touched yet (all of the Codito games I bought during their last sale). But I wouldn't have tried any of these if not for the iPad. Since I have a lot of games that I haven't played yet, though, I'm getting kind of picky. Tutorials are becoming much more important - it was kind of awful trying to learn Kingsburg on the iPhone.

Some of the iOS games appeal to me because of the ease of play/lack of cleanup. I learned Ascension on the iPad and recently tried playing in real life. It felt *so* slow compared to the app and was pretty unappealing. Same for other card games - Dominion (and all of its expansions) will be an insta-buy for me, just because I don't want to deal with all of those cards.

And online multi-player is another bonus. I have a handful of Carcassonne games running at any given time - sometime quick to do while waiting in line. I don't tend to play longer, more complex games online though.
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Caleb
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I also find it hard to learn to play games on iOS. I prefer to read the rules to the game (or be taught by someone) and play the physical copy. Something about having to perform all the 'maintenance' involved in a game helps cement it in my mind. That link is not really present in iOS.
 
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Nim Chimpsky
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My interest in boardgames was triggered by randomly downloading Catan on the iPad.

Ticket to Ride was the first "new" board game I purchased, and that was due to playing the iPad version and liking it so much that I wanted to have a physical copy to take me with me when visiting friends/family.

Small World is probably the only game I've played on the iPad and was turned off of. I've tried giving it several chances, but every time I play it I end up thinking "That's it?" and then proceed to ignore it again for weeks. I wonder whether the game is better with more than 2 players, but won't know until the app allows for more players (if it ever will).

I'm sure there are other games out there that I would also dislike, but I only buy ones I think I will like, and so far, of those, Small World is the only one I ended up disliking.
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Michael Weber
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macgruff wrote:
My interest in boardgames was triggered by randomly downloading Catan on the iPad.



COOOOOOL, I would never have thought that an iPad/Phone app would turn a non-boardgamer into a boardgamer!

WELCOME ON BOARD! (and thanks for sharing)

(note: The Elder sign made me buy the boardgame version (or rather will make me, the German version is preordered at my FLGS), while ticket to ride made me rebuy the boardgame)
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Clyde W
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I typically play the iOS version first. If the app is well done, it's easy to figure out the game. If the app sucks, it can be pretty much impossible. Caylus, for me, is in between. I sort of got what I needed to do, but a demo video would help even more, and a pop up when clicking buildings would help even even more.
 
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Nim Chimpsky
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Mixo wrote:

COOOOOOL, I would never have thought that an iPad/Phone app would turn a non-boardgamer into a boardgamer!

WELCOME ON BOARD! (and thanks for sharing)

(note: The Elder sign made me buy the boardgame version (or rather will make me, the German version is preordered at my FLGS), while ticket to ride made me rebuy the boardgame)


I've wanted to try the Elder Sign app, but I'm waiting for it to go on sale. $7 seems to be on the higher end for apps, and now that Caylus was released, I have plenty to keep me occupied.
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Tom Grant
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Here are the results so far:




So, not a significant difference, if you look across all games, between the perspective of new and experienced players. What does seem to matter a lot is the quality of the execution.
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David Boeren
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Most boardgames I buy on iOS are games I've played in person: Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Tikal, ...

I bought Elder Sign after having only played a brief demo at Gencon and mostly learned the game from the iOS version. The tutorial could be better but you can do it.

I bought Tichu after having played it about 7 years ago, didn't remember much. But, the app has a good tutorial and I was easily able to learn it. It could use more strategy tips maybe...

Last night I bought Kingsburg, knowing almost nothing about it other than it had something to do with dice and building stuff. Only played it once so far, but it was pretty simple. I kind of feel "that's it?" about it - I understand that it's supposed to be sort of a gateway-weight game but really? There just don't seem to be any non-obvious meaningful decisions. I plan to play it a few more times and see how it goes (I did significantly change my opinion about Elder Sign after repeated plays so it does happen) but if $4.99 saved me from maybe spending $32 on the physical version I'll call that money well spent
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blindspot wrote:
Kingdaddy wrote:
How well do they appeal to existing fans of the game? Are they a good entry point for people who have not played a particular boardgame before?

Additionally, there are at least two more factors in understanding if the game is liked or disliked as a "port".

1. The appropriateness and adaptability of the game itself.
Some games, because of the nature of the mechanics, just port better, more easily, or more naturally and intuitively.

2. The quality and approach of the "port" by the developer.
A shoddy developer can take a great game that would be a natural fit for a touch screen device and do a really terrible job. (Not going to name titles, but I'm sure someone else will.)



I think Gabe hit the nail on the head here. I've had absolutely both experiences. New to a game and loved the app (Ascension), new to a game, hated the app (Money), experienced with a game and loved the app (TtR), experienced with the game and disappointed with the app (Catan). It's all about how suitable the game is for electronic play and how well the app is designed.
 
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Duke Of Lizards
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lstein wrote:
I think a lot depends on what one is looking for.

I buy a lot of new-to-me games on my iPad because it's an inexpensive way to try new games. Some have gone over very well (Ascension & Kingsburg, despite the clunky design), while others have just been "eh" (Roll Through the Ages, It's Alive), and a lot haven't been touched yet (all of the Codito games I bought during their last sale). But I wouldn't have tried any of these if not for the iPad. Since I have a lot of games that I haven't played yet, though, I'm getting kind of picky. Tutorials are becoming much more important - it was kind of awful trying to learn Kingsburg on the iPhone.

Some of the iOS games appeal to me because of the ease of play/lack of cleanup. I learned Ascension on the iPad and recently tried playing in real life. It felt *so* slow compared to the app and was pretty unappealing. Same for other card games - Dominion (and all of its expansions) will be an insta-buy for me, just because I don't want to deal with all of those cards.

And online multi-player is another bonus. I have a handful of Carcassonne games running at any given time - sometime quick to do while waiting in line. I don't tend to play longer, more complex games online though.


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My attitudes about apps have been more cavilier....

I'm still on the edge of my seat for the Kingsburg TFaR exp and AI for Roll Through The Ages.
 
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