If you are looking for the best board game apps, this article you must check out. Board games are always a big part of the fun. However, sometimes we don’t get the chance to get a taste of the cardboard version on the table.
Without these board games, we now don’t have the opportunity to share the fun with our families and friends. Don’t panic; we got good news: There are numerous great board game apps, most of which feature multiplayer or AI.
Here are the six best board game apps available for you guys. If you want more information about those board game apps, keep reading and find out more.
1. Terraforming Mars
While the ten games listed are not in any order, Terraforming Mars is the first one that came to mind when I thought of the best board game apps.
Additionally, this game just joined the iOS family recently, so you can now access it on iOS as well. Even though Steam was the primary method to get access to the board game, now Mars’s control falls to you. Are you able to make Mars habitable?
The Significant Part of This Board Game App
Now, let’s get into this game and find out why this is one of the best board game apps. Firstly, this board game app is the best we have seen on Mars aesthetically.
The board game version of it had a bad reputation due to its looks; however, the effects and animations are all elevated on the app of Terraforming Mars. The 3D telescoping effect and the water animations are all done pretty well on the app of Terraforming Mars.
Some board games and its app has a bad reputation due to the limit of the players. Some can only be played with friends, while other board games can only be played with fewer people or single-players.
Unlike these board games, you are able to either share the fun of Terraforming Mars with your friends or deal with the solo challenge provided for you on the app.
There are many differences between the board game version and the app version. Some of these differences may affect the result of the game. On the board game version of Terraforming Mars, there are many things and details you are required to remember, such as blue actions, decreased card cost, and lots of other fiddly things. Placing all this will take away some of your thinking time.
On the other hand, with the app version of this game, the details are all remembered for you by the app. This will bring you a lot more time to strategize and optimize things and may lead to a better decision.
After seeing the significant parts, let’s get into the worse parts of Terraforming Mars. As a start, the timing of the app is an annoying part. Even though the app version makes your life easier by helping you avoid memorization, the timer of the Terraforming Mars app is pretty abysmal.
While collecting the player’s turn is happening, they do have a limited amount of time. When playing on apps, the timer will be very accurate, leaving you with no time to waste.
However, the animations are something super annoying that will waste some of your limited time, leading to some unexpected results.
Other than the timing problem, the expansion is also something that players are complaining about. Prelude, being one of my favorite expansions for Terraforming Mars so far, it’s not available on the app of Terraforming Mars. If you want to include and play this expansion, you have to search elsewhere.
While playing games on-screen, you will have to deal with the interface. This could be tricky since there are menus and sub-menus that you are going to deal with. You can get used to it in a while, but a small screen could really make your gaming experience more challenging.
The second one on the best board game app list is Cartographers. Roll and Write games are some of the best digital app candidates because the mechanics of this kind of game are considerably simple.
From a user’s perspective, these kinds of games are so simple that all you need to do is to mark icons, place dice, or similar things. Basically, being a Roll and Write game, Cartographer is simple, spiffy, and clean.
The Great Part About Cartographers
Players prefer games with different modes since there are many other things to experience. Cartographer has three different modes available for the players to play. At the same time, two of them have a leaderboard (worldwide)!
Players can access the leaderboard and see how well they are against hundreds and thousands of people. You can also compare your place on the leaderboard with your friends as well.
While there are many modes in the first place, the gameplay on the app will be better too. On the original version of Cartographers, drawing the trim lines for water and keeping all of the icons right and crisp could be complex and challenging.
On the screen, all you need to do is simply click, then the game itself will tell you where the legal position is to place the icons.
It’s relatively easy to score. Through the app, you will always know the exact number of how many points you can get from the Season cards. When you know that is coming, planning will become easier as well.
It’s not intuitive when players are going back to the menu. Who will know they need to use the running man on the top left to exit and head over to the start?
The portion of scorekeeping is a bit too long. It’s quick compared to other Roll and Write games. However, speeding up the animations will make them better and more excellent.
For Cartographers and games of a similar kind, it would be really cool to set their own customized games with unique seasons and specific card orders. Then players can have their friends try their very own game and can compete on their small leaderboard.
3. Imperial Settlers
Being another Roll & Write board game app, Imperial Settlers is the next one on the best board game app list. There are many fun Roll and Write games, and that’s why there are already so many of them listed. Unlike Cartographers, Imperial Settlers features and includes some resource management.
Even though it’s called “resource management,” you never know what exact number of resources you are obtaining until you roll.
With the element of resource management involved, players are required to do better on strategies about how to use their resources well, considering that you cannot roll them between rounds.
The Best Parts of Imperial Settlers
One of the best parts of this game is its replayability. Since there are many variants in the game (for a lot, I mean A LOT), there are many different setups available for the players.
These setups are super unique, which is completely different compared to the previous one. With all the variants and setups, the replayability is really massive with Imperial Settlers.
As all of the Roll & Write games are, Imperial Settlers is super easy. Everything you need to do in this game is tap, roll dice, then check off the boxes. Just touching the screen and repeating this process is all you need to do to win this game.
In some cases, players have a small amount of time and prefer a quick game. Most board game apps require a considerable amount of time to play, so a few board games can really deal with this problem.
However, Imperial Settlers allows players that luxury. Getting through a single game between five to ten minutes is realistic if you are capable of the interface.
Nothing is perfectly made, so there are still some worse parts for Imperial Settlers. As mentioned, there are many variants in this game that do accomplish its vast replayability.
However, as there are many variants in the game, it isn’t easy to unlock all of the abilities the game has to try. Players are required to reach different score thresholds when they want to unlock abilities.
With the numerous variants, it’s difficult to achieve all the thresholds, so the way things work in Imperial Settlers is still a little ambiguous to me.
Even though the process of playing this game is pretty simple, you still need to be careful. Players need to be intentional while making their moves.
Although you only need to tap symbols, it’s easy to make mistakes like having two apples paid on the same square. Only a single step can do this process. One mistake can affect the whole game easily.
On the digital Imperial Settlers app, a golden rectangle is placed to the right of the construction area. However, I can not find anywhere that the game tells me about its use and function.
4. Star Realms
Though Star Realms is one of the board game apps which I have never experienced the board version of it, I personally will never try it once after I experienced it on the screen.
Unlike the previous games, Star Realms is a game of deckbuilding that focuses on card management and shuffling. This kind of game will be much easier when implemented through a digital app. And luckily, there we are with the Star Realms app.
The Great Parts While Playing Star Realms
As mentioned above, Star Realms is the kind of game that focuses on shuffling. While shuffling, in this case, does take a lot of time, the app helps players shuffle.
This is a huge pro for the digital app since it will help the players save a lot of time. In addition, players that are playing Star Realms through screens will have a much more enjoyable experience.
Remember when I mentioned that Terraforming Mars’s app had missed one of their great expansions Prelude? Fortunately, Star Realms has 18 expansions available to play in the game! That’s a huge number of expansions. Even though you need to pay for them to play, it’s fantastic to have access to these expansions if you are a Star Realms fan.
Different modes can bring additional replayability to board games, and Star Realms won’t disappoint you in this case. Shockingly, a campaign mode is available while playing Star Realms.
When a board game combines with a story-based mode, it brings real fun. This mode not only brings a story system to Star Realms but also brand new challenges for players. For all these reasons, Star Realms deserves to be one of the best board game apps.
Being a deckbuilding game, the different uses of cards are extremely important. In the Star Realm board game, players need to constantly read the description on the card, especially in the case of being a newbie.
However, players need to tap in and tap out the card interface each time reading it. Which does take time, and honestly, it is pretty annoying.
Some of the expansions will drastically change the way of playing Star Realms, which surely makes the game a lot more complicated. I’m not saying it’s bad, but some players who just start playing the game will begin with those expansions, which somehow confuse them.
The digital app of Star Realms features AI that can play with the players. However, the AI’s speed is pretty fast, and the player might miss some information about the card they are taking. Even though you can still go to their discard pile and reread the cards, this process is unnecessary.
5. Terra Mystica
This board game is one of the heaviest on the list. Similar to Gaia Project and Galactic counterpart, Terra Mystica’s card version is big and heavy compared to many other board games.
Being a huge board game on its cardboard version, setting up and tearing down takes a considerable amount of time. This fact proves why the digital app of Terra Mystica is so valuable. Less time for organizing tiles in exchange for more time playing. That seems like a great deal.
Best parts about Terra Mystica on screen
Being such a huge and complex game, Terra Mystica’s interface is well-made and presented. Surprisingly, Terra Mystica’s interface is very intuitive.
Though numerous things are presented on the screen, the game makes it simple for players. I personally had an awesome user experience in the digital app of Terra Mystica.
Another pro about the digital app is the rules. Suppose you have ever experienced Terra Mystica or a game similar to it. In that case, you will understand how easy it is for a player to misinterpret the rules or misplace something accidentally.
This is a big problem for board games like Terra Mystica because some illegal moves can affect the resolution and the player’s gaming experience. With the digital version of Terra Mystica, any illegal moves are impossible to happen.
Sometimes, the bookkeeping, as well as the numbers in Terra Mystica, become SUPER messy. In some cases, numbers will be replaced with annoying and strange symbols, making them very hard to read. This can get very annoying, especially when the number indicates some vital information during the rounds toward the end.
The next thing that makes my life tough is iconography. Though it’s mostly well done, there are still some cases, like the variable endgame scoring, in which there are no tips for what they mean. This part makes my experience a lot tougher since I will have to check the rules numerous times for understanding.
Players that are having a hard time playing this game (like me) really need something to help them out as a tutor.
6. Best Board Game App – Splendor
Last but not least, Splendor. This game is another board game app that only requires simple mechanics. What you do is obtain cards in exchange for your gem and get more gems. Seems pretty easy to succeed in this game.
Additionally, it features three AI which can be your opponent. Splendor has its own reason for being one of the best board game apps. Continue reading for more details.
The Great Parts of Splendor
Expansions are always a big part of board games. Nobody wants to play the same thing repeatedly, so something new is always great to have.
Splendor, in this case, has four different expansions that are available for players to purchase: the Orient, The Trading Post, Then Strongholds, and The Cities.
The digital app helps players to have a better understanding of what they can do in the game. The game highlights cards that you can buy. This is a great advantage for players since it helps them avoid unnecessary math.
Even though it doesn’t happen often, it’s still worth a mention. Sometimes the game becomes a bit buggy, in which Splendor do stuck on a single player’s turn for a long time.
During the gameplay, there is no indication of which player took the first round. So while playing the game, put your eye on some of that important information.
Tips for Choosing the Right Board Game App
When selecting a board game app to download and play, consider the following tips:
- Read user reviews: Before committing to a board game app, take the time to read user reviews to gauge the overall satisfaction of players.
- Research the game selection: Look for apps that offer a wide variety of board games to ensure you have options that align with your preferences.
- Consider the multiplayer experience: If you enjoy playing with friends, ensure the app supports multiplayer functionality and offers a smooth online experience.
- Check for regular updates: A reputable board game app should receive regular updates and bug fixes, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience.
- Try free versions: Many board game apps offer free versions or trial periods. Take advantage of these opportunities to test the app and see if it suits your liking before making a purchase.
Now we’ve finished with the six best board game apps. These board games all have their great parts and their worse parts. However, these games are all worth a try.
No matter whether you prefer a simple game with a simple objective, or a huge game that is more complicated, those games will not disappoint you.
1. Can I play board game apps offline?
Some board game apps offer offline gameplay options, allowing you to enjoy the games even without an internet connection. Check the app’s description or settings to determine if offline play is available.
2. Are board game apps only available for mobile devices?
While board game apps are primarily designed for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, some apps may also be available for desktop computers or gaming consoles.
3. Can I play board game apps with friends who have different operating systems?
In many cases, board game apps offer cross-platform compatibility, allowing players with different operating systems (e.g., iOS and Android) to play together. However, it’s always advisable to check the app’s details to ensure cross-platform functionality.
4. Are there in-app purchases in board game apps?
Many board game apps offer in-app purchases, such as additional game content, expansions, or cosmetic upgrades. These purchases are often optional and can enhance your gameplay experience, but they are not necessary to enjoy the base game.
5. Can I save my progress in board game apps?
Most board game apps feature automatic save functionality, allowing you to pick up where you left off. However, it’s still a good practice to manually save your progress, especially in longer gaming sessions, to avoid any potential loss of data.