Mobile Boardgame App Roundup

Elder SignSince I last wrote an article about boardgame applications for the iPhone, iPad—and more and more frequently, Android phones as well—this part of the mobile games industry has taken off!

A wide range of classic boardgames are now being ported to these platforms, with more arriving every day. It’s a great time for boardgamers, and while I’ll always prefer the social, around-a-table experience of boardgaming, it’s wonderful to be able to have your favourite games with you wherever you go.

One of these exciting new releases is from Fantasy Flight Games, who have created a version of their new Arkham Horror-like dice game Elder Sign, called Elder Sign: Omens (iPhone/iPad | iPad HD | Mac OSX | Android).

Elder SignElder Sign: Omens makes some changes to the boardgame by having only one Great Old One and no final battle (if Azathoth appears it’s all over for the universe as we know it!), no allies, and some other subtle tweaks, but it’s still a very addictive and engaging experience, especially on an iPad. The artwork is fantastic and the attention to detail evident in the atmospheric music and sound effects.

Staying on the horror theme, Repos Productions have ported their co-operative Japanese horror game Ghost Stories (iPad), and much like the boardgame, it’s a very challenging game with several difficulty levels. It really helps to be familiar with the boardgame as this is a relatively complex game with lots of crucial decisions, but the game looks fantastic, just like the boardgame, and plays solo or multiplayer.

Small WorldDays of Wonder jumped on the iOS bandwagon early with their gorgeous iPad version of Small World (iPad), and it was followed by a fantastic implementation of their hugely successful ‘gateway’ game Ticket to Ride (iPad). Small World is a pass-and-play experience and has two expansions available as in-app purchases. Ticket to Ride is online multiplayer or pass-and-play, also with several in-app expansions. Both are of the very highest quality, as we’ve come to expect from Days of Wonder.

Ascension (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) is another popular cardgame that has found its way to mobile devices. The interface is stunning, chock full of original art, and it comes with pass-and-Play and online multiplayer, and an in-game tutorial will lead you into the complexities of the game. Trading card fans will love this one.

Tikal (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) the boardgame has been around for quite a while, and the iOS version gives you six different AIs, each with a different play style, to play against, as well as pass-and-play and online multiplayer.

The popular wild west-themed card game Bang! can be played solitaire, pass-and-play, and online multiplayer, and includes the Dodge City expansion. This ‘take that!’ game with hidden roles has lovely graphics (you can even change the backdrop to the game) and an easy drag-and-drop style.

CycladesCyclades (iPad) also looks gorgeous but is hampered by not yet having a solo play option—it’s just two player pass-and-play and iPad only at the moment. However, when you don’t have the option to bring out the boardgame, it’s a wonderful alternative.

Finally, it’s not a boardgame, but don’t miss Crimson: Steam Pirates (iPad), a steampunk-themed naval combat game from videogame stars Bungie that boardgamers will love.

There are many, many more great boardgame apps out there for you to enjoy, and lots more on the way like Summoner Wars, Knizia’s classic Tigris & Euphrates and, unusually, even a boardgame based on the Assassin’s Creed videogame! So next time you’re out and about and feel like a boardgame hit, whip out your mobile device and start playing!