9 Best Board Game Apps for Android and iOS (2022)

Sometimes it’s nice to play a board game without all the shuffling and shuffling, and sometimes you just can’t convince your friends to play your favorite game.

Mobile board game apps solve both of these problems, and it’s rare that an app can’t simulate reality. But some digital versions of board games capture the feel better than others.

Interface and intuitiveness are key – if the screen is full of text and buttons or the game lacks smooth controls, it can be frustrating rather than relaxing. It’s also frustrating when an app’s artwork doesn’t match the original artwork (unless it’s a much-needed upgrade).

Competitive and versatile artificial intelligence (AI) is also indispensable. If the AI ​​is predictable and unchallenging, you still have to play solitaire for a high score. And of course, pass-and-play and online multiplayer are great features to have.

Board game apps have been a surprising evolution of a burgeoning hobby that’s so centered around keeping devices away and gathering around a table. With most popular games, it’s inevitable that a digital adaptation will follow.

Here are the best mobile board game apps:

galaxy trucker

For a game that’s so tactile and requires you to read a lot of information off your board at once, this is a remarkably clever and faithful adaptation that eliminates the hassle and upkeep of the original.

At Vlaada Chvatil’s galaxy trucker is a real-time game of building spaceships from plumbing materials. Each player builds the best possible ship for a perilous journey, adding as many cannons, engines and cargo bays as they can. It’s stressful and chaotic, and there’s a good chance your ship won’t make it, but that’s the fun.

Developed by Czech Games Edition (the same company that released the board game), the app features a satisfying campaign mode, single game play, and online multiplayer. It’s fun to play against computers in the campaign mode and it’s a good way to hone and practice your skills in the original game.

google play

iOS app store


Stellar realms

This already fast-paced deck-building game goes lightning-fast in digital form.

Stellar realmsdesigned by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle, is a space combat deck building game where players buy ships from different factions and launch assaults on their opponents.

The card game costs $15, so it’s only fitting that you can play against the easy AI for free. When it comes to interfaces, it’s one of the best. If you’re familiar with the card game, you can skip the tutorial and you’ll already know how to play with its simple controls. The multiplayer mode is well worth the cost, especially if you have friends to play against.

Developed by the game’s publisher, White Wizard Games, Star Realms stands out as a stellar free-to-play digital board game with plenty to offer. There’s something about tapping your opponent’s life points to unleash a screen-shaking explosion that makes this app hugely satisfying.

google play

iOS app store


Mad King Ludwig’s Castles

Set-up and playtime go from an hour and a half to a decision-packed 20 minutes in this straightforward adaptation.

by Ted Alspach Mad King Ludwig’s Castles is a spatial puzzle and economy game of competing architects designing a castle for a deranged king. One player sets the prices for the available rooms, then the other players buy the rooms and add them to their castles.

The board game has a lot of configuration with 75 tiles of differently shaped pieces that need to be shuffled. The digital version, developed by publisher Bezier Games, has a functional interface that makes gameplay a breeze. Room pricing is easy, as you can click on an opponent’s name to see their castle and simply drag rooms to the prices you want. The campaign features a few minor twists on the original rules that keep things fresh and offer potential variations to try out in the analog version. Unfortunately, the game lacks online multiplayer, but the AI ​​is serviceable and two- to four-player pass-and-play works well.

google play

iOS app store


Patchwork

It is no wonder that a Tetris-esque, tile-laying puzzle game translates well to the screen.

Patchwork, designed by board game superstar Uwe Rosenberg, pits two players against each other as they compete for the best pieces of fabric for their quilt. The game features an interesting time tracking mechanic that makes time a major currency and means you sometimes get multiple spins in a row. It’s one of the best two-player games (which is why it made our list of best two player board games for couples), and its app version shines.

Although the look differs slightly from the physical game, it is quite close and the controls are simple and intuitive. The AI ​​presents a formidable challenge, and the inclusion of both pass-and-play and online multiplayer leaves little to be desired.

Published by Asmodee Digital, the digital adaptation of Patchwork works so well it’s a wonder it wasn’t an app first.

google play

iOS app store


Throughout the ages

Vlaada Chvátil’s classic civilization game ditches its physical form of hundreds of cards and pieces of wood into an easy-to-use digital form.

Throughout the ages is a deep, strategic and involved game of culture of civilizations filled with monuments and historical figures. It’s a beast, taking two to four hours to play, but that’s all part of the experience. It has long held a spot among the top-ranked games on boardgamegeek.com – both of its versions are in the top 100 games.

The app, developed by the game’s publisher, Czech Games Edition, compresses hours into a much smaller window of time and eliminates clutter and shuffling. Some games benefit from the pleasant tactility of their components; Through the Ages was never one of them. Fans of the board game will enjoy this digital rendition, and newcomers will find the tutorial helpful and perhaps a useful teaching aid for physical play. The AI ​​is fantastic, and the online multiplayer and pass-through modes make this a great game to play with friends.

google play

iOS app store


Ticket to ride

An already intuitive game of building rail routes across continents makes for a sharp, fast-paced app that’s a great time killer on planes or subways, especially if you have a friend to play with.

Ticket to ride, Alan Moon’s hit game, sends players across America, linking train routes to connect cities. It’s one of the few modern board games to come close to Monopoly’s level of popularity – it could one day be as popular or more popular as a family game due to its simplicity and speed of play.

The digital version, developed by Asmodee Digital, takes an already simple game and makes it simpler. Routes are conveniently highlighted, and laying trains is as easy as tapping on a route. The AI ​​is lacking, but pass-and-play and online multiplayer provide hours of entertainment. The app comes with the original map of the United States, with other maps available for purchase as expansions.

google play

iOS app store


Race for the Galaxy

Game that doesn’t age means app that doesn’t age. It’s the one you’ll play hundreds of times.

In Race for the Galaxy, designed by Tom Lehmann, players race to build the most successful space empires possible by colonizing planets and developing technology. It’s heavily card-focused and there are plenty of expansions that make an already replayable game even more diverse.

The digital version, developed by Temple Gates Games, has great AI that makes it easy to play game after game, and the online multiplayer works well. All expansions are available for purchase, so your digital version can match your physical version or, you can get a feel for each expansion for the low price of the digital version before purchasing the physical version. The lack of a pass-game mode is unfortunate, but the gameplay nature of Race for the Galaxy accounts for this missing feature. Overall, this is one of the best digital board games out there.

google play

iOS app store


Splendor

Much of the fun of Splendor is in the heavy bullet points, but that makes for an engaging and feature-rich app.

Players take on the role of gem merchants in Splendor, designed by Marc André, by collecting gems and building an engine that will lure nobles for victory points. Its short gameplay, engaging strategies, and beautiful artwork have made it one of the most popular games of the past five years.

Despite losing its lovely components, Asmodee Digital’s Splendor still shines as an app and makes for a great little puzzle game. The “challenges” feature creates new ways to play that will hone your strategy even in the classic version of the game, and the optional expansion of cities offers even more versatile gameplay. The AI ​​is pretty simple, but the app includes pass-and-play as well as online multiplayer.

google play

iOS app store


Pandemic

When Plague Inc. If you’re feeling a bit morbid, it might be a good idea to save humanity from deadly diseases for a change.

Matt Leacock’s classic cooperative game arguably defined modern cooperative board games. In Pandemic, players are a team of scientists, researchers and specialists traveling around the world as several diseases threaten to wipe out humanity. It’s an intense 45-minute adventure that always ends in disaster or a narrow victory.

The board game hardly needs any streamlining, but Asmodee Digital’s mobile app is a lot of fun. While there’s no online multiplayer, pass-and-play play is fun, and the game’s co-op style translates well to single-player play as well. Whether or not you played the original, Pandemic is a great strategy game that you’ll want to play over and over again.

google play

iOS app store


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