Space and time are extremely important to table top gamers. For instance, we exist in it. Also concerns of who has a large enough table and when everyone is free to play generally keep interested parties from getting into the hobby. Thankfully, technology has come to the rescue and we can now play these games on our tablets. It’s also a good way for people looking to start playing board games to familiarise themselves with the rules, without having to read the book.
This list is a starter guide for anyone who wants to give board games a try, but doesn’t want to get completely demolished the first time they sit down at a proper gaming table. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a substitute for the real thing, but it does come close.
Continues after the break.
Settlers of Catan (iOS, Android)
Catan is one of the most recognisable names in the modern board gaming community. It’s also known as a gateway drug for introducing people to the world of table top. Mainly due to the simplicity of the game and the amount of player interaction. And there was once a world championship tournament for it.
The aim of the game is to build settlements and cities using collected resources. These settlements provide victory points to the player, and the first person to reach 10 points wins the game. Constructing roads and recruiting knights also adds points. The app also includes the expansion sets for Catan, which expands the playing options but loses most of the human element of the game.
Ticket to Ride (iOS, Android)
Another entry level game, Ticket to Ride is all about trains. Players compete against one another to connect cities via railway. It’s not entirely a free for all, because which cities a player must connect is determined by randomly drawn mission cards. Completing a mission earns a player points, as does building the longest continuous line.
The fun begins when players begin to cut each other off from cities. It’s a relatively simple game to play, with quite a bit of replay value thanks to the number of different maps available.
Pandemic the Fourth Seal (iOS)
Unlike the other entries on this list, this one isn’t an official conversion (because there isn’t one). But it’s a free fan made version made exclusively for iOS. The game plays like the table top version which has players cast as members of an international Centre for Disease Control trying to stop a global outbreak. A players chooses one of the five roles available, and uses the abilities to contribute to his team defeating the game.
The Fourth Seal adds the option to contrast a greater variety of buildings that aren’t found in the board game, but it’s a minor difference as you watch the diseases spread rapidly across the world. Make no mistake, it’s not an easy game to win; but it does provide a good example of a cooperative game.
Zombies!!! (iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8)
Maybe you want a little more violence in your games. Maybe some zombies to shoot too. Zombies!!! (the three exclamation marks are surely a sign of insanity) isn’t so much an undead survival game as it is a race to the finish line. Players are trapped in a city crawling with the risen dead and must rush to the helipad to escape. The catch is that the helicopter will only take one person to safety; oh and they have to find the helipad; and the zombies are controlled by your opponents. Friendships have ended over this game.
The most remarkable thing about this app conversion is that it is not only available on iOS and Android, but also for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.
Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers (iOS, Android, Windows)
Okay, fine. This isn’t actually a board game. It is a brilliant way to get into table top games without spending too much money though. Magic: the Gathering is the world’s most popular trading card game, with millions of players worldwide. Players take the role of Planeswalkers, powerful magi who are able to travel between dimensions. The idea is to summon creatures and cast spells to reduce your opponent’s life to zero.
There’s a tutorial in the game that will walk beginners through the rules of the game, but anyone familiar with the game can just jump right in. Each match takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your deck and strategy. It’s a solid way to spend that time waiting for the train. There is also an online multiplayer option, just in case beating up the AI gets boring; or you’re tired of winning.