As much fun as sitting down with a group of friends to play a board game is, it’s just not realistic to be able to get a group together to play all the time (or at all, depending on your situation).
That’s where your smartphone can be a real game-changer. With some well-made mobile board games, you can enjoy the fantastic mechanics offered by some of the best board games without the need for cardboard, dice, or other players!
When it comes to mobile board games, Carcassonne is king of the castle. The game sports a 4.6-star rating on the App Store and a 4.5-star rating on Google Play. These ratings come from tons of reviews, so you can rest assured that game is extremely well made. It’s a bit on the expensive side at $9.99, but it’s worth every penny.
As far as the adaptation of the game to mobile, it’s actually quite well-suited. The large tiles work comfortably on a touch screen, which means it’s not at all cumbersome to play. Plus, the app simplifies the most complicated part of playing real Carcassonne: tallying the final score!
Nipping at the heels of Carcassonne is another classic board game that’s often considered the gateway to more hardcore games: Catan. Catan Classic (the actual name of the app) is available on both iOS and Android for $4.99. On iOS, the game has a solid 3.9 rating. On Google Play, it has 4 stars. So while not as well-received as Carcassonne, it’s still a solid game.
This isn’t an exact copy of the board game, but it takes the core mechanics and adapts them to the smaller screens offered on smartphones and tablets. Most reviews indicate that while things are scaled back, it’s not necessarily “dumbed down,” which is exactly what board game fans are looking for.
3. Lost Cities (iOS)
This game is available on iOS only for $3.99, so Android owners will need to sit this one out. This game is actually made by the same company that developed Carcassonne on iOS, so the company has a pedigree adapting board games to a mobile screen.
Lost Cities is an incredibly popular board game that has high ratings on sites like BoardGameGeek. While not as iconic as games like Carcassonne or Catan, this is a game that has a pretty large following. The mobile game departs from the board game in some mechanical ways, but it retains enough to be recognizable to fans.
Here we have another board/card game adaption that’s available for both iOS and Android. Race for the Galaxy comes with a pretty decent price tag of $6.99 (the physical board game retails for $35, so comparatively speaking, this is a steal).
In the physical board and the mobile game, players are tasked with using cards to build a galactic civilization that is superior to your opponents. Card games tend to work pretty well on smartphone screens, and in this case, the mobile app is quite faithful to the physical game, which is great for fans.
Ticket to Ride is a beloved game in the board game world, and the mobile game is a solid version of it. It’s available on both Android and iOS for $4.99. It has pretty solid reviews on both, with a 4-star rating on Android and slightly lower 3.1 on iOS.
The mobile version does a pretty good job of taking the fairly complicated board game and making it work well on small screens (though it’s definitely better on a tablet). If you’re a fan of the game who finds it hard to get people together for a session you really can’t go wrong with this adaptation.
Hearthstone is available on iOS and Android. The game is free-to-play (though it’s anything but free if you want to be competitive) and it’s fantastic. It takes a bit of commitment to get into, but if you want the same level of intense competition offered by physical CCGs, it’s worth it.
Hearthstone isn’t an adaptation of a physical game since it started out as a digital game, but it’s most definitely a board game in terms of mechanics. And when it comes to collectible card games that you can play on the go, you really can’t beat Blizzard’s juggernaut.