For many board game fanatics, the tangible aspect of playing face-to-face is the most enjoyable part about the hobby. While digital board games are certainly more convenient, they're missing that magic ingredient.
But sometimes you just can't play face-to-face. Friends get lost in their careers, give birth to children, move to another state, suffer life-altering incidents—in short, getting a group together can be tough.
So while digital board games may not be the ideal way to play for many, it might just be the only way you can play. If you find yourself in that position, the Nintendo Switch has some solid options to try.
Here are our picks for the best digital board games on the Nintendo Switch, which are actually pretty good and worth checking out.
Clue is the same classic board game you probably already know about. Someone has committed murder and it's up to you to figure out who did it, where they did it, and with what weapon. It's a race against up to five other players. Are you clever enough?
The Nintendo Switch version of Clue supports single-player against AI, online multiplayer against others, as well as local multiplayer (but other players must have the Clue mobile app to join in).
Evolution Board Game is a digital adaptation of the Evolution board game, in which you play as a species that must adapt for survival in an ever-changing ecosystem. Different playstyles are all valid, and there are thousands of different ways to evolve your species.
The Nintendo Switch adaptation of Evolution features a single-player campaign, online multiplayer with matchmaking, and local multiplayer via pass-and-play. It's a complex game at first, but once it clicks, you'll be sucked in by the game's fascinating depth.
One Deck Dungeon is a single-player dungeon crawler that involves one deck of cards and some dice. Delve down into one of seven dungeons—like the Yeti's Cavern or the Minotaur's Maze—and defeat the boss.
Every time you play, you can choose one (or two) of the nine hero classes. A dungeon run takes approximately 15 minutes. Plus, the experience you gain carries over to future games through progressive talent unlocks.
As far as Nintendo Switch games that you can pick up and play whenever you just want to kill a little bit of time, One Deck Dungeon is one of the better options if you're mainly interested in board games.
Unfortunately, all digital versions of Pandemic have been discontinued as of August 2022. Links are no longer available.
Pandemic is the digital version of the popular tabletop board game, and it includes content from the On the Brink expansion. You can play in either solo mode or couch co-op mode as you work to save the world.
It's a pretty clean and straightforward adaptation, allowing you to play as one of seven roles with the option to change between five difficulty levels, making it perfect for both newbies and veterans.
7. Mystic Vale
Mystic Vale is a deck-building board game where you not only craft your own personal deck, but do so by customizing individual cards by combining or upgrading different cards.
As with most deck-building games, it's a race to see who can accumulate the most victory points by game's end. You can play single-player against AI, online multiplayer against other players, as well as local multiplayer via pass-and-play. It's a hidden gem board game.
Faeria is a turn-based strategy game with collectible cards, played on a dynamic board that keeps you on your toes. This one-versus-one game pits you against another player (or AI) to see who can eliminate the other before being eliminated themselves.
There's a lot here that'll keep you hooked, including the card collecting mechanic that lets you build your own decks, along with the different battle modes, as well as the in-game tournament mode.
In Istanbul, you play as a merchant who's trading and bartering in a busy market with the help of your assistants. You must carefully manage your assistants to make the most of the market, and the first merchant to collect the target number of rubies is the winner.
Istanbul is the digital version of the award-winning board game, improved with several quality-of-life improvements for an even smoother experience. Play single-player against AI, cross-platform online multiplayer, or local multiplayer via pass-and-play.
Hand of Fate 2 is a single-player card-based dungeon crawler where a single deck of cards holds your fate in the form of encounters, companions, and items. Up against the Dealer, it's up to you to make the most of every decision and come out on top of every adventure.
That said, Hand of Fate 2 isn't exactly an authentic board game because it involves some action-RPG gameplay, particularly its combat. But it still has the magic of a board game, and it's one of the most unique games.
Wingspan is a beautiful and relaxing board game that involves bird watching, researching, collecting, and more. The goal is to attract the best birds to your wildlife preserves, with every bird increasing your ability to further develop your preserves.
You can play single-player against AI, online multiplayer with up to five players, or local multiplayer via pass-and-play. With 170 different birds and various ways to earn points, Wingspan has tons of replayability.
Sumer is a digital board game that blends tabletop strategy with action gameplay, resulting in an experience that retains the spirit of board games while innovating in ways that take it up a notch.
For up to four players, Sumer puts you in the role of a Sumerian noble who must compete to win the favor of an ancient Sumerian goddess by harvesting resources, performing rituals, and winning real-time auctions.
Sumer has all the convenience of a digital board game, including AI opponents, local multiplayer, and multiple game modes that cater to whether you only have 15 minutes or an hour to invest.
Root is the digital version of the beloved tabletop board game, and you only need five minutes with it to see how much care and attention went into the adaptation. It's easily the best digital adaptation of any complex board game, and that makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
For two to four players, Root features an asymmetrical war for control over the woods. Each of the four factions—Foxes, Rabbits, Birds, and Mice—have completely different mechanics and therefore unique strategies as to how they approach territory control.
The tutorial is in-depth and starts you off on proper footing. Then, you can play against AI, against local opponents, or against online opponents. If you want to sink your time into a single digital board on the Nintendo Switch, this is the one to get.