Why the game of life used to have poverty, suicide, and ruin

Our current golden age of tabletop gaming has also led to a similar surge in thiết bị di động apps that adapt board games lớn tablets & phones, with new ones arriving almost every week và some games even premiering in digital size at the same time they show up on store shelves. I’ve tried more than 50 such apps, all of which are based on games you can actually buy in stores; these are the best of the bunch.

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Unless otherwise noted, these are all available on iOS và Android, with some on Steam as well. The các mục does not include iOS apps that stopped working in the June 2017 “app-ocalypse,” when Apple required developers lớn update their apps for 64-bit tư vấn, such as Samurai or Through the Desert; or apps that still work but are no longer available for purchase, like Battleline, Stone Age, or Caylus.

With new apps coming all the time, we’ll update this danh mục regularly to reflect any new titles that merit inclusion here.

25. Yellow & Yangtze (Dire Wolf Digital)


One of the all-time great Euro games, Puerlớn Rico is a high-strategy game with very little randomness or luông chồng involved. You’re building out a colony by planting crops, constructing buildings, shipping goods either for money or points, and hiring colonists represented by … (squinting) little brown tokens. (That’s true in the physical game as well.) It’s a classic “engine builder,” where you mix things up in your space to lớn generate stuff each round, mostly trade goods you can ship for points, which is the optimal strategy unless everyone else is doing it, too. Only available on iOS.

23. Brass (Cublo)


Another Wallace title, this one a little easier to underst& than Brass but not as appealing to look at. Steam has players competing to build rail lines on any of various maps — one standard bản đồ is New Engl& — to lớn connect cities & towns & then ship various colored cubes across their rail lines. You get money each time a good travels along one of your tracks, regardless of who’s shipping it. There’s almost no randomness or luông chồng involved here, making this a great game if you enjoyed that operations-research class you took in business school.

21. The Castles of Burgundy


One of my favorite complex Eurogames, The Castles of Burgundy gives you a lot of options, & a lot of ways khổng lồ score points, but it’s a bit of a bear to set up and the original game had some unfortunate color choices on its small hexagonal pieces that made them hard lớn distinguish. This phầm mềm version uses graphics from the newest edition, & has solid AI players that can navigate the myriad choices & strategies available to lớn players, only lacking in the spite that actual humans can show (there are some times when blocking an opponent is the right strategy). This is a game I rarely get lớn the table in my house, so playing on the app is often a good way khổng lồ get my fix.

trăng tròn. Tokaido (Funforge)

Designer Antoine Bauza loves Japanese themes in his games, with gorgeous artwork khổng lồ match, with the app version of Tokaido bringing the same graphics, while adding some dễ thương animations lớn make the board feel less static. The real Tōkaidō, or East Sea Road, was a major thoroughfare in Japan during the Evị period, traveled by foot and connecting Kyoto lớn to what is now Tokyo. Players in Tokaido travel along the board, stopping wherever they wish, with each stop allowing them khổng lồ vì chưng something that eventually leads to points — collecting artifacts, donating to lớn the temple, collecting portions of artworks, or buying meals at the inns along the route. Although there are several different ways to lớn rack up points, usually you just want lớn stop everywhere you can, both to lớn gain the benefits and because you can bloông xã another player from stopping there.

19. Terraforming Mars (Asmodee Digital)

Terraforming Mars is one of the most popular and best-reviewed complex strategy games of all time, & bringing it lớn digital had khổng lồ be a significant undertaking given the difficulty of creating competent AI players for the app. Based on the popular trilogy of Mars novels by Kyên Stanley Robinson, Terraforming Mars has players competing lớn build complex engines of cards that will help generate six different resources they can use to lớn buy and play more cards. Players will also terrakhung the board, placing greenery và water hex tiles — as well as the occasional thành phố tile — on the planet, further boosting the planet’s temperature, oxygene, and water, driving the game toward the end conditions. There’s a lot going on here, all the better to lớn have sầu the phầm mềm to handle the accounting & the cleanup for you.

18. That’s Pretty Clever (Brettspielwelt)

This is my current favorite solo phầm mềm, based on a physical game that plays two to lớn four with a solo mode. The ứng dụng doesn’t offer multiplayer and it’s designed for you lớn play this solo in one sitting … but it’s super fast và so addictive that you aren’t likely khổng lồ stop mid-game or to play just once. It’s a dice-roller: You’ll roll your set of six dice 18 times across six rounds, selecting and removing one die after each roll khổng lồ fill in a spot on your scoresheet, which has five sầu areas matching the colors of five sầu of the dice. (The sixth die, the trắng, is wild and can be used on any color.) Filling in certain squares unlocks bonuses, including the all-powerful “plus one” ability that lets you select và score an additional die. The goal is lớn get the highest score you can; anything over 200 is good, and 300 is Hall of Fame material.

17. Patchwork (Digidiced)

A clever two-player game from Uwe Rosenberg, usually known for heavier games that involve sầu gathering wood và raising farm animals và take two hours just lớn phối up, Patchwork is a bit lượt thích competitive sầu Tetris. Players take oddly shaped fabrics from a rondel that limits choices on each turn, placing them on their nine-by-nine boards và sometimes gaining buttons, the game’s currency, lớn allow them khổng lồ buy bigger fabric pieces or gain more choices from the board. The graphics in the ứng dụng don’t correspond to lớn the physical game’s imagery, though, & are frankly a little too cutesy.

16. Eight-Minute Empire (Acram)

It’s lượt thích the title says: This is a bản đồ game of area control và takes just a few minutes lớn play. Everyone starts in the same space on the board with three-foot soldiers and gains a certain number of moves each turn by taking a card that grants goods as well as either movement points, military units, or the right khổng lồ build a thành phố. Scoring at the over is based on control of continents and collections of goods, with the biggest bonuses coming if you collect a lot of any one good. It’s fast and the AI players are good.

15. Lanterns: The Harvest Festival (Dire Wolf Digital)

Another game with beautiful artwork và animations, Lanterns is a tile-placement game with a clever scoring twist: Every time you place a square lantern tile, you gain a token of the color facing you … và each opponent gets a token of the color facing hyên ổn or her. You gain a second token if you matched the edge of the tile you placed to the edge it’s touching on the board. You trade in tokens in sets for points, but the point bonuses for these — one of each of the seven colors, four of a kind, or three pair — decrease over the course of the game. It’s over quiông xã, & since you can’t control your tile draws, your strategy is really turn by turn.

14. Raiders of the North Sea (Dire Wolf Digital)

Raiders of the North Sea, a worker-placement game from the prolific designer Shem Phillips, is the perfect game for a digital adaptation: It’s a fantastic game with a fair amount of setup & a lot of pieces. In Raiders, players place meeples in the port town at the bottom of the board to gain supplies và hire workers so they can outfit their longships with raiding parties to lớn go pillage the outposts và fortresses across the top two-thirds of the map. The app brings in the outstanding, cartoonish artwork from the physical game as well. Dire Wolf Digital’s next port, the stellar dice-drafting game Sagrada, is already in Early Access on Steam & would make this các mục if it were fully released right now.

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13. Galaxy Trucker (Czech Games)

The tabletop game on which this is based involves a mad scramble for parts khổng lồ triông xã out your spaceships, a process well-replicated, even when playing against AI players who, in theory, could just cheat và take all the good bits. What truly separates Galaxy Trucker from so many other adaptations is the best narrative chiến dịch on any board-game ứng dụng. This wasn’t just thrown together — someone wrote it like a short graphic novel you’ll play your way through many, many games over. It’s brilliant and makes the game so much more addictive.

12. Jaipur (Asmodee Digital)

My all-time favorite two-player game got a digital version last year with an unexpected twist: a campaign mode that comprises all kinds of variants lớn the base game’s rules. In Jaipur, each player has a h& of up to seven cards & tries to lớn collect sets of the six goods shown on the cards, each of which has its own value. You can only take cards from the five sầu shown in the “market” on the table. There are also camel cards, which you can use to lớn take multiple cards at once; a popular tactic is lớn set up a move sầu where you replace all of the goods cards with camels from your staông xã, so that your opponent has no choice but khổng lồ take all five camel cards và give you a chance to lớn choose from five fresh cards from the deck. The chiến dịch mode tweaks various rules, like reducing the h& kích cỡ to lớn five sầu or changing the card values so that they’re all the same.

11. Splendor (Asmodee Digital)

The popular, quick-to-learn game Splendor was an instant hit on its release in năm trước, và the phầm mềm version followed soon afterward, finally gaining online play as an option last year. Splendor players collect tokens they can use to buy any of the 12 gem cards on the table, arranged in three rows from cheapest khổng lồ most expensive sầu. The more costly a thẻ, the more points it’s likely to be worth. Collecting certain combinations of cards — three each of three specific colors, for example — may get you a Noble tile, worth another three points. The first player khổng lồ 15 points triggers the last round, and then whoever has the most points wins.

10. Evolution (North Star Digital)

The best board-game app of 2019 (which was a banner year for new releases) was over a year in development, và does what the best adaptations do: It makes the original game better. Evolution has players competing to lớn create species and arm them with Trait cards that make them better foragers, or turn them inkhổng lồ predators, or give sầu them stronger defenses against other players’ carnivorous species. The physical game moves kind of slowly between turns, but it’s much faster in digital form because the tiện ích does the work for you of figuring out which species can “eat” where — and the animations when species do eat are clever.

9. Agricola (Playdek/Asmodee Digital)

One of the most successful worker-placement games in history và the reason we have sầu since been inundated with games that pretkết thúc that farming is fun và easy, Agricola is really about feeding your family: You grow crops, raise animals, bake bread, build out your house, and maybe learn an occupation or two. It’s actually more enjoyable than it sounds because it’s a sort of puzzle of how to lớn balance gaining points with the requirement that every few turns you turn in enough food to feed your family members. The huge decks of cards with occupations and additions called minor improvements gives the game trả lời value as well. Le Havre, a heavier game that combines elements of AgricolaCaylus, also has an ứng dụng version from Codikhổng lồ.

8. Pandemic (Asmodee Digital)

Pandemic is a cooperative sầu game, so playing it on Mobile means pass-and-play or playing it solo và handling all the roles yourself. There are four diseases spreading around the world và you have to lớn find cures while slowing their progress across the maps. If eight outbreaks occur, or you run out of cards in the player deck, you lose; if you cure all four before that, you win. You can customize the difficulty màn chơi as you’d like, including Heroic và Legendary modes if you enjoy losing. The On the Brink expansion is available as an in-tiện ích purchase, adding new player roles & sự kiện cards, plus a new challenge. There are also app versions of two similar games from the same designer, Forbidden Island & Forbidden Desert; the latter is especially good as a solo endeavor that remains difficult, but moves faster than Pandemic.

7. Race for the Galaxy (Temple Gates Games)

I don’t love the Race for the Galaxy board game because I think the produce or consume x2 strategy is dominant (if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry), but man is this ứng dụng version a thing to behold. Not only are the AI players good but the developers managed to lớn cram a lot of information onkhổng lồ even the smaller screens of phones, allowing you khổng lồ zoom in on any card easily enough to read the icons, making opponents’ actions clear, and giving you plenty of chances khổng lồ unbởi vì certain moves if you screw up. On a tablet, it’s just about perfect. And I can confirm that I have beaten AI players using a different strategy by going full military … but it wasn’t easy.

6. Through the Ages (Czech Games)

Here’s a game I haven’t played on tabletop because it’s so long và fairly heavy, but the tiện ích is stunning, featuring by far the best tutorial I’ve seen. It even has a legitimately funny joke buried within it. Through the Ages is a 4X (explore, expvà, exploit, exterminate) style game played out with cards, where you try to lớn build a civilization, complete wonders for points, beat opponents with your military, improve sầu your government, & ensure that your workers don’t riot. There is a lot going on in this game, & too much accounting for my tastes, but the phầm mềm takes care of that stuff for you, so you can focus just on playing the game itself. It also has built-in warnings if your workers are going to lớn riot or you’re going khổng lồ thua trận resources before the next turn. The false 3-D perspective sầu also helps them cram a lot of buildings onkhổng lồ your screen without crowding it. Games against AI players take 20-plus minutes, more than anything else on this các mục, but there’s very little downtime involved.

5. Istanbul (Acram)

Istanbul was a really thoroughly designed phầm mềm right out of the box: It has strong AI players và allows you to lớn fully customize the game’s variable board. Istanbul is a route-finding game that manages not lớn feel like too much of a route-finding game: You move your merchant around the four-by-four board, with each space allowing you to persize some specific function, lượt thích collecting goods, selling them for coins, upgrading your caravan, or trading goods or coins for rubies, which is the actual goal of the game. The first player khổng lồ get five rubies (six, if you’re playing with just two players) wins. It’s clear, moves quickly, & the AI players are impressive, especially with how well they adapt to lớn randomized boards. Acram’s port of Charterstone, a competitive legacy game for up khổng lồ six players, should be released shortly as well.

4. Small World (Asmodee Digital)

Days of Wonder, which is now part of the Asmodee family, put out two of the earliest successful board-game apps with Small World and Ticket lớn Ride. Both feature outstanding graphics, easy-to-follow play on tablets or phones, & competent AI opponents. They also worked particularly well for pass-and-play, with Small World — later updated & dubbed Small World 2 — including a feature that allows two players to face each other across a table and play on a tablet without having to lớn exchange or rotate it. Small World is an area control maps where there just isn’t enough room on the maps for all of the players. You pick a race, grab some territories, and then put your race inkhổng lồ “decline,” so you can pichồng a brand-new race và start all over again. It’s bloody good fun for the whole family — và the tiện ích takes care of the one small hassle of the physical game, tallying up points each turn.

Carcassonne was one of my top apps of the last decade because the iOS port, from Coding Monkeys, was the best of breed from the day it was released. Its license for the game expired at the beginning of March, however, và it’s no longer available lớn purchase; there is currently no iOS port of this game, although I assume one is coming soon. In the meantime, you can play Asmodee Digital’s version on Android devices và Steam. This version offers players an isometric view instead, which gives the tiles some texture, although you can switch to lớn top-down if you prefer that. The iOS app is cleaner lớn look at, while the Asmodee version offers more animations to give sầu it more of the feel of a video clip game. There are four AI opponents: a “focused” AI, a builder, an aggressive opponent, and a “conqueror.” There are six in-phầm mềm purchases available, including what I think is the best expansion for the board game itself, Traders và Builders.

2. Ticket lớn Ride (Asmodee Digital)

This was the original mã sản phẩm for how to build a great board-game phầm mềm, complete with an active sầu player community, và it remains one of the best, thanks lớn an overhaul a few years ago và regular releases of expansions. The base game is my go-to lớn recommendation for readers who ask for a game that they can play with their kids because the rules are simple, the scoring is easy khổng lồ underst&, and QED train games are awesome. The app’s tutorial is good, the animations và graphics are excellent, và the user interface is intuitive sầu. (You’d be surprised how often board-game apps screw that last part up.) The Ticket lớn Ride tiện ích offers Europe, Switzerlvà, Nordic countries, Englvà, Germany, Asia, India, and Pennsylvania maps as expansion options, as well as new card sets lượt thích the 1910 and 1912 sets for the U.S. There’s also a version for younger players, Ticket lớn Ride First Journey, as a separate app, which is also quite good.

1. 7 Wonders (Repos Production/Outer Zone Entertainment)

The 7 Wonders phầm mềm appeared in November after years of anticipation, delays, và testing … & it was worth the wait.

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7 Wonders itself is one of the best board games we’ve sầu seen because it condenses the city-building theme inlớn a consistent 30-minute playing time. Each player gets a h& of seven cards per round, plays one, & then passes the remaining cards khổng lồ the next player, who selects one from his or her hand and passes the remainder around … so that everyone plays six cards per round (discarding one), but the cards you get to lớn choose from keep changing as the hands move sầu around the table. You vày this three times, playing 18 cards, building a little engine that gives you the resources & coins you’ll need khổng lồ play more buildings or complete your Wonder. There are lots of ways to score, so part of the game is finding a path lớn points that your opponents aren’t following. Moves are simultaneous, so solo games fly by on the tiện ích, although it can be tough lớn follow what all opponents are doing, AI or real, if you’re playing against more than three other players. The developer just added the Leaders expansion as a $1.99 in-ứng dụng purchase. It’s a tremendous game that finally got the app it deserved.