Category Archives: Board

'Colt Express' Makes Robbing Trains Fun and a Treat for the Eyes

Board game ports are a popular genre on the App Store, and while some are fun, not all of them strike a good balance between retaining the feel of a board game and taking advantage of all the digital realm can offer. I'm glad to say Colt Express [$4.99], the port of the award-winning board game, manages to bring the board game to life on digital by adding enough animation and sounds to make it pleasing to the eye while keeping the spirit of the board game intact. In fact, the developers have done something unusual in this port; they've transformed the 3D trains of the board game into 2D ones that look made of cardboard...

Ted Alspach's city builder Suburbia [$4.99] is one of the best board games on the App Store, and now it's finally available for the iPhone after a universal update. If you haven't heard of or played Suburbia, this pretty good port of the award-winning board game has you building your city by placing hexagonal tiles with various buildings next to each other. While that might sound like a simple mechanic, the way you match those tiles has a huge impact on how your population grows and how much money is left in the bank. A few wrong moves, and you'll be broke before you know it...




Twilight Struggle [$9.99 (HD)] is one of the best board games around and of the best digital ports you can get your hands on. Personally I enjoy it because I'm a history buff and like the history behind the Cold War. So, Playdek has decided to give fans of the board game all kinds of Christmas presents. First of all, the game is coming to Android on December 19th, so that part of the mobile world is also getting in on the Cold War action. The price will normally be $9.99 but will be down to $4.99 for a limited time as will the iOS version price. So, get it while it's cheaper because the game is definitely a bargain at $5 or even at $10...

If you remember the scene in Star Wars when R2-D2 is playing Holochess with Chewbacca, then you'll immediately recognize HoloGrid: Monster Battle [Free], a game created in collaboration with Academy Award VFX Director Phil Tippett, the guy who actually designed and animated the Holochess scenes from both Star Wars and The Force Awakens. We wrote about the game back in March, talking about how Tippett wanted to shift from making monsters on screen to making them for games. At its core, the game is a hybrid between a board game and a CCG, but it also uses AR technology to make it feel more alive and closer to the Holochess experience...

If you've been watching Westworld recently or just like your westerns, you should check out Colt Express [$4.99], the digital adaptation of the award-winning board game with the same name. Colt Express is a turn-based strategy game where you plot your actions using cards that have you move around a train, jump from wagon to wagon, take down other players, and, of course, collect the loot. You'll have to pick the right card at the right time to grab the most loot you can while not letting the other ladies and gents do the same. The game comes with an extensive story mode, where you follow 6 characters through 30 chapters. As you play through the single-player mode, you get to unlock game variants, a feature I like since it gives you more reasons to play the single-player part...

If you like board game ports, then you truly can't go wrong with Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy [$6.99 (HD)], especially if you enjoy playing a relatively-streamlined 4X game on your tablet. The game has been out since 2013, but it's now free for the first time ever, so this is a great time to grab it. Mind you, when I say the game is relatively-streamlined, I say that within the context of 4X games; Eclipse is still a pretty complex game, but it's made easier to play because of the limited options and a set game length. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you do, all the systems play together quite well and combine to make Eclipse a very entertaining 4X game...

The game of chess may well have been one of the earliest examples of a game being easy to learn but hard to master. Learning how all of the pieces move and putting together a basic strategy towards getting a checkmate isn't that difficult, but the unpredictable nature of human behavior makes chess a game that always has something new to offer. There's almost always a move to make that could be considered the best, but it's only the best if your opponent reacts in the textbook way themselves. A strong chess player needs to study their opponent almost as intently as the board. That said, there's a lot to be said for learning some fundamental strategies, just in case your opponent plays things by the book. As an added bonus, that knowledge will help you if you decide to play Moveless Chess [Free]...

'Really Bad Chess' Review - Rook No Further

It would be extremely easy to start this review by alluding to the ironic self-deprecation of the title, and affirm how Really Bad Chess [Free] is actually a Really Good Game. However, in truth, the title is not too far off the mark. Compared to the balance, strategic depth, and elegance of the age-old board game, Zach Gage’s most recent release is really bad chess. It is highly likely you will start a game with an abundance of the most powerful pieces versus a far weaker opponent, and it will likely not take as much tactical meticulousness to break down their defence; anyone looking for a chess simulator will undoubtedly be disappointed. However, once preconceptions of similar titles are left behind, Really Bad Chess manages to turn a tiresome, tricky and intimidating game into one perfectly suited for the immediacy of mobile gaming. While it may share similarities in the pieces, and how they can move, to the game it takes its name from, Really Bad Chess is an entirely different beast. Through prioritising unpredictability and offensive play over experience, Zach Gage has crafted an essential puzzle experience for anyone even remotely interested in strategy games on the App Store...

If you want three very good digital board games, especially if you like 2-player ones, you should pounce on the Digidiced sale. The games on sale are Agricola All Creatures Big and Small [$4.99], Patchwork: The Game [$2.99], and Le Havre: The Inland Port [$4.99]. All three games are focused on one versus one and are very well made. Agricola All Creatures Big and Small is a 2-player adaptation of the famous Agricola board game and is a much more focused experience than the complex Agricola. Patchwork is an award-winning game where you try and combine various fabric pieces into a patchwork, and it's a great combination of theme and gameplay...

We've written a couple of times in the past about Pirates War - The Dice King [Free] and about the way beta testing in our forums helped the game improve prior to its launch. So, after a fruitful beta period, the game is out worldwide and you can go check it out yourselves. If you haven't read any of our previous stories, Pirates War - The Dice King combines elements of a board game and a card game. You play as a pirate captain trying to build your own pirate crew and plunder other players. There are numerous captains, crew members, and ships, and each provide you with different bonuses and skills. Once the game starts, you go around buying, upgrading, and collecting taxes in a manner that will remind you of Monopoly...

We really liked the digital adaptation of the famous board game Splendor [$5.99] when it originally came out, although we did note the lack of online multiplayer as a factor that took away some of the port's shine. That is not an issue anymore, though, since the latest update has finally added online multiplayer, and it comes with plenty of features. The online multiplayer part is cross-platform (you'll need a Days of Wonder account to log in and play) and includes both ranked and unranked games from 2-4 players. You can even make private games by adding a password to your game...

Carcassonne [$9.99] has been one of the best looking and best digital board games for many years now (and also has the best music ever), and it's a gift that has kept on giving. Today, we got three mini expansions that will give you more ways to enjoy the game. The first one is Abbot, which brings a new piece you can place on Cloisters or Gardens (a new tile that just comes out of nowhere and lands on some of the existing tiles). You can recall that tiny little Abbot at any point during the game while still scoring points even without finishing the Cloister or Garden. The second expansion is The Old River, an expansion that was actually the first expansion ever published for the physical version of the game back in 2001...

Reiner Knizia's Confrontation [$5.99 (HD)] is an entertaining board game by the famous German board game designer Reiner Knizia (in case you couldn't tell by the game's name), and it's about to get an expansion that should make it even more fun to play. If you haven't played the game before, the physical version of the game, which came out in 2002, was set in the Lord of the Rings universe, but the digital version did away with Frodo and his friends and, instead, went with the more generic Light vs Shadow theme. The most fun part of the game is that you can't see your opponent's units until you engage them in battle, which makes for fun strategic decisions...

If you like the idea of building castles (and if not, I want to know who ruined your childhood), then you should grab Castles of Mad King Ludwig [$6.99], the port of the Ted Alspach board game with the same name, which has gone on sale for the first time since it released. Castles has you, well, building castles, each turn adding onto your already-existing layout in an attempt to build a monstrosity that will bring you enough points to win the game. If you want to actually win, you'll have to try and set up your own room combinations while making sure your opponents don't get any good room combinations going. Our own Andrew Fretz liked it in his review partly because he liked the game's flavor and the ways the theme works well with the gameplay...

The digital port of the board game Tsuro [$2.99] was one of the prettiest board games on the App Store, offering a lovely, serene experience. I quite enjoyed it when I reviewed it, and the good thing is that the developers have continued to update it and make it even better. This latest update, which just released today, improves the multiplayer part of the game by adding Game Center support (not just Facebook) and automatched opponents. There's also retroactive stat tracking for offline games - so all your old games will be included in your stats - a visually-enhanced Solo Mode, and the ability to record, edit, and share moves (but only the latest devices can do this)...

Perhaps Playdek took the Cold War theme of its game a bit too seriously when it decided to stealthily unleash Twilight Struggle Mobile [$9.99 (HD)], its port of the classic board game, onto the App Store. Twilight Struggle, the award-winning, card-driven board game that simulates the Cold War, has been very eagerly awaited by board game fans, so I was expecting the iOS release of the game (it's been out for PC for a few months) to come with a bit more fanfare. Still, I'm not complaining one bit because this one might be a great game to play during my upcoming (very long) flight...

'Castles of Mad King Ludwig' Review - Some Assembly Required

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May 27th, 2016 1:30 PM EST by Andrew Fretz in $6.99, 4 stars, Board, Reviews
$6.99 Buy Now

Castles of Mad King Ludwig[$6.99] is a curiously accurate description for the monstrous architectural nightmares that are created in the midst of playing this board game that is new to iOS. I have a lot of respect when you can capture so much of a game's essence in the title. If you are unfamiliar with the game, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted and prepare to toss feng shui out the window...

Yes, you've read that right; another Warhammer game has hit the App Store, but at least this one is relatively different than most other Warhammer-themed games. Talisman: The Horus Heresy [$4.99] takes the Talisman rule system (which some love for its casual entertainment and others hate for its randomness) and uses it to bring the Warhammer 40K universe to life in the form of a digital board game. The game takes place during Horus Heresy, the galaxy-spanning civil war that ravaged everything in its wake but also became the reason why the Space Marine chapters were born. As with other Talisman games, you roll dice and move around the board and depending where you land, you have to take various actions, gain various benefits, suffer various penalties, and so on...

In September of last year, Deed - The Game [Free] officially launched in the App Store, but it wasn't until today at GDC that I'd even heard of it. There are a couple reasons for that, I think. For one, it's based on a physical board game named simply Sustainable Business that's popular in Brazil but not so much elsewhere. Second, Deed was somewhat positioned as an educational game, which is accurate as it's a simulation of global trading but that's sort of dismissive of the actual fun and strategy contained within. Well, it turns out that that initial launch of Deed was sort of a learning experience anyway, and so developer Sinergia Studios made the tweaks and fixes that the game needed based on feedback while it was live in the time since its launch, and in fact ended up even completely revamping the art style for the "real" launch of the game when a big version 2.0 update hit last month. ..

'Patchwork' Review - Greater than the Sum of it's Parts

Patchwork[$2.99] is a very cute game. It has a charming facade of quilty-buttony comfort that is really quite inviting and calming. It's almost a shame that the game is very much a game of cut-throat cold logic devoid of much wiggle room around the fact that the person who can plan ahead best will usually win. The master mind behind such board game greats as Agricola[$6.99] and Le Havre[$4.99], Uwe Rosenberg, followed the pattern with a really great strategic/economic design on this one...

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