If there is one problem with board games it is how impractical they can be. You’re trying to play Galaxy Trucker in the back of your car … and oh it’s gone everywhere. A nice game of Catan by the fire … and woosh all your wood is up in flames. Want to play Splendor in the bath? Well at least the tokens float.
If only there was a way to stop your pieces flying around, setting on fire or getting all wet.
Well why not play a board game on your phone or tablet? Note: Please do not put your phone in a fire or in the water, unless it’s one of those fancy waterproof ones.
Not only can you play games on your phone they can enhance the games you already own! Here are some of our favourite board games and apps you can get right now.
The first time I played Splendor was on my tablet in a pub in Belgium and it’s still the only copy I own. It’s a delightful game of buying gems, is easy to learn and perfect for 2-4 players.
Chwazi Finger Chooser (app)
Most games have a quirky way of picking the first player. Like the last person to have eaten an egg or the player with the most money in their pocket right now. Well this app gives you a fun alternative and all you need to do is shove your fingers at a phone! Genius.
Galaxy Trucker (game)
We love Galaxy Trucker, an accidentally comedic game about building a daft space ship and hoping there’s still some of it left by the end. Not only can you play this version locally or online but it even has a single player campaign.
Ticket to Ride (game)
A real modern classic and many people’s first family game that replaces Monopoly in their collection. Well now take it with you everywhere and introduce other people to the hobby you love without lugging around the whole box. Oh and if you don’t know what it is, it’s a wonderful game about building train lines and we covered it over here on our podcast.
Score keepers (apps)
One of the biggest pains in many games is keeping score or figuring out who’s won. It’s often a case of cross referencing the rule book and shouting at your mate “how many chickens did you have again?”. Well, fear not: there are plenty of score-keeping apps for your favourite games. Here are some of the ones we regularly use:
Are you on a pirate ship? In a circus tent? Or just at the zoo? Well one of you has no idea but must pretend like they do without getting found out. We talked about why we find Spyfall so funny here on the podcast. There isn’t actually an official app but there are plenty of great free versions. A great way to try the game before you buy it.
Another giant of board gaming, it’s the world-saving-virus-eradicating-co-op joy of Pandemic. Great for a train journey with a mate or loved one. It’s also a nice way to learn the regular game with the in-built tutorial.
There are plenty of games that require you to keep track of time or follow some instructions with your eyes closed. Well do it in style with one of these companion apps. We certainly wouldn’t play one of our favourite games One Night Ultimate Werewolf without it.
Settlers of Catan (game)
Another classic in your pocket. Like with many of the games suggested here you can play locally by passing your phone around your group of friends. One thing I really appreciate about the Catan mobile game though is you can play against AI. Turn-based games like this are great to play on the bus.
I’m the duke, well that’s what they all say. The great quick-fire card game of lies and deception is now a beautiful little mobile game. There’s an awful lot of greatness in this conversion, with AI opponents, chat emotes and even strategy tips.
Heads Up (game)
A game of reverse charades in which you must hold the phone to your head facing away from you and EVERYONE ELSE does frantic miming. Guess as many as you can in the time and then enjoy the game’s delightful punchline: all your friends throwing crazy shapes to explain to you “Arnold Schwarzenegger” have been recorded and will now be broadcast back to you. A must-have party game.
AI companion apps
Oh yes that’s right, A.I. Computers all up in your board games so that one of you doesn’t have to be the dungeon master again. Now means you can all be on the same team, or you can even solo some of your favourite games for the connoisseur.
Colt Express (game)
Yes, that delightful game with the 3D train is now on your phone, in 3D! This is a great conversion of a Best Play favourite and you no longer have to try to imagine your terrible cowboy mishaps because this game is full of beautiful animations.
One of our favourite games for couples, which I now play exclusively on my tablet. A wonderful game of competitive-quilt-building – a bit of a tongue twister, but it makes a perfect travel game.
Space Team (game)
We couldn’t complete this list without mentioning Space Team. It didn’t start as a board game (although now it is) but it is one of our favourite games to play when out. Make all your friends download it so you can shout FLOOP THE FLUX LEVER like we did at 3am in a Turkish bar, much to the amusement of all the locals.
Phew…that’s a pretty exhaustive list and should keep you busy a while. There are still loads more board game apps out there though, let us know your favourites in the comments.