Top Ten Best Board Game Apps 2019

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Meeple Like Us Best Board Game Apps – Introduction

It’s sometimes hard for me to find the time to play physical boardgames, and harder still to find that time when others have time also. That makes board game apps one of the primary ways in which I engage with this hobby. It’s not my favourite way, but it’s a great backup when I don’t have my favourite way available. I don’t own them all, but I own a lot of them. Many of them I have played for hours – dozens, hundreds of hours even. And you know what’s great? There are dozens of these apps. Hundreds, even. Hundreds of games you can play for hundreds of hours. No-one could realistically ask for more from their mobile devices. But still – life, eh? It’s so short. Too short, really – too short to spend time playing anything but the best possible apps. And that’s why I have gathered you all here today. Today I’m presenting my top ten list of board game apps so that you can focus, laser-like, on the best that’s available. That’s the topic of our special feature today – the best board game apps that money can buy in 2019.

Twilight Struggle screenshot

For this, I have considered games from two angles – how much I like the game, and how much I like the implementation. You won’t find any games on here that are well ported but that I don’t really enjoy. If you did you’d likely find things like Elder Sign, Tsuro, or Kingdom Builder making their way into the post. These are great implementations of games that I don’t hugely care for. I figure here that you don’t want to me to pick games on the basis of an endorsement of their technical merit. Also a game being great isn’t reason enough to include it or you’d find things like Tigris and Euphrates, Suburbia and San Juan on the list. These are great games but with implementations that are sub-par, lacking, or just a little clunky.

The games here then are great implementations of great games, at least in my view, and I’d recommend each every one to your attention.

Since we’re talking about mobile games here, I am not going to ignore accessibility but I’m going to talk about it from a different angle – I’m going to discuss what options the game gives you for fine-tuning the experience and then leave it up to you to decide the rest. Mobile devices already come with many accessibility tools and third-party support is reasonably good. I can’t really assess accessibility in an environment where there is such a wide range of variability. At least with a physical game everyone has the same starting point in the box. Generally speaking though, game apps tend towards inaccessibility and that’s something to bear in mind. If anyone has specific questions, I’ll be happy to answer them if I can in the comments.

Patchwork screenshot - not one of the best board game apps

As a point of context, all of these were played on android devices (usually phone and tablet). If the iOS version is different or non-existent, blame… I don’t know, Tim Cook.

So, with no further ado – on to the list!

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  11 comments for “Top Ten Best Board Game Apps 2019

  1. Nathaniel Beers
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    I am a little surprised that the Sentinels of the Multiverse app isn’t mentioned anywhere here. The app is a fantastic implementation of that card game. The app handles all of the rules perfectly, and covers all of the upkeep involved. It comes with the core box as base, and has options for literally everything they have ever released for that game.

    The app has honestly made me a better player of the physical version of the game.

  2. John Martin
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    No Ticket to Ride? The app is fantastic.

    • 18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

      Definitely a great implementation – it’s just not a game that I much care for except in certain circumstances. 🙂

  3. Jagrafess
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    I guess I’ve never seen the box that close before but why does Napoleon look like Mads Mikkelsen?

  4. Helmer Aslaksen
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    Great list! The Perudo app does not follow the rules. In the board game, you increase the bid by increasing the number of dice or the value of the dice. I am not sure if this is the inclusive or the exclusive “or”. In one version of the rules, it says that it is the exclusive or. However, in the the Perudo app, the rules is that you can keep the same number of dice while bidding a higher value or bid a higher number of dice with the same or lower value. Thus, you can follow 3 4’s with 3 5’s or 4 4’s or 4 3’s, but not with 4 5’s. However, in the board game, you cannot bid 4 3’s.

  5. Helmer Aslaksen
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    Great that you point out that Splendor has a color blind mode! I am very disappointed that Race for the Galaxy and Through the Ages do not try to help color blind players. It is VERY hard for me to play Race, and I gave up on TtA after a few minutes.

  6. Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
    18/09/2019 at 5:32 am

    No Ascension or Shards of Infinity? Sadness abounds.

    • chertograad
      18/09/2019 at 5:33 am

      I second this. Ascension is one of the best digital card games around. The app works flawlessly in both Steam and Android (haven’t tried the iOS app but I’d imagine the experience being very similar which is perfect).
      The Star Realms app is great, but it’s on a very similar level to Ascension’s app imho in terms of quality. Not worse or greater.
      The only thing I’d wish for Ascension to have is some sort of automatic matchmaking process. Finding matches feels sometimes tedious, but other than that it’s incredibly well made.

    • Jen Hiles
      18/09/2019 at 5:33 am

      I third this..I’ve been obsessed with Shards of Infinity

    • Tovarich Pizann
      18/09/2019 at 5:33 am

      Particularly for a site centered on themes of accessibility – Ascension makes it dead simple to combine all the cards from the various inter compatible Ascension sets. Shuffling and managing a center deck of over a thousand cards is challenging under the best of conditions, but the app makes it dead simple!

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