Sometimes you can find yourself stuck somewhere that it’s just not possible to take out your favourite board game and start playing. Sadly we have all been there but one of the benefits of mobile devices is we can now take our favourite board games with us at all times ready to be played in all sorts of places.
So the next time you are stuck on a train, bus, bank teller line or just don’t have a board game handy here are 21 great board games that you can now play on your mobile device.
Board Game Apps
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a classic gateway game and has been spoken about a lot on this blog the game is pretty simple. On each turn, you collect or play coloured cards to build preset railway routes across a map.
As you go, you gain points for building longer routes and connecting pairs of cities. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.
The Ticket to Ride app is fantastic and has been around for a while with heaps of available expansion maps and challenging AI it will have even the experienced ticket to ride players hooked.
In Small World Players control a numbers of different races throughout the game in an attempt to control the “small world” and gain the most victory points On each turn, you either use the multiple tiles of your chosen race (type of creatures) to occupy adjacent (normally) territories – possibly defeating weaker enemy races along the way, or you give up on your race letting it go “into decline”.
A race in decline is designated by flipping the tiles over to their black-and-white side.
At the end of your turn, you score one point (coin) for each territory your races occupy. You may have one active race and one race in decline on the board at the same time. Your occupation total can vary depending on the special abilities of your race and the territories they occupy. After the final round, the player with the most coins wins.
The app plays just like the board game, and it feels like you are playing it and not a digital version, the challenging AI also makes this a must for any fans of the tabletop version of this game.
Settlers of Catan
Catan is board game royalty and this day and age really require no introduction the app is a reflection of how established this game has become.
In the app, you can either play against multiple AI or link up with the online multiplayer to roll your dice, build your roads, trade your sheep, and move that damn thief that keeps blocking your brick production.
This app is so good that it makes Catan feel like it should be a video game but honestly, nothing beats trying to convince your friend to give you that last brick you need in person.
The Tokaido app is visually stunning and feels more like a computer game than a board game but in doing so does not lose for a second the feelings that come with playing is board game counterpart.
For those that haven’t played before In Tokaido, each player is a traveller crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While travelling, you will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas, and visit temples and wild places but at the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveller – which means that you’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things in order to win the game (Also Victory Points).
Istanbul is mancala style movement games based on the trade City of Istanbul and one of our favourite board games of all time. It involves players visiting different merchants to collect money and resources trading them for Gems to win the game.
The app stays authentic to the board game version of the game giving players an experience that feels very similar to the tabletop game. The AI is also very challenging providing experienced players with a challenge every time they play on their phones.
Potion Explosion always felt like a mobile game turned into a board game so there is no surprise that this game is now also available on mobile to download. It feels a lot like the board game from a gameplay perspective but I find myself playing the digital version of this game in an attempt to become better at the physical board game.
Don’t get me wrong this game will bring you hours of enjoyment with the added bonus of making you better at the board game but there is nothing about the digital version that really stands out.
Pandemic is the father of the modern cooperative board game with so many namesake sequels we would be surprised if you had never heard of it. The Game puts players into the role of Medical Specialists trying to contain a global pandemic from infecting the whole world. The twist players play against the board game itself and not each other in an attempt to win the game and save the world.
The app does this game justice with passing around the device acting as a great substitute for the physical component when needed. There really is nothing that can replace the board in this game but hey if you are stuck on a plane/train/car/line this is a great substitute and a real crowd-pleaser.
Coup is a social deduction card game that has players try to out bluff each other and try to be the last player standing as they attempt to eliminate everybody else. The game begins as each player is randomly dealt two face-down character cards from a deck of 15 cards that contains five different characters.
Players take turns that involve one of three actions, collecting money, paying money to kill their opponents, or taking the special ability of one of their face-down cards.
It seems simple until you add the final rule that any player can lie and claim the ability of a card they don’t have. However players can call out the opponents for lying, and this will ‘kill’ one of your cards if you are caught yet if you are telling the truth the player that called you out will lose one of there cards.
See how long you can last will you be the last player standing the free app for this game is excellent and at that price point, you have nothing to lose.
This Western Free for all action programing game has you and up to five AI opponents scramble, loot, and shoot your way across a moving locomotive.
The game revolves around a programming mechanic, where players take all there turns before the end of the round using movement and action cards, some secretly, which are then enacted at the end of the round. This can backfire as you have no idea what else might happen during the round or can result in some delightful surprise.
Much like its tabletop incarnation, the Colt Express app goes all-in on aesthetics. Reminding us of the board game’s numerous miniature cacti and tumbleweeds figurines that look impressive but serve no purpose.
Splendor is heavily strategic card drafting game that plays like a deck-builder except without all the shuffling. You purchase jewel themed cards that give you more buying power throughout the game, which in turn help you purchase cards that hold more value and allows you to earn points toward winning. The first player to get 15 of these prestige points wins the game.
This app looks just like the physical game and has a good level of different AI’s giving players an ongoing challenge the better they get at the game.
Tsuro is the most simple board game I have ever played that I enjoyed. The aim of the game is to keep your player token on the board longer than your opponents.
Each single-move turn consists of selecting and placing tiles in front of your token and then following the token along the path. You’ll lose if it shoots off the side of the game board or rams into another token. The last player left wins the game.
This game is so easy but so fun get it in whatever form you can.
Agricola is a worker placement board game that is just hard and confusing for new players. If you stick with it the game can become enjoyable but not after a lot of trying to work out how to play.
Agricola is not a game for everyone. But the app version is even better than playing the board game, if only because it streamlines the tedious setup and calculation that otherwise slows down the physical game and teaches you how to play through an in-depth tutorial session.
I would recommend players play the app before going near the board game.
Exploding Kittens is one of those crazy card games that players just need to experience. Players draw cards from a central deck, one at a time. Before drawing, players can also use cards from their hand to skip a turn or mess with your opponents in a dozen different ways.
The aim of the game is to avoid drawing an “exploding kitten,” cards which can cause you to lose the game, the app version of this game is great and offers features missing from the physical version of the game. Like online matchmaking and you also don’t need to shuffle again isn’t that the dream.
Galaxy Trucker doesn’t really feel like its physical version as the entire first half of the board game is tactile where you race to physically grab face-down tiles from a shared pile and assemble your intergalactic 16-wheeler. you then fly your quickly constructed ship through obstacles, enemies, and riches, watching as your ship, crumbles to pieces.
The app developers do a good job in developing this for mobile devices and I actually prefer the mobile version of this game so much that I no longer own a physical copy. This app in our opinion is better than board game and plays great on a mobile device.
Carcassone is the board game that made the meeple famous and is one of the most well-known board games to introduce people to modern board gaming.
In-app version, Carcassone just shows us that beating a computer is hard and helps you relate to those chess champions that lost to a computer.
If you’re unfamiliar with Carcassone, You and up to four opponents take turns playing tiles to build a field- and castle-infested city, laying down meeples and collecting points as you complete castles and roads. If you are anything like me lose to the AI over and over again.
Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is a worker placement game based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe based in the city of Waterdeep you play the influences of the city. Place your agents on various buildings around your port city home of Waterdeep, send heroes off on quests, and fight for the city’s prestige and power in the attempt to finish with the most victory points.
We recommend you play this app against humans or you will probably lose, a lot but its ok because you know it about having fun right?
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria…one room at a time.
You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he’s commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims.
Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he’s building while also selling his services to other players.
The learning curve for playing this game is pretty steep, just like the board game version. However, the app version of this game comes with nine training levels to help you get started. So you will be building crazy castles in no time.
Patchwork is a fantastic two-player board game based around quilting I know right quilting don’t knock it until you try it because this puzzle-based placement game will have your brain itching as you work to fill all the spaces in your quilt and not leave any gaps.
The app version of this game really does this game justice and feels just like the physical version and is so much fun you can spend a 5-hour plane trip playing round after round with your partner.
Mysterium is a Dixit Style haunted mystery game from the team at Asmodee digital where one player takes the role of ghost while everyone else represents a medium. The Players attempt to solve the crime of who killed the ghost but first, the ghost must recall (with the aid of the mediums) all of the suspects present on the night of the murder.
This unique game brings in elements of Dixit and Clue to give a new experience with the app staying true to the board game version it is a great addition to your digital board game library.
Based on the Cult classic board game terraforming mars puts players in the role of corporations trying to make the planet mars habitable for human life. Players work over decades to do everything from raise the temperature of the red planet to make sure the water levels and food production are at appropriate levels all in the ultimate goal to help it sustain life.
The app plays very similar to the board game version and offers some advantages in the realm of setup and pack down and is a suitable alternative to the board game version.
*note as of posting this the app was still in development and not available on all platforms*
Twilight Struggle is a heavy strategy game that puts players at the centre of the Cold War, controlling one of the two modern superpowers, as they work to spread their dominance throughout the world via political influence and coup attempts.
This game has always felt a lot like risk on steroids for me and that may be due mostly to the theme more then anything else the app is a great experience and the developers have done a good job bringing the board game experience of twilight struggle to your phone
Did we miss any games leave your suggestions using the comments below and make sure you if you liked this post share it on your favourite social media?