The Daily Worker Placement

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Revisiting Android board game Apps

by | published Thursday, June 9, 2016

In March last year, we did a round-up of the games that were available on Android for board game enthusiasts. As well as a lot of classics, there were many card game ports available, as well as many official releases of board games. The Google Play Market was quite healthy back in March of last year, but there’s been a number great new additions since then, so we figured it was time for an update (and to give a shout out to some we may have missed!).

splendor

On the Strategy game front, there’s been a flourish of releases! Days of Wonder/Asmodee Digital put out a quality digital port of the great gateway game Splendor, which has not only a fine array of AI players to pit yourself against, but a number of challenging campaign levels. Yet another favourite among the hobby, co-op Pandemic has had a port to Android finally. With pass and play, but also solo play, this will have you be an expert in saving the world in no time. Fantastic 2 player Patchwork was released to much excitement, especially considering the implementation of multi-platform online play (I love when that happens!). Despite some buggy beginnings, the app’s play has smoothed out quite well, and in addition to the online play there’s a few good levels of AI to play against.

Moving to slightly heavier strategy, Dominion finally released. A long time coming, this official implementation of the game has received some mixed reviews (especially considering the in-app purchase model). Its play environment is quite rich, however – not just online multiplayer, but a number of AI models and a campaign mode. Speaking of campaign modes – one of the better implementations of campaign play I’ve seen in awhile has shown up in Castles of Mad King Ludwig, a recent release of the Bezier Games tile-layer – and Nicole gave an overview of this one here. Manhattan Project, a worker placement game in which players compete to build and operate the most effective atomic bomb program.

image2Now, the far heavier stuff. Uwe Rosenberg’s medieval economic game Glass Road was released recently, and for something of a complicated game, it’s been translated well to the digital format (you can read Nicole’s review here!). His 2 player Le Havre: Inland Port has also been implemented (by the same design team as Patchwork), also with in-app and online multiplayer options. Along with Rosenberg, Martin Wallace is well known among heavier gamers, so it’s great to see implementations of his games Brass (be an entrepreneur in the industrial revolution!), and Steam: Rails to Riches (build railroads and deliver goods!) now on Android. Both games offer playing against the AI as well as pass and play, and Brass offers online multiplayer – it’s great seeing all of this in heavier apps. Yggdrasil might be a surprising appearance to some as an app, but it’s a fan-made implementation of the Nordic-themed game. It looks to be richly illustrated, and while it is primarily a co-op strategy game, there are strong thematic elements if you’re into that.

 

And if your tastes do run more thematic, Xenoshyft is for you; Cool Mini Or Not’s deck building and resource management in a sci-fi horror setting is another co-op, which makes it perfect for a pass and play with friends (but also plays solo!). Into that futuristic feel, but want something more sporty? Baseball Highlights 2045 packages that all up for you – robots and baseball? So fun. It looks great, using much of the physical game’s art, and plays solo or a 2-player hot seat mode. If you want to get a little more RPG/adventure-based, Paizo’s Pathfinder Adventure Card Game pacgis another co-op game that takes a card-heavy physical game and makes a smooth adventure out of it without any fiddly set-up! You can enjoy adventures solo, or pass and play with friends. One of my favourite apps is Star Realms, and White Wizard now have an app of their cousin game, Cthulhu Realms. Rather than building up your fleet to fight your opponent, you’re building up a deck of locations, conjurations and the like to turn your opponent mad. And, like Star Realms, the basic game allows campaign play and playing against the AI – and if you purchase, online multiplayer! And for those of you really into the Lovecraftian theme, Kingsport Festival will hit the spot. Invoke the elder gods to become the most favoured cultist, and try to thwart investigators looking into halt this profane celebration.

 

When you’re looking for a break from some of the longer games listed above, there’s been a few new popular additions to family and party games. I wouldn’t think of a game like Spot It! being made into an app, but it’s available on Google Play as Dobble – the exact same game, just differently named! Like the physical game, you can duel friends – but you can also play against the game. The cards are customizable too, with differing numbers of symbols – this makes it a great addition to play with friends and family. Lighthearted storytelling game rorysRory’s Story Cubes has made it to an app version, and although rolling the dice in the regular game is part of the fun, this at least lets you shake your device to feel a little of that! You can play with the basic set, or purchase more in-app.

2014 Spiel des Jahres winner Camel Up has gotten the app treatment. Light fun, this game plays up to 8 in the app – but it’s got a solo option in case you want to have some fun to pass the time on your own. You may have played classic Scotland Yard many times, or never at all – now’s the time to try with the Ravensburger app. Single or multi-player, it implements the sometimes fiddly game of hide and seek quite well, and makes it much easier to keep secrets! And leaning more towards the party-game end of the family spectrum, the enormously successful Exploding Kittens is now available as an app – not too different to the actual game, with a few bonus cards and online play available.

 

There haven’t been a lot of abstract/puzzle-y board game ports to Android, but a few of the newer ones are really lovely quality. Strategy puzzler Tsuro is beautifully and colourfully implemented, allowing you to play solo, against friends or an AI. Kamisado is well known for its beautiful components, so this abstract has done well to make up for that with a lovely design and UI. Local and online multiplayer, plus strategic solo play are available so you can become a master! Last of all, speed puzzler Ubongo is available – another rare multi-platform multiplayer. Race to solve puzzles with Tetris-y shapes against the app or other players.tsuro
If you’re looking to find out about all sorts of board game/ board game adjacent apps, then app Queen Suzanne Sheldon has a fantastic spreadsheet that she updates on the regular for apps not just on Android, but also Apple. The big Geeklist of board game companion apps over on BoardGameGeek is also being pretty frequently updated, if you’d like to app it up in your tabletop life. Happy digital gaming, folks!

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One thought on “Revisiting Android board game Apps

  1. […] My writing is a bit all over the place there – some stuff about conventions, a little on apps, and some stuff like the series of survey infographics I published after taking a big survey of […]

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