Of all the many apps on my iPad, my favourite kind of all are the boardgames: from the traditional and familiar likes of Monopoly and Chess, to the complex and abstract ‘Eurogames’ like Tigris & Euphrates and Puerto Rico.
The iPad is the perfect device for boardgaming, doing away with the need for unpacking fiddly game components and losing pieces down the back of the sofa.
The games which follow are my favourites of all: not only because they are faithful implementations of excellent games, but also down to their superb presentation. These are the iPad boardgames which are as good to look at as they are to play.
Carcassonne is a deceptively deep game of tile-laying set in medieval France. As players compete to gain the highest scores from placing followers on roads, cities and farms, a complex map is created as strategies and tactics change with each new tile laid.
With a solo puzzle mode, online play, challenging AI and the recent appearance of some of the physical game’s expansions, Carcassonne is an atmospheric and addictive game with acres of replayability.
Ghost Stories is one of the hardest boardgames ever devised. Players take the roles of Taoist monks, working together to defeat the evil spirit Wu-Feng as he unleashes unruly ghosts on an unsuspecting village.
The rules and mechanics are complex at first, but the unique setting, the tactical depth and the steep, steep challenge of this game make it one which will keep haunting you time and time again.
Ticket To Ride
The game most likely to appeal to all the family, Ticket To Ride is a classic game of points scoring set in turn-of-the-century America (or Europe, in one of the game’s in-app expansions).
As players compete to complete rail routes connecting cities on the board’s map, the simple game mechanics hide a game which is hugely fun and compelling.
Good AI and online play, together with a range of expansions, add up to a must-buy ticket.
Small World is an amusing and cut-throat game of fast-paced world expansion, set in a tightly-bordered fantasy land.
Players choose races and trait combinations then attempt to dominate the board in a quick-running game of expansion and battle that – thanks to the variety of combinations – is seldom the same twice.
One of the first iPad boardgames to put as much effort into the presentation as the gameplay, and with a couple of expansions adding even more depth to the title, Small World is big on fun.
Elder Sign: Omens
Superb artwork and atmospheric sound contribute to the mood of creeping horror in this co-operative game set in Arkham’s mysterious museum. The game mechanics are based on a physical dice game, which is uniquely implemented in this top-notch iPad version which shows all the signs of becoming a favourite in many a gamer’s collection.