It doesn’t get much more old school than a classic board game. They’ve been around for a very long time and billions of people have played them. As you can imagine, they’ve also made their way into the digital space. Admittedly, they’re pretty terrible on computers but the touch screen nature of smartphones and tablets lend themselves to the board game dynamic perfectly. In this roundup, we’ll check out the best Android board games.
[Price: $4.99 with in app purchases]
First up is Carcassonne and it’s a relatively simple board game to wrap your head around. Players lay down tiles to create maps and then deploy various units to earn points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. There is online and local multiplayer modes along or you can face computer opponents if you so choose. It’s been around for a while but it’s still a pretty decent option for board game aficionados.
It doesn’t get much more traditional than a good old game of chess. Chess Free is exactly what it says it is: a free chess game for Android. You can play against computer opponents over 12 difficulty levels and includes the Treebeard Engine used in Microsoft’s MSN Chess. Some of the other fun features include a “Show CPU Thinking” option that shows you the moves the computer is considering, a chess tutor, achievements, leaderboards, and local multiplayer. There are also eight themed chess boards and seven themed sets of pieces. You really can’t ask for much more than this in a chess game.
[Price: $3.99 with in app purchases]
Elder Sign: Omens is a board game where you play as four investigators who are trying to prevent the Ancient Ones from invading the world via museum exhibits. The board is the museum and you must search for clues and defeat the various Ancient Ones. It’s difficult to win but fun to play like all board games should be. The in app purchases are simple expansions which add to the game. It’s customizable and a great example of what a modern, digital board game can be.
Hey, that’s my Fish! is a board game with a simple premise. You collect as many delicious fish as you can to win. In the game, you’ll be required to have some strategy because you’ll be competing for those fish with other penguins. It’s definitely more casual than other entries on this list but it’s great for kids and adults who are looking to kill a few minutes and there are no in app purchases. There are plenty of maps to play and it is pretty fun. It’s also worth mentioning that this app requires no permissions to run.
Ingenious is a board game that pits you against an AI opponent and a bunch of colors. The goal is to get all of their pieces while protecting all of yours. It’s a unique premise that requires you to think and play faster than most board games and we liked that. There are three difficulty modes and some other in game stuff like tournament mode. It could’ve used some multiplayer but as a single player board game, it’s really not bad.
Mr Jack Pocket a board game that requires logic and deduction to succeed. You can play as the police or as Jack and you can probably see where this is going. As the police, you must catch Jack and as Jack you must avoid the police. It features some good illustrations and there are three difficulty settings to play with. There is also a Blitz Mode that comes with a leaderboard so you can compare your stats with other players. It’s a tad pricey at $5.90 but it’s one of the better digital incarnations of a real board game out there.
Neuroshima Hex is another Android board game that you’ll see recommended a lot. It’s a fast-paced, tactical board game that plays like a mixture of Risk and Chess. You move across the board, attack the other players, and the last player standing wins. You can play with up to four players either human or AI and you each control one army. Each army even has a back story. There are three AI difficulties and simple controls. Some people disagree with the pricing so keep an eye out on that and make sure you test the game before the refund phase is over to make sure you like it.
This board game hasn’t been downloaded all that many times which is weird because it’s recommended practically everywhere. In this game you must develop the four key spheres of civlization: settlements, temples, farms, and markets. The player who can develop theirs the best while showing the least weakness wins. Players place tiles and earn victory points and that’s how the game progress is tracked. It’s a little complicated but there is local multiplayer and three modes of game play. Plus, there are no in app purchases.
[Price: $9.99 with in app purchases]
Small World 2 is a game that’s kind of like Risk. Players take control of territories and battle it out to control other territories. They earn victory coins as a result of their battles and the player with the most coins left wins the game. There are three, four, and five player maps as well as two types of multiplayer: turn by turn or real time. There are a variety of races to play as and various daily and weekly challenges to keep things interesting. There is a lot of content here which kind of makes up for this game being the most expensive on the list.
As the name implies, this game is only available for Android tablets. It’s a city-building board game where you must manage a growing metropolis. You’ll have to place such things as residential, commercial, civic, and industrial areas to win the game. You can play solo, against computer opponents, or against real people in local (not online) multiplayer mode. The only downside to this game is a bug that’s been widely reported in the campaign mode and the fact that this game is only for tablets.
[Price: $6.37 with in app purchases]
Talisman is a different kind of board game in that if more closely resembles a game of Dungeons and Dragons mixed with a game of Monopoly. In this classic board game, you choose between 14 characters and obtain the Crown of Command. Every player is trying to be the first to reach the Crown of Command which will ultimately win them the game. The game has some of the better graphics of any game on this list and the mechanics are classic dice rolling. It was popular before it hit Android and so far people seem to like it here as well.
Ticket to Ride is actually the second game on this list by developers Days of Wonder (the other being Small World 2). In this title, you play against other players to create train routes. As you play, you claim various routes to various cities and the player with the longest route at the end wins the game. There is online multiplayer, offline play versus the computer, and the in app purchases will buy you various other maps to play on (the US map is included). It’s simple to play but challenging to win and people seem to enjoy it quite a bit despite its high price tag and in app purchases.
[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Zynga has released a new Words With Friends that’s a little bit different than the old iteration. It’s a little buggy right now but to be fair most new games are. This game emulates the classic board game Scrabble. You play online against your friends and you can play multiple games at once. There is stat tracking to see how you do and you can access your games on multiple devices. It needs some work but it’s still better than the official Scrabble game if just by a hair.
If we missed any awesome Android board games, please let us know in the comments!