We love board games. They're a fantastic way to spend quality time with your family and friends. They challenges our patience, our strategies and our competitive/cooperative skills. Board games are both great leisure and educational resources.
The emergence of mobile technology doesn't necessarily mean that board games are doomed to disappear from our lives, on the contrary: mobile versions of board games are always accessible and, when online multiplayer mode is supported, they can turn every day into a Friday game night. We can envision in-table displays that will enhance the gaming experience in many ways: visual effects, higher game speed, empty game drawers and, most important... no more lost tiles!
But you know what? We aren't talking about the future: there are already good mobile versions of board games. We love the geeky ones. So let's see what iOS has in store for us!
Settlers of Catan is the the jewel in the crown of geeky board games. It's a game for 4-6 players, with a balanced gameplay which consists of trading resources you need to build your settlement in the recently discovered Island of Catan. Whoever reaches a certain points goal is considered the settler and wins the game.
The mobile version of Catan - developed by USM - takes the original game to new heights. The rules are the same but it has two basic advantages: first, you can play against CPU in a more dynamic way (dice rolling isn't a pain as it is away from keyboard) and second, there's an online multiplayer mode so you don't need to wait until Friday's game night to play Catan with your friends. Neat, isn't?
Seafarers and Cities and Knights expansions are availble via in-app purchases.
Another classic among the 'geekies'. Carcassonne is a turn-based game where players create a landscape placing tiles and earn points deploying followers on. Turn by turn, players try to earn as many points as they can controlling towns, roads, farms and monasteries. There's no fight, just strategy.
The mobile version of Carcassonne is pretty faithful to the tabletop version. You can play against AI (which plays pretty well, gotta say), against random players from around the world on online multiplayer matches and against your friends in hotseat (on one device). It has a decent multi-language support, runs smoothly and includes "The River" expansion via in-app purchases.
Magic 2015 is the official mobile version of the card game Magic: The Gathering. It follows both the usual Magic rules (tutorial included for newbies) and some unwritten rules for mobile collectible card games regarding in-app purchases. Both artwork and animations are awesome, adding the action layout the away-from-keyboard versions were missing.
Whether you were a player 20 years ago or are a newcomer now, you may need to catch up with some new cards and jargon. Tap to zoom in on the cards, read them carefully and get used to them. Soon you'll find out why Magic: The Gathering almost became creed.
Talismas is (or was) the most D&D-esque board game. In fact, it was a little bit too flipped out, and things would quickly get out of hand when adding the four expansion corners and four experienced players to the mix.
In Talisman Prologue the basics are carefully explained, so fret not if you aren't a Talisman player or were one too long ago to remember. In the end, it's all about roaming a board, killing monsters and advancing through levels: parcheesi on steroids, basically. You will be unlocking characters and fulfilling quests on a role-playing style board game with appealing fantasy-like graphics.
Elder Sign: Omens is about some unpronounceable ancient evil Lovecraftian gods looking to conquer existence and wipe mankind off the map. A group of bold adventurers (hey, that's you!) must prevent it by exploring a museum and controlling several cursed artifacts.
It's a dice game, but there are also cards and a randomly generated board. Every character has their own characteristics. Graphics get well along the game, giving a noir feeling without losing the board game essence.