Play the best tabletop gaming has to offer, without the hassle of setting up the pieces.
Each of these iPad games has a cardboard and plastic counterpart, but these excellent digital ports will doubtless add some dust to your board game shelf. You may already own Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, but here are a few other digital board games you may not have heard about.
Given that the title of this game is often appended by the words "The Board Game," I doubt it comes as a surprise that Pandemic began its life in a cardboard box. Unlike most family-friendly multiplayer games, Pandemic inspires world-saving cooperation rather than the capitalistic competitiveness of Catan, Ticket To Ride or Monopoly. Rumor has it that the iPad version packs more of a punch than the original, so hopefully your gaming cohorts are up for a challenge.
Carcassonne makes for a good gateway game for those who want to play a tile-laying city builder, but who might be intimidated by the heavy strategic elements of Catan, Tigris and Euphrates. Most of the expansions from in the game's original format are also available as in-app purchases; if you see one of your favorites missing from the current line-up, the Carcassonne team encourages you to let them know.
If you've never played the 2012 tabletop version of this title, know that this Wizards of the Coast favorite has a relatively steep learning curve for new players; what's more, the AI can be a surprisingly difficult foe in this iOS port. Learning a turn-based strategy game with one's own friends can also be difficult, of course, but at least then you'll be able to capitalize on the psychological trickery necessary to turn a game in your own favor.
Multitaskers and would-be bosses will excel at this popular European multiplayer game, where each player must maximize the efficiency and resource production of their farm. The game's aesthetic has all the cuteness of Farmville and Harvest Moon, plus a competitive undercurrent. If you like this genre but not the game's aesthetic, you might also try Stone Age.
San Juan began as a card game, and this iOS port keeps the card-centric visuals. Indeed, this adaptation changes practically nothing about the original game, other than rendering it in digital form and changing the name (the board game is called Puerto Rico). The colonialist themes might feel a little disconcerting to modern audiences, but since there still isn't an iOS port for Dominion, San Juan remains a mainstay when it comes to iOS ports in this genre.