A few awesome board/card/iOS games
This is by no means a complete list, but I just thought I’d share some of the cool NON-computer games I’ve been playing lately.
Off the top of my head, I’ve played Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Ascension, Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, Pandemic, Forbidden Island, Set, Lost Cities, Neuroshima Hex, Ingenious and Robot Master recently. I own physical versions for about half, iOS versions for the other half, with plenty of overlap somewhere in the middle.
I’d heard that Ticket to Ride was a really good “gateway” game, so I thought I’d give it a try. The games go quick, the rules are fairly simple, there’s a separate iPhone and iPad version, and of course a physical version. I’ve only played it a few times, but it’s good. I can definitely see it being a great first game for a new gamer.
Dominion is a pretty simple deck-building game with a lot of replay-ability, and there’s a free iOS version in the app store. The app has ugly GFX and UI, and no sounds, but it plays perfectly, and I consider it to be a must-have. I couldn’t get online multi-player to work, but since I have the physical game, I don’t care. Dominion is really good. Like, “I play it all the time” good.
I didn’t even know Ascension was a port of an actual physical deck-building game, because I bought the iOS version first. That being said, the iOS version is awesome. Love it. Similar to Dominion in many ways, but has more variability throughout the game. And one particularly amusing sound effect.
I personally prefer the iOS version of Carcassonne to the physical version, which is fantastic, but whose end-of-game scoring can be a little tedious. The iOS port is incredibly good, and auto-scores at the end (yay). Slick GFX and UI, multiplayer, solitaire mode, etc. This is a must-have.
Speaking of complex end-of-game scoring, 7 wonders is about as complex as I’ve seen. But the game is simply awesome. Rounds go quickly, there’s a ton of replay-ability, and everyone wants to play another round. This is one of my favorite games. That being said, there is a little bit of a learning curve, which means that the first round is going to feel pretty complicated to newbies… but after that first round, you’re good to go. Oh, and there’s a free 7 Wonders Scorer iOS app which makes life so much easier. Seriously, buy this game. Now.
Pandemic and Forbidden Island are by Matt Leacock, and are both co-op 2-4 players. I don’t get to play many co-op board games, so these can be a nice change of pace. I’ve played Forbidden Island as a board game and there’s an iOS port that I haven’t yet bought, but that I hear is very good. I bought Pandemic because I saw some friends play it, and they were having a lot of fun… but I haven’t even gotten to play it yet. Too much 7 Wonders.
Set is a card game, and all about pattern recognition. Rules are simple, and it’s good for parties.
If you’re into turn-based strategy, Neuroshima Hex is fantastic. I own the iOS version and it has slick GFX and UI. And the best part is that each game only takes about 5-10 mins to complete. Neuroshima Hex is one of the first “real” iOS board games I bought, and definitely worth the money.
Ingenious and Robot Master are both from Reiner Knizia, and use a play mechanic where the player is incentivized to max out individual stats/colors/items, but where the game is ultimately scored based on the value of the LOWEST stat/color/item value. It’s a brilliant idea and isn’t at all gimmicky. If I had to choose, I’d pick Ingenious over Robot Master, but both are great. There are both iPhone and iPad versions of Ingenious, as well as a general iOS version of Robot Master.
Either way, that’s my list as of now. What am I missing? Let me know in the comments, thanks!