Anurag loves playing video games. His guides and listicles revolve around popular iOS, Android, PC, and console games.
In the pre-computer game era, playing a board game was probably one of the best ways to kill time. Summer holidays were incomplete without a game of Pictionary or Stratego. Now they have been replaced by videos games, but people still find time to play some of their favorite tabletop pastimes with friends and family.
The good news is that few developers have recreated digital versions of board games. Now games like Carcassone can be played on a touch screen device and even have multiplayer support. While they can never replace the fun and excitement associated with a physical board game, their multiplayer option lets a player play against complete strangers.
For Android, there are a few board games that can be played against human opponents online. Here’s a rundown of some of the best digital tabletop games that can be played on your tablet PCs and mobile phones.
1. Elder Sign: Omens
Elder Sign: Omens is a horror-themed digital tabletop game that revolves around the adventures of a group of intrepid explorers or ghost hunters. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories, Omens is an excellent digital reproduction of the original board game and is developed by Fantasy Flight Games.
The one thing you will notice about this app is the layout and artwork. The game board is brilliantly designed. The layout has a very board game-like look and feel to it. Omens is a dice-fest, so again there’s an element of chance that dictates whether your characters will succeed in solving a mystery or die in the middle of the game. You can control a maximum of 4 characters, roll the die, match symbols, unlock new quests and make sure you are not hit by doom points, which can really affect a character’s physical/mental health. Dice plays a crucial role in this game, so get the numbers right.
Omens’ gameplay may be a bit confusing for newbie players, which is why there are mini-tutorials to help them out. The tutorials are in the form of 2-minute videos, which offer a quick view on every aspect of the board game. However, not all elements are explained via video tutorials. There are plenty of twists and turns, many of which would leave you a bit dazed. Overall, Elder Sign: Omens a must-play board game if you are fond of mystery board games.
2. Talisman Prologue
Talisman Prologue is a stripped-down, digital adaptation of the fantasy game created by Games Workshop. The game offers an amazing single-player experience. It sticks to the traditional Talisman rule-set. There are plenty of locations to explore, and since it is an exploration-based game, there will be plenty of surprises, monsters and traps to discover.
In Talisman Prologue, you will need to roll a digital die and draw cards to begin your adventure. Game relies on the outcome of a 3D die and adventure cards, so don’t expect any strategy. It offers 10 popular characters from the original board game. Each character has a special ability and many times these abilities result into an extra die roll or auto-selection of the most powerful adventure cards in a deck.
The digital version of the board game has a neat layout: Important buttons are placed to the left and right side of the screen, a nicely-designed 3D die and a set of cards sit at the top of the screen. The card artwork is brilliant and each card has a mini-description that educates players about its effects.
Talisman Prologue offers a fascinating adventure and if you have played the original game, you won’t be disappointed with the single-player gameplay. Developers are planning for a multiplayer release in the future, but one has to see whether it will be as immersive as the original.
3. Arcane Quest: Ultimate Edition
Arcane Quest is a role-playing game with board game-like design and rules. The Ultimate Edition lets you choose a hero from 4 different characters, with each character possessing a unique ability. There is some strategy involved as Arcane Quest seems more like a turn-based game played on a digital game board.
Like any RPG, Arcane Quest lets you use special items, spells and abilities to fight enemies. The game is quest-based and each quest is totally different than the other. Gamers will have a set of cards and combat die to roll during battles. The classic board game look will definitely attract BG geeks and RPG gamers alike. Ultimate Edition is a paid app, but there’s a free version available on Google Play. I would recommend trying the free version first before buying the full version.
4. Hey, That’s My Fish
One of the most popular board games for kids and adults can now be played on your Android tablet PC. This family board game is known for its simple rules and addicting gameplay. The game app supports more than 2 players, making multiplayer matches pretty exciting. I recommend playing against human players online as they might prove to be better opponents than AI. Even at the highest difficulty level, the AI can never come closer to the intelligence of human opponents, especially the ones who are too good at this game.
The app’s cartoonish visuals and animation is excellent as is the music and sound effects. The controls are smooth. One can easily move penguins from one hexagonal ice flow to another. The digital board game can be extremely fun to play on an Android tablet. AI could have been a bit more challenging. Thank god there is a multiplayer mode, one can expect a good game on a boring Sunday afternoon.
The digital adaptation of the beautiful tile-placement game is impressive and offers excellent play value. Carcassonne for Android lets players build their own town by dragging and dropping tiles having roads, fields, rivers and ponds on them. Once they have placed those tiles, they can deploy knights, monks and thieves and earn points. The one who earns more points wins. The real strategy lies in tile and character placement and the one who is smart enough to get their placements right is the winner.
The stunning board game world looks even more beautiful every time you create a new town out of scratch. The fun part is that a player-created town looks different in every new game. It is a plain strategy game and many times, you will need to pause and think a lot before placing tiles and pieces onto the game board.
The Carcassonne digital board game looks amazing on an Android tablet PC. You can zoom in to your town while deploying character pieces to earn points. If you like strategy board games, then don’t miss Carcassonne.
6. Neuroshima Hex
Neuroshima Hex is an Android version of a post-apocalyptic board game of the same name. It has a hex-based digital board where players place units to fight for survival. The game lets you choose a faction from 4 fictional factions: Humans, Robots, Mutants and Gangers. Each side has its own unique abilities and set of units ready for a gruesome turn-based battle.
Neuroshima Hex is a pure combat-based game. There’s no room for any negotiations or politics. The turn-based combat is engaging and somewhat complex, which is why there’s a short video tutorial explaining key gameplay aspects. However there are many features that have not been explained. Thankfully, there’s a manual that comes with the physical board game. You can get this manual online in PDF version, in case you want to know more about the game, and how factions and player pieces interact with each other.
The game has stunning visuals. The artwork is reminiscent of the physical tabletop game. Each faction piece is modeled on the pieces of the original game and is quite impressive. Combat victory depends on tile placement and various strategies. The AI is too tough on medium difficulty, so I recommend playing under easy difficulty level after learning the rules, tricks and strategies of the game.
7. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is a rail adventure game where players are tasked to collect cards, link cities via railway routes, earn points and build a railroad empire of their dreams. Those who haven’t played the original game may find the description a bit uninteresting, but believe me, Ticket to Ride gets addicting once you start playing against human opponents.
The Android version of this board game works quite well on your touch screen device and although it may never recreate the fun of managing plastic choo-choo trains, cards and that big cardboard map, it will make you nostalgic. For beginners, TTR explains the bare basics via a mini video tutorial, but one can search for more information and strategy online.
Ticket to Ride’s multiplayer mode supports up to five players. The best part of the game is that it is a cross-platform game. It allows players to play against opponents having the iOS version of the game. The game’s a bit pricey compared to other apps in this list ($7), but it’s worth the price.
All app screenshots, courtesy of their respective developers
Josh on March 24, 2015:
There's also Board Adventure Online - something for the youngest
Ammon Beardmore on February 10, 2015:
I have a few of these in the board format. Great to know I can play them on the phone
Anurag Ghosh (author) on February 04, 2014:
Amanda from Michigan, United States on February 04, 2014:
As someone with an Android phone who loves games but is surprisingly ignorant about them, this was a very useful hub! Voted up!
Catan on December 07, 2013:
What about "Catan"?