Things of No Interest: 50 iOS Boardgames - 5 at a Time

Things of No Interest: 50 iOS Boardgames - 5 at a Time

There are a lot of app conversions of boardgames out there - believe me, that was the sole reason I got an iPad back in the day and why I upgraded to a new iPad last year. While I do more than just play boardgame apps on my iPad, playing boardgame conversions was the main reason for my getting one. This series will do a countdown of my top 50 boardgame apps - five at a time. I took 50 of the best and dropped them into Pub Meeple's Ranking Engine so I could sort them and here is what I got...

** Note: There are a ton of boardgame apps I never purchased, and a huge number that I have, but that are currently not playable on iOS 11 - I'm only covering those that I can play and still have installed on my iPad.

Numbers 50-46

Tsuro
Full disclosure - I don't really love Tsuro in general, so it should be no surprise that I don't really love the app all that much either. Honestly, if the Zombie Dice app had been upgraded to iOS 11 support, that game would have been here instead. So why do I have this app at all? Well, I sold my tabletop copy and my kids like Tsuro enough that I spent a buck or whatever so we could still play this on occasion.

That said, despite being the last choice of apps to play, this conversion was really well done. It plays smoothly and is gorgeous to look at. It supports online and solo play. It also has a pretty cool AR feature that lets you have your screen on a table and you can move around the table for a different view (which is cool if you are doing pass and play, but this is really just a novelty that may or may not interest you). But it is still just Tsuro. I'd rather go play Angry Birds or something on my iPad than Tsuro...

Onirim
I'm probably going to get a bit of flack for this one being at the "end of my list". Truth is, I heard this was a great solo game that finally got an app, so I figured I'd try it. Time killers are good right? Eh. I found this to be marginally more interesting than "The Game", but not much more interesting than Freecell or any other solitaire-like card game.

The game is certainly pretty and does what it is supposed to do - let you play a quick solitaire game. If that's your thing, you should check this out.

Suburbia
I played the tabletop Suburbia game a couple times and decided that it just wasn't my thing. I think the variable goals are a good way to keep the game fresh, but combined with the way that tiles come out and you can get games where you can have a hard time meeting the goals simply because of bad draws. Despite this, I purchased this app when it came out to see if I was missing something since a lot of people really like this tabletop game. One thing I love about playing boardgames on my iPad - it really lets you deep dive games. Unfortunately, I only played the app a couple times and then never went back. If I recall correctly, the early release of the game had an big bug and though it got fixed in short order, I had already moved on. I'm going to try and play this a bit in the coming week and I'll throw out a note in a future post about any updated thoughts I have after spending some more time with it. There is a cool campaign game for playing solo and you can play async games against friends online - so we'll see.

I really don't have any complaints with this implementation, I just don't love the game enough to want to play it very much. I actually liked Alspach's followup better - Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but I never grabbed the app release of that game. It is on my list of games to get the next time there is a holiday sale on apps.

Scotland Yard
Ravensburger was one of the companies that jumped in early developing their games into apps for iOS and Android. Scotland Yard was one of their first to get converted. It is a game of chase - one player is Mr. X and trying to escape, while the other players try and coral Mr. X in the streets of London so that he is caught by the detectives. A little like Mr. Jack on steroids, or Fury of Dracula lite.

This implementation (like most of the Ravensburger implementations) is excellent - you can pinch to zoom around the map and things are animated, but there are only enough animations to let you know you are playing an electronic version of the game without being overly superfluous and making the game drag on as you watch them. You can play against the AI, or against real players asynchronously. All in all, this is a good implementation, but it isn't a game I yearn to play all the time. This is another where my kids like the game, but don't ask for it much, so I figured a couple buck for the app was better than a game on the shelf collecting dust.

Café International
I remember this being one of the first game conversions I purchased. Not because I knew and loved the tabletop game, but because it was one of the first that was available when I got my original iPad 3 (yeah, a while ago). The implementation is well done with goofy accented voice-overs for each nationality saying "Hello" in their native tongues. The AI isn't bad, making this a decent enough solo game, and while there is online async play, none of my friends were ever interested in getting the game to play. Like a lot of the implementations, the developers did a great job with the game, but if you don't like the source material, it doesn't matter how good they did with the conversion.

The game itself feels a bit random - you can get a bad draw of cards, and when you need points, the choice between actually getting some points vs setting up another player isn't really an interesting one. This is the main reason I rarely play it. It mostly is ahead of the above games only because the game is simple enough that I don't have to go back to rules when I choose to play it after months of not giving it any time.

Next time - numbers 45-41 (including one that I'm sure a number of folks love and will want to know how in the world it is in the bottom ten of my app games).

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