Things of No Interest: 50 iOS Boardgames - 5 at a Time (20-25)
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.
Interestingly, I realize that I rank these 5 apps about the same - that is to say, I don't necessary want to play any one more than the others, it just depends on my mood.
I have never played the tabletop version of this game. It looks really cool, but nope. I checked out the app first, which cracked me up, because the game certainly feels a lot like a "board-gamified" version of any number of continuous elimination games (Candy Crush, Bejeweled, Angry Birds Blast, etc etc). So when you play the app? You are right back to where you started! There isn't a timer since this is a board game conversion and you can play against AI or online vs human opponents. The app is really well done and the game itself half bad. If you haven't played this or just really like the tabletop game, you should grab this one.
I have to admit, I have not spent a lot of time playing this one - mostly because I've only played the real game a handful of times and I don't ever fully recall the rules. The implementation seems to be good (I can't speak to the AI really). The tutorial might be my only real complaint at this point because it takes forever. NOTE TO DEVELOPERS - let me click through stuff I know. I hate having to sit through your "cute" dialog. This mostly is this high up because I liked the tabletop game and want to play it more. I think once I recall the game, I'll spend a fair bit more time exploring this app.
I like this game of Ewe - it is quite clever and an interesting take on his wheel mechanism from Ora et Labora. Rather than grabbing counters or such, you simply move the marker on one of your wheels. When you have accumulated all the resource types on a wheel - you automatically convert your goods to either glass or bricks. It makes for some interesting resource management. But that's not the only interesting part of this clever game. Oh no. Each round you are selecting actions you want to take. The kicker is, each card you pick has two actions on it. If you are the only player to select an action at a given moment, you get to take both actions on the card. Otherwise everyone takes a single action from the card. It makes your choices and the other player choices a lot more interesting.
The app is well done, but the game feels a little hard to learn from the app - I had played the tabletop game a number of times, so it wasn't an issue for me, but trying to teach the game to my love was much easier once she had played it at the table. If you like the tabletop game, you'll probably like this app as well, but if you are hoping to learn the game from scratch, find a buddy to teach your.
I enjoy the heck out of card games and climbing games - I love Tichu. I kept hearing that this was a good alternative for 2 or 3 players. Then Chimera came along and I never bothered looking into Haggis. When I started this series, I ran across the Haggis app and grabbed it and then spent a couple nights playing it over and over. What a great little game.
The interface is generally pretty good, though the hand sorting options aren't really my style - I'd like to just be able to sort the hand however I like, but that feels like a minor quibble. I wish there was online play or even local network kind of thing, but for a card game, its ok that there isn't. This is a pretty good choice when you have an itch to play some cards.
Race For the Galaxy
Race and I have a bit of an odd relationship. I'd much rather play San Juan than Race at the table. Honestly, every single time I played Race, it felt like I knew how the game was going to play out after about 3 cards were played by each player. Worse, it felt a lot like luck of the draw in those first couple of rounds really was the difference. Lots of people LOVE this game, I was not in that group of people. When the app came out, I wasn't sure I wanted to bother getting it, but after playing a bazillion games of Star Realms, I thought maybe my sample size for the game was too small, so I went ahead and got the RFtG app and started playing it a lot.
My appreciation for the game didn't really change. It still felt like the same general problems. Then I started playing against the HARD AI (which was based on an AI that has been evolving for a long while now). I couldn't beat it. If the game was really random, I should be able to beat the AI right? It took a long time before I finally won and longer before I started playing better/optimally. I don't think I ever quite got to 50-50 against the hard AI, though I logged a lot of time trying.
I eventually purchased the two expansions for the game to change things up a bit and while I enjoyed them a fair bit, but I also came to a conclusion that I still don't love RFtG. I had to play a TON of the game to get to a point where I was ok at the game and it still felt a lot like randomness played a huge part in winning. And it felt MORE like I knew the outcome of the game after the first few cards - if only because I now knew the cards even better.
All that aside, the app is exceptionally well done, though the game notifications (it is your turn) were a bit suspect. If you enjoy the game or want to play it more, this is a great choice - like I said, the hard AI is really good. The UI is well done and smooth. Despite being lukewarm on the game itself, I can easily recommend this app.