If you, like me, are exceptionally bored of the influx of “tap games”, (ironic given my glowing review of The Simpsons: Tapped Out), or perhaps you just fancy a change of pace; maybe you just want all the games all the time, or perhaps you’re eating from the same picnic as I and you have an insatiable thirst for board games then please, pay heed to my words and perhaps join me in rolling the dice or holding a hand of cards and experiencing five of the best board games available on iOS to date.
Words With Friends (Scrabble)
Whilst there is a legitimate Scrabble game available, (which I do own), it’s not a patch on the far more popular Words With Friends. EA’s Scrabble game can be played solo against the computer which is enjoyable, but Zynga’s Words With Friends is purely online against your friends either found through telling them your username or through the world’s third largest country, Facebook.
The premise of the game is identical to Scrabble save the subtle layout changes on the board. The scoring is mirrored in the letters and on the board, except for the aforementioned board rearrangements.
There is a free version of Words With Friends available, but I enjoyed the game so much and have been playing it for 18 months every day that I paid £1.99 for the advert-free version. The game is identical but I don’t mind supporting the game designers behind games I truly enjoy.
Scrabble by EA can be found on the App Store for £1.49
The world famous tile laying board game is now on iOS. Players take it in turns to lay a tile to build the French region of Carcassonne. Players score points by placing their special tokens, affectionately known as Meeples, on the cities and roads. When a road or city is completed you gain a point for every tile involved in completing it. Players have seven Meeples they can place, and once all seven are placed you cannot place any more; however, should you complete a road or city to score points, you get all Meeples involved back to try and score again.
Carcassonne can be played locally with the computer, locally with friends or online against human opponents. It is a bit on the pricey side for iOS games at £6.99 but it is well worth it in my opinion as it is one of my favourite games.
The game has a campaign mode which is unlocked by purchasing the Seafarers expansion, cheeky, but it’s well worth it and adds another element to the game, ships. The board layout changes and you can travel across the sea to settle on distant lands for victory points. There are also special golden tiles which produce one of any of the goods you desire. Build a settlement and the number is rolled, you can choose which good you need.
Catan on iOS, Settlers of Catan in physical form, is a game of harvest, build and trade. Players build settlements and roads on the edges of numbered hexagonal tiles, said tiles represent five different goods: wheat, wood, stone, wool (or sheep) and bricks. Players can spend their harvest to build settlements and roads, upgrade settlements to cities and to buy development cards. Every turn a player rolls a pair of dice, the total number score “activates” the corresponding tiles, and any players who have settlements aligned with those tiles get one good per settlement. Cities draw in two goods.
Development cards can be used to get extra goods, build extra roads, earn victory points and build an army. Games are played to a specific number of victory points with only one winner. You get points for every settlement and city you build, with extra points going to the player with the longest road and the largest army, those last two can be stolen from players throughout the game! Speaking of stealing there is a robber who lives in the game, if you should roll a seven you can move the robber onto a tile, which steals one random good from a player who has a settlement or city on that tile, as well as stop that tile from being activated should it’s number come up on the dice. The robber can be moved on in your turn though if you have a Knight development card, the player who plays the most of these wins the prize for largest army – four or five should do the trick there.
Catan is £2.99 on the app store with expansions available.
Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride is a game all about building trains. You start off with a map of the USA, you pick your journeys, or tickets, and then you have to complete the routes by collecting corresponding train cards from the pack. Certain routes have a colour that has to be abided by; other routes are grey and can be claimed using any colour cards. There is also a wild card that can count as any colour card. Example: you need four pink trains to claim a route but you only have three; you can spend a wild card, if you have one, to complete the route with the four pink cards.
You score points every time you claim a route and once a player has played all of their available trains you score additional points for journeys completed and minus points for journeys not completed. The person with the longest single train journey gets bonus points after that and funnily enough the winner is the one with the highest score!
The game is fast paced and a lot of fun. You can play solo against the computer or online against your friends. It is £4.99 in the app store.
Ticket to Ride Pocket
Not necessarily a board game so-to-speak, but it falls under the same category in my book is this is a game that I carry around with me more often than not, just in case I have a spare five minutes with friends so we can play a quick game.
Zombie dice is all about eating the most brains. Unsurprisingly there are dice involved, on these dice are printed images not numbers. Brains, feet and shotgun blasts. There are three different colour dice: red, yellow and green. Red dice have one brain, two feet and three shotgun blasts. Green dice have three brains, two feet and one shotgun blast. Yellow dice have two of each. You select three dice from the pot and roll. Brains get put to one side, shotgun blasts to another and the feet get rerolled with additional dice so you always roll three. The first to thirteen brains at the end of a full turn wins. There is a catch though, and subsequently a mild gambling mindset is necessary. You keep rolling until you lose your nerve, run out of dice or get three shotgun blasts. That said though, if you’ve scored seven brains and roll a third shotgun blast you lose your score and the turn is passed to the next player.
Zombie Dice is free in the app store, but there is a paid version for 69p which gives you the ability to play with human players and change the zombies you play against. Being a giant sucker I paid for this but it doesn’t change the game play at all!