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Who is playing digital boardgames (app/lications)?

There are so many apps now that I think it might be interesting to share experiences we made with digitized boardgames - specifically apps and desktop applications implementing a single game. There are so many these days and maybe not all of them are equally great…

So which have you played recently and did you enjoy them? Do you enjoy them more or less than the physical version of the games?

Are there any new ones announced that you can’t wait to get on your device to try out?

Any boardgame-like games that do not have a meatspace version?

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I just bought Mystic Vale (on iOS) the other day. I had seen the SU&SD review and while I was intrigued by the whole card construction mechanic after the review I wasn’t inclined to buy the game. Then I stumbled across the app. I played the app so much that first evening, I couldn’t fall asleep because my brain kept thinking “just one more card, buy that, slot that here, oh no–spoiled!”

I guess that would make this a… good app? :wink:

I’ve also fired up the early access for Gloomhaven again which annoys me because of all the fiddly little bits that can go wrong during a turn and there is NO undo and if you accidentally mess up your plans by playing your initiative wrong the game just kills you. There are a lot more of these little possibilities to mess up and while I have high hopes for the final version–today, I ended the game (yet again) without finishing one scenario after starting over 3 times…

There’s a Gloomhaven app?

It’s an “early access” version on Steam. Costs 25€… and obviously is still in development. As of now there is no campaign. They do not even have all the base classes, perks are not implemented yet. They only just removed a stupid item durability thing that would take away your hard earned items.

As for classes: Cragheart, Brute, Spellweaver, Scoundrel and Trickster are there… I think Mindthief is next up.

You can travel around “a” map and do random scenarios, collect experience and gold, buy items in villages. It is good enough that I ended up buying the physical game after playing the very first version they released a few months ago. But it is difficult enough to grok the game that I needed a lot of help winning my first scenario and r/Gloomhaven kindly came to my rescue. It looks pretty good I think and it’s fun to see the Spellweavers Companion as a 3D translucent character instead of a flat disk… but as I said it can be frustrating.


  • you have the money to spare
  • are eager to jump in during beta testing
  • already know how to play…

it’s good enough now and will possibly be great if they have a multiplayer campaign at some point. If any of the above are not true: better think about it.

I’ve played dozens of board game adaptations by this point, but the two I’m using recently are Raiders of the North Sea and Mystic Vale. I don’t love the latter yet, but I also barely understand it still. Raiders is a game I’ll never own physically, but enjoy more than enough to own digitally and I’m thrilled it got the conversion (a reasonably good one too).

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We’ve played a lot of Splendor and Ticket to Ride on Android. Great for taking on holiday.

Also have bought Twilight Struggle, Terra Mystica and Small World but haven’t got them played them much.

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I am waiting for a half-off deal for Raiders… at 10,- it is just a little bit on the expensive side…

As for Mystic Vale… addictive. The trick is to try and draw as many cards as possible. For that you need to neutralize the “spoilage” either with sections that directly neutralize whatever else is on the same card or with “trees” best are trees that turn into more if there are “helmets” (?) on other card sections. I have managed complete deck draws of all 20 cards several times now. Well, that’s just one strategy and I have been practicing against the easy AI in short games. It becomes a lot harder if you go for a drawn out longer game and several opponents.

If I wasn’t worried about the card building being fiddly iRL I might go out and buy the physical game because it is a fun game that feels quite relaxed.

I have quite a few apps that spoiled me for the real game because they are just so much faster – Ticket to Ride, Splendor and Smallworld are all of that type. The apps are all great and I love them, more than playing the originals… (also I don’t own copies of Splendor and Ticket To Ride and noone ever wants to play Smallworld anymore).

Twilight is just as opaque to me as the physical version was… I just fail at it.

Terra Mystica is one of the few apps while there is nothing wrong with the app, I do prefer playing with people instead of vs the AI even though I rarely find someone willing to play with me. Which says either something about the game or about me or both :wink:

I play a lot of games asynchronously, and have a recruitment thread around here somewhere:
Through the Ages
Twilight Struggle
Mage Knight
Pax Pamir 2
Race for the Galaxy

I also have a lot of games that very rarely get played:
A lot of the games mentioned so far + Kingdom Builder, Eclipse, Hive, Blood Bowl, Space Hulk, Pandemic, Suburbia, Castles of Mad King Ludvig, Star Realms… probably a lot more.

Then there are all the (other) games on Vassal and TTS.


This has come up before, but it doesn’t matter.

Through the Ages is an amazing phone app, and improves on a brilliant game.
Twilight Struggle is a decent way to play the game, but doesn’t really improve on the real-life experience.

Pax Pamir is a very good Vassal implementation, by one @Benkyo


@Benkyo it might be worth explaining what vassal is.


Yashima specified “apps implementing a single game”, so I don’t think it’s really on topic.

Never mind, please explain… I am guessing it’s something along the lines of TTS or Tabletopia or Brettspielwelt?

Pretty much, yeah. Vassal has a 2D UI instead of 3D. Made by and for wargamers, but flexible enough to do anything and more powerful than TTS for getting closer to a “real” app if someone puts the work in.


I’ve used the digital version of Scythe quite a bit, but mostly as a way to familiarise myself with the game and factions.

Apps I like to use on my (Android) tablet:

  • Pandemic
  • Splendor
  • Twilight Struggle
  • Onirim
  • Burgle Bros
  • Suburbia
  • Morels

I’ve also played a few games of Food Chain Magnate on Boardgamecore, but I find it much harder to keep track of what’s going on than in the physical game.

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I recognize the look from the forum thread… that is neat. Also TTS is really slow on my laptop and doesn’t really support asynchronous play.

+1 for the Vassal implementation of Pax Pamir. @Benkyo has made loads of improvements over several iterations.


About 80 and counting :laughing:


I have played Twilight Struggle, after which I can’t imagine playing the physical game, as it seems so streamlined digitally that I cannot fathom how one would have the patience to handle chits or whatever for influence in each country, and how easy it would be to make a mistake in gameplay. Mostly because of how often I make a mistake in choosing my action, thinking it will go one way but the game correcting me and showing me how wrong I was.

Tigris and Euphrates is really good, and the AI can be pretty challenging. Another game where I keep forgetting how things work (I need red tiles when challenging an opponent directly, while I need tiles of the same color when joining cities together). Great for a good 15 minute or so filler, when I’m sure the real game would take an hour or so.

Onitama is good. Very chess-like, simple rules, easy to understand but can be tricky to win. Probably the game that is most like playing the physical version as there is not a lot of bookkeeping or card shuffling or anything like that once the game starts.

The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game is the only game on this list where I have actually played the physical copy. There’s pros and cons to the app version. It’s certainly a lot faster to play, as all the card interactions just automatically happen and you are prompted to use your talent whenever you discard for Fate, meaning you can’t forget about it. The cons is that to fully read a card, you usually need to click on it to get an enlarged image of it. You get the gist of it from the small image, which is fine for about 80% of the cards, but for special interactions or rules, you need to zoom in. It’s nice when you want a good puzzle of a game, but don’t have anyone else interested in playing something like that, so why bother breaking out the physical copy.

Also, my wife plays TTR and Splendor on her tablet, both are pretty good implementations from the bits of them I have played, though Splendor can be a bit confusing in regards to reserving cards, if I remember correctly.

I played my physical copy once, and then sold it in favour of playing against my husband using the app. It works great as long as a least one of us has the sound turned off…

I pretty regularly play Carcassonne, Splendor, and Raiders of the North Sea on my phone/tablet. I also enjoy Twilight Struggle and Battlelore on Steam. I play all of those pretty regularly, Carcassonne is a daily game for me. I’ll probably never get raiders because I don’t think my group would be really big on it, and I’m not very familiar with worker placement, but desperately want A Feast For Odin when I finally get one.

I’ve also lovedTigris and Euphrates, but I don’t think it’s available on any new versions of android. I’d put Isle of Sky, Pandemic, Star Realms, and Hardback in the “every now and then” category as I either am not too into the game or don’t think they are the best in the app format.

I’ve been curious about the Mystic Vale and Suburbia apps, but it seems like several of you are feeling they are worth it.