The iPad isn’t just a gadget; it’s an electronic window into a finer world where seconds aren’t wasted. It’s the perfect size to bring everywhere, and it’s useful enough to justify bringing to any work engagement. And if that means you’re carrying the cleverest and silliest entertainment option since Feynmann started playing Bongos, well, that’s just a bonus. Best of all, the iPad has an instant “go away” button, minimizing everything and bringing you back to an innocent home screen. After all, bosses can recognize the guilty thumb-curl of the quick alt-tab.
So, with this infinitely valuable device, you’ve got any board game you want, anytime you want it, and you can hide it in an instant. The iPad could only be better designed to let you play games all day if it did your job for you. Until it does, here are four great board games for the iPad to waste away your leisure hours.
iTunes Store: $4.99
Alien Frontier doesn’t just use entertainment technology; it was born of it. Clever Mojo Games and expert game designer Tory Niemann Kickstarted this game into existence, meaning many people wanted to play something fresh before it even existed. Too many players still think in terms of the classics, despite dusty games like Monopoly being specifically designed to destroy your family and get rid of your friends, leaving you with nothing to distract you from buying more products.
Alien Frontier is a fantastically fun board game, and the app removes the problem of having to wait while other people puzzle over their dice for half an hour. It turns your dice into spaceships and each number or combination can be used for different tactics. This isn’t craps, a very well-named game where you need the right numbers or you lose. Rather, you re-evaluate your strategy with every roll, and even when you’re behind, you still want to play, because you have three new strategies to try.
iTunes Store: $9.99
Carcassone is so classic, you’d expect to find it carved into cave walls, but so good, it’s been upgraded all the way to silicon circuits. The tile-placement tactics are perfect for touchscreens, while the worker-placement element is a nice role-reversal for most people sneaking in a bit of fun while working for someone else.
You can play directly against other people, or compete for places on a global high score table. This means you can play against your friends without having to rely on the slow, lazy, distracted souls to actually do anything, a problem many of us remember from excruciatingly delayed games of Words With Friends or Draw Something. But unlike those flashes in the pan, Carcassone will still be here when we’re in the dust, and our great-grandchildren are using their neuro-jacks to tell the Insectoid Ambassador from planet Kreti-9, “Hey, check out this game!”
iTunes Store: $4.99
Caylus is the kind of classic board game that doesn’t just deserve the description, it justifies it. Every board game geek either has this on their top ten games list or hasn’t been playing long enough yet.
The only problem is a slightly intimidating initial rule set. Getting four new players into Caylus can take slightly longer than getting them into a space station. Thankfully, the iPad eases that with the two great advantages of app games: help files and not mattering. You feel bad quitting out of a real game because you made a bad move, and rightfully so, but with electronic opponents, you can work things out by making as many mistakes as possible. That’s what wisdom is, after all.
iTunes Store: $4.99
Neuroshima Hex is the next generation of board game, one which understands that these days boards are circuits instead of cards. It has been printed on paper, but it was built for the touchscreen.
Neuroshima Hex is a tactical knife fight in a phone box, a turn-based game involved enough to be interesting but brutal enough to be over in a coffee break. Players take turns to place their pieces on board, but you’re not building up for a long-term strategy. “Battle” tiles trigger a Tarantino bloodbath, setting off every attack at once, and the next move is stumbling through the carnage to hit your opponent again. This happens at least three times in a game and you can fit five games in a few minutes. It’s fast, fantastic fun.
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