Board Games In The Digital Space

By Julian Rzechowicz

Board games and computer games share many of the same origins. They are both tools for entertainment. They both often have a complex set of rules. They can be single-player, multi-player, co-operative and story based games. So, to see some of the best strategy board games enter the digital space should be no surprise. Let’s take a gander at some of the games that have made the jump from the table to the screen.

Ascension

Ascension is one of two flagship games in the new deck building games genre. Players start with an equal number of cards in a small deck and they must purchase cards to add to their deck to advance their position and score points. A fantasy ascension-chronicle-of-the-godslayerfocused game, Ascension is filled with a wide range of cards with varying effects. Recently this game has seen digital releases on both Android and Apple systems. For me, it was these ports which ignited my interest in Ascension over Dominion. The inclusion of both single and multi-player modes made playing it on a whim much easier.

Bloodbowl

The Warhammer universe has seen extensive representation in the digital space. There have been many RTS’s and RPG’s that have followed the Warhammer narrative. Bloodbowl is part of the Warhammer universe, but one which is closer to a traditional board game than the other tabletop adventures. It is only within the last five or so years that it has come back into retail production. A return that was likely driven by the success of the digital version. In the coming year I believe that we will also see a digital return of the Warhammer Ship series, Man O’ War: Corsair.  I am not sure how true it will be to the source, but I am excited to find out.

Ticket to Ride

te_boardThis is one of my all time favourite board games. Each player owns a train company that is laying lines between cities. There is a large, and ever increasing, range of maps for players to work on. Once again, much like in Ascension, the digital version gives players the opportunity to practice in a single-player mode, or to reach out into the greater world and play against human opponents from all over the world. The movement from physical to digital was a natural extension for this game.

Settlers of Catan

For many people, this is one of their first forays into Eurogames. It is an easy game to learn, but there is a lot of room to develop your skills. While luck is used within the game, good players will be able to turn this to their advantage. Playing this with your friends is good, but playing it on the train or plane is even better. I would regularly play this when eating out in Japan as a single game would reliably take 30 minutes to an hour to finish. Available on mobile devices and PC this game is one that can easily keep you entertained anywhere.

ZoolorettoPreview-1_220

This is a classic zoo building game. It is easy to get into and pits the wits of one against the cunning of another. While the PC and Mobile iterations of these games are slightly dated (the available resolutions are awful), the gameplay has not suffered in the least.

Magic: The Gathering

This is the worlds biggest trading card game. There are thousands of dollars of tournaments happening all around the world with great frequency. About 14 years ago Wizards of the Coast realised the need to expand into the digital space and so created Magic: Online. A duplication of the physical cards and trading in the digital space. While it was still catering towards those who were serious players it was a first step to crossing the gap. They soon realised that this would cater more towards existing players, not establishing a new audience. As such they created the Duals of the Planeswalkers games. The latest version is a free to play game called Duals which aims to try an claw back some of the market taken by Hearthstone and Hex: Shards of Fate.

HANAFUDA

More closely aligned with poker than other Eurogames, Hanafuda is a traditional Japanese card game. There are many versions that you will be able to find for mobile and PC. Recently I did a review on Koi-Koi Japan, a great point to start exploring this game.