Thanks to the smartphone, you can now carry your favorite board games around with you no matter where you go. Board games have been a solid source of fun for decades – they’re even experiencing a resurgence lately – and for good reason. They offer a style of gameplay that you won’t find in most video games today. And for those of you who use Android, there are apps that recreate and improve on the classic board games of yesteryear.
I remember sinking hundreds of hours into board games during my youth, but nowadays I prefer to play those games on my phone because: 1) I can play at my own convenience, and 2) the games can automate a lot of the menial tasks that take up a lot of time (such as setting up pieces). The convenience factor is the same reason why I love Android RPG games and minimalist casual Android games. Here are some of the highest quality board game apps you’ll find on Android.
Battleship was one of the first board games I ever played. Seeing it as a mobile app was weird to me at first because Battleship is known for its unique playing board – you actually take ship pieces and plug them into a board, then plug little markers to indicate hit spots. Taking all of that away could’ve been bad, but this version of mobile Battleship really spruces it up.
The first thing you’ll notice is the art. The developer decided to go with a pen-and-paper style where all of the units and effects are “drawn” on, resulting in a game that’s reminiscent of childhood. I think that was a bold move that ultimately works because Battleship is a game that’s better known for its nostalgia factor than award-winning gameplay.
Battleship comes with three modes:
- Android mode, which is basically single player. You can choose your opponent’s AI level and you’ll win points for beating him.
- Two-player mode, which allows you to play as two players on the same phone. This is great for spur of the moment sessions since you can whip out your phone and start playing with your friend without waiting for downloads, installations, etc.
- Bluetooth mode, which lets you play against a friend over a Bluetooth connection.
The coolest part of Battleship is that it improves on the original board game with three new feature additions that you can place on your board at the start:
- Planes, which will fire a missile across a row of the board, impacting the first ship it hits.
- Defense, which will prevent a plane from flying in certain rows of the board.
- Mines, which will take a hit from plane missiles, protecting ships.
If you don’t want to play the Advanced version with the new features, that’s fine. You can simply select to play the Classic version instead.
Battleship is completely free to play and has no ads.
Where I’m from, the board game Risk has an absolutely terrible reputation due to how long the games can last. Yet, despite the long, drawn out, and often frustrating Risk sessions, the game always held a special place in my heart. Thankfully, Domination pulls through, recreates the Risk experience on mobile devices and improves on it in a number of ways.
First of all, you can play single-player against AI opponents. Knowing how long a game of Risk can take, the developers saw fit to add a Save Game option, allowing you to take breaks and pick up where you left off. If that isn’t the single best improvement ever made to Risk, I don’t know what is. But for extra challenge, you can always forgo that and opt to play online with other people.
Domination further improves on Risk by providing three different game modes:
- Domination, which is the classic Risk game mode where you have to control all countries on the map to win.
- Capital, which starts every player with a particular country as their capital country. The player who occupies all capital countries is the winner, resulting in a game that doesn’t take as long as classic Risk.
- Mission, which gives every player a random mission at the start of the game. The first to complete their mission wins. Missions can be extermination of a color, occupation of a certain continent, or both.
Domination improves Risk even further by allowing players to create and download new maps. As if the original world map wasn’t fun enough – and let’s face it, it can get repetitive playing on the same regions time and time again – you can make Risk maps based on other planets, or fantasy worlds, or you can make one up entirely from scratch.
All of these improvements make Domination a fitting game for mobile devices. After all, mobile gaming is all about casual play and convenience, isn’t it? Shorter game times and wider variety of game modes accomplishes that wonderfully.
Domination is completely free to play and has no ads.
Classic Mastermind [No Longer Available]
Mastermind is a fun game to play when you just need a short burst of puzzling entertainment. When you consider the gameplay, it makes a whole lot of sense that it would be a perfect fit for mobile gaming. There isn’t a lot of board interaction but there is a good amount of mental stimulation, so you can sit there staring at your phone while you work out the logical next steps to solving the puzzle.
Mastermind works like this: there is a four-color combination that you need to solve. You guess the ordered combination and the game tells you how many colors were right, how many were in the correct spot, and how many colors were wrong. With eight different colors, there are thousands of potential combinations, and with every guess you move closer to your answer.
The difficulty of Mastermind is that you only have ten guesses, so you need to be smart about your procedure. There’s also a timer that runs in the corner. These two elements provide a way for you to challenge yourself: find the answer using the least number of guesses as fast as you can.
The original Mastermind was a two-player game, but the second player was never really involved. He just set up the colors and told you whether you were right or wrong. There’s no multiplayer option in Classic Mastermind, but only because the app can play the role of the second player.
Mastermind is completely free to play and has no ads.
These board games are old but they’re still in style even to this day. Yes, I know that there’s something lost in the experience when you take a board game and convert it into a mobile app, but there are positives that come out of it as well. There’s less downtime during the game, you can hop into a game at your own convenience, and you can carry it around with you right inside your pocket.
None of these made it onto our best Android games page, but I firmly believe that they deserve a spot there. They’re classics, after all.
Do you play any other Android board games? Which ones do you like the best? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Will Merydith Via Flickr