Board game apps

Board game app editions

App version of Catan

So, to get things absolutely straight, the best way to play a board game is usually to open the box, set it up, open a bottle of wine or pour a beverage of your choosing, gather your friends around and have a great time playing in a social setting – whether in the home or down the pub.

That said, there are some occasions when the “app” version of a board game fits the situation much better:

  • There’s a board game you are interested in trying out but it’s 30 or 40 quid to buy and you’re not sure if your regular gamer friends will like it. So get the app version for a few pounds to see if you like it before spending out megabucks on the real thing.
  • You are someone who travels a lot and miss out on your regular board gaming opportunities. Download the app version of your favourite games and play them on the train or in your hotel room.
  • Your family is going on holiday but you don’t want to carry all the boxed editions, so just take the app versions.
  • There’s a board game you already have, that you really like playing, but nobody else in your gaming circle likes it. So get the app version and play against the AI players or over the internet if the app offers it.
  • There’s a board game you already have, but you are not sure if you are playing it correctly – perhaps someone misread the rules, or maybe you have played a version using someone else’s house rules. If you get the app version you will see how the mechanics of the game are supposed to work.
  • You want to become a better player at a particular game – you always seem to not do as well as you hoped, in spite of being enthusiastic about playing. Is it just bad luck or have the other players cottoned on to a strategy that has eluded you? Try playing the app version to improve your game.

Have a look through the apps listed below which are some of the best examples of board games ported to the Apple IOS environment for iPad. We update the list from time to time as new ones are released. Links go direct to the iTunes store and we get a small commission if you buy using these links, ay thank yow!

Game apps

appcarcCarcassonne – TheCodingMonkeys
Official Carcassonne game with original artwork. Expansion sets are available, and there is a tutorial. Solo, AI, local network and internet multiplayer options. The very first game we downloaded on our first iPad and ideal for filling an odd 15-30 minutes. Totting up the scores at the end is all automated and it shows you all the elements that contribute to your total as it goes.



Ticket to Ride – Days Of Wonder, Inc.
Official adaptation of the Ticket To Ride board game, complete with original “steampunk” artwork. Cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer mode, social media links and a range of alternative maps including Europe. Solo vs AI, and pass-and-play options, plus tutorial. Because the AI plays so fast, a game can be completed in 15-30 minutes, and all the scores are automatically computed at the end.


appcatanCatan – USM
Official version of the original Catan game, you can compete with up to four players for the most settlements, the longest roads and the largest army. You can trade with each other and claim the precious land with all its resources. Cross-platform multiplayer or play against the AI. Expansions “Seafarers”, “Cities and Knights” are available as In-App purchases. This app is a great way to try out new strategies which you can use when next playing with your friends in person.


appforbForbidden Island – Button Mash Games Inc.
Official app for Forbidden Island offers co-operative gameplay for 2-4 players, or single player gameplay (by controlling multiple adventurers). With original game artwork, and additional island shapes available. Social media links for sharing achievements. We’ve taken this one camping, it’s nice to sit around a glowing iPad in the tent, working out how best to save the artefacts from sinking.


appqwirkQwirkle – MindWare
Official app for Qwirkle offers Solo, Online, and Pass and Play modes for up to four players. There is also a player tutorial. AI players can be set to any of four levels, and the expert setting is very hard to win against. Ideal for travelling – no possibility of losing any tiles!



appscrabSCRABBLE™ – Electronic Arts
Official app for the game of Scrabble, which we play here a lot. Connects to your Facebook account to find people to play against, play against a random internet opponent, or solo against AI. Available in multiple languages, dictionaries regularly updated. In-game chat means you can congratulate your opponent on a good play, and the teacher will give you clues on wordplays you may have missed on your last turn. Multiple concurrent games possible.

Helper apps

appscoreScorekeeper XL – Matt Rix
Scorekeeper is a great app for maintaining a scoresheet for any physical board game session. We use it for Qwirkle, Poo, sometimes as a replacement for the Carcassonne “racetrack” scoreboard and any other situation where someone would be writing down a tally with pen and paper. As you enter the scores the player position order changes. Best for games where individual increments are no more than a few points at a time.


appsheriffSheriff of Nottingham Companion App – Arcane Wonders
Whether you are looking to keep the Sheriff of Nottingham on task with a customisable timer, score your games more easily, or you’d simply like to experience Nottingham more deeply, with ambient sounds and comments, this app has it all. Keep score, customize the time of your rounds, and even unlock the “Merchant Fun Pack” for more hilarious commentary, clickable soundboards, and statistic tracking!