6 digital board games to download

Sagrada
SagradaPHOTO: DIRE WOLF DIGITAL

Play on the go with family and friends around the world on the platform of your choice

Board games were welcome distractions for cooped-up families during the circuit breaker period.

While phase two is good news for players who swear by the tactile experience of moving physical pieces, there are advantages to going digital.

For one, digital board games require less set-up time. There are no pieces to sort and distribute, and scores are tallied automatically at the end of the game.

Digital board games include extras such as tutorials, a single-player mode, audio effects or visual animations. Most let you play with friends around the world, which is handy, as the pandemic is far from over.

Prices for digital board games are also generally lower than physical versions. You can try many games for free at websites such as boardgamearena.com.

Here are six digital board games to try.

1 Sagrada

iOS ($9.98), Android ($9.99), Nintendo Switch (US$14.99 or S$20) , Windows and Mac ($10 on Steam)

Sagrada (above) is a feast for the eyes that is easy to pick up. Two to four players compete to create a stained-glass window - inspired by Barcelona's famous La Sagrada Familia church - by picking and placing colourful dice on a 4x5 grid according to a set of rules and objectives. The digital version lets you play against computer opponents and adds a colour-blind mode.

2 Terraforming Mars 

iOS ($12.98), Android ($11.99), Windows ($18.50 on Steam)


PHOTO: ASMODEE DIGITAL

Compete to be the first corporation to transform Mars into a habitable planet in Terraforming Mars.

This strategy game requires players to generate or steal resources to place ocean tiles and other infrastructure that contribute to a liveable planet.

The app adds animations and a sci-fi soundtrack. There is a comprehensive, well-designed tutorial, as well as online modes and computer opponents. The app also handles the drudgery of tracking resources and points.

3 The Castles Of Burgundy

iOS ($12.98), Android ($14.98), Windows, Mac and Linux ($14.50)


PHOTO: DIGIDICED

The Castles Of Burgundy is a complex tile-laying game about estate management in mediaeval France. There are many ways to build up your estate and score points to win the game.

The digital version adds computer opponents - with three levels of difficulty - and the ability to speed up animations for a faster game. There is also an Undo button that resets your turn.

Players can compete against others online in ranked games or play up to five asynchronous games at once.

4 Evolution

Free limited game; in-app purchase of full version for iOS ($6.98) and Android ($7.49), Windows and Mac ($14.50 on Steam)


PHOTO: NORTH STAR GAMES

 
 

One of last year's best-reviewed digital board games, Evolution is a strategy game about evolving your species to adapt to an ever-changing ecosystem.

The app looks great - cards have discernible text and artwork. A campaign mode works well as an extended tutorial that teaches novices the rules while pitting them against the computer. Players on different platforms, such as Android and Steam, can play against each other, as the app syncs player information across all platforms.

5 Ticket To Ride

iOS ($9.98), Android ($9.48), Windows, Mac and Linux ($10.50 on Steam)


PHOTO: DAYS OF WONDER

Build a railway to connect cities in the digital adaptation of the best-selling Ticket To Ride board game.

The game itself takes just minutes to learn, especially with the digital version's helpful tutorial. The interface is intuitive, while the animations and music liven up the gameplay.

Multiple expansions based in different countries - each with its own quirks and gameplay variations - keep the game fresh.

6 Tokaido

iOS ($2.98), Android ($2.99), Windows and Mac ($10 on Steam)


PHOTO: FUNFORGE

Earn points while stopping at various places to perform tasks along the road from Kyoto to Edo in Tokaido, a leisurely, family-friendly game.

The app makes the board game, which already has beautiful artwork, come alive with lovely animation. You can increase the game speed in the settings and both offline and online play are available.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2020, with the headline '6 digital board games to download'. Print Edition | Subscribe