Six digital board games to play with friends online

Sagrada is a feast for the eyes that is easy to pick up.
Sagrada is a feast for the eyes that is easy to pick up.PHOTO: DIRE WOLF DIGITAL

Board games were welcome distractions for cooped-up families during the Covid-19 circuit breaker period.

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

For one thing, digital board games require less setup time.

There are no pieces to sort and distribute while scores are tallied automatically at the end of the game. They also include extras such as a tutorial, a single-player mode, audio effects or visual animations.

Most digital board games let you play with friends from around the world, which is handy, as the pandemic is far from over.

Prices for digital board games are also generally lower than the physical version. You can even try many board games for free at websites such as Board Game Arena using a Web browser.

Here are six digital board games to try.

Sagrada

iOS ($9.98), Android ($9.99), Nintendo Switch (US$14.99 or $20.52) Windows and Mac ($10 on Steam)

Sagrade 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 with computer opponents, as well as adds a colour blind mode.

Ticket to Ride

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


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PLAY.GOOGLE.COM

Build a railway to connect cities in the digital adaptation of the bestselling Ticket to Ride board game.

 
 

The game itself takes 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 their own quirks and gameplay variations - keep the game fresh.

The Castles of Burgundy

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


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PLAY.GOOGLE.COM

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 (three levels of difficulty) and the ability to speed up the game animations for a faster game. There is also an Undo button that resets your turn. Players can compete with others online in ranked games or play up to five asynchronous games at once.

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 game animations and a suitably sci-fi soundtrack. There is a comprehensive well-designed tutorial, online modes and computer opponents. The app also handles the substantial amount of drudgework required to track resources and points.

Evolution

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


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PLAY.GOOGLE.COM

One of 2019'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 clearly discernible text and artwork. A campaign mode works well as an extended tutorial that teaches the rules to novices 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.

Tokaido

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


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PLAY.GOOGLE.COM

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 animations. You can increase the game speed in the settings while both offline and online play are available.