Board Games On Technology

Some thoughts on board games for iPhones, iPad’s, and Android phones

A friend recently came into work and mentioned that following our conversations he and his partner had bought Tigris and Euphrates for their iPad. They had had a great time playing it. Not surprisingly this piqued my interest and as I don’t have one of these beautiful devices I asked him if he would be kind enough to write a little bit about his thoughts on the game / using the iPad to play a board game.

“These days, many of the big-name board games are available for iPads. They tend to be visually identical to the traditional versions of the game, but they do offer some advantages:

Tigris and Euphrates - An image from the iPad version of the game

1. The main one is the fact that they usually have tutorial games in which the game guides you through all the elements of a game. You basically just sit back and follow the instructions. Once you start to understand the rules, you can play the game with hints and instructions as you go. When it is your turn, the iPad will tell you what you can do; it will give you error messages when you do something wrong and it will ask you to confirm the moves you have done. You can obviously turn these notifications off once you start to get a sense of how to play the game. 

2. Added media to the game, which usually includes music, sound effects and sometimes introductory videos (which of course also can be turned off if you prefer a silent game).

3. You do not have to be physically close to another person to play. You can obviously play against the iPad, but most games also offer the option to play with other people over the internet, which gives it a slightly more ‘human touch’. Naturally, you can also play the traditional way with people who are physically present.

And disadvantages? Well, once the battery is dead – the game is over. And oh yeah, that screen full of fingerprints! (Especially if you are eating fatty snacks at the same time).

Tigris and Euphrates - An image from the iPad version of the game

We have played Tigres and Euphrates a few times (although it takes around 45-60 minutes). I have also played a lot by myself to better my skills (shhh…don’t tell Rune). I would probably not be tempted to get the physical game; mainly due to cost. That’s another of the advantages that I failed to mention earlier. This one costs 6 USD. The physical one is 55 USD. 

We have played several board games before, but always stuck to the tried and tested ones - again, partially because of price. You do not want to be spending 50 USD on a game, and then realize afterwards that it wasn’t fun, or too complicated. However, taking that risk for 6 USD is fine. The portability is also much easier. We played this in the park – which you can do with a physical game as well, but definitely more complicated and cumbersome (not to mention the risk of losing the small parts). 

The reason we chose this game was partially because it is listed as no. 1 on but also because it looked like similar games we have played previously. I would definitely be up for buying additional games, although it would help if there were more trial demo versions that allowed you to play, say, for a limited time or limited rounds (Risk has this on the iPad, where I ended up buying the full version). "

Tigris and Euphrates - An image from the iPad version of the game

Without the luxury of an iPad my experiences of board games on technology interfaces are more limited. However my Android phone does now have Carcassonne on it plus the Reiner Knizia game Ingenious. Both of which work well and perhaps surprisingly my wife has Rory's Story Cubes on her iPhone.

But what does the growth in electronic version of board games mean for the traditional versions, well it would seem that tone of the largest US board games publishers experience, Day of Wonder, is very positive. Eric Hautemont, the founder and CEO of Days of Wonder has fully embraced both the internet and the iPad as delivery channels for his games and recently talked about their experience in an article in The Penny Arcade Report and in an interview for a fellow blogger GeekDad.

When the iPad first came out, Days of Wonder was the first game publisher ready with a digital version of their board game, launching SmallWorld. And the results show a huge success. Not only was it extremely well received, but sales of the physical version of SmallWorld also increased 40%!

And with the Spiel des Jahres winner Ticket to Ride, the success has come again. When Ticket to Ride was released on the iPad, sales of the physical version of the board game jumped 30%. Then when it released for the iPhone, sales of the iPad version shot up 400% and led to a 70% increase in sales of the physical version.

The anocdotals and more qualitative indicators point to a positive impact for board and card games. The technology channels attracting new players whilst allowing existing gamers to hone their skills whilst sitting on a train, or maybe that’s just me!

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1 comment:

  1. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)