our top 10 iOS board game apps (Updated 2020)
We've updated our top 10 list for 2020! Check out which games were added, which fell off, we'll help you find your new favorite app!
We had a tough time trimming this list to ten and even more difficulty deciding on the ordering. We tried to rank based on the overall fun factor of the app above all else which results in some apps which may be lacking in features placing higher than other, full-featured apps. Looking back, we likely gave a little extra weight to iOS exclusives as they often immediately come to mind when considering the topic of iOS board game apps. The ordering makes for a fun debate topic, please bring up all of your critiques in the comment section, but the important thing is that we believe you will enjoy all ten games on this list.
Don’t fret Android owners, we’ve got you covered too. Our Top 10 Android Board Game Apps can be found here. Also be sure to check out our full review database for games that didn't quite make this list.
Click the images to purchase the board games through Amazon, the download links to purchase the apps, and/or the star rating to read the full review. We love feedback, so feel free to comment at the bottom of the page with your list, or simply to let us know that we nailed it.
The game is a classic and the app does everything you could hope for. Great AI play and challenges give the solo play tremendous depth, while the great online game offers a variety of both synchronous and asynchronous play options. Simply put, Through the Ages is the best board game app out there, if you enjoy a heavy dose of strategy and don't mind taking a lot of losses against good online opponents, get this app now.
Star Realms gets just about everything right. The two player deckbuilder makes for a fantastic multiplayer game, asynchronous or real-time. The app adds a tough AI opponent and an extensive campaign mode which provides dozens of fresh challenges. The app has been around for awhile but received a major overhaul earlier this year and remains fresh to long time and new players alike.
Race for the Galaxy was released earlier this year and it's made a big impression. Race is a classic hand management game and the app provides a smooth experience with an active online player base to go along with a great AI system for single player mode. The additions of leader boards and stat keeping only enhance this already great experience.
Burgle Bros. provides a fantastic solo experience. The co-op heist game is a ton of fun and the app adds a lot of variety in play modes which scale the difficulty quite well from novice to expert, ensuring players of all skill levels will find something to enjoy. The satisfaction of pulling off a heist is one of the best moments offered in the board game app world.
#5 - Agricola
Our Review: 4.5 Stars
Agricola is the quintessential “heavy Euro” game, featuring a laundry list of what have become cliches for the genre: worker placement, point salad, farming, sneakily brutal unforgivingness, nondescript wooden blocks, etc… The app allows new players to try out the game and genre, teaching it through a great tutorial series, and experienced players get to play a variety of modes including solo challenge and online play.
One Deck Dungeon was named ours (and our reader's) game of the year for 2018. It is a mix of easy to learn (just roll the dice and place them!), unexpected depth, and brutal difficulty that is a tough balance to attempt, let alone pull off so incredibly well. The game was updated last year to provide phone support in addition to tablets. This involved a full UI overhaul to optimize things on a phone, ensuring the phone version plays just as smoothly at the tablet.
The app, much like the physical game, is a bit bland. Everything works, its entirely functional, but nothing jumps off the screen at you. None of that matters when you have one of (the?) best games ever. Simple to learn, difficult to master. It is where every game would fall if I had my way, and Castles might be the pinnacle of that mantra. There are only four actions you can take on a turn and they are dictated by the roll of two dice. It takes just a few minutes to run through all of the tutorials. Then you start playing and, for me anyway, slowly start to take in the scope of the game and the possibilities. At its core, the game comes down to finding the best way to use those pesky dice rolls each turn, but there are so many different paths to take to points, it’s impossible not to feel excitement on each new game trying to decide how you are going to build the finest estate in all of Burgundy. Any game that can elicit that same feeling each time after dozens of plays is an all-timer in my book.
We have a bit of an iOS vs Android debate between the Clever games. The main takeaway for readers is that they’re both great. They both offer a really fun solo dice chucking game of connecting crazy bonus combinations to earn as high a score as you can. Then, ultimately being disappointed in that score and immediately playing “just one more time” for two hours straight. The app has some flaws, specifically that it doesn’t make it terribly easy on new players to learn the game, but once you get down to playing, the game is a gem and the app does a great job of letting you play.
This is a really fun, light worker placement game that has a really great app. Our only real complaint here is that we want to see those sweet expansions show up to extend the replay value. Other than that, you have a near perfect app with every feature you could want. Campaign mode? Check. A leveling system that doubles as an online leaderboard? Check. Simple, smooth online experience? You bet. The visuals match the features, resulting in a fantastic digital experience from top to bottom.
This version of Carcassonne is officially dead, you can no longer download it on the App Store. We will leave it here until we update this list out of respect for one of the GOATs.
This will be the last time Carcassonne shows up on our list, unfortunately. One of the original standard bearers in the digital tabletop world is shutting down this year. (It is a licensing issue, the Asmodee version will be coming to the App Store to replace it.) So let’s enjoy this classic while we still can. It got things right years ago that many new apps still can’t, and that is quite remarkable. Great online play, a simple, easy to use interface, and so on. We apologize for never putting the time in to get a review done on this one, but you don’t need us to tell you this is an all-timer. Enjoy your time in the great app graveyard in the sky, old friend.