A question I’ve gotten on occasion when I talk to friends about this website; do you have like 50 games installed on your phone? Fair question, the answer is no, but I thought it might be interesting to look at what I actually do keep on my phone.
To preface, I have multiple devices on multiple platforms so I can test games thoroughly. I will be talking about my primary phone only in this article, which is currently an Android. I make sure to keep other games installed on other devices so I don’t miss any big updates. Below are the games I have access to at pretty much all times at the time of this writing.
Here is a screenshot of my Games folder:
I can break these down into a few categories, click the game name to read our full review, if applicable.
I’m not all about board games, I venture outside that box every now and then! Well, not too much, but still…
Words with Friends - I want to give this one up, but there are some people I play with and this is my only contact with them, so it stays. I’ve played more Scrabble in my life than I care to think about and it’s still a fun game.
Mario Run - this is a great game to scratch the “need to collect every single star” part of my personality. I don’t play it all that much anymore, but I’m closing in on all of the green (teal?) coins.
Chess with Friends - Chess is fun, I have a few friends I play against regularly, this app is pretty bad but it works.
There is always something to review. It never ends, really high quality apps are coming out all the time at the moment, so even if I were just reviewing new apps, I’d be plenty busy. Beyond that, there is still a small mountain of older apps we’d like to get reviewed.
Zombies!!! - I believe this was offered for free recently (or maybe just heavily discounted? But I believe it was free), so I grabbed it. I’m fairly certain I haven’t opened the app yet, but it was on my list to get anyway. Look for the review when the dust settles with some big name new releases.
Twilight Struggle - I’ve had this one for almost two months now and the review is mostly written, but I can’t seem to find the time to play a few more games before finishing. There have been a rush of new releases I’ve been wanting to cover, so TS keeps getting bumped. It’s an amazing game, I look forward to getting back to it soon.
Through the Ages - The game I'm currently working on reviewing. Fantastic game that will certainly keep a spot once the review is filed.
There are a few games I’ve reviewed and might not keep on the phone otherwise, but I’m looking forward to getting an update I think will affect the review.
Eight-Minute Empire - I’m not so patiently waiting for them to add notifications for their online games. I open the game every couple of days and still have the same 5 or 6 online games where the other players haven’t taken their turn. This is frustrating, I wonder if notifying them it was their turn might encourage them to finish games? Fun game, one massive, glaring bug.
Friday - I was waiting for King of the Island, the online tournament mode that was teased since the beginning and finally released a couple of weeks ago (fun mode, by the way). This is a great game but directly competes with another solo card game discussed later. I guess I’m still undecided between the two, one will eventually fall...
Some games fit a perfect niche for me so I keep them around for the times I’m in the right mood to play them.
Onirim - This is the Friday competitor. They both occupy the same time range and solo card game niche. I suspect if Friday were a bit better made, Onirim might get the boot, because I think Friday is the more interesting game. However, the Onirim app is simply fantastic and a joy to play, so it has remained, I love chasing my high score.
Burgle Bros - Burgle Brosis a great co-op with a great adaptation. This is the only longer game I have where I try not to split it into multiple plays, I like to open this when I know I have 20 minutes to dedicate (30 if I make it that far!) so I can play a full game in one sitting.
Age of Rivals - With async play, this might fit better in the next category, but as it is, this is my go to real time online game. As I type, I realize I haven’t played it in a few weeks, but I enjoy how tight this game plays in a very reasonable 10-15 minutes.
Personal Hall of Fame
These are games I can’t get enough of and will take something big for me to delete them. The common thread here is strong async online play.
Lords of Waterdeep - This is the game I’ve been searching for years (I know it’s been out forever on iOS, I loved it there, but adding cross-platform was the kicker). Medium weight, board (not card) game, with cross platform asynchronous play. Not a huge list or requirements, but there are surprisingly few games that meet the criteria. I play this one with friends as the medium weight games are our wheelhouse.
Race for the Galaxy - Just a great game with a ton of replay value and a great implementation. I’m here for the async online games, and Race does a great job there. I’m anxious to see if the forthcoming Roll for the Galaxy implementation will replace this.
Star Realms - I’ve probably played more games of Star Realms than all other board game apps combined. That’s not a slight to the other apps, it’s a testament to Star Realms which has been fantastic since release and only improved over time. They nail online play, making matchmaking look so simple it amazes that so few other apps can replicate the formula. Pick your options, or just pick “I want a game”, and the game will match you within a few minutes and you’re off. Some days I start ten games in the morning. The perfect alignment, for me, of a game that plays great in an async mode and a developer who knocks the implementation out of the park. Too many other games either aren’t built quite as well for async play or simply have a lackluster implementation.