Best iOS Card and Board Games
Best iOS Card/Board Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Free)
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a fun, free and fair digital collectible card game that you won't be able to stop playing. Playing as one of the great heroes (or villains) of the Warcraft universe — such as Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore or Gul'dan — you'll fight epic duels and summon allies and minions to your side. The simple, easy-to-learn rules work cross-platform among PC, iPad and Android players. You can earn gold that can be spent on booster packs. Plus, in the Arena mode you can play in a special, "sealed draft" format that rewards canny deck building and smart play.
Istanbul: Digital Edition ($6.99)
Acram brings the award-winning board game Istanbul to mobile devices, challenging players to earn the most rubies while they guide their master merchant and assistants through the many shops of the bazaar. At each shop, players can take an action, but must leave an assistant behind to handle the details. That forces you to think ahead to efficiently take actions and have your master merchant rendezvous with stranded apprentices. Istanbul brings the full board game experience to mobile, with gorgeous art and fully implemented rules, as well as options for AI opponents, pass-and-play multiplayer, and cross-platform online play.
Zombicide: Tactics & Shotguns ($4.99)
Asmodee Digital brings the hit boardgame Zombicide to life in Zombicide: Tactics & Shotguns, a mobile adaptation that sees players leading teams of human survivors against waves of zombies in a quest for survival. You’ll need to carefully budget your survivors’ limited actions and the risks and rewards of each path, whether it’s breaking open a locked door or firing off a shotgun blast that might clear a swarm of zombies but also could summon even more. The game features a fairly lengthy campaign of 40 different missions as you slowly unlock new survivors and gear. Players can also visit the store to unlock new survivor classes with in-app purchases.
Legends of Andor ($4.99)
Take up sword and spellbook to defend the land in the mobile port of Michael Menzel’s co-op adventure game Legends of Andor. Players will field a band of heroes to accomplish quests in a series of linked scenarios, racing the clock and balancing risk with reward, as they burn up precious in-game hours to maneuver and attack. The Legends of Andor app is a visual delight, with a detailed game board that you can zoom in on to view the standee models and other game pieces. With 12 linked scenarios to play through, Legends of Andor offers plenty of chances to explore the many ways you can accomplish each quest.
Evolution: The Video Game (Free)
North Star Games’ classic card game goes digital with Evolution: The Video Game. Players must guide their species through the ages, carefully balancing aspects like population, size, and the available food at the watering hole each turn. Will you evolve a long neck to get first crack at the food supply, become a skilled forager able to take extra food, or skip the line altogether and become a dangerous predator? In addition to a detailed tutorial and classic play modes, Evolution also includes a campaign featuring numerous themed challenges to provide tough tactical puzzles. Playing the base offline campaign and skirmish games are free; if you want to play more than one multiplayer game per day, you’ll need to unlock the full version with an in-app purchase.
The Elder Scrolls: Legends (Free)
Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a clear challenge to Blizzard’s Hearthstone, delivering some familiar CCG mechanics, while also throwing in some interesting new elements into the mix. Players can explore the world of Tamriel in the game’s richly varied campaign mode, with players calling on a varied mix of allies and enemies from the Elder Scrolls series’ lore in their battle for domination. Cool new gameplay elements include multiple lanes that force players to intelligently divide their resources, as well as a comeback mechanic of Runes that provide a losing player with extra card draws or even free spells.
Card Thief ($2.99)
Tinytouchtales returns with a sequel to its solitaire-dungeon crawl crossover Card Crawl. This time, things take a sneakier turn with Card Thief. As an ingenious sneak thief, players evade guards, traps and torches while trying to steal as much treasure as possible. Players sneak through a 3 x 3 grid, with each move potentially draining your thief's stealth value. Players must balance risk and reward, nabbing treasure, eliminating guards and looking for places to hide, while trying to make their way out of each castle. While it's not as beginner-friendly as Card Crawl, Card Thief's more involved mechanics, daily challenges and quick play time makes it a mobile puzzle winner.
Burgle Bros ($4.99)
For something a bit more evocative in its stealth game mechanics, check out Burgle Bros, a mobile port of the board game of the same name. Players engage in Ocean’s 11-style heists and shenanigans, recruiting a team of specialists to sneak in past alarms and guards to crack safes and get out with the loot with no one the wiser. Of course, the building hasn’t been cased, so you’re going in blind, balancing speed and caution while trying to evade (or deliberately manipulate) the movements of each floor’s guards, and outwit obstacles like alarms.
Sentinels of the Multiverse ($6.99)
Assemble a team of costumed heroes and take down nefarious supervillains in Sentinels of the Multiverse, an iOS port of the hit cooperative card game. Players choose from decks of cards representing 10 different heroes, pitting them against any of four villain decks and a location to do battle in, resulting in numerous possible game combinations. A detailed tutorial helps players starting out, and the app takes advantage of the digital format by automatically doing the math and calculating damage and other combos for the players. Sentinels' interface itself is a visual treat, with page flips and text bubbles evocative of its comic book inspirations. Numerous expansions provide additional heroes, villains and environments to do battle in.
Save the Kingdom of Armello from its deranged ruler in League of Geeks’ digital-first board game. As heroes of the great beast clans of Armello, players go on quests and seek allies and treasures as they attempt to overthrow the Rot-blighted king. Armello uses a combination of RPG, deck-building, and boardcgame mechanics, with an extra digital flair provided by rich animations to provide an impressive digital boardcgame experience. Players can match up against the AI, but the real fun is in competing against other people in a race for the throne.
Card City Nights 2 ($4.99)
Cult digital card game Card City Nights returns with a cartoonish sci-fi twist. Explore the strange Starship Frivolity and the many characters that inhabit it, all obsessed with The Card Game. Card City Nights combines classic collectible card game mechanics with tactical board control as players lay out their cards on the playing field, charging them up and blocking off enemy plays in a struggle to outwit opponents. Card City Nights 2 is a premium game with nary a microtransaction in sight, and the game features both a story mode and online multiplayer.
Indian Summer ($4.99)
Uwe Rosenburg’s Indian Summer is a nice, mellow tile-laying board game expertly ported over to the iPhone by Digidiced. Players race to fill up their respective boards with oddly shaped leaf tiles as they also to score woodland treasures like berries, acorns and mushrooms by aligning holes in each treasure space. Each treasure canbe used for game-changing effects like laying down multiple tiles, attracting critters like squirrels to fill in a space, or stealing tiles from other players. You can play games versus the AI, try pass-and-play multiplayer, or challenge other online players in casual and ranked online play.
Meteorfall: Journey ($3.99)
A deck-building rogue-like games that’s a blend of both Reigns and Adventure Time, Meteorfall: Journey is a fast-playing card RPG where you choose a hero to take down the Uberlich. Each battle is a balancing act between attacking and regaining stamina and spell charges: swipe right to play a card or left to skip your turn, regaining stamina by resting. As you progress, you can unlock new cards or upgrade existing ones, while facing a variety of random challenges. The Necrodude update adds a new character and a ton of new gameplay mechanics such as minions to the mix, fleshing out the game and rebalancing the game to fix rough spots.
Cultist Simulator ($6.99)
Step through the doors of a dream in Cultist Simulator, a captivating card rogue-like game that sees players taking on the role of a cult leader on a quest for power, wisdom, or impossible transformation. Starting off with a bare-bones tutorial, Cultist Simulator quickly hands off control of the game to the players, presenting you with a spread of cards representing your cult’s wealth, followers, occult knowledge and your mortal and immortal foes. Also at your disposal are a series of actions that you can use to combine cards to achieve tasks as simple as menial labor or going to an occult bookstore to as esoteric as summoning rituals and expeditions to mysterious ruins and unreal dreamscapes. Filled with tantalizing and evocative prose, and designed like an intricate puzzlebox, Cultist Simulator is a unique experience that’s best entered into with as little knowledge as possible as you explore the bounds of the mysterious Mansus.
Through The Ages ($9.99)
Often lauded as one of the best board games ever made, Vlaada Chvatil’s Through the Ages challenges players to lead their civilizations from antiquity all the way to the modern day. Along the way, you’ll compete for resources, technologies, and cultural dominance. As part of the game, players need to carefully draft cards from a shared pool while managing their resources and making sure their military doesn’t get overwhelmed by aggressive enemies. The mobile version of Through the Ages comes with a detailed tutorial, single player challenges, local play against the AI and other human players, as well as online multiplayer.
Why we love Card and Board Games
The first board game known to have existed was called Senet and was found in Egyptian burial chambers. It involved several movable pieces on a track, according to some Egyptologists. Other experts say the first card game comes from A.D.1000 in China, and looked a bit like today's dominoes. Boy, have games come a long way since then. The hip way to play card and board games these days are on an iPhone or an iPad, and often only involve touching the screen. Check out our favorite digital card and board games, from venerable collectible card game (CCG) classics to new, digital-only experiences.