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Best iOS board games 2013

2013 was a year of high anticipation and massive releases of the award-winning board games iOS adaptations, such as Agricola or Eclipse. There are also some games who went through the backward conversion from an iOS app to the physical implementation.

Jucke Board Game Awards is on air and I’m ready to announce the best board game 2013 has brought us along with my very own list of the best iOS board games of the year.

What games are included?

The previous list called Best Board Games for iOS 2012 was longer and featured all the games I’ve been playing in 2012, no matter how long they’ve been around. This year I decided to change that approach and do not mention iOS games that I’ve been playing before 2013.

So, most of the games have been released in 2013. However I included a couple of iOS board games released earlier, such as Plague Inc., just because I only started playing them in 2013 and they’ve never been mentioned in my top iOS board game lists earlier.

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy

And the winner of the year 2013 of Jucke Board Game Awards is Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy!

Description of the board game:
Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy (better known as Eclipse) is a strategy board game first released in 2011. Player uses the 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) mechanism in order to lead a civilization to prevail over the others. Each species has strengths and weaknesses, and this implies many different paths to achieve the victory.

Eclipse IOS game design

Eclipse for iOS game features:
The iOS version of Eclipse provides asynchronous multiplayer mode with push notifications, up to 6 player (human or AI), 3 AI difficulty levels, 7 species with different strengths and weaknesses, in-game tutorial & manual.

Eclipse gameplay video: http://youtu.be/ue1Ymbnpmo4 ★ View on iTunes

D&D Lords of Waterdeep

Description of the board game:
Lords of Waterdeep is a German-style turn-based strategy board game first published in 2012. The game is set in Waterdeep, a fictional city in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Players take the role of masked rulers of Waterdeep, deploying agents and hiring adventurers to complete quests and increase their influence over the city.

The game is played in 8 rounds and can be played against AI or with up to 5 human players. Players take turns assigning their agents to do their bidding, whether it is to recruit new adventurers to their tavern or purchase a new building for the city. Points and resources are gained by completing quests, playing Intrigue cards, constructing new buildings or having other players utilize the buildings you have constructed. At the end of the 8 rounds bonus points are awarded and the player with the most points at the end wins the game.

Lords of Waterdeep splash screen

D&D Lords of Waterdeep for iOS game features:
Lords of Waterdeep for iOS provides retina support as well as iPhone5/iPod5 screen support. It can be played by 2-5 players and features highly intelligent AI opponents. Game modes include pass-and-play multiplayer (2-5 players) and asynchronous or real-time online play (2-5 players), enhanced by matchmaking, rematch options, player profiles and rankings.

How-to-play video: http://youtu.be/9d1LZ9Q4YU0 ★ View on iTunes

Pandemic: The Board Game

Description of the board game:
Pandemic is a cooperative board game first published in 2008. It’s is based on the premise that four diseases have broken out in the world, each threatening to wipe out a region. The game accommodates 2 to 4 players, each playing one of five possible specialists: (dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher or operations expert). The game is unlike most boardgames is cooperative, rather than competitive. Through the combined effort of all the players, the goal is to discover all four cures before any of several game-losing conditions are reached. You must work as a team to succeed. The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues.

Pandemic for iPad

iOS game features:
The iOS version supports games in pass-and-play multiplayer mode for 2-4 players, but can be played solo if you play multiple roles. Three difficulty settings make the game suitable for beginners, intermediate players, and experts. For beginners there os a fully guided interactive tutorial and an “info mode” for in-game reminders of the rules. Full rulebook included for easy access and detailed reference at all times. Animated interface gives clear indication of the game’s progress and hotspots. “On the Brink” expansion content is available as an IAP with 6 new roles and 8 new events.

Pandemic teaser video: http://youtu.be/7fkSqmgr-loiTunes

Plague, Inc.

Plague Inc. is an iOS and Android only strategy video game, developed by one-man developer Ndemic Creations. It’s also notable as an independent developer success story.

Plague Inc. on iPad

The player controls a plague which has infected patient zero. The player must infect and kill the whole world population by evolving the plague and adapting to various environments. However, there is a time pressure to complete the game before humans, the opponent, develop a cure for the plague. The game uses an epidemic model with a complex and realistic set of variables to simulate the spread and severity of the plague.

Plague Inc. trailer: http://youtu.be/yAohn_n0hygiTunes

Agricola

Description of the board game:
Agricola is a German-style worker-placement board game first published in 2007. The goal of the game is to build the most well-balanced farm at the end of 14 rounds, consisting of plowed fields for crops and fenced pastures for livestock. The farm should have little fallow land and a large farmhouse built of high quality material. The player should also expand the family tending the farm from its initial two members to a maximum of five.

Agricola on iPad

Agricola for iOS game features:
Agricola for iOS was released by Playdek in 2013 and was featured for an outstanding design and adaptation which made seem it like an original video game.

The game supports four modes (family game, basic game, solo play and solo series) for 1-5 players. It includes AI opponents, pass-and-play multiplayer option and asynchronous or real-time online play. It also has a neatly designed rule book and card gallery to review game text and effects.

View on iTunes

Small World 2

Description of the board game:
Small World is a board game first published by Days of Wonder in 2009. The game is a reworking of Keyaerts’ 1999 game Vinci. Small World has won several awards, including Games magazine 2010 Game of the Year. Each player begins the game by selecting one of several available fantasy races that are created randomly. The player then makes use of the race tokens to capture territory on one of four different playing maps.The game continues until a certain number of turns are completed, whereupon the player with the highest score wins.

Small World 2 on iPad

Small World 2 for iOS game features:
Back in 2010, Small World was the first digital board game to ship on a tablet, the same day the iPad shipped. Now Days of Wonder introduced the all new Small World 2, a from-the-ground-up rewrite and massive game update.

The game provides real-time or turn-by-turn modes, with friends & strangers from the world over as well as local games over bluetooth or wifi. It includes 14 original Small World races and 20 special powers, 20 new races & special powers to master through in-app purchases of Cursed!, Grand Dames and Be Not Afraid… expansions.

View on iTunes

SolForge

SolForge is a purely digital collectable game (DCG), released by Stone Blade Entertainment (creators of Ascension: Deckbuilding Game) and co-designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering. SolForge is played, either solo against AI or competitively against other players, using a deck of virtual cards representing various spells and creatures.

View on iTunes

Solforge iPad screen

Suburbia

Description of the board game:
In Suburbia, your main goal is to build up your borough as efficiently as possible. Each turn, you will be buying a tile from the real estate market and placing it anywhere in your borough. What you buy matters as much as where you place it as each tile can affect many other ones in the game, possibly creating some powerful combos. As you build up your borough, you will gain both income and reputation. These will aid you with more money to buy future tiles or more people (victory points) for your borough.

Suburbia gameplay

The game ends once players get near the end of the third stack of building tiles. At that point, players collect any bonuses for achieved goals and the player with the most population is the winner.

View on iTunes

Totems

Description of the board game:
The object of the game is to place carved animal pieces (totems) on the map in order to claim territories. Each turn you will place matching totems on adjacent territories to expand your control of the map. The player who conquers the most territories when the map is full, wins. A game of Totems can be finished super-quickly or slowly, depending on your skills and your approach.

Totems iPad game

Teaser video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKZnw1t_eIQ ★ View on iTunes

Sheepland

Description of the board game:
In Sheepland, you’re a shepherd managing a flock of sheep on an island, competing for room with other shepherds. On each turn, you may take three actions from among the types move, herd, and invest. The dynamic that results is that you have to balance moving sheep into certain terrain types against investing in them early, because the more sheep a territory has, the more other players will want to invest in them (which raises subsequent prices).

Sheepland iPad game

Sheepland for iOS game features:
Sheepland has a casual-friendly art style, relatively simple rules which offer multiple viable strategies, plays fast, and it’s sold at a single price, with no in-app purchases.

View on iTunes

Dead Man’s Draw

Dead Man’s Draw features a simple push-your-luck mechanic with excellent presentation and a fair few in-app purchase opportunities. It’s based on a mod for Civilization 4 called Fall from Heaven, which was created in 2007. The game challenges players with the simple decision of drawing cards from a deck at the risk of losing their entire hand.

The rules are simple enough: during your turn, you flip over beautifully designed pirate-themed cards from the pile in the center of the digital table. Every card has a number and a set; if you ever flip a card belonging to a set that matches one you’ve already flipped on your current turn, you bust, losing the value every card you’ve drawn that round. If you sense a bout of bad luck coming on, you can end your turn before a bust by pulling the cards into your own deck… or you can press your luck to try to end with a higher number than your opponent.

View on iTunes

Dead Man's Draw game

Physical game?
Stardock Entertainment launched a Kickstarter project in order to raise $16,500 by November 9 to produce a physical tabletop card game set, which it said is just enough to break even on the project.

New World Colony

New World Colony is a strategy board game built specifically for the iPad. Players battle for control of territory and resources on maps full of fields, forests, mountains, and rivers. In order to win you will need to build and upgrade structures, trade, construct defenses, and outwit the opponent. It is a fun and fast strategy game with randomly generated maps, challenging computer AI, turn-based online multiplayer and a wide range of game settings.

View on iTunes

New World Colony for iOS

Here are all the apps again in one table. Make sure to check out as well my older blog post Best board games for iOS 2012 containing even more game titles and links to the awesome board game conversions for iOS.

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