Plenty of board games are now available in fully digital versions on several platforms and in many cases the conversion has been done very nicely indeed. Games such as Ticket To Ride, Carcassonne, Potion Explosion, Splendor, Jaipur and many others work really well.
“We spend too much time on our devices already!” I hear you cry. Well, yes, one downside is that you will appear to be glued to your screen, which is universally considered to be a bad thing these days. However, in the context of playing a game with others in the same room, this is probably the least anti-social use of a personal device. No worse than staring intently at a real player board or a hand of cards, in fact. And let’s not forget that you can still talk to other players, if they’re in the same room as you!
"The digital version of a game will apply the rules for you so that nothing gets missed."
So what are some of the benefits of digital versions over the real things?
For the lazy (or just the dog-tired!) the act of clearing the table, fetching the game box, setting out all the pieces, etc. can be a little too much like hard work sometimes. Alternatively, you might simply not have the game to hand. With the digital version, after just a few clicks you can be straight into the fun of playing; with friends as close as in the same room or as far away as the other side of the world. Plus, you are not faced with putting it all away again at the end of the game.
If you are playing in the same room, you can still look up, interact, laugh and/or hurl abuse when your opponent blocks your move in just the same ways. The only thing you are not doing is physically interacting with the game pieces, something that is definitely preferable but not always possible.
You can also play most games solo, against a computer-controlled opponent – ideal if on your own.
The digital version of a game will apply the rules for you so that nothing gets missed. It will also take care of all that pesky shuffling of cards/tokens. Players prone to AP (analysis paralysis) can find that the app version of the game helps by only offering actions that are possible, meaning that valuable time is not wasted.
"You can play most games solo, against a computer-controlled opponent – ideal if on your own."
You can also use the digital version to try out a game for a fraction of the cost of buying the physical counterpart – a great way to help to decide what to add to your “wishlist”. Depending on your devices and their set-up, you often don’t need every player to buy a copy of the same game. For example, Google’s “Family Library” feature makes it possible to freely share game purchases made on one Android device with other family members. The Apple store has the same feature also.
Digital versions of games will never fully replace the real things for those who, like me, enjoy the real, tactile experience; but as a convenience that allows a game to be played when, or where, it otherwise just would not happen, it really is an option worth exploring.
This is a guest article, written by Pete Waite, for Board Game Crate; Imagery from the Apple Store and Board Game Geek.
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