Tabletop games continue their push into the electronic space, with at least a dozen digital adaptations released in 2019—and that’s not counting the numerous games in Early Access (like Gloomhaven) or approaching beta (Charterstone). Below, I’ve ranked my eight best of the year based on app quality, play experience, and purchase price.
Other games were either too buggy or just not good enough to include. I’ll give an honorable mention to Takenoko, which was released in early December and looks fantastic... but is just too buggy to recommend right now. For example, if you switch out of the app mid-game, the app usually restarts and loses your progress, and the app requires you to tap too many times during AI opponents’ moves. (Surprisingly, it’s from Asmodee Digital, who typically does such great and bug-free work, so I expect these problems will eventually be resolved, but for now I’d say hold off on purchasing even if you love the tabletop version.)
Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.
The full name of this game is Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One. That last bit is important because there is more Unmatched coming. This first set allows us to answer important questions like: who would win in a fight between King Arthur and Sinbad? What if Alice ventured out of Wonderland to carve up Medusa? The matchups in this absurdist fight club are bonkers, and we’re only getting started.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
Restoration Games is the noteworthy publisher that has brought us new editions of classic games like Fireball Island and Stop Thief! Those designs were given a few nips and tucks, a couple of injections of Botox, and a new wardrobe. They’re fresh, but they’re also grounded in the past, and they know how to put nostalgia to good use.