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Top board games with companion apps

Posted Sunday, 10-May-2015

Contributed by Andrew Knighton


Once separate, board games and computer games are starting to combine.  Using apps to enhance the game, it’s an approach that’s still in its infancy, but which promises to create some fascinating games in future.


XCOM: Computer Games Go Physical

The highest profile board game so far to include an app, it’s fitting that XCOM: The Board Game should lead the charge, based as it is on a computer game.  It sees players fending off an alien invasion, organizing resources and moving stylish plastic miniatures across a map of the world.  In design and play style, it’s a classic big box game.

XCOM The Board Game
XCOM The Board Game

In XCOM, the app coordinates the alien invaders and provides direction to the challenges the players face.  It allows the game to provide complex challenges and a degree of pressure without the players having to work out how all that happens.  This allows for surprises and unexpected challenges at every turn.


Alchemists: Mixing Things Up

A growing number of stylish and intriguing games are coming out of eastern Europe, thanks in large part to Czech Games, the creators of Galaxy Trucker and Dungeon Lords.  It’s hardly surprising that these innovators have tried their hand at using an app, incorporating it into Alchemists.  In this game, players try to grow their fame and fortune as medieval alchemists, mixing potions and testing them on students, hoping not to kill too many test subjects on the way to fame.

Alchemists with App
Alchemists Board Game with iPhone App

In Alchemists, players use the app to find out the effects of their potions, as they mix different ingredients together.  The combinations are re-set for each game, so that it remains equally challenging every time.  A random effect that would be incredibly difficult to achieve without the app, and that brings this game to life.


Golem Arcana: App Games Go Collectable

Given the current rage for expanding games, it was perhaps inevitable that one would come out that uses an app.  Golem Arcana got in there quickly, with an app that’s used to decide the outcome of battles between collectable miniatures.

Golem Arcana with App
Golem Arcana with App


Apps are well suited for collectable games.  Extra components of the app can be unlocked with each release, allowing the rules as well as the range of components to be expanded, while keeping all those rules in one place – no need to refer to separate expansion booklets.


What are some of your favorite board games with companion apps?

Even with these first few releases, we’re seeing that apps can enhance board games in all sorts of ways.  There are bound to be many more innovative ones to come.

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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