Board games… do you remember them?
Truth is you probably do. They are as popular as ever, both in their original table-top form and in the digital world. Board games are timeless.
Many of the classic board and card games of decades long past have since been re-released. Some many times, on digital platforms, including PC, consoles and mobile.
Although traditionalists will (perhaps correctly) argue that there’s nothing better than sitting with friends around a table to play, the digital and online sphere does offer its own benefits. Games can run smoothly, graphics can be stunning, and players can hook up with others from around the world to test their skills.
Though far from a definitive list, here are some of the classic games that have translated well and gained popularity in the digital era.
The game Civilisation actually began as a board game, designed by Francis Tresham and released in the early 1980s.
The game typically took at least 8 hours to play. It was the first board game to feature a “tech tree”, a system whereby players can only gain items and abilities after unlocking previous ones. Players had to expand their civilisation using diplomacy, trade and cooperation, aggression and combat.
The board game inspired Sid Meier’s adaptation, which has spawned a whole series of games. The concept remains the same, but with many added dimensions as the series progressed. We’re now up to Civilisation VI. Players can now develop their world in any number of ways, from military might to cultural supremacy.
The history of poker is unclear, but it is said to have been developed in the USA in the 19th century. Since then, it has grown in popularity, until finally becoming popular in its tournament format in card rooms across Vegas and beyond in the 1970s.
The first online game ever played was in 1998, but really online poker didn’t take off until the 2000s. There are many types of poker game available both at casinos and online, but the most popular is Texas Hold ‘em.
Between 2003 – 2006, poker experienced what was perhaps the most measurable online boom of any game on the list. The number of players in online pools at least doubled every year during this time. This was due to a number of factors, including major televised tournaments.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Magic: The Gathering is one of the biggest card trading games in the world. It’s been around since 1993. The object is to drain opponent’s life points using spells, summons, and other moves. Players can use pooled decks, or create their own using cards they have collected.
Since then, there have been several attempts to recreate the game in an online format, but the most impressive is Magic: The Gathering Arena. The card game stays true to the original, whilst offering a smooth and stunning experience. You can even use your psychical Magic cards to unlock the digital version without buying them.
You can play Arena against friends or in multiplayer online. Magic is nearly in the same league as Hearthstone, and there’s a community of highly competitive and professional players. Hearthstone, however, started its life as a digital game, whereas Magic is still much loved in its original form.
There’s nothing like a game of Monopoly to get everybody going crazy and wanting to bankrupt their loved ones. It’s capitalism at its finest! Buy everything, rent it out, build on it until restrictions won’t allow, take everyone’s money until they can’t play the game, and do all of this without paying taxes or getting sent to jail.
Online monopoly works in much the same way (just ask the guys at Silicon Valley.) There’s been many PC, console and mobile versions of Monopoly released. One of the latest is Monopoly Plus, available on Steam, PS and Xbox. It has a ‘living city’ map with a beautifully animated cityscape, as well as several game rule modes to choose from. The online play can get quite exciting.
If you want a bargain, you can opt for the Hasbro Fun Pack, which includes four board game classics – Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and Risk.
Risk is the classic strategy board game that’s all about taking over the world. It’s a slow, territorial battle that’s more about preserving troops and keeping allies than it is about all-out aggression. The board game takes a long time to play, with many pieces on the board at a time. Both are reasons why it converts well to digital format.
Risk is available on Steam, console and mobile. There are several versions available, including the Hasbro one, which has the original maps and gameplay, as well as updated versions with additional features like new maps and game modes. Risk: Cities gives players control of commanders and the ability to build missile bases and defence posts.
Back to an absolute classic of a card game now. Uno is accessible and fun. Anyone can play it, and anyone can win, yet there’s still little tactical elements to keep the deeper thinkers happy. The object is to get rid of all cards by playing matching colors, numbers and symbols. There are also power cards.
The online version is available on Steam and mobile. It stays pretty much true to the original card game, apart from players are not able to stack cards, such as draw 2 and draw 4 cards. Apparently this is the official rule, but this has caused quite the controversy online, with players pretty sure the game plays out better with the ability to stack.
The Uno app went through a little boom of its own recently, when four popular Fortnite players, including ‘Ninja’, met up for a game in protest of the new Fortnite patch. This piqued other players’ interest in the classic card game and led to a mini Uno boom of sorts.
So there you have it. A list of the best board games that have made it online. Now, we think it’s time for a game of Monopoly. Anyone interested?