If you’re a board gamer, there are a number of iPhone apps available to assist you. I’m not talking about apps which implement iPhone or iPad versions of games, but ones which help you out in some way when you’re playing the real thing.
The first, and most obvious one is Board Game Geek. This gives you access to the Board Game Geek database, so you can quickly check a game’s rating and read about the game. It also lets you adjust your collection of games (a record on BGG’s website of the games you own), including games you’ve played. This makes it really easy to update your games played as you go, rather than writing them all down and remembering to transcribe that info to the website later. This free app is a must-have for any serious board game player.
Next up is Board Game Tools. This 4 screens – one to roll up to 6 standard dice, one as a timer (which I don’t think adds anything to the iPhone’s built in timer), one as a buzzer when you tap it, but most useful, one as a virtual score pad. It’s fairly simple, but it does what you need it to do, is completely generic, and the app is free.
Dominion Kingdom Deck is an app that makes randomizing the set up for Dominion a snap. You select which expansions you have and then allow it to pick a random set of ten. It has a number of options for guiding the selection, like the suggestion in Alchemy that if you have any Alchemy cards in your set up, you should have 3-5 of them. It also automatically determines if you will have Platinum and Colony, if you’re using Prosperity cards. It also allows you to add your own card sets – this means you can add “fan expansions” which aren’t official expansions for the game, or you can add new expansions that have been published but not yet been added to the app, while you wait for official support. Right now, it’s a little disappointing, because the two latest expansions haven’t been added. It’s a minor inconvenience, but the main reason (from a note by the author on BGG) is that the Young Witch card in Cornucopia causes an additional card to be added to supply, and he stil needs to work that logic in. It’s not hard to work around, but it would be nice to have it properly included. For a free app, this is great.
Tichu Tracker is an easy way to score the game of Tichu. Add the player names into the seating positions (or randomize seating if you like). It keeps track of who should be dealing, and you mark if anyone called Tichu or Grand Tichu. Then when you record scores, you select the score for one team, and it automatically selects the score for the other. You also mark if any of the called Tichus were made. You can look at the scoring history of the game, and also make adjustments if an error was made. Easy to use, and free.
7 Wonders Score is a free app for scoring the 7 Wonders game. It adds up the scores from the various categories (and can even do the Science calculation for you) to give you your total score. It’s fairly easy to use, and it keeps track of regular players so you can add them to the next game easily and it also keeps a history of old games so you can go back and look at them.
Lastly is Score. This app, which costs 99c can be used as a basic score keeping app. The real gem with this is that it had scoring modules for around 30 games, some of which have complex scoring calculations, like Agricola. This means that it’s much easier to score for those games. These modules are downloadable, which makes the app extensible if a new game comes along for which scoring is not so simple, as long as someone takes the time to write the module.
One quick extra. Not directly game related, but I use it a lot for my board game meetup group is the Meetup app. This is great in particular for checking the RSVP list once you’ve arrived in order to see if there are any last minute changes so you know if you should wait for someone to turn up. Very useful free app.
Are there any other iPhone apps you use to help out when playing board games?