Among tabletop gamers, the arrival of Apple's iPad was greeted with a fervour equal to the second coming.
It's not hard to see why: a touchscreen is a magnificent interface to replicate a physical board game. And this was a blooming big one.
Plus it offered the possibility of smoothly facilitated online play. So whenever you felt the need to play, you could just play, rather than having to arrange for three other people to come to your house carrying a ton of cardboard.
Naturally, Android devices are just are good. In fact they're arguably better because it's so easy for fans to make and publish their own versions of games. There's quite a few solid home-brew adaptations on Google Play.
But before you go searching, start with these official, paid-up, polished versions to whet your appetite.Ticket to Ride
by Days of Wonder - buy on Android
First things first: this is my favourite mobile board game. It's a Rummy variant where you collect sets of cards, but with a twist. Once you have a set, you cash it in to complete a route on the board, locking other players out.
It's a race to link up the cities on your ticket cards to win.
It works on mobile because it's exciting, brutal, and plays faster than lightning. Of course the fact this is an incredibly professional adaptation with crisp graphics and smooth online play helps a lot, too.Neuroshima Hex
by Big Daddy's Creations - buy on Android
Some titles absolutely should not work, yet absolutely do. Neuroshima Hex is one such game.
Players take turns laying tiles representing futuristic soldiers and their lines of attack, until someone plays a fight title and everyone kills everyone else. Rinse, repeat, and see who can destroy the enemy HQ first.
The neatly encapsulated turn structure makes it a joy to play asynchronously online, a joy facilitated by this excellent port. Plus it gives you just a little bit longer to work out just who is going to be shooting who when the brown stuff hits the fan.Carcassonne
by Exozet - buy on Android
One of the first board games adaptations to appear on mobile was Carcassonne for iOS. That implentation had near-legendary usability and was just a joy to play.
This is not that implementation. It's another version of the same game from a different studio. But it's still hugely enjoyable.
Multiplayer on the tabletop can sometimes feel like an exercise in collaborative art. But this app focuses on the far more fun and brutal two player game where you "collaborate" to steal ownership of landscape features off one another.Elder Sign: Omens
By Fantasy Flight Games - buy on Android
Cooperative games, where all the player work together to win a joint victory against the game, are all the rage right now. They also work well solo, which makes them great candidates for the digital treatment.
The best of the genre available for Android is this bizarre Lovecraftian romp through a haunted museum. It's a pretty complicated game to learn and play, likely to drive you as insane as meeting Nyarlathotep in the attempt.
But with a smooth interface and helpful tutorials, this app lets you get straight to the fun in record time.Talisman
By Nomad Games - buy on Android
There are few more divisive titles in board games than this venerable fantasy adventure game. It's either an infinite generator of amazing fantasy fables or an over-random waste of time, depending on your tastes.
But this app takes all the legwork out of setting up and playing out the game. So it allows you to appreciate the astonishing variety of narratives the game serves up without the risk of feeling like it's cheated you of time.
Plus, it looks stunning, so strategy fans get a rare chance to make their peers jealous over graphics.Catan
By USM - Buy on Android
Speaking of venerable titles, here's another classic. Catan was the game that launched modern game design, and remains captivating nearly 20 years after its initial release.
This adaptation was merely solid and workmanlike up until recently. But the latest update finally added online multiplayer. So now you can build, trade and fight your way to the title of Lord of Catan any time you like.Small World
By Days of Wonder - Buy on Android
Imagine a game of Risk, except that every few turns the board got cleared and you had to restart from a new position. Imagine that each time, you got a new set of armies with special powers selected from a mind-boggling array of potential recombinations.
That's effectively what Small World is. Except it's got a fantasy theme, a teeny map and nice graphics and online multiplayer. It's a novel game concept that translates well to mobile. There aren't many better arenas for fighting it out with friends online.Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
By Playdek - Buy on Android
Ascension is a deckbuilding card game. But if that sounds like Hearthstone, it isn't.
Rather than choosing cards upfront to make your deck, you build it during the game. All the players start with identical decks of cards that generate in-game currency. They use these to buy additional, more powerful and varied cards from a central pool, so their decks grow and change as the game progresses.
It's a fun new twist on a classic genre, but involves tedious amounts of sorting and shuffling between games. Obviously, that doesn't apply to mobile versions, so they're a common sight on Google Play.
Ascension is a particularly good version of a particularly good game, boasting a polished interface and smooth asynchronous play.buy on Android
For all their charms, one thing most deckbuilders don't have is much interaction. Rather than grappling directly with your opponents, you're racing to build the most efficient deck.
Star Realms set out to correct that problem with a brutal direct damage element to the play. You're not just competing to be first for the best cards here, but to use them to blow your enemies out of the galaxy. Which, of course, makes it far more satisfying for brutalised first-person shooter veterans to play.Summoner Wars
By Playdek - buy on Android
This is a more traditional deck building game in the sense that you make up your deck in advance from a fixed pool of cards. The twist comes in actual play, where you slap those cards down on the board and move them around in a grand tactical battle to the death.
Effectively, it's like Hearthstone except everything you summon gets to run about and hide behind walls. Oh, and you get the game and your first deck for free. So what are you waiting for? Go play!