What are the best board games for Android?

Board games have been experiencing a renaissance in recent years, and it doesn't take a lot of digging in the Google Play Store to see it reflected on Android as well. If you're having trouble getting everybody together under one roof or just don't have any more shelf space for another box, pick up your Android phone or tablet to grab these fantastic board games.

We've put together the very best board games for Android for the consideration of long-time board game fans.It's worth noting in advance that a vast majority of the Android board games on our list employ in-app purchases for expansions, and thanks to their established physical counterparts, they tend to be well-balanced and lots of fun.

Pandemic: The Board Game

Pandemic: The Board GamePandemic: The Board Game

This mobile version of the popular strategic board game of the same name that provides a real challenge whether you're playing alone or with friends. Your goal: Try to cure four contagious diseases from spreading and taking over the world.

You select your characters at the start of the game, with each character performing specific roles to help eradicate the diseases. Which characters you pick will have a big effect on your team's ultimate success. This is a pass-and-play game to play with friends, and you'll all have to work together and use your teams strategically if you want to win. There's an in-app purchase available for expansions, which improves the replayability of this addictive and challenging game.

Pandemic is regularly priced at $6.99, but is currently on sale for 70% off, so it's the perfect time to get it!

  • Number of players: 2-4, or solo if you play more than one role
  • Options to play: Solo, pass-and-play

Download: Pandemic: The Board Game ($1.99)

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride board game screenTicket to Ride board in play

Ticket to Ride gets players to build sprawling rail empires by gathering colored cars to connect cities. Every turn, a player gets to either pick two cars, claim a line by spending cars, or take on a new ticket, which challenges players to connect two cities before the first player runs out of cars. The farther these two cities are, the more victory points they're worth, plus the player with the longest line gets an additional victory point bonus.

On the whole, Ticket to Ride is a fine combination of competition and construction. The in-app purchase grants you access to a new bundle of maps and boards, all of which are totally worth the price.

  • Number of players: 1-5
  • Options to play: Solo, Pass-and-play, local multiplayer, online multiplayer

Download Ticket to Ride ($6.99 with in-app purchases)

Catan

Catan opening boardBegin to build your empire

Catan is not just a classic board game; it is the classic board game. Players harvest resources and connect their villages by roads, accumulating victory points along the way. It doesn't sound like much, but between the inter-player trading (or scheming) and the cramped real estate, Catan can be a very tense game. Players also use their harvested resources to purchase cards which can provide them with useful resources. Pass-and-play multiplayer is available, as well as many of the original game's expansions.

For a tense game of wheeling and dealing, check out Catan.

  • Number of players: 1-5
  • Options to play: Solo, pass-and-play, online multiplayer

Download Catan ($3.99)

Ascension

Cards on the board in AscensionAscension cards to the Void to to discard

Ascension is a well-established fantasy card game. Players dynamically build their deck over the course of gameplay, and attempt to acquire the most victory points from a limited pool. When the pool is empty, the points are tallied up. Gathering these honor points is done by building a force with sword and sorcery, acquiring constructs, slaying a constantly-shifting selection of monsters on the board, and recruiting new heroes to your cause. There are expansions and promo packs which introduce new cards to the set as well.

Ascension's fast and fluid gameplay are bound to catch the attention of even occasional board gamers.

  • Number of players: 1-4
  • Options to play: Solo, online multiplayer

Download Ascension(Free with in-app purchases)

Carcassonne

Carcassonne playersCarcassonne game play

Carcassonne is a tile-based kingdom-building game in which players each take turns trying to complete roads, cities, and cloisters. Each turn, players also drop a limited number of their meeple onto those landmarks in an attempt to claim points once the feature has been completed. If you can't fully enclose a city or finish a road by the end of the game, you can still get a few points. A handful of expansions are also available through in-app purchases.

Carcassonne is a polished adaptation of a classic board game. If you haven't tried it yet, now is the time.

  • Number of players: 1-6
  • Options to play: Solo, local multiplayer, online multiplayer

Download Carcassonne ($4.99)

Shelter Free

The premise of Shelter FreeMap of Shelter Free zoneThe card playing board in Shelter Free

Shelter Free combines deck building card games and castle defence strategy. You wake up to find that the world is overrun with zombies and you have to continuously fight them off in order to make your way out of the danger zone. You move through hazards, seeking cards to build and strengthen your deck, and duelling with zombies who have equally powerful card decks.

The graphic novel artwork style is enough to keep you coming back for more gameplay, but the storyline and intense card battles will keep you hooked for sure.

  • Number of players: 1
  • Options to play: Solo

Download Shelter Free (Free with in-app purchases)

Sea Battle 2

Place your ships on the gridSeek out the ships placed by your opponent

Don't let anyone sink your battleship! This reimagining of the classic game lets you play against an AI, a random online opponent, or the person sitting next to you. It goes beyond mere battleships to include planes, radar, mines, submarines, and all the while you're climbing the ranks from a lowly recruit to an admired admiral. Name your proud fleet, watch your scores on the global leaderboard, and use the in-app chat feature to discuss strategy.

The old-school graph paper design will take you right back to playing sneaky Battleship rounds during junior high study hall.

  • Number of players: 1-2
  • Options to play: Solo, pass-and-play, local multiplayer over Bluetooth, online multiplayer

Download Sea Battle 2 (Free with in-app purchases)

Mahjong: Beautiful Orient

Level 2 access in Mahjong: Beautiful OrientMatch two tiles to remove them from the boardLevel completed and points earned

The 20 boards of Mahjong: Beautiful Orient feature beautiful backgrounds and a lovely soundtrack to listen to while you master Mahjong. The premise of the game is simple enough: match two tiles to remove them from the board. The boards increase in complexity as you advance, and you need to attain a preset minimum score to move on (not so simple now). Speed, accuracy, and a sharp eye are your must-have Mahjong tools.

If you love board games but you'd just rather play solo, Mahjong: Beautiful Orient is the game for you.

  • Number of players: 1
  • Options to play: Solo

Download Mahjong Beautiful Orient (Free with in-app purchases)

Your favorite Android board games?

Those are our picks, but there's a lot of great games in the Google Play Store. Leave a comment with your favorite board game or board adaptations for Android!