best online board games - lords of waterdeep

Dungeons & Dragons/YouTube

The best digital board games to play in 2019

Play all your favorite board games without getting out of bed.


Anna María

Internet Culture

Thanks to Stranger Things, The Big Bang Theory, and the rise of the celebrity D&D player, Dungeons & Dragons has grown in mainstream popularity. As a result, tabletop games as a whole are enjoying a renaissance. Unfortunately, miniatures, expansion packs, and complicated rules are only making board games more unwieldy and expensive.

Enter digital board games. You can now play everything from Monopoly to hardcore RPGs from the comfort of your PC or phone. Nearly every game has been made cheaper and more accessible via digital platforms.

In no particular order, here are the 10 best digital board games, who they’re for, and how to play them. 

The 10 best digital board games

1) Scythe: Digital Edition

Where to buy: Steam

Type of player: Ultimate strategy gamer

scythe play online

As the pinnacle of historical, feudal fantasy, Scythe: Digital Edition is not for the faint of heart. Players pick a faction to lead, amass wealth, resources, and armies, and conquer the great Factory. This online board game offers an incredibly detailed fictional history for highly strategic players.

2) Slay the Spire

Where to buy: Steam

Type of Player: Deckbuilder enthusiast

online board games - slay the spire online
Mega Crit/YouTube

Slay the Spire is one of the greatest indie games of 2019. It masterfully fuses the card game and roguelike genres into one deliciously addictive dungeon crawler. Build the deck of your dreams, battle fantastical monsters, and discover powerful relics as you journey up the winding Spire.

3) Lords of Waterdeep

Where to buy: Steam, App Store, Google Play

Type of player: Casual D&D fan

best online board games - lords of waterdeep
Dungeons & Dragons/YouTube

For those of us who just don’t have the energy to coordinate a full-fledged Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Lords of Waterdeep is the perfect solution. Delve into D&D lore without breaking the bank on minis as you play one of the City of Splendor’s masked lords. Cultivate intrigue and hire adventurers to do your dirty work as you explore the rich setting of Waterdeep.

4) Neuroshima Hex

Where to buy: App Store, Google Play

Type of player: Faction leader extraordinaire

neuroshima hex - play online

Neuroshima Hex has been popular since its release in 2010—and for good reason. With an immersive score, unique factions, and high replayability, Hex has an extraordinary amount of gameplay to keep you busy as you fight to rule Hegemony.

5) Catan Classic

Where to buy: App Store, Google Play

Type of playerSettler strategist

In Body Image
TSM Channel/YouTube

At long last, you can while your days away trading resources without having to worry about tokens. The mobile adaptation of this beloved board game streamlines Catan’s gameplay without watering down its essence. Build routes and stack up victory points to your heart’s content.

6) Elder Sign: Omens

Where to buy: Steam, App Store, Google Play

Type of player: Arkham aficionado

best online board games - elder sign omens

If you’re looking for a challenge, this eldritch romp will certainly deliver. Arkham Horror games aren’t known for being easy, and Omens is no different. You and up to three of your friends play investigators in a museum, working to save the world from a Lovecraftian horror. Even if you descend into madness, at least the game is gorgeous.

7) Carcassonne

Where to buy: Steam, App Store, Google Play

Type of player: The whole family

online board games - carcassonne

Carcassonne is by far the best tile board game on the App Store or Google Play. Across 71 gorgeous tiles, players navigate a surprisingly in-depth world by balancing strategy and luck of the draw. It’s a great digital tabletop for newbies and board game veterans alike.

8) Ticket to Ride

Where to buy: Steam, App Store, Google Play

Type of player: Anybody who’s sick of Monopoly

In Body Image
KB Standard/YouTube

Building a railroad network doesn’t sound especially thrilling, but Ticket to Ride somehow pulls it off. Reminiscent of favorites like Monopoly and Life, this game adeptly juggles realism and escapist fun as players connect cities one by one.

9) Star Realms

Where to buy: Steam, App Store, Google Play

Type of player: Space explorer

star realms play online
Lunar Nebula LLC Gaming/YouTUbe

Galactic battles! Spaceships! Deck building! Treat yourself to an aesthetically pleasing mashup of all the fun board games have to offer. Well-balanced with entertaining voice acting to boot, Star Realms allows you to fight your way through space like the sci-fi hero you’ve always wanted to be.

10) Small World 2

Where to buy: Steam, Apple Store, Google Play

Type of player: Quintessential fantasy nerd

mobile board game - smallworld 2
Days of Wonder/YouTube

Lovers of European fantasy will delight in Small World 2‘s take on classic fantasy tropes. Choose a race and power combo (like Berserk Halfling, Triton Merchant, or Dragon-Master Amazon). Then, take over the world however you see fit.


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