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What Types of Games Are Good to Play While in the Hospital? – Part 1

Some of you may have noticed my absence over the last few weeks. I want, first and foremost, to apologize as writing and gaming are two of my favorite things. It has been quite hectic in my house as of late – our entire world got turned upside down within mere minutes and we are just beginning to recover. First my Player 2 was rushed into the hospital and then it was my turn to be taken in several days afterwards with a completely separate issue. After spending many, many hours in various waiting rooms and hospital rooms, watching the time slip slowly by, it got me thinking: what games could be brought with us to help pass all of this time we, and several of our friends, were spending waiting at the hospital?

At first, I wasn’t at all sure about what to bring. Games that have tons of setup or a billion little components were definitely out of the question. I could only imagine the horror of watching the meeples or tokens go skittering across the disgusting floors of the hospital waiting room or having to tear down the elaborate set ups of many of the board games we have and love simply because it was finally time to be seen. Dice games, too, were rather iffy. Though many of them are self-contained, the thought of losing the dice was a bit of a worry. The same is to be said of games that use a bunch of tokens. So, what does this leave us with then? Surprisingly, quite a bit more than I could have imagined in the beginning of this endeavor!

In the first part of this two-part article, I will be focusing mainly on one of the most easily transportable type of board games: digital ones! With board games having grown rapidly in popularity, quite a few have actually been turned into Apps that can be played on a phone or a tablet. Some of them are single player vs. an AI or a single player campaign. Others can be multiplayer with pass and play. Whilst in the waiting room, my Player 2 and I played a lot of electronic adaptations of some of our favorite games on his iPad, as well as several I’d never played before. While there are many more constantly being added to the list of available downloads, the ones listed below are some of our personal favorites of the games we currently have:

Summoner Wars

(Screenshot of the Summoner Wars iPad app courtesy of Ryan Collins and edited by KristaG.)

(Screenshot of the Summoner Wars iPad app courtesy of Ryan Collins and edited by KristaG.)

Released as a tactical card game in 2009 by Plaid Hat Games, Summoner Wars is a 2-4 player (2-player, unless you have more than one battlefield) fantasy game where players take on the role of a “Summoner” and battle each other by casting spells and calling forth various units until only one Summoner remains. While the game includes pre-constructed decks, it is possible to construct custom decks. There are currently 16 factions available for the physical card game and each has a “Reinforcements” pack available for more variety in deck construction with even more expansions on the way!

In 2012, Playdek, Inc. released Summoner Wars for iOS, and Android users received their version in 2014. It is a free download and comes with online, pass-and-play, and seven AI opponents to play against for solo-play options. If you want access to all of the factions currently available, they are available as in-game purchases – including the Mercenary Card pack, which comes with the Plaid Hat Games exclusive promo card! If you have never played the card game, there is a tutorial and digital rulebook included in the game.

Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep

(Lords of Waterdeep for iPad screenshot courtesy of Ryan Collins, edited by KristaG)

For myself and many other people, the name “Waterdeep” brings up memories of playing Forgotten Realms campaigns. The “City of Splendors” setting has re-emerged in the form of a fantastic board game for 2-5 players that was released in 2012 by Wizards of the Coast. In the game, each of the players is dealt a random role to play as one of the many Lords holding power within the city. They will use the resources they gain to out-perform other Lords and increase their influence over the city. This is done using the worker placement mechanic over the course of a finite set of turns. They will send adventurers on quests, expand the city, as well as try and complete agendas, based on the character given to them at the beginning of the game, all while trying to prevent their opponents from doing the same.

The following year, Wizards of the Coast collaborated with Playdek, Inc. to release an iOS version of the board game. Just like in the board game, you can play with up to five players, either with the pass and play or online option. There is also the option to purchase the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion just as with the physical version, but can also purchase an App exclusive expansion called Undermountain! Both of these add several new elements to the game and are well worth the purchase price. Games can be played using real-time or using asynchronous time, and there is even a rematch feature for both online and offline matches!

Boss Monster

(Screenshot of Android version of Boss Monster taken and edited by KristaG)

(Screenshot of Android version of Boss Monster taken and edited by KristaG)

Boss Monster is one of my personal favorites – even among those on this list. It was released in 2013 by Brotherwise Games and is inspired by classic, 8-bit video games. There is one drastic difference between this game and many others, however! Players get to play the role of the Villain instead of the Heroes! With such a role reversal, this card game challenges players to build the most deadly of dungeons all while still trying to be appealing to the wandering heroes looking for loot. The card game is playable for 2-4 players and scales appropriately to the size of the group. Since its initial release, Brotherwise Games has also released a mini-expansion (Tools of Hero-Kind) and a full, standalone expansion (Boss Monster 2: The Next Level).

Not long after the release of the physical game, Brotherwise Games paired with Plain Concepts to bring the video game inspired card game to a whole new level: an actual video game! The App is currently available for iPad, Android tablets, Kindle, and the PC, and features solo play, pass and play, or online play. Digital Boss Monster also includes all of the original 155 cards for the physical version of the game, with the expansions being added for purchase in the near future, as well as a feature to purchase hard to find or out of print cards (such as the Kickstarter exclusives). To keep the App different than the card game, Brotherwise Games is also working to include “digitally-enhanced cards” that take advantage of the difference in platform.

Star Realms

(Screenshot of Star Realms for Android taken and edited by KristaG)

(Screenshot of Star Realms for Android taken and edited by KristaG)

I had a lot to say on Star Realms in a previous article and I still strongly feel it is one of the best deck building games I have ever played. The additions of the Gambit and multiple Crisis expansions have been a huge improvement as well with the addition of new (and optional) mechanics, new ships and new bases, and two new styles of game play (co-op and solo play)! With the added cards to the physical game, White Wizard Games is already working to release them in the digital version as well for in-game purchases. Gambit is currently available and the first installment (Bases and Battleships) of the Crisis mini-expansions is coming soon! The App is available for PC, iOS, Android, and Mac and, after having broken down and finally purchasing the entire thing, is quite worth the $4.99 purchase price!

Sentinels of the Multiverse

(Screenshot of Sentinels of the Multiverse app courtesy of Ryan Collins and edited by KristaG)

(Screenshot of Sentinels of the Multiverse app courtesy of Ryan Collins and edited by KristaG)

Sentinels of the Multiverse is one of the first co-op, card based, and non-deck building games I had ever played and it is probably still one of my absolute favorite games to date. Themed after a comic book style universe, player(s) choose 3-5 Heroes to battle one of the Villains that is auto-run by the game itself. However, not only are you matching up against a Villain and all of their minions and shenanigans, but the Environment plays a role as well! The Environment deck can effect both Heroes and Villains/minions and aid or hinder either side! The base game was released in 2011 by Greater Than Games with multiple expansions and individual promo cards that have been released over the years as well as another expansion slated to be released this year!

Pairing with Handelabra Games, the two companies have brought this dueling card game to the digital platform. It is currently available for PC, Mac, Linux, iPad, and Android tablets. They have also created a soundtrack available for purchase from iTunes, Steam, or Handleabra Games directly. The App can be played solo or as pass and play with up to 5 people. It does not yet include all of the cards available for the physical version, but there is a season pass available and they are consistently releasing new cards all of the time.

There are many other board game Apps available for both Apple and Android products. Although, I am not always a big fan of the App version compared to the original game, these were a big help while in the hospital and still allowed us to play some of the games we love regardless of their elaborate setups and numerous pieces. As much fun as the iPad can be, however, it doesn’t always allow for multi-player games. Also, I have found that the gaming experience is, honestly, vastly different when playing on the tablet compared to playing the physical game. With this being said, please check back later for a continuation of this article that will cover the physical games that I also felt (and tested) as being great for these kinds of conditions. If you have any other suggestions to add or questions, please feel free to add them below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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