BoardBox Review

Some games require hand-holding tutorials to explain their elaborate intricacies. Others bedazzle you with Hollywood-style cinema scenes. Even classic board games like Clue and The Game of Life have received makeovers for the iDevices. But sometimes, you just want to play the old-school games: chess, checkers, reversi, and the like. You don’t need anything fancy; you just need a partner and a game board. Welcome to BoardBox.

The iPad’s size and form factor are perfect for real, hands-on multiplayer board games. Place the iPad down on a table, sit across from a friend, and start playing. BoardBox supplies you with basic game rules–which you can turn off if you want to play a variant of classic checkers, for example–and sets you to play. Drag and drop the pieces around the board just as you would with real pieces. Play the classics or make up your own. The freedom you have with such simple games is actually quite refreshing.

Checkmate, sucka!

Each board game comes with multiple designs (mahogony, granite, and old-school plastic), and games like Tic-Tac-Toe feature a chalkboard (although, sadly, you can’t draw the X’s and O’s with your fingers), all to add an authentic look and feel to the games.

You can play against friends via e-mail, if you desire an impersonal and drawn-out session, but these are games that are made to be played face-to-face. In fact, there is no CPU-controlled player, so this is an app that forces you to be social. And at least now you don’t have to haul around your old boards and worry about missing pieces the next time you are hankering for a game.

It’s not perfect, but for a launch title, it’s more than we could hope for. The developer is also promising free updates and additional games down the line, meaning you won’t be nickle-and-dimed if they release Chinese Checkers. Timeless games with the freedom to play as you like: that makes this app a winner in our book.

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