Game Table Review

With several board game titles already available on the iPad, it’s clear that there is a demand among gamers to use the iPad as a stand-in for traditional table-top games. Give the players the pieces and let them do with them what they want, right? Game Table is much like BoardBox, but its board game selection is limited checkers and chess, and it includes a pretty neat digital deck of cards.

While the narrowing down of games has allowed the developers to add a few minor, unique elements, the presentation pales in comparison that of BoardBox. The game boards themselves are nicely textured (two boards for each game are available), but the pieces are flat and oddly shiny, making them look chintzy and stand out.

For those of you who don’t know how to play poker, this is a good hand.

From what can tell, there are no rules built in, either. We did not expect an AI opponent, but to not at least have the option for detecting when a rook can overtake a knight, for instance, is disappointing. You have the option to make the pieces stick to the squares or to move them freely around the board, but movement in general feels a little too sluggish. To its advantage, though, chess does have a built-in switch that tells the game your turn is over; subsequently, the pieces face the opposite direction, making it easy for the other player to make them out.

The board games may be passable at best, but it’s the cards that steal the show. The capabilities are not quite as robust as IsoCards, but the addition of optional poker chips and the dealer button is a nice touch. Dealing is as easy as dragging cards off the top of the pile. Pinch with two fingers to move a whole stack around, and pinch your fingers together to push cards into a new stack. Tap twice to flip a card, and tap twice with two fingers to flip a deck. Tap and hold to reveal the card count in a stack (very useful), and a window also pops up to allow you to shuffle. These same mechanics work with the poker chips.

Imagine the possibilities.

Yes, it can take time to learn all the tricks, and it might actually be quicker to play with a real deck of cards (except for shuffling). But not having to tote around cards and poker chips can save you time and help you avoid the hassle of cleaning up afterward.

There are better board game apps, and there are other card game apps, but if it’s a combination you’re looking for, this is a deal too good to pass up.

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