You’d be forgiven for thinking that physical tabletop gaming might have trouble surviving in this digital and ever-mobile age, but collectible card games and traditional board games are arguably more popular than ever. Excellent digital versions of household staples sit alongside entirely original offerings that serve up the full tabletop experience with added digital convenience. Online play can be a real lifesaver if you’re stuck indoors and can’t get to a friend’s house, and not needing to lug a weighty card collection around will do wonders for your posture, too.
Below we’ve assembled a selection of the best Switch card games, deck building games and traditional-style board games. While titans of the genre like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering aren’t currently available on Switch, the console boasts a varied selection; some pure card games, others hybrid RPG experiences or totally board-based, but they all have quality in common. Switch’s hybrid nature makes it an ideal home for CCGs and board games, with the option to play on your TV at home and carry on in handheld mode when you’re out and about.
If you’re into strategy, tactics and puzzles (and the absence of cards isn’t a deal-breaker), check out our picks of the best strategy games on Switch and the best puzzle games on Switch for more brain-tickling digital experiences.
So, may we present — in a randomly shuffled order — our picks of the best deck builders, card and board games on Switch…
Publisher: Distractionware / Developer: Distractionware
Terry Cavanagh’s Dicey Dungeons is easily one of the best roguelike titles you can play on Switch. Loads of gameplay variety, fantastic music, a high skill ceiling and friendly visuals make this a thoroughly gripping and fun experience you won’t want to miss out on. If you like roguelikes or card games, we’d highly recommend you pick this up as soon as you can – and even if you don’t, we’d still encourage you to check it out regardless.
Publisher: League of Geeks / Developer: League of Geeks
While this turn-based affair might look, move and feel just like a real board game, Armello is actually a completely original creation – and one that does more than simply doff its cap at the world of tabletop gaming. From the deep tactics of its living board game gameplay to the sheer charm of its world-building and animal character designs, it’s a quest filled with back-stabbing, political power plays and rampaging monsters that’s different each and every time you play. It’s at its absolute best when played in multiplayer, that human factor making for an even more unpredictable battle for the corrupted throne. You’d be doing yourself a disservice not to add this anthropomorphic tale to your wish list.
Publisher: CD Projekt Red / Developer: CD Projekt Red
While utilising the ruleset of a more traditional CCG system might put off some players, the on-brand approach to turn-based combat in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is still a positive addition to the world. Because with such an involved and intricately designed story – and such an interesting world to explore beyond the confines of Geralt – Thronebreaker offers the opportunity to lose yourself in the Continent like never before.
Compilation games like Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics always have a variety of hits and misses depending on your own personal taste, but there’s a wide enough variety of board, card and action games here that you’re sure to find a number that will appeal to you. Texas Hold’em, Solitaire, Majong, Blackjack, Dominoes, erm… bowling; every one of the 51 games is presented with charm and warmth (terribly-written cutscenes aside) and there’s an enormous amount of content on offer, whether you plan on playing solo or with others. The perfect game for if you’re stuck indoors with the family? Quite possibly.
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Publisher: Nomad Games / Developer: Nomad Games
Talisman: Digital Edition is a worthy, content-rich adaptation of a superb board game. It offers a vast multitude of unbalanced characters to choose from, hundreds upon hundreds of Adventure Cards with something new to see on every play, and spellcasting battles leading to pure salt from the eventual loser. It’s an absolute classic, and there’s also cross-platform online play in the Switch version, so you’ll be able to play with friends on Steam, Android and iOS. The only real caveats are the excess of DLC and – let’s face it – the fairly unbalanced gameplay of the original Talisman, but we love it.
Publisher: Thunderful / Developer: Image & Form
Remarkably solid and satisfying, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a card battler with an abundance of charm in its art, mechanics and writing. The presentation is slick, the dialogue’s witty and the gameplay’s addictive. It doesn’t have quite that special feeling that SteamWorld Dig 2 did, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable time in that universe. As long as you’re not expecting anything revolutionary, we recommend anybody who likes turn-based battling or who enjoyed any previous games in the series check SteamWorld Quest out.
Publisher: Versus Evil / Developer: Abrakam Entertainment
Along with the expected multiplayer modes (ranked and casual battles), Faeria delivers a compulsive, interesting and frankly enormously fun card battle experience. While not the easiest game to explain, it’s an impressive teaching tool for itself, but never feels overwrought or tiresome in said education. Of the card games we’ve enjoyed on Switch, Faeria is easily the highlight of the bunch and deserves to do well. It’s a full-featured package and stands out as an excellent card/board/strategy experience. If you want to play a fantasy card game on Switch, we’d recommend this one first.
Publisher: Defiant Development / Developer: Defiant Development
Almost impossible to categorise yet utterly compelling as a result, Hand of Fate 2 is a unique RPG experience. Fusing the basic premise of a deck-building card game with the heart of an action-RPG, there’s just so much to enjoy here; the rewarding premise of its deck-building, the endless depth of its questing, the simple pleasure of its combat. This is a handheld port that’s practically indistinguishable from the version you can play elsewhere. Do yourself a favour and get this fantasy romp in your digital library right now.