Rough Draft
Please note that this thesis paper is just a rough draft and is currently a work in progress. The content on this page will probably be modified and may not be representative of the final version. Sources notes and references may not be final and placeholder text may be used and will later be replaced.
  1. Board games vs. Their Digital Counterparts
  2. Pros and Cons of Digital Only Board game style apps
  3. Complimentary apps for physical board game play

Modern Digital Table-top Games and Apps


Ticket to Ride iPad Game
Pros Cons
  • No pieces to lose.
  • Play against bots when you’re alone.
  • Play online against friends or strangers.
  • When selecting routes, cities instantly light up to help you spot them.
  • Cities you’re trying to connect are highlighted making it easier to stay on track.
  • Smaller “board” makes it easier to see everything going on.
  • Can be taken and played anywhere.
  • No storage space required.
  • Quick to switch between maps and expansions.
  • Significantly cheaper.
  • Keeps track of your score automatically.
  • Lose the experience of sitting around a table together with a group of friends.
  • In pass and play mode, only the player whose turn it is can see the board.
  • Cards are very small and can be hard to see clearly.
  • Harder to keep track of how many wagons your opponent(s) have remaining.
  • Fewer expansions and maps.*


Ticket to Ride Table-top Game
Pros Cons
  • Teaches geography.
  • Everyone can see the board at once.
  • Cards are easier to see.
  • Several expansions available to increase gameplay options.
  • An enormous board needs a LOT of space to play.
  • Can be difficult to locate cities you need and keep track of what you should be connecting, especially with large numbers of routes.
  • Easy to forget to move your score marker.
  • Train pieces are small and can be lost easily.
  • This can happen:

Source: https://www.wired.com/2012/11/ticket-ride-ipad-vs-board/

Small World iPad Game
Pros Cons
  • No setup required, start playing in less than five seconds
  • No little pieces that can be lost, thrown away by accident or swallowed by the cat
  • Instantly calculates your score including all bonuses from being on specific lands/conquering etc
  • Keeps track of whose turn it is and which round you are on
  • No physical storage space required
  • Allows for single player games against a bot, great for those who can't attend or run gaming nights often
  • Rolling the die doesn't result in at least one thing being knocked over
  • Cost: the iPad version is very cheap (around $5) but you do sacrifice the tactile sensation of the gorgeous playing pieces
  • Limited to a two-player game
  • Due to above, diplomat power removed
  • Harder to keep track of how many tokens you have left and how many are required to conquer a land
  • No "undo" option, accidentally drop your tokens on the wrong land and you're stuffed
  • In order to see upcoming race/power options or read the information on your current race, you have to move to a seperate screen - you cannot read the information whilst looking at the board


Small World Table-top Game
Pros Cons
  • Allows for up to five players
  • Better for playing in a group as everyone can see the board and watch other players move
  • Upcoming race/power options are always visible
  • Cheat sheets included in the box give you an instant reference to all the different races and powers and can be referred to at any moment
  • No risk of accidentally dropping tokens on the wrong land
  • Easier to track how many tokens you have remaining and work out how many lands you can conquer
  • No single player option
  • Setup takes time as there are so many pieces to place
  • Lots of little fiddly pieces that can be lost or mixed up (this week we found a Triton lurking among the Lost Tribes)
  • Storage (that box is big and heavy)
  • Easy to forget to move the round marker on and lose track of whose go it is
  • Players have to work out their scores manually – fine once you're used to the game, but tricky for newbies
  • Cost – the board game version is very pricey due to it's excellent quality

Source: https://www.wired.com/2012/08/small-world-ipad-vs-board/



  1. Image Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ticket-to-ride/id432504470?mt=8
  2. Image Source: https://www.boardgamequest.com/ticket-to-ride-rails-sails-review/
  3. Image Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/small-world-2/id364165557?mt=8
  4. Image Source: https://www.tribality.com/2015/01/16/on-the-table-small-world-gateway-strategy-game-for-2-6-players/
  5. Brown, Sophie. "Late to the Game: Ticket to Ride -- IPad vs Board." Wired. January 15, 2018. Accessed April 28, 2018. https://www.wired.com/2012/11/ticket-ride-ipad-vs-board/.
  6. Brown, Sophie. "Late to The Game: Small World -- IPad vs Board." Wired. January 15, 2018. Accessed May 27, 2018. https://www.wired.com/2012/08/small-world-ipad-vs-board/.

Thesis Work

This section of the website is where I am documenting the work on my thesis paper and visual component.

About Me

My name is Mark Koberlein and I have been a professional web designer, app developer, and instructor for about 13 years. I live in a small town next to Allentown, PA with my wife 2 daughters. My wife and I are avid gamers and movie watchers. I am currently a tenure-track Instructor in the Communication Design department at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem PA, where I teach courses in general computer graphics, web design, mobile applications, interactive design, server-side programming, and animation. I started this journey as an undergrad at Messiah College in Grantham, PA. For the first 2 years, I studied Computer Science and then changed my major to Religious Studies to finish my under-grad studies with a Bachelor of Arts. After college, I decided to not pursue the reli... Read More