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I'd like to create a very simple 2D board game for Android, it would be a concept/mockup so I can see how the game works out.

Let's for the sake of this question that it's a clone of Othello - board game with score display, clickable game pieces/spots on a square grid and some animations.

I have to choose from these approaches:

  • do it all myself, draw the game on Canvas - I've done one game this way, and it took some time to code it. Then, that was a casual action game and the animations would be hard to implement.

  • implement it with Android widgets - I'd use RelativeLayout/TableLayout; the pieces will be ImageViews - this way I'd get the animations for free with Android tween animations. This would be the quickest of all solutions timewise, but I might run into some problems that may be a deal breaker.

  • use AppInventor - it may do the task, but don't know anything about it, this approach would also require some time to go through the tutorials.

  • use a proper game engine. That will take time to learn how to use it, which I view as the biggest disadvantage as I do mostly business apps, not games. And I don't know which one to choose from.

I really only want to throw this together in the shortest amount of time to see how it works, so I don't want to invest a lot of time to do it in the most "correct" way - that I'll do later if the concept works.

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For a board game, my personal choice would go to creating a custom View, drawing the game on a Canvas.

As it's a board game, this would be efficient enough, and would'nt require as much animation as an action game.

My second choice would go to a "proper" game engine, probably based on OpenGL. If you already programmed a game using Canvas, it shouldn't be too hard to understand how to use a game engine (besides most of them have good tutorials and documentation).

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If it's just for a prototype, I'd say go with the approach you're most familiar with or the one you think you'll get some fast results (that's usually the same as the one you're most familiar with :))

After the prototype is done, I suggest you switch to a game-engine. GUI-Frameworks for business apps might work for some games, but in the long run you'll benefit from the game engine. Also: You should switch tech to implement your real game, so you don't get tempted to just turn your prototype into the real game. This could be an excellent way to learn about a game engine.

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