Turn-based strategy games on your phone are way better than they were on tabletops. We remember wanting to pimp-smack Scrabble or Monopoly opponents for taking too long to make their moves back in our caveman days, yet have no problem waiting for buddies to take days to move our Words with Friends or Draw Something matches along.

Hero Academy, which is quite a bit more involved than usual board games gone virtual, would probably be absolutely terrible at home, but can make for some decent fun while you’re killing time at work. Uh, not that we would do that.

Any time you’ve got a couple minutes to burn, you can whip out your phone, pull up the app and set to mangling your opponent in this hybrid of chess, Advance Wars and what we imagine Dungeons & Dragons to be.

Controlling a tiny army of fantasy heroes, creatures and other cartoonish oddballs, you dole out your moves, using up a preset amount of action points. The goal is to mow down the other guy’s crystal load before he does the same to yours.

Although the free game is basic, tempting you to spend money on things like accessing new armies, and can grow repetitive in long stretches, we dug the overall feel. The option to send taunts along with moves is invaluable, and the interface is clean.

Many times while playing touch screen, grid-based strategy games, a slip of the finger results in horrific misplays that either take forever to cancel out of or puts us at a game-breaking disadvantage. When we failed at Hero Academy, though, we had only ourselves to blame.

Hero Academy shows enough promise to get us longing for a sequel. We’d pay a couple bucks for a more robust initial character selection and fewer attempts at nickel-and-diming.

RATING: 7/10

Hero Academy (Free to play), published by Robot Entertainment, is available on iOS platforms. We played the game for two hours on an iPod Touch.