With the increased screen real estate of the iPad, it’s the perfect device for playing board games. If you haven’t had a chance to browse some of the great titles available on the App Store, here’s some of our favorite board games to get you started.
Such a classic, Scrabble is awesome on the iPad platform. Enjoy playing against friends (or a computer) on a gorgeous large game board. If you have an iPhone, download the free Scrabble Tile Rack and arrange your letters on your own device. When it’s your turn, simply flick them towards the game board and they’ll appear, ready for you to place and score big. Similar to the iPhone version, you can play against your friends locally or over a local network. Scrabble is $9.99.
Words with Friends
If there’s one app at the moment that’s popular across social networks and mobile devices, it’s Words with Friends. Similar to Scrabble, this game allows you to play, turn based, against friends who are playing on their iPads, iPhones or Facebook accounts. The app supports push notifications to let you know when it’s your turn, and you can chat in-game with your friends. At $2.99, this is definitely a fun board game for those who enjoy playing against friends and don’t want to take the leap to Scrabble.
One of the first game apps on the iPad, Game Table provides a virtual game board for a variety of games, like checkers, chess, poker and other card games. It’s not a traditional game in the sense that you’ll have scoring or rules and stuff. Instead, it’s simply all the pieces to play games without all the fuss so you can play them any way you want. For 99 cents this app is a great value and the developers have promised that additional game pieces for Backgammon, Go and Reversi will be added soon.
While UNO technically is more of a card game than a board game, I decided to include it because it’s a very fun experience on the iPad. It features all of the traditional UNO rules and actions, like Draw 2, Reverse and Wild cards. It also supports multiplayer (sharing one device or multiple on a Wi-Fi network) and features challenges allowing users to unlock additional themes to give the game a fresher look. UNO HD is $4.99.
Strategery is an engaging game originally designed for the iPhone that has been optimized for the iPad as well. This game of world domination features you as leader of a “country” (think Civilization style) and you battle against your neighbors to gain/lose territory. It supports pass-and-play style multiplayer (with up to five players) or online battles with push notifications. The iPad version allows for much larger maps and a much more engaging experience if played like a traditional board game (a group of players gathering around the iPad). At $1.99, this app is a definite must-have.
Of all board games, Checkers (or Chess) was probably the most expected to debut on the iPad. There are a variety of both available now, but my favorite is Theme Checkers HD. Just like a real game, the movement is very fluid and natural. This game supports one and two player modes and regularly updated themes for unique checkers experience. Users can even create and install their own custom themes as well. Theme Checkers HD is 99 cents, so give it a spin and see what you think.
If you’re looking for a little more than just checkers or chess, you should check out Board Box. Similar to some of the others I’ve mentioned, it includes checkers and chess, but this app goes further by including Reversi, Tic Tac Toe, Go, Draughts and more. Not only does it include the regular version of these games, but it also includes some variants. This app doesn’t support an automated second player, so you’ll either need to suffer from having a split personality or have a friend to play against. If there’s nobody local, you can play against friends through email. The developers of Board Box have promised that there will be no in-app purchases for this app so as they continue to update and add additional game boards and variants, the updates will be free. At $3.99, Board Box is a great investment.
If you’re a fan of Parcheesi, you should definitely check out Ludo ($3.99). Supporting up to four players (both human or computer), the game plays like real Parcheesi, except with a fresh modern interface and smooth animations and sound effects. Though there are a few other Parcheesi variants on the App Store, this one is definitely the best for the iPad. Additionally, your game state is saved so you can start and stop the game as you please.
If you’re one who loves playing mahjong, check out Moonlight Mahjong for 99 cents. Putting a literal spin on the traditional idea of mahjong, this version is 3D, allowing you to use touch gestures to tilt and turn and zoom in and out. There’s over 90 built-in board layouts. When you get bored with those, you can create your own and share them with others. Plus, it offers for support of multiple players (even across Wi-Fi or against an automated opponent). If you’ve never given mahjong a shot, this is an excellent game to reduce stress and relax.
Honey, That’s Mine!
This is a “sweet” board game where players compete against each other to collect the most honey. If playing on the iPhone or iPod touch, the game supports pass-and-play for multiplayer, but if you’re on the iPad, the larger screen makes it easy to just place your iPad on a table and play against your friends. The idea of the game is rather simple, but the options for computer opponents and difficulty variations give this game additional replay value. Honey, That’s Mine is available on the App Store for $1.99.
This is just a small sampling of some of the apps available for the iPad. If you’ve tried these or found others you like, share your thoughts in the comments below. Personally I’m thrilled to find replacements of my favorite board games on the iPad. Just imagine how many little pieces I don’t have to keep up with anymore!