Lots of us would do nothing but play games if we could. Unfortunately, life keeps getting in the way. When I have a few minutes to spare and I need a fix, I usually whip out my phone and go in a turn-based multiplayer game. These games are perfect for those in-between moments before class or during a lunch break. Below, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite turn-based multiplayer games on iOS.
Turn-based multiplayer videogames can trace their lineage directly back to board games, so leaving this timeless classic off the list would be downright criminal. But we didn’t put it here just to pay our respects: EA has done a fantastic job of breathing digital life into the game. And there’s no better way to prove you’re smarter than your friends than by getting a triple-word score on a bingo.
What’s better than a great tower defense game? A great tower defense game with a brilliant multiplayer mode. The multiplayer game here is kind of like Risk. You and up to three opponents each have your own slice of territory. You spend turns building up your forces and researching technology until you’re ready to invade a neighbor’s land. If you’re successful, you then have to defend that land, too, using the resources your opponent accrued. In short, it’s strategic and lots of fun.
This game’s been around a while, but that doesn’t take away from the absurd joy of flicking a disc around an obstacle-filled course. You and your opponent(s) take turns as you “race” around tracks full of oil slicks, jumps, and endless pits. The controls are dead on and, as with the best games, the greater the risk you take, the greater the potential reward.
Outwitters is a colorful strategy game in which you and your opponents try to destroy each other’s extremely weak bases. Each player controls an army, and you take turns spending Wits (action points) to summon new fighters and move across the board. Just the basic gameplay is fun, but if you last long enough to bring your special characters into the fray, it becomes a whole new ballgame.
Another killer board game port is Carcassonne, a game that manages to make piecing together medieval landscapes exciting. To play, you lay down tiles that contain things like churches, roads, and towns, and then place markers on them. Whoever ends up with the most points at the end wins. It might not sound like much, but have faith: Play a few games, and you’ll be hooked.
Letterpress is a beautifully simple title that offers its own unique take on the word game genre. Instead of hoarding your own set of tiles, opponents share a common pool of letters to create words. Winning is based on how much territory you’ve claimed when all tiles are used. This creates room for some interesting strategies that go beyond spelling words with lots of X’s and Z’s.
Draw Something 2
You don’t have to have an artistic bone in your body to enjoy this game. All you need is a will to succeed. You and your partner take turns selecting a word and trying to draw a picture that represents the word while the other one guesses what it is. It’s easy and fun for gamers of just about any age. It’s also one of the few multiplayer titles that’s not competitive, which is nice to see.
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is another board game port that makes the transition to the touchscreen with ease and grace. In this game, you and your opponent lay down railroad tracks to connect distant cities across olde timey maps. It may sound dull, but as you strategize to rack up more points than the other players, you’ll undoubtedly fall under this game’s spell.
Hero Academy is a surprisingly deep strategy game about destroying your opponent’s crystals. Players control a team of characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The game is newbie friendly, but successful players know their teams like the back of their hand, and can use each character according to their special abilities. This is a game that’s easy to start playing, but hard to stop.
Hanging with Friends
Zynga’s “With Friends” series has been around nearly as long as the App Store itself, and Hanging with Friends is one of the best. It’s basically a game of hangman, so you and an opponent take turns choosing a word while the other tries to guess it. You can use a lifeline if you’re having trouble, but lifelines cost coins, which run out fairly quickly (unless you pump money into the game through in-app purchase). In any case, word game junkies will get a kick out of this one.