Thanks to the App Store, the distinction between board games and video games is quickly being erased. Family game night can now just as easily revolve around touchscreens and Bluetooth instead of cardboard markers and plastic dice. Many popular apps have been turned into board games, but at the same time, popular board games have been successfully turned into apps. Here are some of our favorite board game apps from Hasbro and their publishing partner Electronic Arts.
Invented decades before Words With Friends, Scrabble is the original tile-based word game. Scrabble works perfectly on a touchscreen, allowing you to drag letters from your collection and place them exactly on the right space. The iPad’s larger screen also made pass-and-play more appealing, with multiple modes so you could scale down the length of the game or adjust the parameters. In a strange bit of tech overreach, you could also use your iPhones as a virtual tile rack, then flick them onto the iPad’s screen using Bluetooth. While this setup would cost you a lot more than a deluxe version of the game, it’s fun just for the novelty and 21st century bragging rights.
Key Quote: “EA Mobile knew what they had to do to deliver a great Scrabble experience, and they knocked it out of the park. Board games are bound to become an important part of iPad gaming, and right now Scrabble is the gold standard for how to make a quality iPad gaming experience.”
Monopoly and Monopoly: Here and Now
Monopoly’s classic premise– buy up all the land, build up your properties, then charge a fortune to anyone who wants to stay overnight– works just as well on iOS. The board game’s biggest drawback is often its extended play time, but with AI opponents, Monopoly zips along at a more exciting pace. You can also choose among different versions: Traditional Monopoly has the classic charm that’s been unchanged for years, while the Here and Now edition has inflated real estate prices and international destinations.
Read our Review (Monopoly)
Key Quote: “EA’s Monopoly is, overall, a Must Have for any fan of the board game. And if your only memories of Monopoly involve the family dog digesting half the Hotel pieces, take the time to re-discover the Parker Brothers’ classic with this convenient inedible edition.”
Read our Review (Monopoly Here and Now)
Key Quote: “This is a very solid game of Monopoly, and it’s also a bargain, considering its very high replay value. You certainly can’t buy a standard board edition of Monopoly for $4.99, let alone one you can play over Wi-Fi.”
With Clue, EA and Hasbro tried something a little different than just a straight-up port. Instead of moving around a board making wild accusations that have to be shot down by other players, Clue plays like an adventure game, where you’ll discover notes, maps, and other evidence that lead you to the real killer. The characters act more personable, and you can unlock new cases as you successfully solve old ones. We found Clue on iOS to be surprisingly new and different, and awarded it a Must Have rating.
Key Quote: “Besides being more difficult than the original, which might turn off a few people, this new version improves on the original in every way. It takes a timeless game concept and makes it fresh without sacrificing any of the fun.”
While there are now a vast number of trivia games on the App Store, the comforting Trivial Pursuit brand lives up to its reputation. As you circle a 3D board, you’ll land on colored tiles that correlate to specific types of questions. If you don’t want to play classic Trivial Pursuit, you can opt for a straightforward Pursuit Mode, where you’ll roll a die to advance through a corridor of questions. Although it’s missing the fun of reading through the cards all at once, this is still a great app to keep on your iPhone or iPad for random trivia quizzes with your friends.
Key Quote: “Overall, this is a nice, clean, functional game of Trivial Pursuit. It lives up to the brand and even goes a little further, thanks to the innovations in Pursuit Mode.”
Tomorrow, we’ll feature Telltale’s freaky episodic adventures based on The Walking Dead.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.