Do you remember what it was like before the internet existed? We used to have to read newspapers to find out about current affairs, use landline telephones to chat with our friends, and go to physical shops to buy stuff. We also had to play board games to entertain ourselves.
Thankfully, those sepia-toned childhood memories of beating your granddad at Monopoly can be recreated on your smartphone. Granted, you won’t get the satisfaction of seeing your sister throw the board across the room when she loses, but the digital experience is still an enjoyable one.
So, with that in mind, here are the best board game apps you can play on your phone…
Monopoly is the king of classic board games. It was invented way back in 1903 as a way to demonstrate the shortfalls of an economy that was dominated by monopolies and has since gone on to sell more than 250 million sets. The aim of the game is to drive your opponents into bankruptcy.
All parts of the game are faithfully recreated in this version of the board game for your phone, including the famous playing pieces, the bank, and the ability to auction your properties.
There are three different levels of difficulty, and the game rules can be customized to match the way you’re used to playing the physical version of the game. Multiplayer support is available, but you and your fellow players will all need to have the game installed.
2. Connect 4
Seven columns, six rows, and a requirement to get four of your discs in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row. Sounds simple, right? Actually, it’s surprisingly complex—there are 4 trillion ways to fill a board and 2 trillion ways to get four-in-a-row.
While it’s true that Connect 4 was “solved” years ago (just make sure you go first and play in the center column), it can still provide hours of fun and frustration in equal measure.
There are no official versions of the game on either Android or iOS. Instead, you can choose from numerous free options. The Android version with the best rating is called Four in a Row. It lets you play on either a 2D or 3D board, has 10 levels of computer difficulty, and supports multiple disc colors. The best iOS version is Connect 4. It has three levels of difficulty and supports multiplayer.
Download: Four in a Row for Android (Free)
Download: Connect 4 for iOS (Free)
3. The Game of Life
Surprisingly, the roots of The Game of Life are even older than those of Monopoly. The original version was designed in 1860, with the modern game being released in 1960 to commemorate the original’s 100-year anniversary. Today, we think it makes for one of the best board game apps for your phone.
The game takes the player on a journey from college graduation to retirement, with events such as kids, jobs, mortgages, and marriage all featuring prominently. The winner is the person who has the most money at the end.
An official version of the game is available on Android and iOS. Features include the ability to play with friends, animated tokens, 3D landscapes, and a “life journal” to track your game. The iOS version will also let you pair music from your iTunes account with in-game events.
Another classic board game, another EA release. Although “Words with Friends” became popular upon its release, for that really nostalgic classic board game feeling you really need the original Scrabble.
Scrabble was first realized in the 1930s and became instantly popular as a thinking person’s game. The objective is to use your titles to make a word on the board—the more complicated your word and the more multiplier squares it intersects, the more points you score.
The game is available on both Android and iOS. It has an in-game dictionary to help you maximize your scoring, a teacher mode which will retrospectively show you what your best available word was for each turn, the ability to challenge your friends via Facebook, and a speed mode for faster games.
5. Ludo (AKA Parcheesi)
Ludo is derived from a 6th Century Indian game called “Pachisi”, though the simpler modern version first hit the shelves in 1896. American readers may know it by the brand name “Parcheesi”.
It supports up to four players, with the aim of the game being to get your four pawns from your nest to the central space before your opponents.
The best Ludo app—Ludo King— is available on both Android and iOS. The game offers local and remote multiplayer, an offline mode, and different board themes. Other games like Ludo King include Ludo Club and Ludo Online.
6. Snakes and Ladders (AKA Chutes and Ladders)
Like Ludo, this game also originated in India. The world knows it as Snakes and Ladders, but in the US the snakes were replaced by chutes in 1943 after Milton Bradley discovered American school children reacted badly to them.
Whatever you call it, it’s a game you almost certainly played as a kid. There are 100 numbered squares, with the game’s sole objective being to get from square 1 to square 100 before anyone else. However, your progress is either aided or hindered by the presence of ladders and snakes/chutes.
The game is available on Android and iOS. Features include a multiplayer mode, offline mode, and an arcade-style “Survival Mode” for extra fun.
How classic do you want your board games to be?! Backgammon is one of the oldest games in the world—its history can be traced back more than 5,000 years to the early Mesopotamian civilizations.
The aim of the game is to remove all of your own checkers off the board before your opponent using a combination of strategy and luck. Given that the board is naturally a rectangle, the dimensions make it one of the best board game apps for tablets such as the iPad.
Numerous versions of the game are available for both the Android and iOS platforms. We’ve linked our favorite edition for each operating system below.
Download: Backgammon Free for Android (Free)
Download: Backgammon for iOS (Free)
Risk is a great game, but it has one massive annoyance—the number of pieces on the board. If there are a lot of players it’s all too easy to accidentally knock pieces into different territories, especially in the early game.
The mobile version of the game has no such issues. Tiny playing pieces aside, the rest of the game is faithfully recreated. It includes different game modes, customizable rules, an in-depth tutorial, and game stats. You’ll also find plenty of DLC such as new maps and scenarios.
The basic game, which only includes the classic Risk game mode, is available on both Android and iOS.
What Are Your Favorite Board Game Apps?
What did we miss? There are so many classic board games out there it’s impossible to cover all of the ones you can now play on your phone. Have you found a great mobile version of Battleships? Cluedo? Or Pictionary? If so, we would love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.