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Board Gaming Fun on iPhone

by: Elton Gahr ; edited by: Simon Hill ; updated: 6/7/2012 • Leave a comment

Gaming on the iPhone is a lot of fun, but some games work better than others. Board games are almost perfect for this device because the simple interfaces mean that you don't get frustrated by the controls and the connectivity allows you to play with your friends. Here are a few of the best.

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    Whether you have a whole wall of games or just a copy of Monopoly stuck in your basement, nearly everyone has some fond memories of a board game as a child or a rainy afternoon when the power went out. These games are still fun and, whether playing them with friends or against the computer, the iPhone can be a great way to allow you to enjoy games that you may have missed or forgotten and often in a format that allows you to overcome busy lives and play far more often.

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    iphone catan 

    The Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular board games in recent years. Bringing an entire style of board game to the USA. The only real weakness of the game is that you need at least three people to play and setting up the game takes time. The iPhone app can easily solve both of these problems by allowing you to play against the computer as well as letting the computer create the map. Of course the AI can't replicate the enjoyment of sitting down with a friend and rolling real dice, but if you love the game of Catan or simply want to try it, then this iPhone version is well worth playing. They have also added Seafarers of Catan.

    (Cost: $4.99)

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    The Game of Life Classic

    iphone game of life 

    The Game of Life Classic Edition is just that, the classic board game with the only real changes being the way the game looks. This is a 3D game which allows you to see the cars driving along the path just like in the board game, but from a closer angle. In this game you will be able to spin the wheel with the touch screen, then move through the path gaining careers, a spouse, children and all of the random events that can happen in this game until you retire. A simple game with little or no skill involved, but still fun.

    (Cost: $0.99)

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    Words with Friends

    words with friends 

    While there is a Scrabble app the general consensus is that Words with Friends is the better, or at least more popular, app because it was created specifically for an online experience. Mostly though, this is better simply because there are more people playing it and that makes it a lot easier to find opponents. This game has almost all of the same rules as the more classic game, but is optimized for the iPhone. You can try the free version before you spend any money to see if you like it, but unless you just don’t like Scrabble style games you should like it and because you play against other people it has almost infinite replayability. If you do play then you might be interested in how to cheat at Words with Friends.

    (Cost: $0.99)

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    Trivial Pursuit

    trivial persuit 

    There are a lot of quiz style apps on the iPhone, but there is something special about Trivial Pursuit. With thousands of questions in the classic categories, as well as the ability to buy more questions, you can pass and play or use Wi-Fi in this game. If you like Trivial Pursuit but are tired of large boxes full of hundreds of cards then this is a great way to get new questions as well as far less expensive than buying a physical game and even if you don't care all that much for the board game aspect the trivia questions are still fun.

    (Cost: $0.99)

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    One of the most unique board games around is Carcassonne where you are not playing on a board -- you are creating one. Each tile has one or two basic features such as a road, a part of a city, a monastery or a field. You score points by placing your workers on cities, roads or monasteries which are then completed. For the physical version keeping score and track of all the small tiles can be frustrating, but it is still fun and online those weaknesses are largely eliminated. More visually exciting on the iPad this is simply a great game and ten dollars is still far less than the physical board game.

    (Cost: $9.99)

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    • Source, Author's own experience.
    • Images, iPhone screen captures.
    • Images courtesy of,
    • Catan,
    • The Classic Game of Life,
    • Words with Friends,
    • Trivial Pursuit,
    • Carcassone,