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10 classic board games to play on your smartphone

There’s something great about sharing your favorite classic games with your kids, especially when today’s games are so different from what you played while growing up. Fortunately, many classic board games have been digitized today and thus, are easy to share with your contacts right from your phone or tablet. Here are 10 classic games you can start sharing today. Note that a few of these apps haven’t been updated in a while, so they might have unfixed bugs. (Credit: Makeuseof.com)


You can argue about whether Monopoly is a good game, but there’s definitely no contesting the fact that it’s a classic. Or that you probably played it growing up. You can play the traditional game with Electronic Arts’ (EA) app (iOS, Android) or use the faster Here & Now edition (iOS, Android) from Hasbro to speed up the game (which everyone will appreciate). And if you’re looking for something a little less cut-throat, try Kingdom Builder (iOS, Android). In this game, players compete to earn the most points by building settlements in the most lucrative places — but don’t have to walk over the bankrupt bodies of their opponents to win.


One of the simplest games of all time, Pictionary (iOS, Android) uses a classic formula for much hilarity. You draw something (probably badly), and your teammate has to guess what it is. That’s all there is to it. If you’ve played Draw Something, you’ll have an idea of what you need to do. The new digital version of the game includes two game modes, thousands of words and prizes to collect. If you’re looking for something to do in the backseat of an especially long car ride, this is a perfect go-to game.


Why play Scrabble when you can play Words With Friends (or another free word game)? Two reasons: first, because pass and play is available in the Scrabble app (iOS, Android). Second, because the Scrabble board and tiles are absolutely iconic. If you can’t play the tabletop version, the app is a good replacement. You can, of course, play online with this app, much like Words with Friends. But there’s nothing like sitting down to face off against your opponent in a battle of words. Scrabble just stands on its own. And if you want to try a new type of word game, check out Paperback (iOS, Android), which combines deck building with word-crafting. It’s a great new twist on an old style of game.

The Game of Life

While The Game of Life (iOS, Android) is a relatively-simple dice roller, the app makes it a lot of fun. Animated characters, a fast mode that presents a different victory condition and animated characters all make this a great digital version of a classic board game. The biggest draw to this app is the fun visuals. If you’re already a fan of the game, they make it even better. If you’re not totally sold on The Game of Life and its rather luck-based formula, try Hey, That’s My Fish! (iOS, Android). It’s a bit more strategic and competitive, but its family-friendly theme is great for kids.

Scotland Yard

While this game is certainly a classic, it’s underappreciated. Hidden-movement games add a feeling of suspense, and running away from your opponents while they can’t see where you are is an absolute blast. The interactive tutorial makes it easy to learn, and it offers both pass-and-play and online options. Scotland Yard‘s app (iOS, Android) doesn’t provide new features like some of the other apps on the list, but it doesn’t need to. This is a great game on its own and is perfect for families.

Ticket to Ride

Released in 2004, Ticket to Ride (iOS, Android) might not be a game from your childhood — but you’ll wish it was. The simple set-collection mechanics, easy rules, and always-changing gameplay immediately catapulted Ticket to Ride into the canon of board game classics. And with a constantly growing number of expansions available, you’ll always have something new and different to try out. While this game is rated for kids eight and over, be aware that you very well may get hooked yourself!

Mexican Train Dominoes

Domino games don’t seem to have survived the transition to the digital age, but Mexican Train (iOS) is a classic that will likely never die. It’s an easy game to learn, but every play is different and fun. All you need to do is play matching dominoes until you get rid of your entire hand. Sounds simple, but it can get tense near the end. And because it’s super easy to learn, you can play it with kids of all ages. The app provides AI for single-player games, multiple game modes, and a number of fun backgrounds. Since this particular version of the game is completely free, you can get started right away and not worry about in-app purchases.


Really, Yahtzee (iOS, Android) is a really simple game. But there’s something compulsively fun and addicting about it — I’m a big fan of highly complex, very strategic games, but I love Yahtzee. And while the digital version doesn’t give you the fun feeling of throwing a bunch of dice, it does provide a great gameplay experience. With custom dice, daily Dice Masters to defeat, and tournaments, you can get even more fun out of it. Just be aware that there are a lot of in-app purchases available, so this is likely to become a money grab. If you can deal with that, though, it’ll be a great addition to your digital games.


Whether you played checkers growing up or not, there’s no denying that it’s a classic. And with a checkers app (iOS, Android), you can play it with friends and family or against an AI opponent. There’s really not a whole lot to say about this one: it’s checkers. But it’s presented well, provides several difficulty levels, and it’s free!


There’s something inherently-exciting about solving a mystery — even if it’s a mystery solved by rolling dice to move around a mansion collecting simple clues. Clue (iOS, Android) is one of the most popular board games of all time, largely due to the fact that it’s easy to learn, fun to play and easy for families to play together. The digital version doesn’t add any play modes or digital quirks, but does provide a phenomenal interface and design.


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