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The 5 Best Board Games You Can Play on Your Phone

upclose of Catan universe board game

The 5 Best Board Games You Can Play on Your Phone

Key Points

  • Our pick for the best board game you can play on your phone is Ticket 2 Ride. 
  • Playing board games on your phone is a great way to pass the time by yourself or with friends. 
  • When choosing a board game to download, most people consider the age recommendation, the genre, the number of players, and the app’s quality. 

While many people grew up playing games like Monopoly, Sorry!, and Clue, most people don’t realize that we’ve been playing board games throughout human history. In fact, some of the earliest playable board games are over 5,000 years old. Archeologists have discovered games in many important historical sites. You can also see board games depicted in cultural art dating before the first dynasty. Yes, board games have entertained humankind and probably held religious or other significance for millions of years. Today, we don’t need to pull out the bulky cardboard Candy Land box that’s been missing pieces for ten years so we can gather around a table with our friends and family. Instead, we can use an app we download on our smartphones to play with people worldwide. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best board games you can play on your phone. We’re looking at games that satisfy every gamer’s itch, from family fun to worldwide domination. 

Best Overall Board Game App: Ticket 2 Ride

Our pick for the best overall board game you can play on your phone is Ticket 2 Ride. This strategic adventure game takes you across countries via train. The goal is to collect train cards, claim train cards, and earn points as you go along. The person with the most declared area wins. 

Some countries where players can build their trains include the USA, Europe, Asia, and India. However, you can play with people all around the world, either against the AI or with people in the same room using pass-and-play. Also, you can choose to play solo. 

The app version includes a lot of add-ons and maps, which ups its replayability level. 

Ticket 2 Ride is recommended for players ages four and up on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. Also, you can play online multiplayer, local multiplayer, or by yourself. 

ProsCons
This game is easy to learn.While playing on a phone, it can be hard to claim a route due to the drag-and-drop feature. 
You can play solo, pass-and-play with people in the room, or challenge people around the world.The current price makes Ticket 2 Ride the most expensive game on this list.

Best for Worldwide Multiplayer: RISK: Global Domination

Barcelona, Spain - 05 de Junio de 2020: a lot of figures on the world map, from the risk game
Dominate the virtual world in RISK.

If you’re ready to rule the world with your mighty armies, RISK is the board game app for you. Risk, the app, is very much like RISK, the board game. It’s your ticket to world domination using war tactics. In RISK, players battle against the evil Axis Power of World War I, seeking out allies to defeat common foes. The digital version of the popular game features modern updates like zombies and fantasy and sci-fi maps.  Additionally, you can battle in real-time, play by yourself, or with others, and if you’re good enough, eventually earn the rank of Grandmaster. 

Due to the genre and type of the game, children under nine should only play with adult supervision as the game is rated as 9+. 

ProsCons
The updated sci-fi and fantasy themes add new life to an old classic.Risk is not recommended for small children and may be too complicated for some young kids.
The game is free to download and play.

Best for Strategists: Catan Universe

The Settlers of Catan board game figures, climbing on a rock.
Catan has been going strong since 1995. Join the fun now!

Our pick for the best strategy board game you can play on your phone is Catan Universe. It’s a Euro-style game of strategy and negotiation. Players need to manage their resources while trading with others. The original board game, Catan, is also seen as a gateway or introductory game for new or casual players. People call it that because it’s strategic and requires good gameplay, but it’s not too complicated for casual gamers. Additionally, while some Euro-style games require deep strategy and have many moving parts, players of Catan will find that luck alone can determine who wins or loses. 

Catan Universe is more than just the original 1995 board game. The app version is packed with a two-player Catan card game called Rivals for Catan and several expansions. The expansions included are Catan: Seafarers; Cities and Knights; Treasures, Dragons, and Adventures; and Rise of the Inkas.

One to six players can enjoy Catan Universe across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. Also, the game is playable in online multiplayer, in local multiplayer, or by yourself and is recommended for ages 10+. 

ProsCons
Catan is strategic enough for avid gamers but approachable enough for casual or non-gamers. Kids under the age of 10 may find it too hard, so you may want to choose a different game for game night. 
Catan is free to play but offers in-game purchases.

Best for the Young at Heart: Monopoly

Monopoly Online
Become a virtual tycoon in Monopoly.

Our pick for the best board game you can play on your phone for the young at heart is everyone’s favorite capitalistic monstrosity, Monopoly. The classic board game comes to digital life with ten unique boards to choose from. Players can pick their player tokens and get started buying up properties and railroads on their way to dominating their foes. 

Have fun taking your opponent’s money by buying up all the properties in a single color, avoiding going to jail, and occasionally getting the (sometimes lucky) Community Chest and Chance cards. Too bad all this money isn’t real, right?

Monopoly is recommended for people four years of age and older. You can play online multiplayer, local multiplayer, or by yourself on iOS or Android

ProsCons
The additional player boards give Monopoly high replayability without taking up lots of space.Just like the original, digital Monopoly can take a long time.
You will have to pay to download and play Monopoly.

Best for Mystery Lovers: Clue

Our pick for the best mystery-themed board game on your phone is the classic whodunit, Clue. If you grew up playing this game, you would remember iconic playable characters like Colonel Mustard and Mrs. Peacock and their race to find The Body’s killer. The app version sticks reasonably close to the original Hasbro board game. Players put on their detective caps to find out the identity of the killer before anyone else. 

However, with the app version, gamers also get access to additional themes such as Egyptian Adventure, Vampire Castle, and The Wild West. These themes give the app extra fun and replayability while gamers explore new boards with seemingly infinite possibilities. 

Clue is recommended for people of ages 12 and up, probably due to its murder mystery theme. You can play online multiplayer, local multiplayer, or by yourself on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. 

ProsCons
Clue is easy to learn and has high replayability.While it’s a family game, Clue isn’t recommended for players under 12.
You will need to pay to download and play Clue.

How to Pick the Best Board Game App: Step by Step

When searching for board games to play on a phone or other mobile device, most people take into consideration a few different factors. 

These factors may include:

  • Age recommendation
  • Genre or type 
  • Social aspect
  • Quality of the app

Let’s look at each of these in more detail. 

Age Recommendation

If you’re going to play board games on your phone, it’s important to note the age recommendation for the games. For example, some apps are rated as 4+, while others, like Catan, are suggested for those aged 10+. While some eight or nine-year-olds can certainly play Catan, the age rating is a good baseline to determine the game’s difficulty. 

Genre or Type 

Once you know the age of everyone playing, you can search for games by their genre or type. If you’re playing with casual gamers, you may want to stick with easy-to-learn and understand games. However, if you’re playing with more experienced gamers, you can choose games that require more deft strategies. 

Social Aspect

Another consideration when looking for board games you can play on your phone is the social aspect. Do you want to play by yourself on the computer? What about playing a pass-and-play match with people in the same room? Or, you can play with people from different countries. However you want to play, whoever you want to play with, you can find a game that’s suited for you. Be sure to check the game’s social aspect before committing to buying it. After all, you wouldn’t want to fork over money for a game that doesn’t allow you to play with who you want to. 

In addition, it’s helpful to note the platform you’ll be playing on and the platform your friends are playing on. If you’re playing on iOS, but your friend only has an Android, you’ll want a board game app that supports both. 

Quality of the App

Finally, it will help to consider the quality of the app. Be sure to check the reviews and screenshots of the app you’re considering. If the reviews are all glowing and the screenshots look crisp and clear, you may want to try the game yourself. However, if most reviews mention bugs and crashes, hold off until the app gets an update or better reviews.

Additionally, consider the screen you’ll be using. If larger text makes it easier to read, make sure it makes sense to download a board game app with text that’s large and easy to read. Or, you can find one that relies on pictures and graphics instead. 

What to Know Before Buying Board Game Apps

Buying and downloading a board game app is similar to getting any other app. Most people consider the price, type, quality, and social aspects before buying most apps, and board games aren’t an exception. 

When searching for a board game app, it can be fun to stick with what you know. For example, classics like Clue and newer favorites like Catan will surely bring hours of enjoyment. However, it can also be rewarding to consider something new. Trying out a new game can increase our enjoyment, especially if that game and the app are well-done and free from most bugs and crashes. Be sure to read reviews that mention any kind of bugs.   

Using Board Game Apps: What It’s Like

Humans have been playing board games throughout history, challenging each other with skills, strategy, and entertainment. Playing board games on your phone is similar. These apps are a fun and entertaining way to spend your time. You can bond with friends and family or make new friends by playing against others worldwide. Unfortunately, not all board games get made into apps. But the ones that have been offer hours of amusement and can help us escape what may otherwise be a dull couple of minutes or hours. Once you find a board game you like to play on your phone, we’re sure you’ll be hooked. 

Summary Table

Board Game AppCategory
Ticket 2 RideBest Overall
RISK: Global DominationBest for Worldwide Multiplayer
Catan UniverseBest for Strategists
MonopolyBest for the Young at Heart
ClueBest for Mystery Lovers

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you play board games on your phone?

Yes! Many board game apps are slick recreations of the classics like Monopoly and Clue. Other board game apps feature newer favorites like Ticket 2 Ride.

What are the 3 most popular board games?

Some of the most popular board games are chess, backgammon, and Scrabble.

What is America's most popular board game?

America loves the original Monopoly, as well as its many expansions and themed editions.

What is the #1 board game in the world?

Chess is the most popular game in the world. It’s also one of the oldest.

What is the hardest board game in the world?

Most people feel the hardest game in the world is Go. While it’s easy to learn, it takes a lifetime to master.

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